177 Neal Avenue North,
Stillwater, MN 55082
Phone: (651) 436-2603
Fax: 651-436-1170

  About Us  

Elementary Staff
John Albright - Upper Elementary Guide

John joined SCMS in 2016 as the new Upper Elementary Guide (although he spent two weeks student teaching with Fiamma at SCMS). In Montessori education, he loves “the flow that happens when curiosity and creativity meet spontaneity.” John has numerous higher education degrees including a Montessori elementary teaching certificate, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, and Ph.D.

John’s hometown is St. Paul and he has a 14 year-old son. He likes gardening, his favorite movie is Shakespeare in Love, his favorite boardgame is Sorry!, and his favorite band is U2.  If he was stranded on an island and could choose one tool and one food for survival, he would request a MacBook Pro and an Old Country Buffet buffet. Fun fact:  he met Mother Theresa in India!


Mandie Bonilla-Ortiz - Lower Elementary Guide

Mandie is the new Lower Elementary guide at SCMS in 2016. She was inspired to become a Montessori guide “after reading one paragraph about this inspiring woman named Maria Montessori.” She holds AMI certification (Milwaukee), a Master’s degree (St. Catherine University), and a Bachelor’s degree (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee).

 Mandie’s hometown is Hudson, WI. She recently got married and she has a cat named Cowboy. Her hobbies are making cold processed soap, knitting, cooking, and snowboarding. Her favorite musician is Regina Spektor and her favorite game is Settlers of Catan. One random fact about Mandie:  her arm is double jointed.

David Ormberg - Elementary/Junior High Spanish Teacher

David has been teaching Spanish at SCMS since 2015. David was inspired to teach in a Montessori school because he was interested in expanding his “experience and learning new ways to work with children.” At SCMS, he has observed that “students are always eager to learn and help others” and his favorite moment at SCMS was “collecting and making syrup with the children and having a pancake feed.” David has a Bachelor’s degree in both Law Enforcement and Spanish.

From Worthington, MN, David has an older brother and sister and both parents. His hobbies are fishing and boating. If he could meet any famous person, dead or alive, it would be Henry David Thoreau “because of his philosophy of simplicity.” If he was stranded on an island and could choose one tool and one food item for survival, he would choose a pizza cutter and a pizza. Fun fact about David:  he loves scary movies. 

Emily Sies-Mandel - Elementary Assistant

Emily has worked as an assistant and as the director of the summer camp program at SCMS since 2013. She has an AMI Assistant Certification (MTCM), a Master’s degree (University of Minnesota), and a Bachelor’s degree (Luther College). She appreciates how “the Montessori philosophy instills confidence and independence through experiential learning opportunities within and around the classroom and community.” At SCMS, she is happy “whenever a student is really excited to show me something that they have worked very hard at and are proud of.”  She has observed that SCMS students love the outdoors and are eager to help one another. Her favorite moments at SCMS are playing “lightening” basketball with the Elementary kids.

Originally from Freeport, IL, Emily lives with her “wonderfully bearded husband and two adventuresome kids.” Her hobbies are “painting, kayaking, being in the outdoors, spending time with family, listening to records, writing, drinking good coffee.” If she could meet any famous person, dead or alive, it would be “Artemisia Gentileschi, a 17th century female Baroque painter...she helped to pave the way for women in the arts.” Fun fact about Emily:  she is an amazing Rock Paper Scissors game player.

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