Primary Teachers

KATE COMELLA

PRIMARY DIRECTRESS

Kate is a native Clevelander having grown up in the nearby suburb of Kirtland. In 1992, she graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor degree in Early Childhood Education and a minor in psychology.

She pursued her Montessori education and is credentialed through AMS (American Montessori Society) at both the Primary and Elementary levels. Kate also continued her education in the path of religious formation through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and is in process of becoming a National Formation Leader.

Kate’s first post-graduate job was at Ruffing Montessori in Cleveland Heights as assistant in a Primary Classroom for 3 years. Kate has been involved in Montessori ever since! She and her mother began their own Montessori School which she owned and worked at for 9 years.

Kate has been at the school since 2003, with her first 3 years as an assistant.  After serving several years as the Director of Admissions and coordinator of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Kate is now back in a Primary classroom. After school, you may find her with some of the elementary children as the director of the Montessori School Drama Club!

Kate’s favorite past-times are spending time with her amazing sons, Jerome and Evan, reading, acting, singing and organizing! She is involved in the Geauga Theater both on stage and behind the scenes.

Email: kate@clevelandmontessori.org

MARY-SIBYL KRESS

Mary-Sibyl discovered the Montessori Method in the 1970s when her friend’s children attended the Good Shepherd Montessori School in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood. Reading The Secret of Childhood by Dr. Maria Montessori inspired her to become a Montessori teacher herself.

After receiving her 3-6 year old certificate from the St. Nicholas Montessori College, Mary-Sibyl began teaching at Cleveland’s Urban Community School in 1986. She attended Ursuline College where she received a B.A. in elementary education and K-8 certification.

A gift of a book, The Religious Potential of the Child, by Sophia Cavalletti sparked Mary-Sibyl’s abiding interest in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She is certified to teach both 3-to-6 year-olds and 6-to-9 year-olds. She earned her A.M.I. certification for 2 ½ -6 years at the Ohio Montessori Training Institute and later completed a M.Ed. at Loyola College in Baltimore in 2005. She is pleased to be working at Cleveland Montessori, as the school is dedicated to maintaining A.M.I. standards and using the Good Shepherd Catechesis.

Mary-Sibyl has been interested in photography since high school and takes pictures nearly every day — including some in the classroom to help parents get a better glimpse of their child’s work. She also takes her camera on camping trips and visits to her brothers and sister all over the country. Other hobbies are sewing, fiber arts and attending opera and musical theater. Mary-Sibyl married Ray in 1973 and raised 3 children and has 2 grandchildren.

MONIKA M. POPIK

Monika is a Cleveland State University alumna, where she earned her BS and Masters in Education degrees. She completed her Montessori training at the Ohio Montessori Training Institute and the Fondazione Centro Internazionale Studi in Bergamo, Italy. Monika holds both AMI primary and elementary diplomas.

When asked which each group she prefers to work with, she replies with a smile, “I just like working with people no matter what their age!”

In addition to all her degrees, she is also a trained catechist and is able to naturally incorporate the Good Shepherd lessons in her classroom.

Monika is a mother of two daughters. Gabriella, a graduate of the Montessori School at Holy Rosary, earned her degree in Art at the Kansas City Art Institute. Christina is a junior at the Montessori High School at University Circle; she enjoys writing and photography. Monika’s husband, Michael, has a great eye for antiques and collectibles is always sending her with boxes of little gifts for the classroom. In her spare time, Monika likes to run, swim and lift weights. She enjoys spending time in her garden and playing with her chickens: Daisy, Tulip, Lily and Poppy.