Mary Staff Bio

Mary Schadler

Founder / Director
Lead Lower Elementary Teacher

I’m Mary Schadler and I founded Cornerstone Montessori to give children in the Northern Kentucky area a quality preschool founded on Montessori principles.

In 1992, there were many schools in the Cincinnati area, but few Montessori schools in Northern Kentucky, and I wanted to give back to the community where I grew up. We began with a preschool, which thrived for many years. Parents began asking me to expand to include an elementary Montessori program. On the recommendation of Xavier University, we added one grade per year starting with first grade in 1998. Our elementary program began with only five students. Each year we added a grade and the program grew. We currently offer preschool through eighth grade.

Teaching at Cornerstone has been quite a rewarding experience for me. I feel as if I have helped many students realize their potential by teaching from a place grounded in the belief that all of my students are capable of learning and by identifying how each child learns and teaching them accordingly. Some of my students struggle to learn in traditional methods but have success with our individual hands-on program. It is very rewarding to watch my students work as a team, each of them respecting and supporting one another. I feel proud to be a mentor to so many children. I did not choose teaching as a career for the money, I chose it to make a difference in the life of a child!

Montessori education spoke to me because the child can work at their own pace and the child is respected as an individual. Montessori students are independent thinkers, and as a result of being respected as a valued classroom members, the children grow to become respected members of society. As I look to the future for CMS, I see our school rich in culture, academics, community service projects, and family values.

I have a Bachelor’s degree from Xavier University in Montessori Pre-Primary Education. I also have certification from the state of Ohio for K-8 Elementary. I went back to Xavier and received a Master’s degree in Montessori Education with a Montessori I certificate. I am trained in Ortan Gillingham and Lindamood-Bell Phonemic Awareness Training.

My interests are swimming, biking, anything outdoors, and dragon boat racing. I am on the Kentucky Thorough-Breasts dragon boat racing team. We raise money and awareness for breast cancer.

I have a very supportive husband, four children, and two grandchildren. Two of my children teach at Cornerstone. Our family enjoys spending our Sundays hanging out together.

Jenny Hester

Pre-Primary Co-Lead Teacher

I am Jenny Hester and I have been teaching in a Montessori classroom since 2004. My Associate Early Childhood Credential was awarded to me by the Greater Cincinnati Center for Montessori Education in 2006.

“Following the child” is a philosophy I love and is the reason I became a Montessori teacher.  Teaching in  this way allows us to meet the child where they are. It simply makes sense.  My favorite part of being a Montessori teacher is witnessing the “ah-ha” moment, that moment when a child has been working on a new skill and it “clicks.” Seeing the pride in their eyes is the best!

I love being a part of Cornerstone Montessori’s staff because we are a family.  The staff, students and families are a community that truly care for and look out for one another.

Knowing that the time our students spend in my classroom is providing them with a great foundation for a lifetime of learning is what I find most rewarding about my work.

Without a doubt, my favorite area in my classroom is the math area.

Jill Staff Bio

Jill Schadler

Pre-Primary Co-Lead Teacher

When CMS was founded in 1992, my twin sister, Sara, and I were enrolled as kindergarteners.

In 2007, I came back to Cornerstone to work in the Enrichment program. The following year, I began working as an assistant in the classrooms, and I discovered that I really enjoyed working with the 3-6 year old students. I love their innocence and how they are always excited to learn new concepts.

In 2009, I received my Associate Early Childhood Credential and began my work as a Montessori teacher at CMS. I love the Montessori philosophy at work in the Pre-Primary classroom, where we follow the child and adjust the complexity or simplicity of their work in a way that that particular child will understand. For me, the most rewarding part of being a Montessori teacher is observing the children independently and happily concentrated on a task for a long period of time.

Here at Cornerstone, we are like family. The love and respect we have for one another are why I love being on the CMS staff.

I love working in all areas of our classroom. However, if I had to choose favorites, they might be the math, language and sensorial areas.

When I am not working in the classroom, I like to craft, hike with my dogs, swim and play sports.

Sharyn Staff Bio

Sharyn Oliver

Pre-Primary Co-Teacher

My name is Sharyn Oliver. My life as a Montessori teacher began in 2000 when I resided in New York. There I was a lead teacher working with eighteen months to three year olds for eight years in what was called, “Montessori Stepping Stones”. During this time, I received my Infant Toddler Care and Education Credential.

In 2008, my husband and I relocated to Maysville, KY. There I worked for five years as an Instructional Assistant at the Nativity Montessori School with three to five year olds. Recently, we relocated again. This time to Florence, KY, and I consider myself blessed to have become a part of the CMS family. I am presently a co-teacher with Jill and Jenny in the Pre-Primary classroom. We are a great team and work well together.

