Darlene B. Paquette - School Director
Darlene B. Paquette has owned and operated Montessori pre-schools and toddler programs in Massachusetts for the past twenty-nine years. She believes the Montessori approach to early education is one of the most valuable ways to inspire creativity and independence within a child. Her schools challenge the status quo for early education, by offering beautiful classroom environments with excellent student teacher ratios. Darlene received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Worcester State College and her Montessori Preprimary Certification from the Northeast Montessori Institute at Boston College. In her free time, Darlene enjoys sailing and traveling.
Lisa Merlino - Lead Teacher
Lisa Merlino's passion for helping children through their developmental processes began with the birth of her own children. Lisa holds a degree in Early Childhood Education from the College of Southern Nevada as well as a degree in Montessori education from the Montessori Institute of New England. She has seven years teaching experience as an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher within the Clark County school district of Las Vegas, Nevada, and is in her second year leading Acton Montessori's programs.
After relocating to Massachusetts Lisa's passion for being part of an exceptional education program led her to AMS. Lisa believes in the Montessori approach to early education, because it helps meet the different learning needs of children in a creative open classroom environment. The Montessori materials and lessons she teaches provide a wealth of unique learning opportunities tailored to individual children. When Lisa is not working, she enjoys spending time with her two teenage daughters, gardening, cooking and exploring the great outdoors.
Karaline Smith - Assistant Teacher
Karaline Smith joined the Acton Montessori School in early 2012. She presently helps run the school's Summer Program by developing its schedule and curriculum. Outside of AMS, Karaline is a student-athlete presently finishing her senior year at The University of Connecticut. She is graduating with a degree in Education.
As an Acton-Boxborough High School graduate, Karaline has been actively involved in local programs such as The Best Buddies special needs program. At Acton-Boxborough High School Karaline was elected president of the school’s student council for both junior and senior years. At the University of Connecticut and Acton Montessori Karaline has gained excellent classroom experience and always brings her knowledge and energy to AMS. In addition to completing her bachelors degree, Karaline will be pursuing her Masters degree in Education the University of Connecticut in 2016.
Laura Donovan - Assistant Teacher
Laura Donovan is passionate about teaching and tennis. She graduated in 2012 with a degree in Early Childhood Education from Plymouth State University. Laura brings her positive energy to Acton Montessori everyday, and both students and parents adore her enthusiasm and passion for teaching. Laura's career in education is as bright as her smile, and if she is not teaching at Acton Montessori you'll find her coaching at the Marcus Lewis Tennis Center in Acton. When Laura has spare time, she loves traveling, taking road trips and playing more tennis!
Zachary Boucher - Assistent Director
As a former Montessori student, Zachary Boucher believes in the incredible approach a Montessori education provides children. Zach helps manage administrative duties at both The Acton Montessori School and The Montessori Country Day School in Holden, MA. Much of the success Zach has had in life he attributes to his Montessori eduction. He has been a member of the US Freestyle Ski Team, graduated with honors from The Colorado College and has enjoyed a success career in software sales. Zach believes the style and approach his Montessori education provided him built the foundation and confidence to a successful, multifaceted life. You will often here him say, a Montessori education is one of the best investments parents could ever make for their child.
Vanessa Gade - Guest Teacher
Vanessa Gade has been a guest art teacher at the Acton Montessori School since 2011. Vanessa has always been passionate about early education. Most of all Vanessa is inspired by Montessori's creative, open-classroom approach to inspiring and challenging young students to become resourceful thinkers.
In 2003, after completing a bachelors degree at the University of California San Diego, Vanessa attended the Graduate Jeweler program at the prestigious Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts. She realized her childhood dream of becoming a designer and pursued a successful career in jewelry. Her work is featured in fine boutiques and galleries around the country such as: the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Guggenheim Museum and the Architecture + Design Museum in LA to name a few. Vanessa loves sharing her passion for art and design with students at Acton Montessori!