The Sycamore upper elementary class is based primarily on inquiry, research and discovery, and writing. Our curriculum includes writing for both quantity and quality. Writing for quantity affords students opportunity, diversity, habit development, and the nurturing of a “renaissance” mind. Writing for quality allows students to fully explore deeply developed ideas as well as develop expertise on a particular subject. A curriculum based on research, using primary and secondary sources, and writing is so appropriate for this age because children who can investigate, think about, and write about the world can begin to make sense of that world and grow into very effective adults who can find their unique place in it.
Sam Cusack has been a teacher at Bloomington Montessori since 2007 in the Sweet Gum and Magnolia rooms and, since 2014, in the Sycamore room. Sam graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in economics and has an Associate’s degree from The Culinary Institute of America. He is married to BMS teacher Eve Cusack and they have two daughters who attend the school. Sam enjoys cooking, birdwatching, and performing in musicals and plays for Cardinal Stage Company.
Tara Green is a licensed teacher, certified in mathematics and social studies education. With over 20 years of experience in education, Tara has taught pre-school through high school in public and private schools and served as an educational consultant. She has also worked as an assistant principal, led professional development workshops and worked as a Challenge Course instructor (providing problem-solving activities for personal development and team building). Tara has been active in the BMS community as a parent volunteer and substitute teacher since 2008. Her children are both in the 9-12 class.
Outside of BMS, Tara volunteers with a nonprofit called Building a Thriving Compassionate Community (BTCC), which focuses on primary prevention and promoting the healthy community conditions in which children can grow and thrive. She also helps run a support group for parents with young children in the Crestmont neighborhood. In her free time, Tara enjoys spending time with her family, being outside and learning about the world.
Staci Radford-Vincent is originally from the northwest suburbs of Chicago, she came to Bloomington to attend IU where she earned a B.A. in Biology and a minor in The History and Philosophy of Science. She has done field work studying breeding birds in Indiana, worked as a seasonal interpretive naturalist at McCormick’s Creek State Park, and spent many years doing live presentations with birds of prey and one very cheeky American crow. In addition to those experiences, Staci spent 14 years as a part of the education team at WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology, most recently as the Associate Director of Education, and 11 years as a teacher aide at Monroe County United Ministries pre-school. She has a deep love of science and education and looks forward to devoting her energy and passion to educating children on a daily basis and having a lasting impact on their lives and, through them, our world. Staci lives in Bedford with her husband and son, as well as two dogs and two cats (who are named after sci-fi or fantasy characters).
Sara “S.E.” Waters is from New Albany, Indiana, and moved to Bloomington for her undergraduate degree. At Indiana University, she studied English Literature and Outdoor Recreation, and graduated in 2011. After graduation, S.E. worked on an organic farm, led backpacking trips in Vermont with pre-teens and teens, and worked at a Montessori school in New Albany, where she served as a co-lead for a year in both the 6-to-9 and 9-to12 classrooms. S.E. has worked at numerous social justice non-profits in Bloomington, as well. Outside of school, S.E. writes poetry and non-fiction, cooks for clients, and raises a daughter who attends BMS.