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Our Staff

We'd like to introduce you to our wonderful staff members...

Erica Kemery

Mrs. Kemery comes to Monticello Montessori with 8 years experience in school administration.  She loves teaching and learning!  Not counting her time as a student, she has 3 decades of education experience in traditional schooling, homeschooling, online schooling, and school administration.  Her special interest is achievement improvement that leads to academic excellence, particularly in rual settings.  Mrs. Kemery has taught every level from Preschool through master's level courses.  She likes to learn too, which is why she has a couple of bachelor's degrees, a masters degree and an education specialist degree.  Mrs. Kemery is an alma mater of the University of Washington, the University of Idaho, and Northwest Nazarene University.  She grew up on the Kitsap peninsula in Washington, was an exchange student to Germany in high school, and has lived in Idaho for more than 30 years.  Challis is her family home, where she currently has horses, dogs, cats, chickens and cattle for pets.  Her hobbies include spending time with her family, feeding wild birds, collecting and reading vintage novels, and playing music.

Nari Mendenhall
Business Manager

Nari was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She served an LDS mission in the Italy, Padova Mission which included cities like Venice, Pisa and Florence. Nari and her sweetheart, Shawn, have been married since 1994. Together they have three children and soon, two grandchildren. Over the years, they have had several foreign exchange students in their home. Three of which have been from Italy and one from Denmark.  Nari attended BYU Idaho and is currently working towards continuing her education. The Mendenhalls are active in serving the community. Community events that they participate heavily in are the Festival of Trees, Tedx, and LIVE as well as serving at the Idaho Rescue Mission as needed. The Mendenhall family came to Monticello as the Founder, Dave Meyer, was creating a waiting list to start the school. Two of their children have attended the school since the beginning and another had worked as a Teaching Assistant. Nari began working in the classroom the first year as a Teaching Assistant and Special Projects Advisor. Beginning her third year at Monticello, she became the school’s Business Manager. Nari loves the school. The staff and the families make Monticello such an amazing environment.

CandaLee Parker
School Secretary

Born in Preston, Id, and raised in Eastern Washington, she enjoyed growing up with farm animals while active in 4-H and FFA.  Married, a mother of 7 children, Canda enjoys her dogs, horses, her cattle, writing, painting, piano, cello, college studies, and outdoor adventures.

Ralph Armstong
Teacher - Grades 1-3

Ralph, “Buddy”, Armstrong is originally from San Diego, California. He graduated from BYU-Idaho with a B.S. in Sociology and is currently enrolled for certification through ABCTE.  He plans on getting his masters degree in education. Mr. Armstrong has been a teacher’s aide, psr worker, Title I instructor, and substitute teacher in the two years employed at Monticello Montessori. Buddy loves to engage with children in the classroom and also on the playground.  He has two young boys ages 3 and 6 that he loves to tease and stay active with.

Caisa Call
Teacher - Grades 1-3
Mrs. Call has been a Montessori teacher for 14 years.  She has experience teaching classes of 3-6 year old children, 6-9 year old children, and one year of 9-12 year old children.  She definitely likes 6-9 the best!  Her favorite thing about teaching is helping children discover how much they can do.  She says, "Children will really stretch their comfort zone once we have established a relationship of trust."

Mrs. Call has been trained in Montessori for 3-6 and 6-9 year old students.  She holds a current teaching certificate in the state of Idaho for Kindergarten through eighth grade.  She is a graduate of I.S.U. with a Degree in Early Childhood Education.

She brings an enthusiasm to the classroom that is contagious.  She often hears groans from her students when the dismissal bell rings.  She once had a group of students that would rather spend time inside doing research on a warm spring day then outside flying kites.

Shauna Garner
Teacher - Grades 1-3

Shauna Garner has worked for the last 14 years as a Montessori teacher.  She received her American Montessori Society (AMS) Credentials from Montessori Training Center of the Rockies (MECR) in Boulder, Colorado.  She has taught in schools in Kansas and in Texas.  Mrs. Garner has her Bachelor's Degree in Communication from Fort Hays Stake University and has 20 hours toward her Master's Degree in Special Education from the University of Central Missouri.  Mrs. Garner grew up in the Mid-West where she developed a love for horses, rodeo, and the environment.  she is married to Brent Garner and has had the honor of raising six children.  Her youngest child had the opportunity to attend the Montessori school where Mrs. Garner taught.  Mrs. Garner is excited to be part of the Monticello staff for this fall.  She brings many years of teaching experience to the classroom.

Kim Jackson
Teacher - Grades 4-6

Mrs. Jackson teaches lower elementary. She's been at the school since 2015. She obtained her bachelor's degree of art in English from Idaho State University. Mrs. Jackson was a technical writer for 10 years before changing her career to teaching. She is currently in the certification process with ABCTE. She enjoys gardening, the outdoors, and spending time with her two kids, who also attend Monticello.

Rebecca Lance
Teacher - Grades 4-6
Title I Coordinator

Rebecca Lance has a B.S. in Elementary Education with a minor in Mathematics from Brigham Young University. She has an Idaho Teaching Certificate as well as a Montessori Teaching Certificate. Rebecca loves to teach and has tutored math for several years. She enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with her husband and six children.


