As part of a series we’re calling Who We Are, we’re working to build and connect our community by interviewing the talented, dynamic parents and staff who make up the people of Villa di Maria. Today, we meet Samantha Clarke, Villa di Maria’s Villa di Maria’s Afternoon Floater and Elementary Late Stay Lead; if you have Elementary-aged children in Late Stay, surely you’ve heard your children raving about “that fun lady.” Read more about Samantha below. Villa di Maria: Tell us a bit about your background.
Samantha Clarke: I grew up in St. Louis, went to school in Tennessee, and then lived in Aspen, Colorado for most of my twenties. My husband and I just moved back to St. Louis about a year ago. We have a young son, Auggie. He’s super sweet. Auggie was a wonderful surprise – when we found out we were having him, we sort of scrambled to come back to St. Louis. The mountains are amazing, but it’s hard living and we wanted to be closer to family.
When in Aspen, I worked for an early literacy non profit called Raising a Reader. I was the Program Director there. Prior to that, I taught preschool in Aspen for several years. I have my Masters in art education, so that kind of morphed into doing early childhood, which I really enjoy.
VdM: How did you get into Montessori?
SC: When in grad school in 2010, I spent a year in St. Louis and was an Assistant at Hope Montessori out in Creve Coeur. When a job opened up here at Villa di Maria, I already knew I enjoyed Montessori and thought it was very interesting. I love what Montessori stands for.
VdM: What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies?
SC: We did love to ski. We’re big skiers, so we hope we can do that sometime this year. We have two dogs, Bacon and George, who, prior to having Auggie, were our obsession. We live close to Forest Park, so we love taking the dogs over there. Having a baby has changed a lot; suddenly our priorities are… sleeping! My husband is a screenwriter, and loves what he does.
VdM: What are you most looking forward to this school year?
SC: I’m working with the Elementary aged children in Late Stay, which is a refreshing change from working with preschool aged children. The conversations are totally different, the activities we can do together are very different; it’s a good change of pace for me. The staff here is so inclusive, so supportive, which I think is really important. You don’t always get that everywhere. It’s been a great place to work.