Raising Healthy, Happy Children Since 1968

 

Serving children 12 months through 8th grade.

 
 
 
 

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A Learning Environment With a Proven Track Record of Excellence

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Sea Pines Montessori Academy has been educating children for over 45 years. South Carolina's original Montessori preschool, we currently serve children 12 months to 8th grade. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina's first and only Montessori school.

An internationally recognized private school, Sea Pines Montessori Academy is dedicated to developing the whole child – socially, emotionally, and academically.

Our teachers and facility are accredited and highly qualified.

Care to see a quick snapshot of our school?  We are happy to archive our newsletter, SPMA TODAY, for viewing.  Our newsletter showcases important events, our thriving PTO, school department information, and relevant Montessori and child-education topics.  

2017-2018 Newsletters: AUGUST 2017 SEPTEMBER 2017 

 OCTOBER 2017 NOVEMBER 2017  DECEMBER 2017 

Phillip EvansGraduate

In my 14 some years that I was at Sea Pines Montessori Academy, I came to realize that the Montessori curriculum is the best method of education for primary and secondary age students. Coming into the public school environment I've learned to become self-motivated, I've learned to manage my time more effectively than my peers, and I've become a life-long learner that is passionate about learning just for the sake of becoming a better intellect.

​Keep reading to learn about all the Sea Pines Montessori has to offer your family. 

Welcome to the Future of Education

  • Counting down the hall
    Counting down the hall
  • Because she wants to
    Because she wants to
  • Small group learning
    Small group learning
  • Creative expression
    Creative expression

Picture this: A room of students, all aged within a few years of each other. The oldest help the youngest. The youngest eagerly learn from their peers. 

Did you know? The future of education has been around for over a century. ​

Kunich Family Alum

“We have been at Sea Pines Montessori since 1996...We have always felt there is no better or safer place for our children to attend school...Our children have learned how to respect themselves and others. They have learned to love learning. They will absolutely be better people because of the educational experiences and life lessons they have had at Sea Pines Montessori.”

Parents, Educations, and Researchers Agree

Read about the future of education, and you'll discover the Montessori Method is grounded in state of the art research and behavioral health. 

Montessori accredited teachers use advanced educational techniques that are proven to work. Traditional classrooms are catching on. Our methods work. 

  • ​Project-based learning
  • Self-directed students
  • Collaborative environment

Today's child development experts know that small group settings and community awareness encourage a healthy sense of self and are vital to meeting the social and educational needs of a child. 

Sea Pines Montessori Academy Math

The hand teaches the brain. Montessori students at work.

The GreensPrimary

We chose SPMA for our son after signs of him becoming overwhelmed at a larger school. This school is a "family unit"- all teachers and staff know my son's name and face, parent's full names, and even approved pick-up personnel. That is important to us as parents! 

Our school environment is exactly what children to thrive. 

Sea Pines Montessori Academy on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
" ...every other education method is based on an abstract model of the child and then derives educational models from that. Maria Montessori, a doctor and researcher, went the other way around: she experimented with methods and, based on the results, built up a theory of the child, which she then tested and refined through experiment." Pascal-Emmanuel Gorby, Forbes
Lynn NguyenParent

"...My son wakes up everyday looking forward to his day at school. I would definitely recommend this school to everyone."

We Foster Your Child's Natural Love of Learning

Conventional schools assume children must be forced to learn. 

We know differently. This video explains why an accredited Montessori environment helps children thrive, in school and life. No threats of pop quizzes, homework, or tests needed. (Don't worry, students perform grade levels above "traditional" students.)  

Standardized testing and test prep are offered throughout the year. 

Sea Pines Montessori Academy exceeds testing standards while preparing students emotionally and socially for high school and beyond.

A Highly Qualified School & Staff

Our Accreditations Stand for Our Commitment to Quality Education.

