Meet Ms. Jessie Braud

1.  Describe your educational background. 

I have a BA in English and Spanish from Saint Louis University with an emphasis in Creative Writing. I also decided in college that after I got my Bachelor’s, I was NEVER going to be a teacher and NEVER going to go back to school… Past “me” was hilarious!

2.  How/when did you decide to pursue Montessori education?

It’s a great (perhaps that should be in quotes) story. I graduated college and was living back in my hometown. I was casually walking back from the dentist with some happy, clean teeth when I happened to see an old friend’s father outside of the Montessori school in my neighborhood. I remembered him working there when I was younger. At this point, he and his wife both owned and taught at the school. He asked me to come in, so I did.  They needed a lifeguard for the summer, and I needed a full-time job, so boom!  I was asked to stick around for the school year as a Primary Assistant, and by the end of the year, I knew this was more than just a job. This was special. It’s not everyday that you get your teeth cleaned and discover your passion in the same day!  Within two years, I decided to move back to St. Louis and get my AMI diploma, so I would be able to have a classroom of my own! And, here I am!

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

Besides drawing all the illustrations for my albums?? (I’m not kidding. I’m one of the crazies who loved that part!) The best part of my Montessori training was all the self-reflection and discovery within myself- it totally changed my outlook on everything. My experience in training was full of those little light bulb moments, really, of why humans function the way they do, of how so much of a person stems from such a short amount of time at the very beginning of his/her life, and of the slow understanding that Montessori much more than “preschool” (like I had thought for a long time) but a lifelong process of human development! Dr. Montessori had all the answers way back when, and it was such a joy to discover them and connect to them through the process of the training.

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

Hmmm… most challenging… well, I had a really hard time sitting still in a chair for six hours every day during observations!  Oh, and the written exams REALLY made my hand hurt!

With Dad at the Taylor Swift concert (who genuinely loved it!) With Dad at the Taylor Swift concert (who genuinely loved it!) With Mom and Vincent at the Van Gogh exhibit in Chicago With Mom and Vincent at the Van Gogh exhibit in Chicago

5.  Describe your family.

I grew up in Springfield, Illinois (where everything is Abraham Lincoln!). I have a sister and a brother, both older than me. No pets right now, and I never had a dog or cat although growing up we did have a pufferfish named Spike!

If you were to plan a most perfect, relaxing weekend day, what would it entail?

Waking up early and going on a long run or doing some yoga, cooking a big breakfast, reading a book outside in the shade while drinking an icy cold Coca-Cola (THE best!), wandering around the Art Museum, going out to dinner somewhere and ending the night curled up on the couch under piles and piles of blankets to watch a movie.

Cheering on the US women's soccer team before they head off to the Olympics  Cheering on the US women’s soccer team before they head off to the Olympics

Your favorites:

– color: It’s a FOUR way tie, of course! Turquoise/teal, royal purple, sunshine yellow, and hot magenta are my favorites! Rich, jewel tones all the way!
– season: Spring! Specifically when the flower petals are falling off the trees and the aroma is all around! Ahh, heavenly.
– book: TOO MANY. I usually give myself at least two favorites, classic and contemporary. Classic favorite is always Frankenstein (YEAH Mary Shelley!) and my contemporary favorite is usually whatever I just read, which happens to be Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians. But, I’m forever a Harry Potter fan, honestly. I should just say Harry Potter!
– holiday: Thanksgiving- good food, good times, and not as stressful as Christmas!
– movie: Any Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki movie! Especially Kiki’s Delivery Service!
– hobby: Painting/Drawing
– type of music: Pop! And no, I’m not ashamed!
– song: I always say that my anthem is Mika’s “We Are Golden.”
– restaurant in St. Louis: Bailey’s Range
– vacation: Going snowboarding in Colorado
– sport: Volleyball
– game: Pandemic. Nothing like saving the world from certain doom. If you’re into this and haven’t tried the Legacy version, I highly recommend it!
– fruit: Mangos
– vegetable: Beets

If you had to choose ONE:

– rain or snow? Rain
– coffee or tea? Tea although I drink coffee as well, tea is just so versatile!
– pencil or pen? Pencil. Pen only if I can use lots of different colors!
– morning or night? Very early morning
– ocean or lake? Ocean
– dog or cat? Dog
– talk or listen? I gotta be honest: talk!
– walk or run? Run
– save or spend? I wish I could say save, but spend!
– salt or pepper? Pepper
– realistic fiction or fantasy? Fantasy

I’ve already received such a warm welcome, but again, I’m so happy to be joining the Villa community! This is going to be a fantastic year.