Who We Are
Faculty and Staff
Edy Dingus is a devoted advocate for quality education for all Mississippians, and works to especially support young children and their families. Edy graduated with a degree in English literature from the University of Mississippi, and immediately afterwards charted a course to teach English as a Second Language on the other side of the world. She was the lead English and music instructor at a pre-school in Dalian, China, where she emphasized to participants the necessity of accessible kinesthetic learning environments and helped to triple program enrollment. Back at home, Edy and began her first term of service as an AmeriCorps*VISTA, one of her lifelong goals. Until the fall of 2017, Edy supported local educators, families, and children as the VISTA for the early childhood education coalitions housed at the United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County. She joined the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement as the AmeriCorps*VISTA Leader for the North Mississippi VISTA Project, where she supported multiple VISTA members and the many amazing non-profits they served. Now, Edy sustains her passion for improving educational opportunities in Mississippi by maintaining an active presence in local anti-poverty organizations like LOU Excel by 5, LOU Reads, and Team 36. As the executive director for Magnolia Montessori School, Edy strives to support families from every background in an effort to build community and impart the importance of quality education for all. Until school begins on Wednesday, August 8th, you can meet Edy during her MMS office hours on Thursdays from 8-10am.
Edy would love to hear from you at email@example.com, or give her a call at (662) 380-2340.
Brooke Fly Spears
Elementary Classroom Lead Guide and Director of Curriculum
Ms. Brooke is a Montessori elementary teacher with nine years of classroom experience. She taught for five years at Near North Montessori, an AMI-accredited school in Chicago, working with children ages 6 to 14, and taught fifth grade science in the Mississippi public school system at Quitman County until she returned to Oxford to help support and grow the local Montessori movement. She holds a Mississippi teaching license, an Association of Montessori Internationale Montessori Elementary Certification, a Master of Education from Loyola University-Maryland, and a Bachelor of English from the University of Mississippi. She also serves as the secretary for the Mississippi Montessori Alliance.
You can catch Brooke (and baby Thomas!) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Office Manager and Early Care Lead Guide
We are so happy to have Ms. Katelyn join our administrative team! Ms. Katelyn is an Oxford native with more than seven years' experience in business management and administration. Ms. Katelyn is more than ready to get to know the MMS community! She looks forward to supporting event coordination and fundraising, community outreach, and classroom success, but she is especially excited to get to read in silly voices as often as she can.
Read to Katelyn in a silly voice by contacting email@example.com.
Director of Sustainability Programming and Aftercare Lead Guide
Ms. Katelynn is a native of Metairie, La. She earned a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Mississippi, and has extensive experience in environmental education. Ms. Katelynn has worked with the Oxford City Market, Oxford Wonder Walks, the University of Mississippi Office of Sustainability, and Good Food for Oxford Schools, among other environmental organizations. We are so happy Ms. Katelynn will teach us more about our natural world this year. She is very excited to share her passion for the outdoors with MMS students and families, and looks forward to every new adventure!
Ask Katelynn what kind of plant that is by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elementary Classroom Assistant Guide
Ms. Katie moved to Mississippi in 2014 to be closer to her parents, and the whole family has fallen in love with Oxford. Ms. Katie graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a bachelor’s degree in communication. This is Ms. Katie’s fourth year at Magnolia Montessori School. She has worked in all three classrooms at MMS, and she and Ms. Brooke are an excellent team. She is passionate about the Montessori Method and will complete her AMI elementary Montessori certification at the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota this summer. Congratulations, Katie!
Congratulate Katie at email@example.com.
