FACULTY & STAFF

The REDS parents, faculty & staff work together to fulfill the school’s mission.

Education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment.

Maria Montessori

Ms. MessmoreREDS faculty include positions of Guide, Assistant, and Specialist. All Montessori Guides hold a Primary diploma from the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). Guides thoughtfully curate experiences for the children that allow them to explore and discover within a prepared environment.

Faculty and Staff Bios

Sharon Lickerman

Head of School

REDS StaffSharon Lickerman has extensive experience in child development from a social, emotional and intellectual perspective and is dedicated to the growth, development and well-being of children. She has been an A.M.I. Montessori Educator for more than 20 years, following completion of her training under Dr. Silvia Dubovoy, at the highly-regarded Montessori Institute of San Diego. She is currently serving as a representative to AMI at the United Nations. Sharon was a Directress at REDS from 2000-2013, and has been involved across various areas of the School beyond the classroom, including as a member of the School's Outreach and Transition committees, and as a faculty representative on the Board of Trustees. In the 2014-15 academic year, Sharon served as an Education Specialist at REDS, where she provided guidance and support to the REDS community, working in collaboration with faculty, staff and parents to be a strong advocate for REDS students.

From June 2013-August 2014, Sharon was Associate Director of reachwithin, whose mission is to improve the emotional and social well-being of abused and neglected children by helping them access, cherish and build their inner strength and character. Sharon earned her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, her M.A. in Early Childhood Special Education from New York University, and is currently working towards her MPH at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Rebecca Ashley

Movement Program Director

REDS StaffRebecca has been teaching movement at REDS since 1994. She holds a BFA in Dance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. In addition to teaching at REDS Rebecca is a professional photographer who specializes in children and family portraits. Throughout her life, she has made children, the arts, and movement central to her work. As an arts educator, Rebecca has conducted extensive evaluation and research for non-profit organizations on the impact of the arts on children’s education.

Callie Bitter

Assistant Guide, Casa E

REDS StaffCallie is currently working towards her Masters in Early Childhood Education at Hunter College. She has over ten years of experience with children of all ages and has tutored preschool children for five years. Ms. Bitter has had experience working at a gym teaching children both gymnastics and educational skills to develop their physical strength and mental well-being. She has learned the importance of movement while learning techniques and loves to extend that knowledge into the classroom. Prior to working at REDS she was an assistant teacher at York Avenue Preschool.

Karen Davenport

Business Manager

Karen Davenport joined REDS in 2002 as the Business Manager. She has a B.S. in Business Administration, minors in Chemistry and Math, a Masters Degree in Accounting from UM – St. Louis and has passed the CPA Exam. She graduated at the top of her Police Academy Class, qualified as a sharpshooter and became the first female Deputy for St. Charles County Sheriff's Dept. in Missouri. She grew up dancing and is still a partner at the Performing Arts Centre with her two sisters. She has seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren all in Missouri. In New York she can usually be found in the company of her Bernese Mountain Dog rescue, Muffin, playing in Central Park.

Andrea DeBroka

Guide, Casa E

REDS StaffAndrea is a dedicated and passionate educator with more than 20 years' experience working in schools with children and their families. She holds an AMI Montessori diploma from Association Internationale, a B.S. in Education with a specialization in Early Childhood Education, an M.Ed. in Curriculum Design and an IMSLEC certification (International Multi-sensory Structured Language Education Council) from Windward School in White Plains, NY. When not in the classroom, Andrea enjoys biking, hiking, and cooking as well as traveling and experiencing different cultures. Her dream is to travel to Machu Pichu with her husband Sergio and son Nicolas.

Lucy Djalazov

Assistant Guide, Casa C

REDS StaffLucy has been an assistant in Casa C since 1994. Lucy is originally from Bulgaria and moved to NYC in 1989. Her background is in art, literature, music, and education. In Bulgaria, Lucy was a window display designer. Since coming to the U.S. Lucy has earned degrees in Early Childhood Education, Liberal Arts, and an MA in Montessori education. She loves music, poetry and sports, and her passions are fashion and jewelry design.

