Urban Garden Montessori Community

Faculty and Staff
Vera Chenault
Head of School
Mrs. Chenault is the founder of Urban Garden Montessori.  She grew up in Europe, lived in California and Colorado, and has made Arkansas her beloved home.  She attended the University of Arkansas, where she attained a degree in Microbiology, then attended UALR Law School.  After practicing law for eight years, she decided to put her passion for education into action and start a school in order to provide the Little Rock community with a quality Montessori school that extends through high school and is integrated into the fabric of Little Rock's vibrant downtown community.  Mrs. Chenault has long volunteered with organizations that serve youth and children, taught German and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and served on several nonprofit boards.  Serving as Compliance Officer and Chief Privacy Officer at UAMS for six years, she has a keen understanding of ethics and institutional integrity, inspiring a vision for a school with strong guiding principles and corporate transparency.  Mrs. Chenault is the mother of four children and one Golden Retriever.  She loves cooking with seasonal local foods, traveling, reading, and spending time with her family.
Myra Stenhammar
Mrs. Stenhammar has a Masters Degree in Montessori Education from the Washington Montessori Institute (WMI) of Loyola College. WMI is the oldest Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) accredited training center in North America and is widely recognised as one of the most prestigious and most demanding Master's of Montessori Education programs in the world. She holds a Bachelors of Science Education (BSE) from the University of Arkansas, and an Arkansas State Teaching Certificate for grade levels K-6 and middle school social studies.

Mrs. Stenhammar has 20-years of experience as a guide of elementary classes in Montessori schools. She has been a Lead Guide in both the Lower & Upper Elementary classes and her AMI diploma & training are for early childhood education with concentration of ages 6-12. She has additional training and certification from the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education, a multimodal program for identifying and understanding dyslexia and effective techniques for teaching children with dyslexia and other learning impairments.

Mrs. Stenhammar classroom experience and advanced training help her acquire an understanding of your child's current stage of development and an understanding of the the many different conditions and strategies necessary to support your child's development at each stage. Using her experience and with adherence to “The Montessori International Standard” and by use and application of “The Montessori Method” she has a long and distinguished record of successfully helping each child develop to the fullness of his or her potential.

Mrs. Stenhammar is very happily married, and has three adult children and five wonderful grandchildren who live in the local area. Her interests and activities include reading, walking, gardening, travel, Formula One, shooting sports, sewing, go-carts, water-slides, great movies, romantic dinners and viewing educational & documentary programs.
Suzanne Loerch
Ms. Loerch received her Early Elementary Certification from the Seacoast Education Center (AMS).  She is a passionate learner and shares in the joy of discovery alongside her students.  As a Montessori guide, Suzanne strives to develop in each child the ability to understand him/herself and to value their unique abilities.  She believes that the Cosmic Curriculum, taught through the 5 Great Lessons, and the materials developed specifically for this age group are our best tools to help each child realize the way in which they can interact with and be of service to the people and world around them.  Ms. Loerch seeks to honor Maria Montessori’s persistent belief in the ability and inherent value of each person, asking each child to work in a way that challenges their mind and engages their heart.
Ms. Loerch has degrees in Music from SUNY College at Purchase (BFA), Cincinnati Conservatory of Music at UC (MM) and was a Doctoral Candidate in Music at SUNY Stony Brook.  Other training includes the first level of Kodaly training, an experiential method for teaching music, at James Madison University (VA.)  Suzanne served as the Lead Guide for the Early Elementary class at Arkansas River Valley Montessori from 2005-2010, taught music (Prek-5th grade) at the Cathedral School in Little Rock, and has served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Central Arkansas and Hendrix College.
Jennifer Reeves
Miss Reeves graduated from Western State College of Colorado with a Bachelors degree in Outdoor Recreation and Psychology. She began her post graduate career working as an instructor for the North Carolina Outward Bound School. Here she led 2-3 week long backpacking expeditions with for teenagers age 14-18. She taught leadership and teamwork through backpacking, climbing, and canoeing. For six years she led a nomadic lifestyle, moving with the seasons. She worked as a whitewater raft guide in North Carolina, ski instructed in Montana, led environmental science flat water canoe trips in the Florida Everglades, taught experiential education at a community college, and finally spent a year in Australia working for Outward Bound and traveling. In 2011 she returned to her native home of Little Rock,
Arkansas and worked for the U of A Cooperative Extension, teaching outdoor education and science to 5th graders and leading groups on the high ropes course and team building initiatives, She was looking for something permanent to dig her heels into when she accepted a position as an assistant at a Montessori school. Miss Reeves was intrigued and inspired by the Montessori method, and it felt like a perfect fit with her hands on experiential education background. She began her training in 2013 at the Montessori Institute of North America in Jackson TN. She will continue her practicum at Urban Garden in 2014 and will complete her certification in August of 2015. Jenny enjoys all things outdoors and is passionate about learning and working with children.
Jade Salzman
Jessica Arnold
Aftercare and Garden
Catherine Snyder
Algimantas Stackevivious
Mr. Algis was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he began his studies in violin at age seven at the M.K. Ciurlionis School of fine Arts. He received the Master of Music degree from Lithuanian State Conservatory. Since his arrival in the U.S. in 1999, Mr. Staskevicius has also earned an M.M. degree from Southeastern Louisiana University. He has performed with Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and was principal second violin in the Filarmonica del Bajio in Guanajuato, Mexico and the Nuevo Leon Symphony in Monterrey, Mexico. He has participated in international festivals in Luxembourg, Germany, Spain, Japan and Mexico. In 2008 he has joined the violin section of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.
Sensei Chris Perry
Martial Arts and P.E.
Sensei Chris grew up in Cuong Nhu programs in Atlanta. He attained his black belt at the young age of 18. He has a degree in Music Composition from University of California, San Diego.
His love of music spills over into our kids' programs.
Senpei Gaylan Lewallen
Martial Aarts and P.E.
Senpei Gaylan is one of our P.E. instructors, morning martial arts instructors, as well as a UALR woodwork design student and sculptural costume artist.
Emily Hagberg
Office Assistant
Juliet Coppinger
Item Body
Board of Trustees
Chris Moses
Eartha Daniel
Vice President
Leah Braswell
John Tisdale
Tanner Critz
Shayna Faulkner
Hadley Lewno
Jennifer Paul
Kerri Sernel