Jennifer Hermance

Elementary Coordinator - Elementary Lead Teacher

I was introduced to Montessori education when my children began attending Montessori school at age 3. I hold a B.A. degree in Elementary Education and AMS Elementary Montessori Certification.  Since 2005, I have been an Elementary Montessori guide.  I started at SVMS in 2009, so I am beginning my 6th year here in Black Mountain.

I live in Black Mountain with my two children (former SVMS students) and husband where we enjoy the outdoors–fishing, canoeing, camping, and music.


Kristy Beaver

Elementary Teacher

I have been involved in education for over 20 years as a Title 1 Reading Specialist, a private tutor, a Montessori preschool teacher at SVMS, and a Montessori Lower Elementary teacher, where I have found my niche.  My college degree is in psychology, with a NC K-6 teaching license. As a reading specialist, I have a K-12 reading license from UNC-A. I joined SVMS in 2007, and I have AMS 3 – 6 Montessori certification. This summer I received Orton-Gillinaham training, a multi-sensory, kinesthetic, and phonics based approach to teaching reading. I am really excited about incorporating what I have learned into the classroom.

I have 2 daughters who are 13 and 16. They keep me busy driving them to and attending horseback and martial arts events. My husband and I just celebrated our 20th anniversary. Our family likes to camp and hang out with friends. I love to read, cook and explore new places with my family and take naps with my dog.


Kara McNerney

Elementary Teacher

I have been involved in education for the past 13 years.  I’ve worked with preschool age through elementary with an emphasis on outdoor education.  My degree is a B.S. in Wildlife Management and relates well to the strong science base in the Elementary curriculum.  This summer I completed the Montessori Elementary certification for ages 6-12.

I live with my husband and two children (both former SVMS students) in Black Mountain, where we enjoy biking and are avid hikers.


Melanie Accino

Enrollment Coordinator - Lead Teacher - Children's House

I have been teaching Montessori for 16 years. I did my Montessori training in 1996 in New England at New England Montessori Teacher Education Center in Boston, MA. I began teaching Montessori at SVMS in 2005, so this is my 9th year teaching at SVMS. I am currently finishing my degree in Early Childhood Education at AB Tech. Most of my course work has been with Johnson State College in Vermont. I am married and live in Black Mountain with my family–husband Randy and two sons Noah (16) and Eli (11). We have three cats, a dog, and 4 chickens. I enjoy hiking, reading, cooking and volunteering.

Kat Poe

Kat Poe

Assistant Teacher - Children's House

I began working at SVMS in the fall of 2013.  My daughter, Lucy has been at the children’s house for 3 years during which I have become increasingly involved.  I have previously hosted our after-care program and have been active through organizing volunteer work days.

I have attended Haywood Community College, Penland school of Craft, and A-B Tech, where  I concentrated on multimedia sculpture and ceramics.  I have spent most of my 10+ years in WNC studying organic gardening in Barnardsville, NC with an amazing gardener and floral designer, Eve Davis.
I live in Black Mountain with my husband Sloan, daughter Lucy, and our two rescued dogs, Rosey and Foxy.
Some of my favorite things to do are gardening, dancing, and creative thinking.
Ali DuFault

Ali DuFault

Lead Teacher - Children's House

I started working at SVMS in 2012 as the PE teacher in the elementary and middle school program.  I also have taught art in the elementary and middle school program.  I am currently working toward my AMS Early Childhood Credential at CMTENC.  I studied Art at Rock Valley College in Rockford, IL.  I worked as a realtor for seven years before having my children.

I live with my husband Cory and three children. Two of my children are students at SVMS. My husband and I own a recycled lighting company called GLOW828. Their art is displayed at local business in the area and on Etsy. I enjoy running barefoot and decorating is one of my passions.


Gretchen Eastridge

Assistant Teacher - Children's House

My name is Gretchen.  I am in my third year at Children’s House and love every minute I spend with these wonderful children.