Member of American Montessori Society

The American Montessori Society sets high standards for qualifying as a member school. Our school is peer-reviewed, ensuring teaching principles and standards adhere to the Montessori philosophy of educating the whole child, socially, emotionally, and intellectually. 

Southern Association of Independent Schools

Overseen by the National Association of Independent Schools, the Southern Association of Independent Schools  accreditation demonstrates a dedication to highest standards of education and ongoing assessment and self-evaluation for continual improvement.

Member of Southern Association of Colleges & Schools

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation ensures that your child receives full credit for classes taken when transferring to high school. This rigorous certification took almost two years of assessments and applications to receive.

Certified teachers, scientists, musicians, and more. Our staff has the qualifications and education that matter to your family. 

Ashley Alcock - Sea Pines Montessori staff
Lower Elementary Teacher

Ashley Alcock is the Lower Elementary Teacher.

She is dedicated to guiding children to become respectful, responsible, and well-educated individuals that are inspired to help make the world a better place.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Science in Education
  • Certification in Early Childhood Education
  • Certification in ESL (English as a Second Language)
  • Elementary I Credential from Seacoast Center

Two of her passions that the children especially enjoy are Crafting and Singing. Ashley finds that crafting projects spur creativity and artwork, which makes learning hands-on and relevant – not to mention fun! She finds singing to be useful as a learning tool and helps to soothe the soul.

Lead Middle School Teacher

John Dogger is the Lead Middle School Teacher at Sea Pines Montessori Academy.

He is dedicated to adolescent education, curriculum development, and Montessori research.

A middle school teacher since 2012, John also coached Cross Country for several years and coached at CTF.

 

WebQuality-20161130-IMG_9550
Lead Preprimary Teacher

Kayla Bass is the Lead Preprimary Teacher and is dedicated to aiding children in the independence of self-directed exploration. Her goal is to foster growth and development in a safe and complete learning environment.

  • 10+ years experience working with young children in both classroom and private setting
  • Currently completing the Infant|Montessori Certification

As a mother to a 5-year-old girl and a baby boy, 17 months, Ms. Bass is committed to expanding her knowledge of child development and translating teachings into actionable developmental assistance for infants and toddlers.

With her extensive background in child care, Ms. Bass is uniquely qualified to offer Sea Pines Montessori’s youngest students a safe place to develop emotionally and physically.

Melinda Cotter - Principal Head of School Sea Pines Montessori Academy
Head of School

Mrs. Cotter is the Head of School for Sea Pines Montessori Academy. She is dedicated to advancing the academic success, social and emotional development, and independence of each student at SPMA.

Qualifications:

  • BA, University of Virgina
  • M. Ed, George Mason University
  • Early Childhood and Elementary Montessori Certification from the Insitute for Advanced Montessori Studies
  • SLLA K-12 Certified Principal, Board of Education

Melinda enjoys reading, creative writing, and art, and believes that these activities provide a foundation for literacy. An outdoors enthusiast, Melinda can be found hiking a mountain trail, playing on the beach with her German shepherd, Hampton, or visiting new parks/nature preserves in her travels.

“When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength.” – Maria Montessori

Read Melinda’s Head of School Welcome here.

Lauren Kelley teacher sea pines hilton head private school
Primary Teacher

Ms. Kelley is the Primary Teacher in the Red Room and is dedicated to developing independent, critical thinkers.

Her qualifications include:

  • SPMA teacher for 14 years
  • MEPI Montessori Training
  • B.S. Degree, East Stroudsburg University

Lauren loves to bake, practice yoga, and read. She is often found digging into geography and finding interesting ways to teach the children.

Priscilla Kelly teacher sea pines hilton head private school
Lower Elementary Lead Teacher

Ms. Kelly is the Lead Lower Elementary Teacher. Dedicated to providing a fun, learning environment, she works hard to be a good role model for her students.

