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.
Nick received his Bachelor’s degree from IU Bloomington in 2013, majoring in Environmental Management, and both his Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary Certifications from the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston, IL. He has worked as an environmental educator in Northern Indiana, teaching children of all ages, and served for four years as the Lead Upper Elementary Teacher at a Montessori charter school in Northwest Indiana. Nick brings to the classroom a love of hiking, experiential science, and educating students about the outdoors. He enjoys sports as well as biking, camping, and spending time with family and friends.
Kellie Allin is originally from Lake Forest, CA, and received a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education, with an emphasis in science, from Northern Arizona University in 2016. Upon graduation, she moved to Bloomington to accompany her fiancé as he worked on a PhD at IU. Kellie brings to the classroom a love of animals and volunteers at the animal shelter. When not caring for her dog, two cats, rat and snake, or working in the classroom, she can be found relaxing at home or trying a new restaurant.
Sam Cusack has been a teacher at Bloomington Montessori since 2007, first in the Sweet Gum and Magnolia classrooms and then, since 2014, in the Sycamore classroom. 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, one who graduated from the Sycamore class in 2018 and one who is currently in the Sycamore class. Sam enjoys cooking, birdwatching, and performing in musicals and plays for Cardinal Stage Company.
We are very sad to share the news that our Sycamore Science Teacher Staci Radford-Vincent passed away Sept. 19 from cancer. Staci had a deep love of science and education and enjoyed 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.
Originally from the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Staci 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 did 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.
Staci spent 14 years as a part of the education team at WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology and 11 years as a teacher aide at Monroe County United Ministries pre-school. Staci joined the Sycamore team in 2017.
Staci was an inspiration to the Sycamore students and summer campers She was always ready to answer questions about her cancer, or about Harry Potter, which delighted the many other Harrry Potter fans in the classroom. She was hopeful and joyous, and always worked to instill a love of science in the children.
In her last post to her Facebook team page, she wrote movingly of her transition from fighting for life to preparing for the end of the journey, and of the need to gather courage and be brave. The time had come for comfort and happiness, she said, and she was so thankful for all the support she and her family had received over the past two years.
“Thank you all for playing a part in my journey. I hope you have learned something along the way and I hope that you will never forget what you were part of. I love you all so much.”–Staci Radford-Vincent