Meet Our Director & Staff
The Montessori Learning Center has an experienced, dedicated and professional staff. Our teachers and director are committed to making your child’s learning environment superior to other schools.
STACEY BARKER IZER
Mrs. Stacey Izer has been working at The Montessori Learning Center for over 25 years and is currently the Director of the school.
She is a long time resident of Fort Walton Beach. After graduating from Florida State University with a degree in Child Development, she returned to her hometown where she now lives with her husband Kelly, her daughter McKenzie, and son Jake.
“I believe that children learn in unique ways. I also feel to effectively teach a child we must use a 3 person approach: student, parent, and teacher. I believe that it’s my responsiblity to be honest with you about your child’s needs, and to encourage them to reach their highest potential. I am energetic and eager and look forward to working with you and your child.”
Ms. Lisa Edwards is the current Office Manager. She is an Air Force Veteran and her husband is currently serving in the Air Force and has been on active duty for 23 years. She recently moved back to the Fort Walton Beach area and hopes to retire here. She has an AA in Program Management from the Community College of the Air Force. She has two children, Natalie and Vanessa. She is one of the newest members of the Montessori Family and is very excited to be part of the team.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted. -Aesop”
Mrs. Ann Helton is the Pre-K4 teacher for language, letters, & reading development. She has a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies of Child and Society from the University of West Florida. Even though it is her second year teaching at Montessori, she has almost 20 years of experience in Early Childhood Education in both private and public schools, as well as experience in working with children with special needs. Mrs. Helton was born and raised here on the Emerald Coast. She currently lives in Destin with her husband Bret of 27 years and her two dogs Delilah and Molly. Mrs. Helton also has three grown up daughters: Kaitlyn, Mary, and Trinity. She is also a “Gam Gam” with two grandsons named Bret and Nate, a granddaughter named Kymber, plus a son-in-law named Logan. She loves spending time with her family and watching Alabama Football.
“Children may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
I attended Kent State University and continued my education through Western Governors University for elementary education. I recently moved to the area in May 2021 from Cleveland Ohio. I have 4 years of experience in education along with 1 year of Montessori experience. Coming from a Montessori teacher mother, I grew up with the methods and materials all around me. A few of my hobbies include taking my dog Harley on adventures, going to the beach, reading, and watching movies. What I love about teaching and education is that every child possesses their own individual potential, and it is the teacher's responsibility to support, engage and encourage the child's journey.
"The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows"
My name is Alexandra (Ali for short) Fileen and I am an Air Force spouse and a mother of two. I started working with children after high school. I have 11 years experience working with children ranging from newborn to 17 years old. I have worked at multiple daycares and learning centers. I have attended Grand Canyon University to further my education and received a BS in sociology. A few of my hobbies are reading, exercising, baking with my children and traveling the world. What I love most about teaching is helping children find themselves and supporting their growth while they are learning lifelong lessons. Children are our future, and it brings great joy to my heart knowing that I can possibly be an influence to the next president of the United States.
I attended Martinsburg College in 2018 and in the spring of 2022 I will be continuing my education at American Military University for early childhood care and education. I have lived in the area for four years now with my five year old son and husband who is active duty in the Air Force. I grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. My love for children and teaching has always been a passion for me. During Covid of 2020, I received my certification for Registered Behavioral Technician because my son has level 2 ASD and I fell in love with learning about children on the spectrum. I have almost two years of experience in childhood care. A few things that I love to do would be going to the beach and laying in the sun, trips to Disney World and watching some good binge-worthy Netflix shows. In my eyes every child is different and learns differently, which to me makes helping them learn that much more fun.
"If they can't learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn."
Kinder Lead Teacher
Mrs. Lois Peters has been teaching at the Montessori Learning Center since 2003. She is currently the Kindergarten teacher. Originally from Rome, N.Y, she and her husband, Tom, have been married for 16 years and have lived in Okaloosa County for 21 years with their 3 children. Her hobbies include reading and camping. Her philosophy of educations is simple, “Education begins at home.” She feels education is a shared responsibility of parent and teacher. She believes that every child can learn, given opportunities to use their strengths and given assistance to strengthen weakness.
“It is a true joy to get up and go to the school every day as a part of program that is so dedicated to helping each and every student to reach his or her highest potential.”
Kinder Assistant Teacher
Mrs. Eilders is the Kindergarten aide. She has her certification in elementary education K-6. Mrs. Eilders is a military brat who finally settled in Northwest Florida in 2003. Here she met her husband of 15 years and had three children- Maddy, Emilie, and Gabe. Her hobbies include reading, running, and enjoying the area with friends and family.
“I am fascinated by seeing the world through a child’s eyes.”
Lower Elementary Lead Teacher
Mrs. Amy Winslette joined the Montessori Learning Center staff in 2013, she is Montessori certified as a Lower Elementary teacher.
She is proud to be an Iowa farm girl and shares her experiences when opportunities arise. Upon earning a degree from the University of Northern Iowa, she called Florida her home. She and her husband Dale, a native of Ft. Walton Beach. She has 2 boys, Wyatt and Jesse. She enjoys kayaking, shelling, and biking .
"Reaching a child through multiple approaches, then seeing their eyes light up when they understand the concept is so gratifying as a teacher"
Lower Elementary Teacher
I am a recent transplant to this area. I have lived in California, Nevada, Utah, New Jersey, Hawaii, Alaska, and now Florida! I am so excited to be teaching at Montessori! I have a son, two daughters, and two grandchildren. Teaching is a second career for me, previously I worked as a grant writer for nonprofit organizations. I have an AA from Brigham Young University - Hawaii, and a BS from Drexel University. I have many years of classroom experience and I have been teaching children in China (online) for the past 4 years. I am very enthusiastic for all things learning! I am excited to be teaching 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades because we can all learn so much together!
Ms. Bethany Baldwin is the current Art Teacher and After School Care Director at Montessori Learning Center. A Fort Walton Beach native, she has been creating art with our students since 2016.
Ms. Baldwin received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Central Florida and- like Dr. Montessori- believes that “early childhood education is the key to the betterment of society.” She recognizes art as integral to the development of the whole child and as an irreplaceable tool for understanding and expressing the world around us.
“Nothing is comparable to experiencing the ‘aha’ moments of children’s discovery.”
This past May I received my Bachelor's degree in Fashion Merchandising from Suny Oneonta and my associates in Textile Development and Marketing from The Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. I am from Long Island and just moved to Florida to be closer to family. Some of my hobbies include art, reading and of course fashion. Although this is the first time working with children, I am loving it and enjoy seeing the progress the students have made so far.