I was an assistant teacher in a public school Special Education department for 3 years and then became the secretary in the junior high school for 9 years.  My husband Bud and I had a home and garden shop for 8 years before moving to Black Mountain.

Bud and I have lived in Black Mountain for 11 years.  We moved here from Ohio to be close to our daughter and her family.

We have 2 children and 4 grandchildren.  Our daughter Kara, her husband, Mike and our granddaughters, Iris and Stella, also live in Black Mountain.  Kara is a teacher in the upper elementary, and Iris and Stella also attend school at SVMS.  We have a son Eric–he and his wife Katie, our granddaughter Ember and our grandson Fynn live in McKinleyville, California.

We have had many interests over the years, we love to garden, cook, canoe and go on walks.  Being with our children and grandchildren are the highlight of each day.



Sarah Roosa-Collins

Lead Teacher - Children's House

Sarah has a BA in Human Studies – Global Issues from Warren Wilson College, and Montessori Certification: AMS Early Childhood Credential. She has 11 years experience teaching Montessori. This is Sarah’s first year at SVMS. Sarah moved to Black Mountain this summer from North Atlanta.

Why Montessori: Sarah wanted to be a teacher but not in a traditional school. Sarah knew she wanted to teach in a Montessori school when she first observed a Montessori class in action. She fell in love with it. The whole philosophy spoke to her. It is such a respectful way to work with children. Respecting children where they are and letting them grow at their own rate honors them.

Other related experiences: Sarah went to India in 1988 for a few months where her eyes were opened to different ways of living. Sarah worked with Americorp in Asheville after graduating from Warren Wilson where she worked in several different public schools. She tutored children in reading and worked with conflict resolution and mediation skills with after school kids. They also worked with service learning projects.

Family: Sarah is married to Chris. Chris works with the City of Asheville. They have 3 children ages 10, 8, 5.

Interests, Hobbies: cooking, making cakes, traveling, being outside, listening to music.

Amanda Campisi

Amanda Campisi

Assistant Teacher - Children's House

I have a BA in Early Childhood Education from Granite State University.  I am currently working on my master’s in Child and Adolescent Psychology.  I also studied art at Montserrat School of Art and Design with an emphasis on print making and oil painting.  I started working at SVMS in 2012.  I have worked with children for 12 years as a nanny, in childcare and other settings.

I moved here from New Hampshire and now live in Black Mountain with my daughter who is a student at SVMS and our dog and cat.  I enjoy outdoor activities with my daughter as we explore Western North Carolina.


Diane Jackson

Office Manager

I have been an educator in public schools for 33 years.  And I am happy to have joined the staff at SVMS!

Most recently, I have tutored children privately and at Huntington Learning Center.  I have worked as a lead teacher in summer schools for 5 years, and as a worker at a home daycare this summer.  I hold a NC teaching certificate and graduated magna cum laude from Western Carolina University with a BSEd.  I served on the committee that started the Terrific Kid Program at Black Mountain Primary school.  This was the creation of a program that went not only to be used in the United States but is still in use internationally.  I have served on the School Improvement Team at BMP for 10 years and as the teacher member on the board of the BMP PTO. I was also on the committee that established the Crisis Response Team for Black Mountain Primary and as the teacher representative on the Owen District Advisory Board.
I live with my mother and my adult son in Black Mountain.   We live in a house ruled by 3 cats.  I enjoy reading, visiting with my large extended family, and I am active member of the congregation of the Church of the Redeemer in Asheville.

Katie Hanning

Business Manager/Bookkeeper

I joined the SVMS staff in 2009, doing bookkeeping.  Since the school’s conception, I became impressed with the community of families that gathered around the school, and with the development of their children as they attended SVMS.  It was a natural choice for us to send my children to SVMS.  I have 3 daughters–the oldest two are former SVMS students, and the youngest one is a student in SVMS’s Children’s House.

My education is in botany and my background includes wilderness therapy, special education support, and bookkeeping.  It is a joy to be a part of SVMS as both a parent and a staff member.