Amanda Dobey

Executive Assistant

REDS StaffAmanda joined REDS in early 2016 and is excited to be a part of such a great environment. Previous experience includes many years as a Legal Secretary in a midtown Manhattan Law Firm and Administrative Assistant in a Global Bank on Wall Street. Amanda is returning to the workforce after taking some time off to raise her three children. Amanda was born and educated in Ireland and spent some time working in Ireland before moving to the U.S. She lives in Queens with her husband John and their three children Eamonn, Sinead and Sean. She enjoys camping, bike riding and keeping up with all her kids' sporting activities.

Alexandra Duffee

Guide, Casa D

REDS StaffAlexandra received her AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Prior to her Montessori training, she assisted at a Montessori school and also worked as a head teacher in a Head Start classroom in Brooklyn, NY. Alexandra has a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Columbia University.

Anne Duggan

Guide, Casa C

REDS StaffAnne has been teaching at REDS since 1999. She was born and educated in Ireland, and received her degree in Social Work from the University of Cork. Anne completed her Montessori training at the Montessori Institute of Atlanta, Georgia in 1997. Anne helped to develop the first Montessori school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and served there as a head teacher. Anne describes teaching as a very humbling experience and one that has taught her a great deal about how children learn, grow and develop. Anne lives here in Manhattan with her husband, Phil and Watson, their beagle.

Nora Farnisa

Floater

REDS StaffNora has worked as an after-school STEM instructor after graduating with a BSc. in Biotechnology from the University of Applied Sciences Krems, Austria in 2019. She has a welcoming and cheerful personality. She loves working with children and teaching them the wonders of our world through STEM by using safe hands-on experimentation. She feels every child has a natural aptitude for learning and possesses a unique creative nature. Nora enjoys assisting them on their journey through school. Nora also enjoys the arts of poetry, music, dancing, reading and sports.

Natalie Friestad

Guide, Casa A

REDS StaffNatalie has been involved in Montessori education for over fifteen years and is deeply committed to the philosophy. She has always felt a strong connection to the core values of Montessori education, specifically the adult’s role as a guide, and the deep respect of all children. She completed her training at the Montessori Institute of North Texas and holds an A.M.I. Primary diploma. She earned her B.F.A. from the University of North Texas and is currently working towards her master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education

Veronica Goldzberg

Assistant Business Manager

REDS StaffVeronica is the Assistant Business Manager and has been with REDS since 2012. Prior to REDS, Veronica worked as a financial analyst and an accountant. Veronica holds a Masters Degree in Accounting. She enjoys spending time with friends, family and her dog, Blake. Veronica loves going to the beach and swimming.

Justin Gómez

Assistant Guide, Casa A

REDS StaffJustin began working with children from a very early age as a babysitter in her neighborhood and then as a nanny for over ten years with several families. After working for almost a decade in social justice movements and organizing campaigns, she read a book by Maria Montessori and it changed her whole trajectory. As a result, she took her AMI Primary Assistant Training in Hartford and is completing her AMI 0-3 Lead Guide training now. She is working on her Bachelor's at CUNY after which she plans to go for her Master's in Early Childhood Education. Justin likes to salsa dance, bake, and read when she's not in the classroom.

Mona Kadric

Housekeeping

REDS StaffMona has over twenty years of experience in housekeeping. She enjoys coming to work every day and helping to create a clean and safe environment for the students at REDS.

Sarah Messmore

Guide, Casa B

REDS StaffSarah Messmore discovered her own love of learning at an early age. After graduating from Middlebury College in Vermont, having studied Art History and English Literature, Sarah went on to receive a Master of Arts degree in Art History from Sotheby’s Institute, London, and a Master of Education degree in Early Childhood Education from Loyola University, Maryland. Sarah completed her A.M.I. Primary Certification with Montessori Northwest in Portland, Oregon. Sarah joined REDS in 2009 and believes deeply in the mission of the school. She feels passionately that every child is both profoundly capable and innately intelligent. She is a wholehearted advocate for the Montessori philosophy, and considers it a privilege to help guide children within the magical window of development available from ages three to six years.

