We are VdM: Upper Elementary Guide Katie Nelson

photo credit: Melinda Smith

The very best part of Villa di Maria is our people. Our community of families, faculty and staff is something to be proud of. In this series, We are VdM, we’ll highlight the energies, talents, humor and wisdom of some of our amazing people. Today, we’ll feature Katie Nelson. Katie joined Ms. Rebecca as co-Guide in Upper Elementary at the start of this year. Katie is a St. Louis native and holds a Master’s degree in secondary English education and an AMI diploma at the elementary level. She has served as a Guide at Campbell Montessori and City Garden. Katie brings kindness, playfulness and a happy energy to VdM. Welcome, Katie—we are thrilled to have you here!

Ms. Katie is nice and she understands her students; she gives us great lessons and describes them well. She is overall a great teacher; I am very glad to have her in the classroom.fourth-year Upper Elementary student (who very recently received a lesson on the semicolon)

Villa di Maria: How did you first find Montessori?

Katie: After receiving my Master’s in Education and having a disheartening student-teaching experience, my career took another path. While on that path, I met and worked with one of the sons of the head of school (also, uncle of Hank Yau), at Campbell Montessori. After one visit, I was hooked. I accepted the role of Assistant Guide at Campbell, and after my first school year there, began my Montessori training.

VdM: What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?

Katie: I enjoy spontaneous lunches, dinners, walks, or shows with friends. A great concert always makes for a lovely weekend!

photo credit: Shannon O’Connell

VdM: What was your favorite book as a child, and why?

Katie: Oh gosh, favorite book??? “Favorites” questions are always tough for me….

As a child, I loved reading so very much, it is difficult to come up with a favorite! I was always excited for book fairs and frequently had my nose in a book. One that stands out, as a very young reader, is Andy Bear. Andy was a polar bear cub who was raised at the zoo. I recall being so drawn to the story and felt attached, in a sense, to the bear cub. And the pictures of the baby bear were sooooooo adorable! That book stands out the most.

VdM: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Katie: Gosh, as a child, and even as an adult, I think I’ve desired to be everything under the sun, at one point or another, from architect to NICU nurse to teacher! Wanting to be a teacher has been a constant, however, while other professional desires were more fleeting. My mother once told me, when I was in my 20s and going back to school once again, that she figured I’d be a student for life, because of my absolute love of and for learning. Teaching allows me that pleasure, and I think that’s what childhood me envisioned most consistently.

VdM: What is your favorite quote/moment so far from/with one of your students?

Katie: I was gathering three sixth-year gals for a lesson. One of them clearly did not seem pleased to be called for a lesson at that time, and begrudgingly joined us. I presented fraction division with the materials, and by the end of the lesson, the gals were all three giddily expressing how much fun the work was! They went so far as to abstract a difficult division problem without the material. I loved sharing that experience with them. There have been countless memorable quotes, phrases, and moments; I could go on and on!

Katie brings kindness, playfulness and a happy energy to VdM. Welcome, Katie—we are thrilled to have you here!