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.
Originally from the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Staci Radford-Vincent 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 enjoys 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.