Paige Payne, Director, serves on The Library Foundation of Kanawha County, Inc..  She is also a past chair of  Girls Night Out , an annual event which raises funds for Hope House, a shelter for victims of domestic violence offered under the YWCA’s Resolve Family Abuse Program            


Susanne Coffield, Director, earned a J.D. from the West Virginia University College of Law and a B.A. with a major in Psychology from West Virginia University.  She was a founding board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central West Virginia.  In 2012, she participated in the Charleston Area Alliance‘s Educator|Industry Institute.




Emily Capece is the Upper Elementary Lead Guide.  This is Emily’s seventh year of teaching, having taught K-12 in New York City, Fairfax County, VA, Princeton, NJ, and for the Department of Defense Schools in Okinawa, Japan. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education and Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance from Otterbein College in Ohio, and a Masters of Music Education from Westminster Choir College/ Rider University in New Jersey. Emily received a grant through the National Endowment for the Humanities to study in Vienna, Austria in 2005. She is currently pursuing her Elementary Montessori certification through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. An avid musician, Emily is the Artistic Director for womanSong Chorale, and frequents the stage in lead roles with the Charleston Light Opera Guild. Emily has two children of her own, both of which attend Charleston Montessori. Emily joined the staff of CMS in 2013.


Stephanie Fulford is the Primary Class Lead Guide.  She is pursuing Montessori certification through The Center for Guided Montessori Studies.  She earned a B.A. from Marshall University in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Early Education.  Stephanie joined the CMS faculty in 2011.   arrowood@ charlestonmontesso




Lisa Leventry is the Lower Elementary Lead Guide.  She completed her Montessori certification through The Center for Guided Montessori Studies.  She holds an M.A. in elementary education from West Virginia University.  and is state-certified in Elementary Education, grades K-6.  Lisa joined the CMS faculty in 2011. leventry@



Rachel Hicks is an Upper Elementary Assistant.  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 is participating in the Montessori Fundamentals course offered by The Center for Guided Montessori Studies.  Rachel joined the staff of CMS in 2013.

Fran Norman is a Lower Elementary Assistant.  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.



Shannon Pierson is a Primary Assistant as well as Charleston Montessori’s Art Specialist (see below).  She earned her B.A. in art from West Virginia State University.  She is participating in the Montessori Fundamentals course offered by The Center for Guided Montessori Studies.  Shannon joined the staff of CMS in 2012.   




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Bryan Lewin is the Physical Education Specialist.  He leads the full-day primary and elementary students in physical education activities twice a week.  Bryan holds a bachelor of athletic coaching and education and a master of secondary education, both earned from West Virginia University.  He played basketball for WVU and later played in the International Professional Basketball League with the Jamaican National Team, Chinese Basketball Association, and Pakmet-Polpharma (Poland).  From 2002-2003, he played with the Harlem Globetrotters.



Marilyn Monahan is the Spanish Specialist.  She has a passion for the Spanish language and many years of working with children. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from The University of North Carolina at Asheville as well as teaching experience ranging from college instruction to working with kindergartners. She has a background as a Spanish Medical Interpreter and Translator, having worked in that capacity for over five years in every department of the major hospital in her hometown, Asheville, NC.  She has been employed as Interpreter and Translator for government agencies such as The Department of Social Services and The Children’s Developmental Services Agency.  In Spanish class, your child will become comfortable with conversational Spanish while hearing and practicing the unique phonemes and being exposed to the lilting rhythm of this enchanting language.

Shannon Pierson
(photo above) is the Art Specialist.  She earned her B.A. in art from West Virginia State University.  She has provided art instruction at Charleston Stage Company’s Summer Arts Camp, Putnam County Schools’ Summer Academy, and Taylor Books’ Annex Studio.  Her classes expose children to a wide variety of media and techniques for creating art and encourage exploration and individual expression.  She enjoys connecting individual lessons to art history and framing projects in a cultural context.  She feels that it is important for children to identify the many ways in which art permeates our culture, connects us to others (past and present), and enriches our lives.

Julie Wirts is the Sewing Specialist.  She is a master seamstress and owner of The Dressmaker’s Closet.  Julie is a graduate of Marshall University, where she studied theatre.  Her students learn the craft of sewing, including hand-stitching, sewing on a machine, and pattern making. 



laDonna new

LaDonna Yaussy is the Music Specialist.  She graduated from Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education with elementary specialization.  She studied voice under the direction of Renay Conlin and has sung professionally with local bands including All Jazzed Up, Now Generation Orchestra, Novo Tempo Big Band, Picatto Trio, and Moondance.  She also performed in several musical productions with local theater during the last 20 years.  Her broad-based experience in education includes work as a teacher in Ohio and West Virginia and as the Administrator of a Montessori school for 16 years.  LaDonna teaches music weekly and focuses on music genres, cultures, theory, rhythm and famous composers throughout the year. In addition to teaching music, LaDonna is a substitute teacher for Kanawha County Schools and a tutor for the Appalachian Reading Center.