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Our People

Our Teacher Leaders

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Margaret Mc Donald (she/her)

Head of School & Support Guide

Margaret Mc Donald has over 30 years of education experience in early childhood, elementary and middle school classrooms as well as school administration. She received her early childhood and elementary Montessori teaching credentials through the London Montessori Centre (LMC) in Dublin, Ireland and holds a certification in school administration from Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). In 2022 she completed a two year certification in Educational Leadership with Whole School Leadership Institute and Loyola University.

Born and raised in Ireland, she has lived in Florida and Colorado prior to arriving in Utah. In her spare time, Margaret enjoys spending time in the garden, taking long rambling walks or just sitting watching the birds visit the feeders. She loves to read, bake and learn new things.

Attractive Mature Woman

Brandi Allen (she/her)

Early Childhood Guide & Board Treasurer

Since 1989, Brandi Allen has taught children and adults in many settings including Montessori, skiing, yoga, college and teacher training. Being a teacher in diverse conditions has taught her that there is a connection of humanity in all of us. Brandi has worked in administration the past 5 years and is excited to be part of the Wildflower School community.

Brandi has a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Utah, a Master in Education from Westminster College and has her AMS Montessori Elementary I-II Certification. Brandi and her husband Earl, have three children - Nate, Emilia, and Oliver with whom they love to enjoy the outdoors.

Attractive Mature Woman

Chip Reichanadter (he/they)

Elementary Guide & Board Chair

Chip has been involved in the world of education for over 10 years. They began in adaptive education at the Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning and found their way to Montessori as an assistant to Margaret Mc Donald in an Upper Elementary classroom. This methodology touched and transformed them deeply. They earned their credentials in Elementary Education through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. Chip has taken on many roles from Adult Educator to Director of Admissions. They are excited to apply these skills in and out of the classroom as a Teacher Leader in the first Wildflower school in Utah.

Chip and their partner, Chad, live amongst many pets and plants in Salt Lake City. They enjoy trying out new recipes, creating art, and exploring the mountains with their dogs.

Board Members

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Bria Mertens

Bria Mertens is an attorney and former Montessori parent. A strong advocate for lifelong learning, Bria was eager to join the Pinyon board to help create a new space for Montessori learners to benefit from this wonderful method. In her role as an attorney at Myriad Genetics, Bria focuses on collaborations with strategic partners to help bring valuable health insights to people through genetic testing. Two of Bria's greatest passions are helping people reach agreement over their shared values, and solving problems with words. She is a writer, a runner, an unapologetic craft nerd, and a mom to kids and dogs.

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Selina Gorst

Selina Gorst is a passionate community activist who began her advocacy and empowerment work at the young age of 15. After moving to Salt Lake City from Europe, Selina became a volunteer for the Inclusion Center where she facilitated discussions on topics such as intersectionality, prejudice, discrimination, and conflict resolution. Currently, Selina serves as an advisory member for the Inclusion Center. For the past 7 years, she has been with the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition in various roles including prevention coordinator, project manager, interim executive director, and most recently, Director of Programs. Selina's extensive experience in community work drives her to continue making an impact through advocacy and education, aligning with her strong support for Pinyon school's mission.

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Nanette Cenaruzabeitia

Nanette Cenaruzabeitia joins Pinyon Montessori Board with extensive Montessori experience. Her journey began in 1986 with an Early Childhood certification from Little Way Montessori. Over two decades, she taught and earned an Infant/Toddler certification from North American Montessori Center, later from The Institute of Guided Studies. Transitioning to Administration, Nanette became Director of Staff Development, supporting staff, students, and parents for ten years. Her resignation in January 2023 marked a new phase.

Nanette cherishes unexpected joy from being both a Montessori educator and a parent/grandparent. This unique perspective unveiled the broader impact of Montessori principles. With gratitude, Nanette envisions Pinyon as a pioneering Montessori model for the future.

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Jake Cohen

Jake Cohen (he/him) is the co-founding teacher leader of Clover Montessori School in Philadelphia, PA. Jake first fell in love with Montessori education in Chicago in 2012. A year later, he moved to Oakland, CA for a graduate program in Montessori Early Childhood Education, earning his American Montessori Society credential and writing his Master’s thesis on obstacles to Montessori in Head Start programs. After five years in the Bay Area, Jake and his partner, Jessie, moved to Philadelphia to be closer to family on the East Coast. Jake and his colleague, Eileen Fell, co-founded Clover with support from the Wildflower Foundation in 2021.

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Christina Economy

Christina Economy holds her Early Childhood teaching certificate through the American Montessori Society. Christina enjoyed being a Spanish Montessori Teacher in a Dual Language classroom before taking time away from the classroom to raise her daughter. Christina received her Bachelor of Arts from CSU Long Beach in Textile and Clothing Design as well as Fashion Merchandising. She was thrilled to make the fulfilling switch from the fashion industry to Montessori. Christina was born and raised in Southern California  and moved to Salt Lake City with her husband in 2016. Their love for the outdoors is what brought them to Utah. From the fast pace of the fashion industry to the throughout presentation in the Montessori classroom, Christina brings a wealth of perspectives to the Pinyon Board and looks forward to the impact the school could have in a community.

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