Upper Elementary Staff


Danna Karlavage, E5 Head Teacher

With 11 years of experience in education, Danna joined the FMS teaching staff in 2008. She has a BS in Psychology and an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction. She trained at the Columbia Teacher’s College with Lucy Calkins, founder of “The Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project.” Danna also has experience with special needs children. Danna’s favorite thing about the Montessori method is that “we honor the children by attending to their individual learning needs. The children that attend our school have a unique and important perspective of our world. The materials and the child-led lessons create independent thinkers and life-long learners.”

Kerry Gross, E5 Co-Teacher

Kerry joined the FMS teaching staff in 2011, bringing with her 11 years experience in education. She has a BA in Education with a partial TESL Endorsement (Teaching English as a Second Language). Kerry’s favorite thing about the Montessori philosophy is “how Montessori values each child’s intrinsic need to learn. I love that Montessori hands-on approach to teaching provides appropriate differential instruction for the individual child.”

Stephanie Osburn, E5 Support Teacher

Stephanie Osburn joined the E5 teaching team in January 2018. She graduated with distinguished honors for her Masters of Science in Teaching degree from the State University New York College at Potsdam, NY.  Stephanie also graduated magna cum laude from the University of Colorado when pursuing her bachelor’s degree.  Teaching K-8th grades since 2011, Stephanie brings a wealth of experience to the FMS seasoned team.  Having discovered the benefit of using individualized teaching techniques during her public sector teaching role, Stephanie has easily acclimated to the Montessori classroom and looks forward to contributing to this team.


Amy Nhaisi, E6 Head Teacher

After watching her own children thrive in the FMS environment, Amy joined the teaching staff in 2010. She holds a BA in English, a BA in Psychology and a MA in Social Work. She is Montessori certified for teaching Upper Elementary. She also has a Master Gardener Certification and enjoys trying out her hand in our gardens. Her favorite thing about Montessori is “the hands-on learning experience and the close relationship you build with the students over the three-year cycle. You really get to witness their growth!”

Kerri Burks, E6 Co-Teacher

Kerri holds an MA in Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood Development and a BA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. She joined the FMS team on a full-time basis in Fall 2016, after substitute teaching at FMS in the upper and lower elementary classrooms. Following her work with children and adolescents in a hospital setting, Kerri chose teaching as her pathway and completed lower elementary Montessori certification in 2016. Kerri’s warmth and optimism, coupled with her attentive and reflective approach, inspires students to pursue their interests and reach for their potential. She loves the Montessori philosophy because “it embraces the whole child, meets children where they are, and fosters critical thinking and collaboration.”

Taylor Badua-Kono, E6 Support Teacher

Taylor joined the FMS staff in Fall 2019.  She holds a BA in Integrated Studies, the equivalent of an Elementary Teaching Degree. Her focus for the past couple of years has been on developing curriculum for Odyssey Charter School and helping to run Skyhawks, an after school athletic program. With a focus in Language Arts, Taylor brings a love of reading to her position and has a special fondness for young adult literature and creative writing.  The hands-on approach to teaching in the Montessori classroom has special appeal to Taylor, as she recognizes the power of understanding concepts from a concrete perspective and building on a foundation of tangible experiences. Taylor is a sports enthusiast, both in watching professional sports (she’s an LA Dodgers fan) and in playing basketball, softball, and volleyball.