Her qualifications include:

  • High School – Hilton Head Prep
  • Degree in Elementary Education, Belmont Abbey College
  • Lower Elementary Montessori Certification, SeaCoast Training Center

Priscilla is the Club Volleyball Coach for the Low Country Volleyball Club. She went to Nationals in 2013 and 2015 after winning the region.

WebQuality-20161130-IMG_9553
Lead Teacher Primary

Ashley Schilling is the Lead Teacher in the Blue Room. She is dedicated to opening the hearts and minds of young children.

Her qualifications include:

  • B.S. in Sociology and Psychology
  • M.S. in Early Childhood Education
  • Montessori Early Childhood Certification

Ms. Schilling enjoys spending time with her family. Her husband, son, and two rescue dogs are eagerly anticipating the arrival of her daughter, due in February of 2016. She often volunteers at the local animal shelters.

Board Treasurer Erika Morgan
Director of Operations

Erika Morgan is SPMA’s Director of Operations.

Mrs. Morgan worked as the Director of Finance & Operations in a Montessori school in Northern Virginia and brings with her an extensive background and knowledge of managing a large private school.  She moved to Hilton Head in 2008 and has recently served as an officer (Treasurer) in the Board of Trustees.  Erika joins us from the Financial & Accounting department at Carey & Company on the island.

 

Chris Harris, Office Manager
Office Manager
Mrs. Harris is the Office Manager for Sea Pines Montessori Academy.
She has worked and been a parent at SPMA for close to 20 years total. Her children attended SPMA. She left to work for another island school, but rejoined the SPMA family in 2002.
Chris moved to Hilton Head in 1979. She raised three children here, two of which attended Sea Pines Montessori in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.
Dean St Hillaire
Guitar Instructor

Dean St. Hillaire is a music teacher at SPMA and dedicated to seeing more children involved in the arts.

Passionate about teaching music to kids, Dean is also a very successful local musician and works with some of the area’s top artists.  Dean teaches guitar instruction (individual and group) to the students.  Additionally, he helps with the school musical.

He is a graduate of Greenville Secondary School.

384M
Athletics Director/Sports Coach

Ben Kozik brings over a decade of coaching experience to Sea Pines Montessori Academy this year, including having coached several sports throughout his athletic career.

Kozik began his coaching profession in 1998 as an Assistant Track and Field Coach at Hoosac Valley High School in Massachusetts. He focused on coaching hurdlers, long-jumpers, and triple-jumpers. That season, he helped lead the Boys’ Team to a league title and a 2nd place finish in the Western Massachusetts Track and Field Championships.

In 1998, Kozik enrolled at Syracuse University, where he played football for the Orange from 1998-2001. He was a member of the 1998 Big East Championship Team, and attended the Orange Bowl, Music City Bowl, and Insight.com Bowl over his four seasons. Kozik was named to the Big East All-Academic Team during his time at Syracuse and nominated as a Verizon Academic All-American.

After graduating with his M.B.A. from Syracuse in 2007 and several other assistant and intern positions, Kozik accepted the Director of Athletics position at Southern Vermont College. During his time there, Kozik oversaw the building of new soccer and baseball fields and is credited with moving the school into the New England Collegiate Conference. He also served as the Head Women’s Basketball Coach and held brief interim stints as the Head Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Coach and Sports Information Director.

In 2010, he received his Personal Training Certification and later, accepted a position as the Wide Receiver Coach at Hamilton College, a top-academic liberal arts institution, in Clinton, NY. He was promoted to Special Teams Coordinator in 2012. During his time at Hamilton, Kozik also served as the Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach.

In 2015, Kozik moved to Hilton Head Island and began participating in CrossFit. This past summer, he co-coached a Youth Athlete Strength and Conditioning Program at Conviction Training Facility. The program consisted of stretching, weight training, plyometrics, and agility drills to improve the overall conditioning and athleticism of young athletes.

