Our Staff

DJ Mazon

Office Mananger

DJ Mazon, was born and raised in Juneau, AK. He is Kaagwaantaan (G’ooch’ Hit-Wolf House from Hoonah) of the Tlingit nation and a T’ak dein taan yadi, child of a Raven (Snail House in Hoonah). DJ enjoys hiking, fishing, and hunting and also enjoys running around with his family, friends, and beautiful dog—Keeva-Shaa (Keeva is Gallic for Beautiful, Shaa is Tlingit for Lady). DJ holds an Associate degree in Computerized Accounting from Charter College in Anchorage, and also has a Diploma as Business Office Specialist from Alaska Career College in Anchorage, AK. DJ has over 5 years of working in accounting and office work and is look forward to obtaining a four year degree in Business Management.

Elise Sorum-Birk

Interim Executive Director

Currently acting as Executive Director on an interim basis, Elise has worked in many different roles at JMS since she was first hired as a classroom assistant in 2011. Elise completed her AMI Primary training in 2013 and upon her graduation from Montessori Northwest became the lead guide in the Downstairs classroom for four years. When she stepped out of the classroom in 2017, Elise shifted her attention to outdoor education and is most proud of the work she has done in designing the curriculum for and coordinating the implementation of the school's KIND summer program. In the Fall of 2018, Elise also had the privilege to serve as a mentor teacher in the upstairs classroom. In addition to her Montessori credential, Elise has a BA in Geography from the University of Alaska Southeast and is currently pursuing an MA in Northern Studies through the University of Alaska Fairbanks (with a concentration on education policy in the North). She is deeply curious about how children connect to place and learn from the natural world. Elise enjoys gardening, cooking with her husband, time outdoors and curling up with a good book. When Elise isn't working at JMS, she can be found serving as a legislative aide at the Alaska State Capital.

Molly Briggs

Toddler Room Lead Guide

Molly holds an Assistants to Infancy AMI Credential from Montessori Northwest and a BS in Visual Journalism. Growing up in Maine, Molly has always been fond of the outdoors and fresh seafood; naturally, she was drawn to the great state of Alaska! Since moving to Juneau in 2014, she has taught photography and become a passionate naturalist. Her secondary schooling was spent studying international business, Chinese and visual journalism; however, a lot of her free time and part-time jobs have involved children. Children have been apart of her world and a huge part of her heart since she can remember. From after school care to swim lessons to outdoor education she has been working her way to teaching in a classroom. Although a windy road, she is beyond honored to be leading the toddler classroom at Juneau Montessori School.

Owen Greenwood

Lead Toddler Assitant

Owen Greenwood is very excited to be in the position of an assistant in the Toddler Community at JMS. He moved to Juneau from San Francisco, California and worked as a chef for more than 20 years. Recently, Owen has been finding restaurant work less fulfilling and has realized that he has a desire to work more with people and in particular young people. Owen’s own two sons are grown to adulthood in California, but he remembers countless hours of volunteering during their preschool years at Pacifica Co-op Preschool. He remembers the sense of satisfaction he experienced helping children learn and grow. Owen has also worked as a freelance artist and enjoys music, poetry, gardening and outdoor activities and enjoys sharing these interests with the children at JMS.

Aubree Lewis

Second Toddler Assistant

Aubree was born and raised in Juneau, graduating from JDHS. She has been babysitting since she was in middle school, has worked in 2 daycares as well as working part-time at Spunky Sprouts to keep an eye on her foster sister. Aubree recently moved into a full-time position working in the toddler community. Aubree enjoys going to the movies, going shopping, singing, visiting her dad and family in Seattle, going on trips during the summer and playing sports such as bowling, volleyball, and softball. She earned her high school diploma through the Transitions Program at JDHS. She loves working here because she loves to see the kids smile.

Cindy Walsh

Upstairs Primary Lead Guide

Cindy moved back to Juneau in 2014 to help to care for her mother, applied for a job at JMS and was hired right away. She worked as an assistant and learned all she could about Montessori. Cindy fell in love with Montessori Pedagogy and began looking into training to become a Montessori Teacher. After 3 summers of rigorous work, she is excited to say that in July in 2019 she completed her training and now has the AMI certification that she needs to continue her career as a Montessori teacher. In addition to her Montessori credential, Cindy has an associate's degree in Early Childhood Development and many years of experience working with children in various settings. Cindy has 3 wonderful children, 1 grandchild and another one on the way. She loves Juneau’s beauty and enjoys fishing, biking, and beachcombing.

Rachael Gass

Upstairs Primary Lead Assistant

Rachael was born and raised in Ketchikan, Alaska. She moved to Juneau and took a job at JMS first as the Afternoon Lead and is now the Upstairs Primary Lead Assistant, working with Miss Cindy. Fun Fact: Rachael studied Ballet for 2 years!

Hannah Kemp

Upstairs Second Assistant

Hannah is a recent transplant to Juneau. She moved from Chicago, where she graduated from DePaul University with a degree in Biology. While living in the city, she also worked as a childcare provider and field assistant studying white spruce reproduction. When she isn't at Juneau Montessori, she spends her time hiking Juneau's many mountains and trails, camping, cooking, crafting, reading, or seeking out the Northern Lights!

Emily Osborn

Downstairs Primary Lead Guide, Administrator Designee

Emily moved to Juneau in 2004 where she quickly found herself at JMS. She worked as an assistant in the toddler community until 2008, when she moved to Portland, OR to pursue her AMI credential. In 2009, she returned to JMS as the lead guide in the downstairs classroom. After two years of teaching while pursuing her undergraduate degree at University of Alaska Southeast, she made the difficult decision to leave her teaching position at JMS and focus on her studies. In 2013, Emily welcomed the birth of her son, Alexander, and in 2014 she returned to JMS, son in tow, to work as an assistant in the classroom she once called her own. Upon completing her BLA in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2017, Emily immediately transitioned back into being the lead guide for the Downstairs Children’s House. Emily has a passion for Montessori pedagogy, JMS and the development of young children. She looks forward to many more years at JMS and leading young children to greatness! In her personal time, she enjoys camping, painting, word puzzles, hiking, traveling and exercising. Emily also is currently learning Italian and hopes to someday make her dream of teaching Montessori in Italy a reality!

Mark Sebastian

Downstairs Primary Lead Assistant

From the time he could remember, Mark had always wanted to visit Alaska. Growing up watching “Wild America” on PBS did nothing more than nurture that desire. Moving from Palisades Park, New Jersey, he’s lived in Juneau for seven years. During this time his son was born. He loves working with children and facilitating the ‘sparkle’ that lights their futures. He is excited about actively pursuing his education in child development and enjoys his work at JMS.

Britny Petersen

Downstairs Second Assistant

Britny was born and raised here in Juneau Alaska, and graduated from Thunder Mountain High school in 2018. She is great at baking, and makes an awesome apple pie and cinnamon rolls. She has a small hobby of watercolor painting and loves going fishing and camping. Britny joined the staff of JMS in the summer of 2018, and has loved it ever since.

Bereniz Blackwell

Transition Assistant

Bereniz is originally from Peru and Spanish is her native language. She has lived in Juneau for eight years. She and her husband are raising six children (two who attended JMS in their earlier years) have three children. Bereniz loves animals almost as much as she loves kids and her family recently welcomed a puppy into their home. She is happy to be a part of the JMS community and to have the opportunity to teach and learn alongside the children.