Theresa Lipinski

Lead Teacher

theresa-2016-1024x682It is not uncommon to hear the sweet sound of singing voices drifting out of Theresa Lipinski’s classroom. Her unique teaching style often uses creative movement, bright melodies, poetry and playful humor to engage her students.

Theresa always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She earned a BS in Elementary Education from Cabrini College and AMS Montessori Certification from Chestnut Hill College, then launched a 25-plus year career in Montessori education. That career, interestingly enough, has brought her full circle: her first Montessori job in 1988 was right here in St. Clement’s Church, where Greene Towne Montessori was originally located.

When Clementine was founded in 2010, Theresa was the first and only employee, the school’s original Lead Teacher. Her wealth of knowledge and experience contributed to the success and growth of the young school. We have Theresa to thank for her ardent commitment to authentic Montessori education that set the standard for the excellence we see throughout all of our classrooms and programs each and every day.

Steeped in Montessori philosophy, Theresa’s classroom is a place where children move through the prepared environment to become curious and self-motivated learners. Her experience shows up on the shelves, where classic Montessori materials sit side by side with creative and challenging work that Theresa has collected through the years. Constantly scouring the Internet and consulting with other Montessori educators, Theresa is always creating new activities to spark our children’s imaginations. She continually broadens her horizons by traveling and visiting Montessori schools around the globe, a passion that brings a strong sense of our global community to her students. (Notably, with Theresa’s guidance and mentorship, many of her former assistant teachers have been inspired to become Montessori teachers themselves!)

Theresa has an identical twin sister, an arts educator, who also works at a Montessori school. Theresa and her husband (a high school physics teacher whom she met through one of her students) enjoy going to concerts, jamming out to classic ‘80s music, and singing karaoke with family and friends. Her love of singing and musicals, in particular “The Sound of Music,” has made Theresa something of a Pied Piper to the children of Clementine.

 

Maryann Cussen

Assistant Teacher

maryann-2016-small-1024x682Maryann’s Montessori roots can be traced all the way back to her own preschool years when she was a student at Edel Quinn Montessori School in Dublin. From a young age, Maryann envisioned that she would one day become a teacher herself. She began her formal training at St. Nicholas Montessori College where she received her BA in Montessori Education and Montessori teaching certificates for 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12 year olds. She then moved on to Trinity College in Dublin and earned her post-grad (master’s) degree in Inclusive Education and Education Management. In her spare time, Maryann also managed to glean highly specialized training in Speech, Language, and Occupational therapies as well as Applied Behavior Analysis.

Along with her extensive training in Montessori education, Maryann also has a wealth of field experiences. She was Montessori preschool teacher, enrichment coordinator, and camp director. In addition to teaching, Maryann also tutored and provided therapy for children with autism and complex developmental needs at the Red Door School in Dublin. Since joining the Clementine faculty in the fall of 2014, we have put Maryann’s can-do attitude and flexibility to good use. She has worn many hats—substitute teacher, assistant teacher, camp lead teacher, extended day teacher, and pitching in to help out with admissions tours and interviews.

With her deep Irish brogue, it is easy to tell that Maryann hails from Ireland, but she and her wife have most recently relocated to Philadelphia by way of Australia! They are avid travelers with a passion for the people and cultures of the world. Maryann brings not only a wealth of know-how, but also a passion for life-long learning to our classrooms. She is also a nature-lover and animal advocate at heart—just ask Bailey, her very spoiled Italian greyhound-pug.