Board of Directors
The Board manages the affairs of Desert Montessori School (DMS) and is responsible for overall policy, direction as well as financial oversight. It delegates responsibility for day-to-day operations to the Director and Committees. The Board also assumes the responsibility of discussing, developing and implementing long-term strategic plans to ensure continuity of the School and its Purpose and Mission.
Melissa Brown, Director, Missy started at DMS as a parent in June of 2004 and by August of 2006 was hired on as the Associate Director. She completed her Montessori Teacher Training in 2007 and took over as Director in June of 2008. Missy has a B.A. in Geology from Miami University. She worked as a geologist in Wyoming and Tennessee, but switched to retail when she moved to Santa Fe. Missy had her own shop downtown for a number of years before becoming a mom. Melissa has two children enrolled at DMS.
Claudia Joesph, Chair, Claudia Joseph is a graduate of the UC Santa Barbara who later earned her juris doctor from the University of San Francisco School of Law. She has lived in Santa Fe for eleven years with her husband, Andy Joseph. She has worked as an attorney in the areas of litigation, insurance, real estate, estate planning, intellectual property, business formation as well as a variety of transactional work and is currently of counsel with the law firm of McClaugherty & Silver, PC. She is committed to improving the quality of education in Santa Fe at large and has been active in supporting small schools in the Santa Fe Public School District. She has two thriving children attending DMS who are thrilled to call Ms. Daisy and Ms. Grogan their teachers.
Mitchell Koolpe, Vice Chair/Secretary, Mitch is a graduate of the UC Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Biology with an emphasis on Cellular and Molecular Biology and a graduate of UC Davis with a Ph.D. in Immunology. Mitch has three children. His twins are thrilled to continue E3 with Miss. Wagner and Mrs. Sovcik this fall, and his oldest graduated DMS in 2011 (currently enrolled at Santa Fe Prep). Mitch is currently working as a Stay-At-Home Father. Mitch has been with Desert Montessori since 2007.
Colleen McCalla, Teacher Representative, Colleen has taught at Desert Montessori School for 5 years. (please see our faculty page for more information about Colleen’s extensive experience and teaching philosophy)
Jim Stanton, Treasurer, Jim Stanton graduated from the University of New Mexico with a BS in Biology. After working in the private sector for five years, Jim returned to school to earn a Masters degree in public health. Since then he has been an environmental project manager at LANL. Jim also devotes time to Sustainable Santa Fe and his homeowner’s association. His daughter attends DMS and looks forward to helping bring the school to new levels of success.
Daisy Guranich, At Large, Daisy is a Montessori trained and certified Directress with fifteen years experience at Montessori facilities. (please see our faculty page for more information about Daisy’s extensive experience and teaching philosophy)
Julianne Wagner, At Large, Julianne has taught at Desert Montessori School for 5 years and is in her 33rd year of teaching. (please see our faculty page for more information about Julianne’s extensive experience and teaching philosophy)
Karen Lupton, At Large, Karen is a graduate of the University of Colorado with a B.A. in International Relations and later went on to complete her M.B.A. She moved to Santa Fe 10 years ago and enjoys the fabulous weather and equine activities Santa Fe offers. She has many years of small business management and Financial Services experience. Karen joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in 2011 following fifteen years of small business management and five years in the financial services industry.
Karen is committed to improving the educational opportunities in her chosen community and looks forward to making a contribution to DMS.