Toddler Teachers
Preschool Teachers
Lower Elementary Teachers
Upper Elementary Teachers
Middle School Teachers
Specialty Teachers


JeffDr. Jeff Beedy
Interim Head of School


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)      Degree 1988       Harvard University
Master of Education (Ed.M)     Degree 1984       Harvard University
Bachelor of Science   (B.S)         Degree  1976      University of Maine

Dr. Beedy is a globally respected leader in the field of child development and education. While at Harvard, Jeff studied with world-renowned developmental psychologists Lawrence Kohlberg and Carol Gilligan. After graduating from Harvard, Jeff taught with Pulitzer Prize winner Dr. Robert Coles in the popular Harvard course Social Reflections of Literature.  Jeff’s book Positive Learning Using Sports is used around the globe including China, South Korea, Cyprus, Greece, and throughout the United States and Canada. As the founding head of the first school in the Global Education City in Jeju, South Korea, Jeff was instrumental in recruiting 400 students, 50 faculty from around the world, and designing the Total Human Development Approach to Global Education. This year Jeff joined Olympism for Humanity in Athens, Greece where he will work with other global organizations to explore how sports, music, and arts can be used for the positive development of children.  Jeff is currently working on his new book PLAY The Remaking of Children’s Sports for the 21st Century.

Jeff and his wife Karyn are professional musicians and have opened for such acts as Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul, and Mary.  Jeff and Karyn currently reside in Birmingham, Al and work at the Joseph S. Bruno Montessori Academy.

 Rebecca Little
Assistant Head of School


Rebecca is the Assistant Head of School and Director of Admissions at Joseph Bruno Montessori Academy.  Rebecca has been involved with Montessori education since 1995, either as a parent or educator.  She has taught in elementary Montessori classrooms and held various leadership positions over the last 14 years.  She received her Masters degree in Education from Nova Southeastern University and her Montessori Certification for grades one through six from the Houston Montessori Center.  She also holds degrees from Auburn University and the Cumberland School of Law. She is a member of the American Montessori Society and the Florida Bar.

Over the years, she has attended AMS conferences, Peace Symposiums, and completed the Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom Course offered through the International Network for Children and Families.  Rebecca is excited to work in a school with a model education program designed to bring out the best in every child.   She has a passion for education and is dedicated to providing support to students, families, staff and community members at JBMA.

Rebecca enjoys introducing people to the world of Montessori education and sharing her own Montessori experiences with current and prospective JBMA families.  She loves to read biographies, spend time with family and take walks with her black lab, Calusa.


image (9)Fay Shannon

Fay Shannon has worked at JBMA as the Office Administrator for the last 2 1/2 years. She works closely with our families, staff and school board maintaining and organizing all financial records and internal system controls. Before joining JBMA, Fay spent 35 years as both Company Treasurer and Secretary of a family business. Currently, she additionally serves as the Commercial Property Manager of SRP Management. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, cooking and spending time with her family and pets.


JoanJoan Meyers

I have been Administrative Assistant at JBMA since June, 2004.  When I came to interview for the job and walked around the campus with Ms. Theresa I knew this is where I wanted to be.  This has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding jobs I have had. In my spare time you will find me sitting on my back deck with a cup of coffee and a book.


photo_1Jessica Campbell

Jessica Campbell is a graduate of The University of Montevallo, Class of 2011. She graduated with a BS in Elementary Education. During the summer of 2013, Jessica traveled to Houston and took the Infant/Toddler Training Program at the Houston Montessori Training Center.



Mary Jo Wiley

Mary Jo Wiley is in her fourth year here at JBMA . She is a mom of 2 wonderful girls and 5 dogs . She grew up in Birmingham, Al and resides in Homewood ,Al. She is the assistant teacher in the toddler program and helps with extended day .

20131112_122910Naomi Breakenridge

Naomi Breakenridge was born and raised on a farm in Iowa. She has been at JBMA for 21 years were she is over the extended day program. She has
been married to her husband Ray for 27 years.





ShelleyShelley Klinner Hamilton

Shelley received her Bachelors Degree in Human Development and her Masters Degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Samford University. After graduation, she taught Second grade in public school. In 1999, she joined the teaching staff of Bruno Academy, teaching 3 to 6 year olds and Kindergarten. She received her Montessori certification from Memphis Montessori Institute in 2003. Shelley was first introduced to the Montessori method at 3 years of age when her parents helped start the Montessori school she attended in Tuscaloosa, AL. She still remembers with fondness many of the practical life jobs, preparing her own snacks, and, of course, the pink tower. She lives in Vestavia with her husband, Doug, and their two sons, John Douglas (JD) and Miller, who also attend Bruno Academy.


0014Lindsey Nichols

Lindsey is a Birmingham Native. She received her bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Montevallo in 2007 and her master’s degree in History from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2009. After teaching in an early childhood program in Birmingham, Lindsey and her husband, Chad, moved to Damascus, Syria to teach at an American school. After two years in Syria, they moved to Kuwait for one year to teach at a Bilingual School. Lindsey and Chad moved back home to Birmingham this year to give birth to their first child Jack.


saritaSarita Nair

Sarita has been teaching in Birmingham for a decade. She has a Bachelor’s in Literature and Travel, Master’s in Early Childhood Education, and Montessori certification in Early Childhood Education. She has always enjoyed working with children, especially with students and their individual needs that help them grow to their fullest potential with the ‘Differentiated Instruction’ approach.

She has a son, who is a High School Senior and will be off to college soon. She also has 3 sponsored children whom she is very proud of. She enjoys travelling and reading.


