Our Staff

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Meg Allen, Director and Lead Montessori Teacher

Hi, my name is Meg. I took over as the director and lead teacher at Stepping Stones Montessori in August of 2017. After receiving a degree in Interpersonal Communication from James Madison University and working with adults with disabilities for several years, I became interested in working with young children. I started working as an assistant in a Montessori classroom in downtown Seattle in 2006 and quickly fell in love with the child-centered, skill based approach. I was blown away by how capable and independent the children were! I completed my MACTE accredited Montessori Teacher training for ages 3 to 6 at Spring Valley Montessori in 2008.

 

I worked at the University of Washington Children’s Center at Radford Court for 8 years before relocating to Ithaca with my husband, Alan, and our young son, Archer, to take over Stepping Stones Preschool. I love learning along with the children, seeing their joy of learning develop, and helping them reach their full potential.

In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and son. I love backpacking, swimming, reading, biking, vegan cooking, and playing with our two cats, Ozzy and Josie. 

Alan Loomis, Assistant Teacher and Music Specialist

Hello! My name is Alan. I have been working with young children since 2007, in both play-based and Montessori programs. I have an Associate’s in Early Education, as well as a Montessori Infant and Toddler and Primary (3-6) Certifications.

 

What I appreciate about the Montessori Method is the free work period, the care of self and others, the connection to the natural world and the peace curriculum. I also enjoy bringing music and movement activities to the classroom.

 

In my spare time I like making music, gardening, cooking and I love exploring the outdoors with Meg and Archer.

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Stacey O’Brien, Assistant Teacher and Art Specialist

Hello! I’m Stacey O’Brien. I am an assistant teacher at Stepping Stones Montessori in Ithaca, N.Y. I began substitute teaching at Stepping Stones in fall 2019 and came on full-time the following year.

 

At Stepping Stones, I provide weekly process-focused art lessons and overall support for Montessori learning. I enjoy sharing my love of art and the creative process with young learners. 

I have been an educator for more than a decade, specializing in art and pre-K education. Since graduating from college, I have worked in preschools in Ithaca and Doha, Qatar. Over the last several years, I have led local sensory and process art classes to toddlers and preschoolers as well as private art lessons to local families. Each summer I direct an inclusive backyard art “camp” for children. 

I hold a degree in Studio Art from SUNY Cortland. My interests include hiking, biking, swimming and skiing. I live in the Fall Creek neighborhood with my husband and two elementary-aged daughters.  

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Angelo Denardo, Assistant Teacher

Hello to all! I started at Stepping Stones Montessori in March of 2022. I had the

extraordinary gift of achieving my early life’s goals by age 30. I owned an independent

pharmacy and various other businesses that I then passed on to larger

corporations. Since that time, I have applied my skills, abilities and resources as a

facilitator to lifting up and advancing my wife and children's careers. 

As the primary at-home parent of our 2 children, I acquired the skills to assist my child

to overcome challenges to go on to become a DNA, Stem Cell scientist and

administrator at the vaccine maker, Moderna. Our younger child went on to become a

partner at 2 Silicon Valley area Venture Capital firms by age 21. I received a special

spark of interest in early child education while working at Saint Catherine’s Center for

Children, where I received extensive training during my college years. My favorite thing

about working with children is getting to be a part of their amazing learning process and

helping set their foundation to be joyful, lifelong learners.

We are a Cornell family. My wife is Pharmacy Director at Cornell Health and we enjoy

volunteering for Cornell events. On sunny days you might find me reading in the secret

cove by the bell tower.