Staff Information

Ruth Jones, founder of Mead Montessori School. Ruth opened Farragut Montessori School in 1987, a strong and vibrant Montessori School serving children ages 3-6 in a beautiful farmhouse located in Farragut. In 2009, seeking more room for expansion, Ruth moved her school to its current location in the Island Home neighborhood, changing the name to Mead Montessori School to reflect the unique history of the building. Ruth passed away in June 20, 2010 but her legacy lives on each day at Mead Montessori School.

ellaElla Jones, Head of School, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from the University of Tennessee.  She received her AMI Primary Montessori training from the Montessori Institute Northwest in Portland, Oregon, and her Master’s Degree in Montessori Education from Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland. Ella was a Montessori child and has extensive experience caring for all ages of children and teaching in both Montessori and conventional educational settings with children ages 15 months to 15 years. A Knoxville native, she and her husband have a daughter and son who both attend Mead. Following her mother’s legacy, Ella has expanded the reach of Montessori education through Mead’s growth and community ties to many children in East Tennessee.

Theresa Melloy, Toddler Lead Teacher and West Campus Director, holds an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Pellissippi State in Knoxville, Tennessee. She received her Assistant to Infancy Montessori training from the Minnesota Montessori Training Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota, an AMI training facility. Theresa was a classroom assistant at Farragut Montessori before pursuing her AMI training.  Following her training, she returned to Mead Montessori School to lead its first Toddler Community.  She has over ten years of experience working with children in Montessori and other childcare settings. Theresa loves to sew and craft Infant and Toddler materials for both school and home.

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Lyndsey DaSilva, Toddler Lead Teacher – South Campus. Originally from Illinois, Lyndsey moved to Knoxville five years ago to earn a Bachelors Degree in Counseling. She now calls Knoxville home and is  working toward a Masters in Montessori Education from Loyola University and completion of AMI Assistant to Infancy training from The Montessori Institute in Denver, Colorado. She has several years of experience working with children in various settings and is passionate about encouraging and empowering a life long love of learning among them. She enjoys traveling to new and old places, thoughtful cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

Miah Weaver, Primary Lead Teacher – South Campus, has been an employee at Mead since 2012, working with all ages of children – she started helping with our school when she was in 8th grade!  Her natural ability to care for and teach children has been evident from the start.  Miah completed her AMI Lead Teacher training at Montessori Northwest in May of 2017. In her spare time, Miah enjoys kayaking, yoga, hiking, sewing, crafts and enjoying the great outdoors!

Montessori Teacher

Anna Marie Reno, Primary Lead Teacher – West Campus, was a Montessori child and has extensive Montessori teaching experience with young children.  She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Tennessee in Studio Art and a Master’s Degree in Montessori Education from Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland.  Anna Marie received her AMI training in Portland, Oregon, at the Montessori Institute Northwest.  She then worked as Director of a Montessori school in Sherwood, Oregon, for two years.  Following her experience in Oregon, she became a Lead Guide and Director of a Montessori school in Nashville, Tennessee, for five years before returning to her hometown of Knoxville.  Anna Marie loves the arts, adventure and the great outdoors.

Tabitha Bean, Primary Lead Teacher – South Campus, completed her AMI Primary training at the Montessori Institute of San Diego, as well as her M.Ed. at Loyola University Maryland. Tabitha was born and raised in the Knoxville area and received her undergraduate degree in French Language and Literature from the University of TN Chattanooga. After graduation, she was an English teaching assistant in France, teaching in Primary schools north of Lyon, France. While in France, she found a deep resonance with the bucolic lifestyle and upon return to the US sought out a means to combine her newfound love of agriculture with her long time love of children. She began farming at Mass Audubon Society’s Drumlin Farm in early 2004, farming commercially while also working with children from toddler age through high school, both in the field and the classroom. She farmed in New England for almost a decade before returning home to East Tennessee. Her hobbies and interests include adventures with her children, traveling, gardening, cooking and lifelong learning. Her children, Anna and Gideon, are students in Mead’s Elementary Community.

Erin Salter, Elementary Lead Teacher and Educational Training Coordinator.  Erin has been the lead Elementary teacher at Mead since the program’s establishment in 2010. She has worked with children in Montessori schools (of ages ranging from 2 to 12) since 2000 and has experience supporting the growth and development of both young and established Montessori schools. Erin has Montessori diplomas at both the Early Childhood and Elementary levels and holds a Master’s Degree in Montessori Elementary Education. While teaching in Tokyo, Japan, she collaborated with the school staff and community to undergo an intensive accreditation process. This year, Erin will begin acting as Mead’s Educational Training Coordinator and aid in the training of classroom assistants and Lead Teacher support on all levels. Her depth of understanding of the Montessori method and her perspective as a seasoned teacher will be a wonderful resource to our staff. In addition to working as a Montessori teacher, Erin enjoys spending time with her son, Benjamin, currently in the Sugar Maple community and husband, Zach. She also enjoys art & design, hiking, yoga and culinary exploration.

EllenEllen Baker, Adolescent Lead Teacher, is a Tennessee native that studied Biology at University of Tennessee Knoxville. After graduation she spent two years with Americorps, leading service projects in Knoxville and working at a high needs school in Denver. She then spent time at an outdoor education center leading and educating youth in the mountains of southern California. After traveling around for a year- farming, hiking, climbing, and teaching- she decided to come back to Knoxville as she loves the community and the surrounding outdoors. She is invested in the education of youth and found that Montessori schools truly reflect her views on how students should learn. She is AMI certified through her attendance at the NAMTA Montessori Orientation ot Adolescent Studies in Huntsburg, Ohio. Her training has helped her develop an occupation-based curriculum to deeply connect the students to their core areas of study, while integrating into the unique and special Knoxville community. In addition to her love of knowledge and passing that along, Ellen can be found biking, exploring with her dog, cooking, reading or outside in her garden.

ZachWhiteZach White, Adolescent Co-Teacher, has spent the last 4 years assisting in the Elementary Environment here at Mead. An interest in working on large scale projects with children at the Adolescent level combined with a personal connection and understanding of the importance of valorization at this sensitive age has led him to change levels. Before joining Mead, Zach worked at The Montessori School of Tokyo (Japan) in various capacities including assisting in the Toddler and Elementary Environments, constructing furniture and as the school Librarian. Zach came to Montessori after a career of woodworking (originating with an apprenticeship under 3 master woodworkers in middle Tennessee) that evolved in many directions including custom cabinetry and furnishings for commercial spaces and residences, installations at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, sculpture fabrication and storefront/furniture construction in New York City. Zach has interests in sustainability, travel, music, design and gardening among many other things. His son is a student at Mead and his wife, Erin, leads the Elementary Community.

4190_86100513599_1817813_nAllison Watson, Office Manager, provides administrative office support and assistance to all classes.  Her twins are current Mead students.  Allison received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at Tennessee Technological University and her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Tennessee College of Law.  Allison worked extensively with families and children of all ages in her 12 years of legal practice.  She has served as a director on various boards in her community advocating children’s rights and human rights for disabled persons and was a founding member of The House of Hope, which provides support and services for displaced children.  Allison has been a public speaker at high schools regarding challenges faced by teenagers, and continues to serve as Trustee over scholarship funds for students who would likely be overlooked by other financial assistance services.  Improving the lives of children has always been her lifelong passion.


Additional staff within the school serves as teaching assistants, language teachers, and art and music teachers. All strive to meet AMI recommendations and take advantage of AMI conferences and workshops when available.