Emi Walker
Teacher - Grades 4-6

Emi Walker was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She has a bachelor degree in Communications/Public Relations from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil and also a degree in French as second language – Civilization and History of France – Université de Nancy, France. She was a Public Relations executive for over 20 years and changed her professional career after becoming a mother. Mrs. Walker worked as a substitute teacher for the elementary schools in district 93, grades k through 6, for over four years. During those years Mrs. Walker pursued her M.A. in Elementary Education. Currently she is a certified elementary teacher for the state of Idaho and a certified upper elementary Montessori teacher through the North American Montessori Center.  She also teaches our school's GATE program (Gifted and Talented Education).  She has been working with Monticello Montessori staff since 2011. Emi Walker has two sons, Luke and Alec.

Tony Walker
Teacher - Grades

Anthony "Tony" Walker was born and raised in Idaho Falls.  He has a BA in International Studies from the University of Idaho and has completed his elementary teaching certification through the American Board for Certification for Teacher Excellence (ABCTE); he also is certified in project-based learning through Buck Institute of Education (BIE), and project-based math instruction through CPM (College Preparatory Math).  Mr. Walker speaks fluent Brazilian Portuguese, German, and Spanish.  He traveled and worked abroad (Germany and Brazil) and had the opportunity to teach English in Brazil and worked with disadvantaged children in an after school lower income organization.  As a certified pilot, Mr. Walker taught aviation English to Brazilian pilots as well as private courses for adults.

Mr. Walker is very passionate about soccer; he has been coaching elementary students for over 12 years.  He is excited to be back at Monticello Montessori to teach upper elementary.  He had worked in the Special Education department and was an instructional assistant before going to another charter school (OCS) where he taught 6th grade math and science, Spanish, German, and Arts at middle school level.

In one of his trips to Brazil, Tony met his wife Emi Walker, also a teacher at Monticello, and they have two wonderful boys, Luke and Alec.  They love to ski, play soccer, and do art projects at home.  As an education team, Mr. and Mrs. Walker inspire each other with new ideas and continuous support for better instruction. 

Devon Whipple
Teacher - Grades Kindergarten / Pre-School

Mrs. Whipple has been involved with the school since its opening in 2010 in various positions.  She attended Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.  She has a BA in History, a teaching certificate from the American Board of Teacher Certification, and Montessori certification through the North American Montessori Center.  She enjoys spending time with her family and reading.

Brent Garner
Special Education Teacher

Mr. Garner was born here in Idaho.  He holds a BS in Elementary Education from Brigham Young University as well as an MA in International Relations from the University of Oklahoma.  Mr. Garner also served 10 years in the United States Air Force.  In that capacity, he has deployed numerous times to various parts of the world, but also taught for four years at the University of Kansas as an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Studies. During his service to our country he earned 2 Air Medals and the USAF Commendation Medal.  He separated from the Air Force in 1992 at the rank of Captain.  Previous to his Air Force service he taught 5th grade in Homedale, ID for one year as well as 7th and 8th grade science for a year at the Bureau of Indian Affairs Tuba City, AZ boarding school. Mr. Garner holds an Idaho Teaching Certificate.   He has experience with the Russian and Navajo languages.  He has also had a background in financial services.  Mr. Garner is passionate about children and wants to see all children succeed.  Mr. Garner loves math, science, history, reading, and a good pun, so if you know one he'd love you to share it with him.  He and Mrs. Garner raised 6 children, one of whom has disabilities.  His life experience makes him a natural fit as our Special Education Teacher.

Trudy Matson
Title I - Assistant Coordinator

Trudy Matson was born in Idaho and raised in the small town of Kamiah. She graduated from Kamiah High School and attended Lewis Clark State College. While attending LCSC she met and married Phil Matson. Phil and Trudy moved to the Washington coast, most recently Monroe, where they raised their two children Keith and Carissa. Changes in the job market brought Phil and Trudy to Idaho Falls in 2016. Trudy graduated with her B.A. in Business Management from Northwest University  April, 2017 and looks forward to completing her Teaching Certificate through ABC-TE in the Summer of 2018.  Trudy has maintained her love of the outdoors that she experienced in northern Idaho, which included camping and horse back riding. Trudy joined the  Monticello Montessori staff as a Title One assistant in the fall of 2016 and then became the Asst. Coordinator for Title One the fall of 2017.


Lettie Stradley-Bass
School Counselor

Ms. Stradley-Bass is a native of Idaho, raised in Kamiah. She married her childhood sweetheart in 1988 and had four wonderful children before her husband passed away suddenly in 2003 from a work accident.  In 2005, she moved the family to Idaho Falls to take a staff position with her church. In 2009 she remarried. She and her husband have a son, Benjamin.  Ms. Stradley-Bass has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services/Counseling from SAGU in Waxahachi, Texas. She has worked locally as a Case Manager and CBRS provider for persons with special needs.  In 2015, she entered the Licensed Professional Counseling Program at Liberty University, which has brought her exciting opportunities for studies abroad as well as onsite and online.  

Ms. Stradley-Bass feels privileged to work at Monticello Montessori Public Charter School in the capacity of School Counselor. Working with people in this field has been a dream of hers that is a pleasure to see fulfilled. She is looking forward to knowing everyone in Monticello’s community and to working as a member of Monticello’s staff team for the success of all our students.