Despite his busy schedule, Kozik continues to compete in road races, which include distances from 5k to half-marathons. He has twice completed the Boilermaker in Utica, NY, the largest 15k in the country. He also completed the Savannah half-marathon last September. In addition to competing in CrossFit events on Hilton Head, Kozik enjoys yoga and playing golf in his spare time.

WebQuality-20161130-IMG_8616
Spanish Teacher
Katherine De Freitas Sea Pines Montessori Music Teacher
Suzuki Piano Teacher

Katherine G. De Freitas is the Music and Suzuki Piano Teacher at Sea Pines Montessori Academy. She is dedicated to enriching every child with a love and appreciation of music.

Her qualifications include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Organizational Communications, Minor in Music, Ohio University
  • Certified Music Together teacher
  • Certified Montessori Para-Professional
  • Suzuki Association of Americas (SAA) certified through Suzuki Piano Book

Katherine loves to sing, dance, and play all types of music. She enjoys the quality time with SPMA students and is passionate about teaching music.

With a child who attends SPMA and one who will as soon as she’s old enough, family and quality education are Katherine’s priorities.

Beth McCune Elementary Teacher Sea Pines Montessori
Lower Elementary Teacher

Beth McCune is a Lower Elementary Teacher and is dedicated to educating the whole child by helping each child gain independence, self-confidence, and an awareness of the importance of their role in a building a peaceful, cooperative community.

Qualifications:

  • BA in Education, Major in Special Education, University of North Florida
  • Teaching certificate Special Education, K-12 (Varying Exceptionalities, Multi-Categorical)
  • Teaching certificate in ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
  • Montessori training for Lower Elementary (ages 6-9)

Beth enjoys spending time out in nature with her family, with a passion for the beach and kayaking local waters. She is passionate about sharing with her students the importance of preserving our island.

You can find Beth frequently researching new lesson ideas and ways to make learning more beautiful.

Kerry McKinney Teacher Sea Pines Montessori Academy
Lead Infant/Toddler Teacher

With over 17 years teaching experience, Kerry has been a valued member of the faculty at Sea Pines Montessori Academy since 2004.

Kerry is the Lead Infant/Toddler Teacher in the Light Green Room and is dedicated to fostering each child’s unique attributes while teaching them how to work as part of a community of peers.

Her qualifications include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Child Development
  • Preschool/Kindergarten Montessori Training for children aged 32-months to 6-years from the North American Montessori Training Center
  • Infant/Toddler 0-3 Montessori Training from Montessori Educational Programs International
  • 17+ years teaching experience

Kerry loves the outdoors and exercise. She encourages children to learn through nature and start a love for an active lifestyle.

Her family is a top priority. Learning to love and nurture the different personalities that her own children have guides her in helping the families she works with to understand and nurture the personalities of the children she has been entrusted to guide.

Margo Fletcher SPMA teacher
Upper Elementary Teacher

Ms. Fletcher is an Upper Elementary Teacher dedicated to teaching children to love learning.

Her qualifications include:

  • Upper Elementary Certified (ages 9-12) from the American Montessori Society
  • Lower Elementary Certified (ages 6-9) through Montessori Educational Programs International (MEPI)
  • Primary Certified (ages 3-6) through MEPI
  • Certified Montessori Model United Nations Coordinator
  • Bachelors Degree from Virginia Intermont College

Margo is passionate about animals, fitness, and photography. She enjoys teaching children about animal welfare and the important of exercise to stay healthy.

Joy Krimm music teacher sea pines hilton head private school
Music Teacher, Suzuki Violin Instructor, & Enrichment Coordinator

Mrs. Krimm is the General Music Teacher & Enrichment Coordinator for Sea Pines Montessori Academy. In addition, she teaches Suzuki Violin. Joy is dedicated to fostering musical growth and appreciation for the arts in her students.

Her qualifications include:

  • Master of Music in viola performance, University of Hartford
  • Bachelor of Music in viola performance, East Carolina University
  • Completion of Suzuki Violin long-term training for Violin Books 1A-10, East Carolina University
  • Music Together teacher training

Personally, Mrs. Krimm enjoys baking, cooking, crafting, and dancing. She is also passionate about music history.

