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Meet the Teachers

Christina Pace

Co-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.

Rita Pace

Lead Teacher (Toddler Room)

I have worked in early childhood education for nearly 30 years. In that time, I have cared for over a hundred children in the Charlottesville area. Most importantly, I love working with young children as they first begin to develop their individual personalities. I have my Infant and Toddler Certification from the American Montessori Society, and I believe each child develops in a way that is unique to him or her. I specialize in creating educational environments for infants and toddlers that foster growth and independence, and my goal is to work with parents to fully meet their child’s unique cognitive, emotional, social and physical needs. 

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Juliane Frandsen

Teacher's Assistant

(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

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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.

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Christina Palmieri 

Teacher's Assistant

(Primary Room)

I grew up as a military child moving with my family throughout the United states as well as living in different countries including the Netherlands and Germany. I finished High school in Charlottesville Virginia, then attended Liberty University, where I graduated with a bachelors of science in Studio and Digital Arts. I have used my passion for art in tandem with my passion for education to touch the lives of children as they develop in their independence and grow cognitively. I truly enjoy working with children and assisting them on their unique individual growth journeys. I look forward to learning from the leadership at GMS and building strong relationships with the children, staff and families. 

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Lauren Toms 

Lead Teacher (Infant Room)

I grew up here in Charlottesville, I went to Albemarle High School and then moved on to study psychology at Longwood University. While I was in school is when I began working with children, where I worked as a swim coach both here in Charlottesville and in my tiny college town of Farmville. After college, I continued coaching until I found my way to GMS where I am now beginning my fourth year! I am currently working on obtaining my Infant and Toddler Certification from the American Montessori Society. I have grown to love and appreciate the Montessori method and how it takes each child’s individual needs into special consideration. I look forward to another great year with all of our amazing children, their families, and staff. 

Melanie Thomas 

Teacher's Assistant

(Infant Room)

Hello my name is Melanie Thomas and I have been working with children for over 8 years. I am a Charlottesville native but I grew up in Fluvanna County, graduating from Fluvanna County high school in 2013.  I am currently working with the infants. I enjoy every aspect of teaching and have realized in my years that they can teach us as much as we teach them. We are a great team with incredible passion for each individual child. I feel very proud and lucky to be a part of such a great group of teachers.

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