ABOUT MISS TRACEY:
Tracey Shonteff was born and raised in San Francisco, California. She is an organized, well-rounded teacher who loves working with children and is inspired by the way children learn.
Tracey’s first Montessori teaching position was as an assistant at Forest Hill Montessori in San Francisco, California in 2000. Fascinated by the children’s focus and independence in the classroom and amazed at how three, four and five-year-olds used hands-on materials to learn language, math, and science and engage in cultural lessons, Tracey realized she had found her calling and decided to pursue Montessori training.
Tracey received her Montessori Early Childhood training in New York and did her practicum years at Ridgewood Montessori in New Jersey. At Ridgewood, Tracey worked with a wonderful and inspiring teacher who had an enormous impact on the teacher that Tracey is today. It was through this mentorship that Tracey learned the art of observation.
Following her practicum years, Tracey moved back to San Francisco where she had the pleasure of working as head teacher at Corte Madera Montessori. In 2005, Tracey moved to Santa Fe and joined Desert Montessori School as lead teacher in the Kindergarten classroom. After two years in this position, Tracey was inspired to further her education, and she completed the Elementary Teacher Credential Course through the San Francisco Bay Area Montessori Teacher Education Center. She spent her practicum year at Desert Montessori as lead teacher for first, second, and third grades.
In 2010, Tracey was able to follow her dream of opening Growing Up Montessori School: a traditional Montessori learning environment that encourages independence and a love of learning. At Growing Up Montessori School, Tracey has both taught and directed for many years. This year Tracey is out of the classroom and has become the full time Director.
ABOUT MS. L. CELESTE DOMINGUEZ
L. Celeste Dominguez was born and raised in Santa Fe. She comes from a strong background of working with pre-k, elementary students, and amazing teachers that have mentored her. Celeste started working with children as an aftercare assistant and substitute at Desert Montessori School during her high school years. She eventually became the lead aftercare teacher at Desert Montessori School and Growing Up Montessori School. Before working with the Growing Up Montessori team, she had the opportunity to work as an educational assistant at Kid’s Campus at the Santa Fe Community College. Celeste believes that the Montessori way of learning builds a strong foundation for students in their education. It provides a safe, structured and nurturing learning environment where students can explore, observe, and grow. She also worked as a childcare provider at United Way of Santa Fe County. Celeste is currently working towards her associate’s degree in Respiratory Therapy at the Santa Fe Community College. After she completes her degree with Respiratory Therapy, she would like to continue her education and become a pediatrician. Celeste balances out her busy student and work- life by spending time with her family and friends. She also enjoys traveling as much as her free time allows her to.
CERTIFIED MONTESSORI TEACHER
Mitchell Gustin is originally from Southern California and has moved to Santa Fe to pursue his career as a teacher. His love for teaching is equally matched with his love for music and art. He is a pianist, composer, multimedia artist, and music educator. He holds a Bachelor of Music from Cornish College of the Arts where he studied music composition. Most recently, his teaching endeavors have taken him to South Korea to work as a guest English teacher for grades 1-6. Upon his return to Southern California, he worked as the Director of Music at Gratitude Garden Preschool, where he involved students in a number of musical explorations, such as: learning to play the ocarina, instrument building, songwriting, and discovering the different instrument families and their sounds.
Mitchell is enjoying exploring New Mexico and involving himself in the community as a musician and performer. He performs with his saxophone in a New Orleans style marching band called Partizani Brass Band and plays the piano every Sunday at First Christians Church on Weber St. Mitchell is delighted to be a part of Growing Up Montessori, and is committed to understanding the classroom to encourage the growth and success of every child.
Christina Mata is a native Santa Fean. She has a great love of New Mexico and a deep respect for her community. Christina began working with children as an Assistant Preschool Montessori Teacher in 2004. Inspired by the philosophy of Maria Montessori, the Montessori materials and the positive effects she witnessed in the children exposed to the Montessori Method, Christina realized that she wanted to become a Montessori teacher. She completed her Early Childhood Montessori training in 2006, and continues to actively expand her education.
Christina holds a passion and a special gift for working with toddlers. Deeply attuned to the sensitive periods of early childhood development and inspired by the curiosity and love of learning she observes in all children, Christina is dedicated to the development of the toddler program at Growing up Montessori.
CERTIFIED MONTESSORI TEACHER
ABOUT MISS CELIA:
Celia Bassett grew up in Santa Fe, and enjoys the diversity and natural beauty of the Southwest. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of New Mexico in Biological Anthropology and Psychology, and an Associate of Science in Exercise Science from the Santa Fe Community college. Her education credentials include a Certificate of Education in K-8 from The Santa Fe Community College, and a Teaching Certificate in Early Childhood Education from the North American Montessori Center. Celia has worked with children in a variety of settings: as an in-home care provider, a teacher at Growing Up Montessori School since 2015, and the Co-director and teacher at Belisama Irish Dance School since 2007. Celia believes that young children possess an incredible capacity for independence, learning and exploration. She identifies deeply with the Montessori Method and enjoys seeing each child grow and learn in a variety of areas. Gardening, hiking, cooking and knitting are hobbies that Celia greatly enjoys and often shares with the children she cares for and teaches.
ABOUT MR. MARIO
Mario Griego was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Mario holds an Associates degree in Human Services from Santa Fe Community College. Mario has also completed his 45 hour Certificate of Achievement through The Childcare and Education Association. As a family case manager at a local preschool, Mario gained valuable experience working with children and their family units. He believes a child’s education is the most valuable thing in the world. Knowledge is power, and he recognizes that an early education provides the best start for each child and sets them on a strong academic path while providing healthy social interaction. He believes each child embodies a unique and wonderful spirit. His aspiration and goals are to see children grow into independent, responsible, and compassionate innovators. Mario has a passion for working with children and is very excited to begin his next journey working at Growing Up Montessori School and learning more about the philosophy of the Montessori program.
About Lily Crooks
Lily was born and raised in Santa Fe. She currently studies at Santa Fe community college with hopes of one day going into dental assisting. She has been caring for her younger siblings at home and has babysat for years. Her goal for working at Growing Up Montessori is to always teach the kids kindness and independence while also learning something new every day.