Our Staff

Heather Heisig—School Director

Heather Heisig has been a part of the Charlottesville Montessori community since 2003.  She taught at Frost Montessori School for 10 years.  She also has been an instructor at the Virginia Center for Montessori Studies in Richmond.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English, and received her Montessori Primary level certification from the Virginia Center for Montessori Teacher Education in 2004.  Heather strongly believes that Montessori education creates excited, motivated learners who can change the world.


Joia Caldwell—Operations Coordinator

Joia’s love of Montessori was sparked here, at UMS, years ago, when she worked alongside Nancy as an afternoon teacher. Many years later, her daughter, Mabel, was a student in Geovanna’s classroom. She has been working and playing with young children and families for over 25 years, in Montessori and Waldorf classrooms, as a private nanny, and as the Deputy Director and Director of Operations at the Virginia Discovery Museum. For seven years, Joia ran her own bookkeeping business, serving a variety of small business and non-profit clients throughout Charlottesville. Her love of teaching remains and she is a registered Music Together teacher, and Tinkergarten leader.

Upstairs Teachers


Geovanna, a native of Peru, has worked at UMS since 1990.  She has trained with the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies.  In addition to teaching in the Upstairs Classroom, Geovanna teaches the Extended Kindergarten and is a co-director of the UMS Summer Camp.



Bio is pending…

Downstairs Teachers


Bio is pending…


Callie teaches in the Downstairs Classroom after two years at UMS in the After Care program.  She attended Montessori preschool as a child in Pennsylvania and earned her Montessori teaching credential in 1994 in New Mexico.  She previously taught in Denver, Colorado where she also earned her BA in Early Childhood Education at Metropolitan State College.  Callie also serves as a co-director of the UMS Summer Camp, and is also a teacher in the Afternoon Montessori program.

Afternoon Teachers



Bio is pending…


Monica moved to Charlottesville just last year to join her daughter and family. She started her Montessori journey as an associate Toddler guide in Miami, FL, and ten years later, her grandchild joined UMS. He has since graduated, and we are very grateful that we get to keep Monica as part of our community.


Nancy rejoined the After Care program in August 2012 where she began her work at UMS in 1995.  Nancy earned her BA in French from UNC at Chapel Hill and her MA in Education from Appalachian State University.  She earned her Montessori Certification from the Virginia Center for Montessori Training and taught for twelve years in the Downstairs Classroom and in the Extended Kindergarten.

Garden/Enrichment Coordinator


Jamie began teaching in the afternoons at UMS in the summer of 2007.  She earned her BA in Studio Art at Mary Baldwin College and attended the Richmond Center for Montessori Studies.  She also broadens her Montessori teaching experience by teaching the Montessori-based Catechesis of the Good Shepherd two mornings a week at St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish.

Friday Teacher


Beginning in August 2009, Kendra has helped to guide our Kindergarten students on Friday afternoons while the teachers plan for the week ahead.  She attended James Madison University and has previous experience in the Albemarle Public Schools.


Our Community

University Montessori School is located in Charlottesville, Virginia, home of the University of Virginia where many community members have ties. The school has a long history of serving a population that is racially, internationally, and economically diverse. It also has a long standing history of being a school where children of same sex parents are warmly welcomed.

Our school is a Board-run 501(c)3. Board members volunteer for three year terms and, along with the Director, lead the school in maintaining and instituting administrative and financial decisions that support our mission of providng a “diverse family-centered school community which embodies the best practices of Montessori education in facilitating the academic, emotional, physical and social development of each child”. We are grateful for the leadership of all of our volunteers, especially our Board members. If you are interested in serving on our Board, please speak to Heather!

UMS governing documents, conflict of interest policy, and IRS tax form 990 are available by request.

UMS does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identification, or national ethnic origin.