With a devotion to the Montessori method matched only by her joyful energy and loving respect for children, Grade 1 co-teacher Kathleen “Kathie” Opiola sparkles with excitement as she encompasses the Green Hedges campus with a wave of her arm. “This place is amazing, for me and for the students,” she exclaims. Her delight, she adds, is to meet students in their felt sense of academic mastery, and to lead them into increasingly abstract thinking.
Mrs. Opiola came to Green Hedges as a math tutor in Lower School. The friendliness here impressed her, as did the dedication of adults to the learning of students. Her current great joy is co-teaching with Monica Bess in the transitional classroom that bridges Montessori and traditional learning, two aspects of education in which she has expertise.
After graduating from Glassboro State College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education, Mrs. Opiola taught young children in traditional classrooms. When her own three children were young, she ran a preschool physical education gym. Witnessing a Montessori classroom led to her passion for the method. She became a Montessori Assistant and took formal training for certification as a Lower Elementary Directress (ages 6-9, grades 1-3) at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Silver Spring, MD, with additional studies in Primary Montessori (ages 3-6). Her husband Jack was in the Army, so geographically Mrs. Opiola’s career spans Germany and Hong Kong, and the states of Texas, Georgia, New Jersey, California, and Virginia. Before joining Green Hedges, she worked as Director of Curriculum, and as Proprietor and Head of Arris Montessori Academy in Ashburn, VA.
Mrs. Opiola likes needlework and other handcrafts, and enjoys gardening, reading, and sports.