Primary Classroom Lead Guide
We are so lucky to have Ms. Jackie join our MMS family! Ms. Jackie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and has more than 25 years of experience in education. Ms. Jackie discovered Montessori while working in the Wyoming public school system. After enrolling her young daughter in a nearby Montessori school, the developmental progress and delight in learning she witnessed in her daughter and her daughter's classmates inspired Ms. Jackie to become a Montessori teacher. Ms. Jackie earned her American Montessori Society Primary Lead Teacher certification from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies and began co-teaching in the Wyoming Primary classroom. She looks forward to continuing to support the development and wonder of her Mississippi students! Ms. Jackie is also a seasoned world-traveler: she recently moved back to Mississippi by way of South Korea and brings an extensive geographical and cultural knowledge with her. Ms. Jackie has spent much of the latter half of this summer excitedly preparing the Primary classroom for maximum learning and optimum joy, and looks forward to getting to know and working with all members of the MMS community.
Ask Jackie about her favorite place to visit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Primary Classroom Assistant Guide
Ms. Nicole holds a Master of Education in Counseling, and is a certified school counselor in Mississippi. She worked as a school counselor in Connecticut and Montana before relocating to Oxford with her family. Ms. Nicole is very excited to serve MMS in a larger capacity than ever before, and looks forward to working with old and new friends!
Ask Nicole about her cross-country summer vacation at email@example.com.
Toddler Classroom Lead Guide
Ms. Leah holds a master's degree in early childhood special education, a bachelor's degree in music therapy, a bachelor's degree in psychology, and is a board certified music therapist. She has more than a decade of teaching and administration experience. Ms. Leah is a native of Canada and is fluent in French. She is so excited to return to the classroom and meet several tiny new faces!
Give Leah and the Toddler classroom crew a big Bonjour! at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toddler Classroom Assistant Guide
Ms. Edna moved to Oxford from her hometown of Clarksdale, Miss., to study music education at the University of Mississippi. She is the director of the youth and adult choirs for Springfield M.B. Church in Abbeville, Mississippi, and is a certified nurse assistant. She looks forward to boogieing with students again this year!
Congratulate Edna on her new nuptials at email@example.com.
Toddler Classroom Assistant Guide
Ms. Gabby holds a bachelor’s degree with a focus on political science and psychology, and has worked in school settings in Manassas and Ashland, Va. She is fluent in Spanish. Ms. Gabby is ready to begin a brand new year!
Say Hola! to Gabby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms. Anna earned her Bachelor of Early Childhood Education from Florida State University and her Master of Early Childhood Education from the University of Mississippi. She and her family have lived in Oxford for five years. She is very excited to join MMS and learn more about the Montessori Method at work!
Welcome Anna at email@example.com.
Board of Trustees
Kellye Makamson (Chair), an instructor in the University of Mississippi Department of Writing and Rhetoric, earned her B.A. and M.A. in English from Mississippi State. She taught at St. Louis Community College and Columbia College, and also worked in editing and education facility design. She is a native of Jackson, Mississippi, and moved with her family to Oxford from Pass Christian in 2014.
Phil Baquie (Vice Chair), a native of Australia, is a board licensed professional counselor and the owner and director of Oxford Counseling Center. He has also worked as a professional musician, event speaker, and humanitarian spokesperson. Phil is also a veteran, having served 8 years in the United States military.
Jacob Jenkins (Member) is manager of Facilities and Technical Resources at Insight Park and owns his own information technology consulting business. He has degrees in political science and classics from Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi. He moved to Oxford in 2000 after serving as an officer in the Army at Fort Hood.
Lisa Burr (Secretary) is a native of Clinton, Mississippi. She holds a bachelor of business administration from the University of Mississippi, with a major in management information systems and a minor in computer science. She has worked for FNC Inc. in Oxford for more than 12 years, currently as a senior technical business analyst.
Drew Lefmann (Treasurer) works as the Coordinator of Advising Recruitment and Retention in the Department of Social Work at the University of Mississippi. He holds a master's in social work from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Katie Young (Member) earned a bachelor's degree in English from Niagara University and a juris doctor from the William and Mary School of Law. She worked as a corporate attorney in Houston, Texas, before moving to Oxford with her family in 2014.
Eli Gross (Member) works as a commercial relationship manager for Trustmark Bank in Oxford. He holds a bachelor's degree and a master's of business administration from the University of Mississippi. Eli also serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of North Mississippi.