Quiana Myers-Vandrovec

Assistant Guide, Casa D

REDS StaffQuiana is deeply dedicated to her work with children. She believes in the Montessori philosophy that education is an aid to life, which reaches beyond the confines of the classroom, and works to support the whole child. Quiana holds an M.A.Ed. from Saint Catherine University, completed her Montessori teacher training through the American Montessori Society, and is currently working toward her A.M.I. primary certification. She has a background in holistic nutrition and is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

Andre Perez

Facilities Manager

REDS StaffAndre has spent the majority of his professional career in retail and logistics management. A desire to learn and experience new things led him to move to Georgia in 2015. While there, he combined his management experience with his handyman skills to explore a career in property and facilities management. Andre moved back to New York early this year and already feels at home at REDS. Andre loves to spend time with his mom, niece and nephew and goes to visit his father Wilfredo in Puerto Rico as much as possible.

Luke Polkoszek

Security and Maintenance

REDS StaffLuke graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2001 with a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice. He joined the Security and Maintenance team at REDS in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys motorcycles, art, and travel.

Ida Ren

Assistant Guide/Floater

After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied English, Ms. Ren embarked on a new journey and earned her Master's degree in Foreign Language Education from New York University. While teaching Mandarin to both young children and adults in different settings, she fell in love with Montessori. Now she is pursuing a Montessori Primary certification from the Association Montessori Internationale. In her spare time, Ms. Ren enjoys cooking, marker painting, and working on her crochet project.

Hannah Richard

Guide, Casa F/AMI Floater

REDS StaffHannah’s journey in Montessori began when she was a child herself at Litchfield Montessori School in Connecticut. Her path continued after receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Barnard College. She went on to receive an AMI Primary diploma, an AMI Assistants to Infancy diploma, and a Masters in Education from Loyola University. She is thrilled to be a part of the REDS community! Hannah enjoys reading and spending time with her husband and dog, Dixon.

Rhea Shome

Assistant Head of School/Director of Admissions

REDS StaffRhea joined REDS in 2002. She was born and raised in India. Rhea has lived in Hong Kong as well as the Middle East (Oman). Rhea has a B.A. degree from the University of Calcutta in India and has a diploma as an A.M.I. teacher from the Montessori Institute of San Diego, California. Rhea has traveled widely in South East Asia, Europe and the Middle East. She enjoys cooking and reading, especially works on spirituality. Rhea considers it an honor to work for REDS and watch young minds grow and develop.

Daniel Spence

Security and Maintenance

REDS StaffDaniel has been a member of the Security and Maintenance staff at REDS since 2013. He enjoys taking care of the building and working with the staff and students. Daniel is a graduate of ASA College.

Meg Spesia

Assistant Guide, Casa F/Floater

REDS StaffMeg is a lifelong believer in the Montessori method, having been a Montessori child for eleven years in Joliet, IL. She joins the REDS community after earning her BA in Theology and Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame and then serving the immigrant and refugee community of Houston, TX for the past year. Meg has been accepted into the AMI training program in Bergamo, Italy and is excited to study there after learning and growing with the incredible REDS community.

Jose Tavarez

Housekeeper/Porter

Chui Yee Tsang

Assistant Guide, Casa B

REDS StaffChui Yee previously worked at REDS from 2001 to 2013 as the Administrative Assistant. She is very excited to rejoin the REDS community as Assistant to Casa B. Chui Yee taught in a public school for a few years prior to REDS. She has an M.S. in TESOL and an M.S. in Bilingual Education from Long Island University. Chui Yee’s first experience working with children came when she signed up for an after school job in her sophomore year in high school. Since then, her work experiences have been with children or in school settings. Chui Yee was born in Guangdong, China. She is fluent in Cantonese, Taishanese, and also speaks some Mandarin. She enjoys road trips, travel, and most importantly, spending time with her son.