During my years of teaching, I have attended seminars, I have taken various Montessori classes and I have learned much. But, in retrospect, what I have learned as a mother, grandmother and teacher with many years of experience has proven to be an education in itself. The children have taught me well!

I consider it a privilege and joy to work with young children in a Montessori environment. My passion is for the child to become independent, confident, and to have respect for others and their world. These life skills pave the way to greater academic success. With that said, my favorite area in the classroom is “Practical Life.”

I enjoy being a Montessori teacher because I am able to work with a mixed age group in a structured classroom where the child has free choice and can work at their own pace.

As a Montessori teacher, there could be no better reward than to watch a child grow secure and confident. Hearing the child say, “I did it myself,” as a smile beams across their face… and to see them use what they have learned to teach a younger child… those are precious moments!!

I am also a Pastor’s wife, a Sunday School teacher, a mother of two grown children with three grandchildren.

Mary Staff Bio

Sara Jennings

Lower Elementary Teacher Assistant

I’m Sara Jennings. When CMS was founded in 1992, my twin sister, Jill, and I were enrolled as kindergarteners.

In 2013, I began working at Cornerstone as a teacher’s assistant in the Lower Elementary classroom and as the Enrichment teacher. I am a Licensed Practical Nurse, specializing in Pediatric Home Health. As it has also been a lifelong goal of mine to become a Montessori teacher, I will be pursuing my Montessori teaching credential. With a Montessori teacher for a mom, the Montessori way of learning and teaching comes naturally to me. It has been instilled in me from the beginning.

A child’s smiling face, and feeling as if I am having a positive impact on their lives on a daily basis is my favorite part of working in the classroom. It’s hard to choose a favorite work area in the classroom, but I do love the ASL project we undertook in the 2013-14 school year to help make our classroom a more peaceful place to be. During our morning meeting, I introduce the children to a new sign and we practice the sign language we have already learned. I look forward to managing the school-wide rollout of this program!

What I enjoy most about being a part of the CMS staff is that I truly enjoy coming to work each day. Our staff feels like family. Of course, two members are my family, but the rest of the staff have really made me feel welcome and right at home.

Mary Staff Bio

Jeannette Stokes

Lead Middle School Teacher
Interim Upper Elementary Teacher

My name is Jeannette Stokes. Teaching has been a dream and a joy of mine for most of my life.

In 2009, I graduated from Xavier University with my Bachelor’s degree in Middle Childhood Education with concentrations in Mathematics and Language Arts. Soon after graduation, my friend Ms. Lizz recommended that I apply for the Enrichment teacher position at her school, Cornerstone Montessori.

In 2010, I began teaching at CMS as the Enrichment teacher. I loved the environment of the school and I wanted to be a part of it. The following year, I assisted in the Upper Elementary classroom and continued serving as the Enrichment teacher. In 2012, Cornerstone graciously sent me to get certified in Middle School Montessori and I became the Lead Middle School Teacher. I began my Master’s in Montessori Middle School Education in 2013. This year, I am beginning a new adventure by serving as the Interim Upper Elementary teacher.

My favorite part of being a Montessori teacher is that creativity and learning tangential material is encouraged. It is education by discovery rather than by rote. I love being a part of Cornerstone Montessori’s staff because we are a small, close-knit community and we care about one another. What I find most rewarding about my work is being a part of the students’ lives and watching them develop socially as well as educationally.

My favorite areas in my classroom are teaching math and creative writing.

Mary Staff Bio

Michelle Earle

Office/Business Manager
Art Teacher – 4th-8th grade

My name is Michelle Earle, but I am also known as “Alex and Sydney’s mom”.

In 2005, when our son entered kindergarten, my family and I became a part of the CMS family. Nine years later, Alex is a bright, confident graduate of the middle school program. He is well-prepared and excited to embark on his high school career. In 2007, our daughter began in the Pre-Primary classroom. She is now a proud leader of the Upper Elementary classroom. Our children have thrived at CMS, and we are grateful to have met so many wonderfully like-minded, caring families, many of whom have become treasured friends.

Over the years, I have served our school in a wide variety of ways. However, my recent positions have been more directly related to my management experience, and my love of the arts. One of the things I enjoy best about working as the Office / Business Manager is that it puts me in a unique position to get to know all of our students, their families, and our staff. For me, watching the children learn and grow is what makes this job such a rewarding one.

Keeping as busy as I do often leaves me with little time for my work as an artist. Teaching art to our older students helps keep my creative juices flowing and a smile on my face. My students continually surprise and delight me with their insights and natural freedom of expression.