AlashaAlasha Al-Qudwah is our music specialist, administrative assistant and after school program director. She is a mother, musician, artist and Charleston native that is passionate about working with children. She studied Violin Performance and Music Therapy at Ohio University under Marjorie Bagley, Steven Huang, and Dr. Stephen Miaky, and continued her studies at West Virginia State University under Amelia Chan, Dr. Dirk Johnson, and Scott Woodard.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts and performs all over the tri-state region in many different genres. Alasha also is the Fine Arts Instructor for Partnership for African American Churches, teaching strings, as well as the founder of the newly developed strings program in Clay County.  She is a member of a popular band Qiet.


MelissaMenon (2)

Melissa Menon joined our staff in 2014 as a primary assistant and is now our lead guide for primary.  Melissa is a graduate of the University of North Texas and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Radio/TV/Film. She received her Primary Montessori certification through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. She and her husband, Venu Menon, have two daughters who completed a total of 16 years of Montessori education.   

DionneDionne Canterbury joined CMS in 2013 as a primary assistant and also coordinates our nap program for primary half-day students.  She is a certified Kindermusik educator and brings music to our primary students every day.  She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Charleston and has been a choir member or soloist in womanSong, OPUS and the Charleston Light Opera Guild.  Ms. Dionne is also the children’s choir director at Village Chapel Presbyterian Church.  



CaitlinCaitlin Brash is our elementary lead guide. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Conservation from Virginia Tech.  Caitlin received her Elementary Montessori certification through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.  An avid outdoors-woman, she moved to Fayetteville, WV, to be closer to rock climbing and to enjoy nature.  Caitlin hopes to share her love of nature and respect for the environment with her students.



RachelHicks (2)Rachel Hicks is an elementary assistant and journalism instructor. She holds a masters of arts in English from Marshall University.  Rachel has taught creative writing to children ages 10-16 and also taught English Composition I & II at WV State University.  She also has experience working in the editing, book publishing and small press fields. She hopes to spread her love of reading and writing to students, showing them the importance of these subjects and how it can enrich their lives.  She completed the Montessori Fundamentals course offered by The Center for Guided Montessori Studies.  Rachel joined the staff of CMS in 2013.



Fran Norman is a co-director.  She has been an integral part of Charleston Montessori from the start.  With over 20 years in the classroom, she brings to our school a wealth of knowledge and outstanding abilities in teaching, creating rich classroom environments and cultivating a love of learning.  Fran joined the staff of CMS in 2010. Contact Fran at