Meet Mr. Justin Shepard

Mr. Justin Shepard (pictured above, with his lovely wife and two Mr. Justin Shepard (pictured above, with his lovely wife and two “kids”) will join Directress, Mrs. Rebecca Callander, as the Assistant in the Upper Elementary.

1.  Describe your educational background and career path thus far. 
I graduated with a BS in Communications at Brigham Young University. While there, I volunteered for a program that encouraged at-risk youth to go to college, which started me on my current path.  I worked at a residential treatment center that treated kids with disabilities from autism to schizophrenia and most recently worked at a charter school for students with emotional and behavioral issues.  I am fascinated by the resilience of children and love helping them reach their potential and find hope where they had none.

2.  How/when did you become interested in Montessori education?  
With my career background, I’ve come across a lot of different educational philosophies. I was looking for something new when I came across Montessori and decided to shadow at Villa di Maria last September. I was struck by the fun, creative atmosphere as well as the independence of the children. It occurred to me that the Montessori model resembled the most successful programs that I had worked with but took it a step further. I immediately saw the value in Montessori and the potential it could have on children of all different backgrounds.

3.  What are you most looking forward to this coming school year?

4.  What three adjectives best describe you? 
Curious, resourceful, sincere

5.  Describe your family.
I grew up in Southern California. I’m the youngest of six kids:  three girls, three boys. Growing up we did everything together from baseball to camping to being extras in commercials. We all have a bit of a kooky sense of humor that we get from my dad, but we also have a touch of grace from my mom.
My wife grew up in St. Louis and is now working at the same hospital her sister was born in! We have two dogs that are super fun that we love to take on long walks and short hikes.

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

Spending the day at the beach with my family.

Your favorites:

– ice cream flavor: butter pecan
– color: blue
– season: fall
– book: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
– holiday: Christmas
– movie: Empire Strikes Back
– hobby:  I love to learn about other people and cultures.
– song: Vitae Lux by Sissel
– restaurant in St. Louis: Pappy’s/Southern
– vacation: Haleiwa, Hawaii
– sport: surfing
– game:  Fish Bowl- ask me about it
– fruit:  oranges (My grandparents owned an orange orchard in California)
– vegetable:  sweet potatoes

If you had to choose ONE:
– summer or winter? summer
– New York or California? California, all the way!
– cook or dine out? dine out- I love to cook, but I love it more when someone cooks for me!
– morning or night? night
– plane or train? plane
– library or bookstore? bookstore
– talk or listen? listen- I’ve learned a lot more that way.
– call or text? call
– warm or cool? cool
– save or spend? spend on experiences, not things
– coffee or tea? hot chocolate