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. Meg Lampert is the Pre-K 3 teacher for numbers, math, shapes, geography and sensorial activities. She has a BS from Virginia Tech, is Montessori certified, and comes to us with an array of experience from her prior work in Montessori classrooms. She enjoys baking, scrapbooking, birdwatching and working on her garden. She lives with her husband, daughter, flock of pet chickens and two rambunctious dogs.
"The most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six." -Dr. Maria Montessori
Mrs. Kassidy Washek is in her first year at Montessori Learning Center focusing on colors, health, and science. Mrs. Kassidy graduated from University of Arizona Global Campus with a BA in Early Childhood Education. She worked with elementary level special education students for 3 years. Prior to that she worked in early childcare settings. She also spent 6 years in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard. She recently moved here in 2017 due to her husband being in the Air Force. She loves to spend her spare time with her daughter Leah and husband Cody. She also loves being outdoors, fishing, riding horses, and working in the barn.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” -Thomas Edison
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.”
Mrs. Shelby Stevens is the assistant teacher in Mrs. Ann’s classroom. She has an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from Ivy Tech Community College. She is on her second year here at Montessori, but she has almost 7 years of experience in Early Childhood Education settings. Mrs. Stevens was born and raised in Indiana and grew up on a farm. She recently moved to Florida October 2019 with her husband who is in the US Air Force Reserve. Some of the things Mrs. Stevens enjoys are hunting, fishing, walking, and spending time with family.
“A teacher’s purpose is not to create students in his image, but to develop students who can create their image.”
LOIS A. PETERS
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.”
AMY M. WINSLETTE
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 2 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.”