Student Life

At Sea Pines Montessori Academy, we focus on educating the whole child. From cross-country to Spanish, our students participate in fun, engaging, productive extracurriculars. Sports, games, and outdoor time help children learn.

  • Typical Classroom
    Typical Classroom
  • Cast members from the Wizard of Oz
    Cast members from the Wizard of Oz
  • Golf Instruction at The Sea Pines Resort
    Golf Instruction at The Sea Pines Resort
  • Safety lessons with the Hilton Head Fire & Rescue Dept.
    Safety lessons with the Hilton Head Fire & Rescue Dept.
  • Violin Lessons with Ms. Krimm
    Violin Lessons with Ms. Krimm
  • Happy Friends
    Happy Friends

Our group settings are exactly the right size for building confidence in your child.

How We Compare

What Sets Us Apart 

Sea Pines Montessori Academy is a private, non-profit school internationally recognized for promoting a healthy social atmosphere and recruiting stellar staff. Students consistently perform grade-levels ahead of traditionally-schooled peers. We offer an environment where students can develop the social and educational skills they need to excel in high school, college, and beyond.

  • Internationally recognized, certified teaching staff
  • Strong extracurricular and student life programs
  • Proven educational methods for developing social and critical-thinking skills

By The Numbers

Varsity Sports Participation of Grads
Top 5% Nationwide Testing Performance
High School Math in Middle School

The percentages above reflect the (M.S.) Middle School students. 

“…when strictly implemented, Montessori education fosters social and academic skills that are equal or superior to those fostered by a pool of other types of schools.”

Dr. Angeline Lillard, Professor of Psychology,

Author of Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius

Research Results here

Our Programs

Sea Pines Montessori Academy has a long-standing tradition of dedication to the community and instilling in our children confidence and compassion. SPMA is a highly qualified Hilton Head Island school serving 12-months through 8th grade. 

Sea Pines Montessori Preschool Kindergarten and Lower School Pre K-1st grade

Toddler & Preschool 

Our Early Childhood Program sets the groundwork for instilling a love of learning in children. We foster independence, good manners, play, and personal and community growth. Accepting children 12 months to 6 years.   

Sea Pines Montessori Academy Elementary School K-5 grades

Elementary

A natural continuation of our Early Childhood Programs, the SPMA Elementary program offers an award-winning educational model. The Lower Elementary serves ages 6-9 and the Upper Elementary serves ages 9-12.

Sea Pines Montessori Middle School Program grade 5-8

Middle School

A socially appropriate community led by the internationally recognized Dr. Baird. The SPMA Middle School offers an engaging social atmosphere and and high school preparatory environment that meets and exceeds the needs of students ages 12-15. 

The Right School

Early Childhood Classroom | Sea Pines Montessori

Sea Pines Montessori Academy offers a unique, challenging, and nurturing social atmosphere. 

If you’re searching for a healthy, safe, and social school with rigorous academic standards, the SPMA environment could be the right fit for your child. As you explore your school options, this checklist is helpful for interviewing schools in an effort to find the best fit for your family.

The most important thing you can do when interviewing schools is to sit in the classroom. Spend 30 minutes absorbing the environment that your child will spend the next year in. Talk to the teacher and introduce yourself to the students.

We're confident your family will love all that Sea Pines Montessori Academy has to offer. ​


To experience everything Sea Pines Montessori Academy has to offer, request a tour now. 

What Innovators Have In Common

Ask the founders of Google, Steve Jobs, Julia Childs, George Clooney, and over 6000 high-performing innovators where they went to school.

Their answer? Montessori.

THE NEXT GENERATION OF SCHOOLING IS HERE

We're happy to answer any questions. Contact Sea Pines Montessori Academy at (843) 785-2534 of email office (at) spma.com.