In the News
Somers Piazza - Head of School
A Little Rock native, Ms. Piazza is a graduate of John Brown University. She has also studied at the St. Thomas Aquinas Institute Theology, focusing on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a Montessori-based Spiritual Formation Program for primary children. Ms. Piazza completed her Montessori training at the American Montessori Society-accredited Memphis Montessori Institute, where she earned her Early Childhood Certification.
Ms. Piazza’s Montessori experience includes an internship at Lamplighter Montessori (Memphis), and Primary Lead Guide positions at Montessori Co-Operative School and Chenal Valley Montessori School. A co-founder of Arkansas River Valley Montessori, Ms. Piazza is the current Head of School.
Pat Bowen - Academic Director - Early Elementary Lead Guide
Ms. Bowen brings a national perspective and an extensive depth of experience to ARVM. She completed her undergraduate work at Ouachita Baptist University, receiving a B.A. in Mathematics. Her Montessori experience includes 30 years in Montessori schools in both teaching and administrative positions. She completed her primary Montessori training at Fairleigh-Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ, and her elementary Montessori training at Dallas Montessori Teacher Training Center. Her expertise in mathematics and music are of great benefit to the ARVM community and includes specializations in Suzuki piano and Orff music methods. Ms. Bowen has been instrumental in the creation of four Montessori schools, including ARVM. Currently, Ms. Bowen serves on the Board of Trustees of the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a member of the ARVM Board of Directors.
Julie Anderson - Primary Lead Guide
Ms. Anderson brings nearly ten year’s experience in early primary education to her position at ARVM. She has directed summer activities at Miss Selma’s School in Little Rock and has taught early primary classes at Children First Montessori in Nashville and at Asheville Montessori in North Carolina. Ms. Anderson received her bachelor's degree from University of the South, completing a BA in Psychology. She earned her Early Childhood Certification at the American Montessori Society- accredited North Carolina Center for Montessori Education. Ms. Anderson joined Arkansas River Valley Montessori in 2006 where she serves as early primary guide.
Myra Stenhammar - Upper Elementary Lead Guide
Ms. Stenhammar She has guided elementary classes in Little Rock Montessori schools for the last 16 years. She holds a BSE in Early Childhood Education, a Masters of Montessori Education from Loyola College (with concentration in ages 6-12), an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) Diploma from Washington Montessori Institute, and an Arkansas State Teaching Certificate (K-6 and middle school social studies).
Vonda Stepp - Adolescent Lead Guide
Ms. Stepp has a wide breadth of educational experience. She did her undergraduate work at Ouachita Baptist University, completing a BS with double majors in Physics and Chemistry and a BA with double majors in Mathematics and Spanish. She also has graduate physics hours from the University of Florida, where she earned two teaching awards for her work with undergraduate physics classes. Ms. Stepp has worked with students of all ages throughout a variety of missions work in Louisiana and South Dakota. She has also done missions work in Wyoming, Brazil, and Mexico. In the summer of 2007, she completed the Adolescent Orientation training offered by the North American Montessori Teacher's Association. She brings real life, practical business experience to the classroom from her years working as a manager and computer database programmer with the Shurley Method of English in Cabot, Arkansas. The resident tech expert, Ms. Stepp is also a web site developer. Like many of her fellow ARVM faculty members, Ms. Stepp has a flair for music, playing trumpet, piano, guitar, and banjo.