VdM’s Most “Decorated” Staff Member

Villa di Maria Class Picture Mrs. Megan, 5th grade, pictured far right
Villa di Maria Class Picture Mrs. Megan, 5th grade, pictured far right

Our favorite Megan Moffitt Eilers has not only been a…

  • Villa di Maria Student
  • Camp Pegnita Camper
  • Camp Pegnita Camp Counselor
  • Camp Pegnita Director
  • Villa di Maria Business Manager
  • Villa di Maria Director of Operations

But, she, as many of you know, will soon return “home” to become our second LOWER ELEMENTARY DIRECTRESS after one intensive, mind-expanding, passion-for-all-things-Montessori-inducing Elementary Training.

Camp Pegnita, 1990
Camp Pegnita, 1990

1.  Please give us your full history at Villa di Maria and Camp Pegnita!

Villa di Maria/Camp Pegnita has been my home for the past 27 years! I started as a three-year old in Annette Haines’s class in the cabin and continued on into the Elementary until my fifth grade year.

I spent several summers as a camper at Camp Pegnita and at age 13 trained to become a counselor. The following summer (2000) I started working at Pegnita and have literally never stopped!  I’ve played every role imaginable: counselor, lifeguard, director!

In January 2012, I began serving as both Business Manager and Director of Operations at Villa di Maria.  

Currently, I’m eagerly awaiting my return to VdM just in time for Camp Pegnita to begin and to prepare for 2016-2017 school year where I will fulfill my new role as a Lower Elementary Directress.

2.  Describe the evolution from studying Elementary Education with the hope of becoming a public school educator to instead training to become an Elementary Montessori directress?

Prior to pursuing a degree in Elementary Education, I worked in the mental health field as a clinical case worker at a residential treatment facility for children and adolescents in Philadelphia. After moving back to St. Louis, I knew I had to follow my real passion, teaching, and embarked on my Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. While taking classes and working as a nanny full time, I was offered an administrative position at Villa di Maria. I was thrilled to work in the place I loved so much while working on my degree.

Once I became part of the Montessori community and saw the true beauty and magic happening inside and outside the classrooms every day, I couldn’t help but be inspired by it all.

As I continued on with my graduate classes in the evenings, I quickly found myself disconnecting with some of the aspects of traditional education. With every class I took, the picture became more clear of what would be expected of me as a public school educator.  I realized, I did not want to stifle the children’s endless love and interest for learning by limiting the lessons to only those that prepare them for assessments. I ultimately decided that I needed something different, something more from education where children love to come to school, where children pursue their interests and where children make their own discoveries.  

After arriving at this conclusion, while wrapping up my final graduate class, I knew my journey in education was not over yet. Once I learned that VDM was growing and that there would be a place for me to work in the classroom as an Elementary Directress, I knew I must take the training in order to do what I love at the very place I love.

3.  What has been the BEST part of your Elementary training?

The best part of Elementary training has been working closely with all the materials and learning all the lessons at such a deep level. Montessori’s simple presentations with concrete materials unfold such complex ideas that inspire the children to want to learn more. I found myself eager to get my hands on the materials as soon as the presentations ended. Even now, while presenting the lessons to children, I find myself making new discoveries right alongside them. It’s truly amazing!

4.  What has been the most CHALLENGING part of your Elementary training?

Anyone who has taken the Elementary training will tell you that it is by no means an easy feat. The past 9 months have been a whirlwind of late nights and long weekends of writing, illustrating, and practicing lessons. The work has been challenging, but the most difficult has been being away from the people I love. When I set out on this adventure in Milwaukee, I had to temporarily leave behind my home, my husband Steve, my dog Pepper, my family, my friends and, of course, Villa di Maria. While away, I have received such tremendous support from everyone (especially my husband Steve) and am eager to get back home.

5. Your favorites:

– Color: Teal

– Season: Fall

– Book: The Giver by Lois Lowry

– Holiday: Halloween

– Movie: The Goonies

– Hobby:  Spending time outside and playing cards or board games

– Type of music: Depends on my mood!

– Restaurant in St. Louis: Kobe Steakhouse

– Vacation: Mexico and Colorado

– Sport: To play: Volleyball To watch: Cardinal Baseball

– VdM Childhood Memory: I couldn’t pick one, so I have two:
1) Making hot lunch! (I love to cook!) I remember making stone soup and thinking… Are we really going to put a stone in the soup? I am pretty sure we did, and the soup was delicious.
2) I remember being obsessed with horses and planning a going out trip to a horse farm where we cared for the horses and rode them.

– Camp Pegnita Memory: Too many to count, but if I had to choose only one, it would be coming up with the stories and games for our camp event, “Legends of the Magic Circle.” We created a game based off a concept of a favorite 90’s show in which we wrote and told stories about the history of Camp Pegnita.  The stories are brought to life in an epic game of riddles and challenges every summer.

6.  If you had to choose ONE:

– Coffee or tea? Tea

– Pencil or pen? Pencil (Pen is just so final)

– Mustard or ketchup? Mustard

– Morning or night? Night

– Beach or mountains? Both! Steve and I love them so much that we had to have our wedding in Mexico on a beach and our honeymoon on the slopes in Colorado.

– Dog or cat? Dog

– Talk or listen? Listen

A peek into the life and times of Mrs. Megan Eilers!  And, never fear- we’ll be hosting a “Meet Mrs. Megan” event soon after she returns to St. Louis!

Lastly, a full circle visual.  These childhood Halloween photos were taken in the same classroom in which Mrs. Megan Eilers will be teaching this fall!