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GMS Charlottesville Teachers


Christina Pace


Lead Teacher, Primary Room

After growing up in Charlottesville and attending the city school system, I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Virginia Polytechnic and State University. I continued my education at the College of William and Mary, where I earned my Masters in Education with an emphasis in Gifted Education. Since returning to Charlottesville, I have worked at Village School and Tandem Friends School. I became a mother in September of 2015, and found the perfect reason to finally fulfill my mom and my dream to begin our own school. Together, the three of us paved the way for Generations Montessori School.

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Marie-Clare Mandolia

Co-Teacher, Toddler Room

I grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, and studied Geography and French at the University of Mary Washington. I worked in the zoo field for 6 years, teaching summer camps, homeschool classes, and preschool classes. While obtaining a Master of Arts in Teaching Biological Sciences, I researched the facilitation of empathy development in children through zoo education programs. I joined the Montessori world in 2022, and spent a year working with toddlers. I am passionate about emotional development in children, and am constantly on the lookout for picture books to assist in that journey. 

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Juliane Frandsen

Lead Teacher, Toddler Room

I grew up in São Paulo, Brazil where I earned my law degree. After several years working as a lawyer and only a few being a mom, I moved with my family to Charlottesville. I got in contact with GMS when I enrolled my daughter in the school. Since 2020, I have been working as an assistant to the lead teacher in early education schools in the Charlottesville area. I got training certificates in Montessori from Lar Montessori and in Positive Discipline from Discipline Positive Association. I am looking forward to learning more and more with GMS professionals, helping children develop their independence, empathy and sense of social justice.


Jackie Knopp

Lead Teacher, Infant Room

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Stephanie Wallen

Teacher's Assistant, Infant Room

I am a long time Fluvanna resident. I have been happily married for 20 years and have eight beautiful children. I was a stay at home mom for all 20 of those years. Two years ago my youngest child started school and I decided to enter the work force as a teacher. For the past two years I have worked with low income families in a local Head Start program as an assistant teacher. In my spare time I enjoy reading, gardening, and spending time with family and friends. I am excited to spend time with the children and to learn more about the Montessori community.

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Joan Johnson

Teacher's Assistant, Infant Room

I was born and raised in Albemarle County. In 1972 I graduated from Albemarle High School. After high school, my first employment was with a dental assistant and later as the office manager for a local dentist for 36 years. I have one son, three grandchildren and a great granddaughter. In my new position, I am looking forward to meeting the parents and taking care of the children entrusted to us.


Soraya Canuto

Teacher's Assistant, Infant Room

My name is Soraya Canuto. I was born in Brazil, where I earned my Psychology degree along with Group Counseling and Art Therapy certifications. There I worked in the Psychology field for 15 years. I am married, I have two children and six grandchildren who live in Florida and West Virginia. I’ve lived in beautiful Virginia since 2017, and my most recent professional experience was working with a local non-profit organization in their after-school program for underprivileged K-5 students in Waynesboro, VA.
I am currently working on obtain my Infant and Toddler Certification from the American Montessori Society and I am excited to start my journey in the Generations Montessori School as a facilitator for the children, their families, and the GMS team.


Kim Armstrong

Teacher's Assistant

I'm a local native. In 1999, my daughter and I created and ran an eco-friendly cleaning business together. Working alongside my daughter was a joy, but after a decade, we decided to sell the business to prioritize family time. I was introduced to Rita and Christina through my grandchildren as they both attended Generations. I enjoy working behind the scenes organizing, cleaning, making snacks, and assisting in the classroom. When I'm not spending time with the grandchildren, I'm either gardening, painting, or taking walks with my husband and our black lab. 

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Jennifer Collins

Teacher's Assistant, Primary Room

I was born and raised in Germany where I earned my Physical Therapy degree. I came to Charlottesville in 2015 as an Aupair and during that time I started substituting at GMS, traveled through America and met my now Husband. In 2019 I decided to leave my family in Germany and move with him to the states. After having our first daughter in 2021 I started working as a Preschool teacher Full-time and was eager to learn more about early childhood. In February 2023 I earned my Child Development Associate and welcomed our second daughter. Currently I’m working on obtaining my NAMC’s Early childhood Montessori Diploma and I am super excited to be a part of the GMS community again and help your children accomplish their developmental goals in a loving, kind and nurturing environment.


Hadley Wallen

Teacher's Assistant, Infant Room


Quinn Prater

Teacher's Assistant, Primary Room

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