JenniferJennifer Pope

Jennifer Pope is from Birmingham, Alabama. She has has been employed at JBMA since 2004. She received her bachelor’s degree in 2004 from the University of Montevallo in Family and Child Studies. She attended The Barrie School in Silver Spring, Maryland and earned her Montessori Certification for the 3-6 age group in 2006. She received her teaching certificate and Master’s Degree from UAB in 2011 in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She and her husband have a son, Liam, who is two years old and attends the Toddler Program at JBMA.




ShwetaShweta Singh

Shweta Singh has lived in Birmingham for 15 years. She earned her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and her Class B, P-6 undergraduate certification from The University of Alabama. She graduated with Presidential Honors. She has previously taught first grade, and the past three years she has been teaching in the private school setting. This is her fourth year teaching at JBMA in the Preschool program. Shweta enjoys every aspect of teaching and her motto is “Teaching is learning”.




photo (4)Kathy Jones

Kathy Jones is in her second year teaching at JBMA. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and attended Birmingham Southern College. She recieved her B.A. degree in 1986 in Early Childhood Education. She is the mother of four children, all who attended JBMA. She is currently teaching with Ms. Shweta in the Preschool Program and is proud to be a part of the JBMA community. Teaching young children is her passion.


CatherineCatherine McElroy

Catherine McElroy grew up in Jackson, Alabama. She has a Bachelor in Science from the University of Alabama in Childhood Development and Family Studies. In 2006, she received a Master’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and holds a teaching certificate from the State of Alabama. She has been teaching various grades from toddlers to 5th grade since 2002. She joined the faculty at JBMA in the fall of 2011. She received her certification through the American Montessori Society in 2013. She is an avid runner and loves to be outdoors with her husband, Rob, and their dog, Carl.




GenieGenie Gibson

I began my journey into “Montessori” here at JBMA as an assistant with the Toddler class in 1997.  Through the years, I have worked in the Preschool, Upper, and Lower classrooms where I had wonderful experiences with Montessori mentors such as Ms. Margaret and Ms. Sue. I have a BS degree from the University of Montevallo in special education of the hearing impaired, plus Montessori certification in EI and EII.  I fully believe in the philosophy and methods used in a Montessori environment that encourage children to become independent learners.  That is why I love working with the students here at JBMA.

On a personal note, I have been married since December 1983 and have two sons. My husband has been the art teacher at Pizitz Middle School in Vestavia Hills since August 1983.  We enjoy sports, especially tennis.  My days as an athlete are past, but I liked going to games and matches when my boys were younger and I like watching sports now. We also work together as a family during the summer months building and installing lockers.  An interesting fact about me is that I was born on Leap Year, February 29th.

DSCN1321Rachel Acton

Rachel Acton is the newest member of the Lower Elementary team! She is orginally from Johnson City, TN, but has lived in Georgia and North Carolina. She has a B.S. degree in Early Childhood Education from Presbyterian College and a M.Ed. degree in Curriculum and Supervision from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has been teaching for 11 years, most recently at a STEM school in Concord, NC. She has always been interested in science and loves to observe the “ah-ha” moments that happen when students conduct hands-on science experiments. She is thrilled to join the JBMA family and looks forward to receiving her Montessori training. She has been married to her husband, Ben, for 10 years. They have a 20 month old son named Nate. She enjoys reading, singing, and spending time with her family.


photoRebecca Little

Rebecca is the Upper Elementary Lead Teacher.  Rebecca has 14 years of experience in the field of education, teaching children six years old through twelve years old in private Montessori Schools.  She received her Masters degree in Education from Nova Southeastern University and her Montessori Certification for grades one through six from the Houston Montessori Center.  She also holds degrees from Auburn University and Cumberland School of Law. She is a member of the American Montessori Society and the Florida Bar.

Rebecca works to prepare the Upper Elementary environment in a way that fosters and empowers children to work to their highest ability.  Children have an innate desire to learn and the prepared environment helps students develop into strong, independent, lifelong learners.  She enjoys helping students become engaged citizens in their classroom community and the community at large.

She appreciates the experiential value of learning outside of the classroom and has taken many school trips with students to places such as Newfound Harbor Marine Institute on Big Pine Key, Pathfinder Outdoor Education at Day Spring in Florida, Tremont in the Great Smokey Mountains, Camp McDowell, and the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center.

Rebecca loves to read biographies, spend time with family and take walks with her black lab, Calusa.


family1Salima Jan

Since a very young age, I enjoyed playing a teacher, with my dolls being the students. One of my pivotal inspirations was my own teachers at school. They had such an enormous impact on me, from the way they spoke to the way they dressed. I always felt obliged to please them and tried to do more than what they expected of me.

After finishing a teacher’s certification program, I joined the Ivy League School in Pearland as a Kindergarten teacher without wasting any time and was relishing every moment of my newfound career.

Being a teacher has become so immersed in my life and personality that I cannot picture myself in another profession. I believe very strongly that one never ceases to learn and even more so for teachers because they are in an environment where learning is continuous. Completing Masters in Montessori from a graduate school last year has only given me more tools and confidence to work and shape these young minds.

KimKim Josephson

Kim is originally from the Birmingham area.  She graduated from the University of Alabama with a BS degree in Medical Technology, and worked a number of years in clinical research at UAB.  Kim also took classes there to earn a BS in Geology, then a Master’s in Education through UAB’s 5th year program.  She started teaching in the JBMA Upper Elementary classroom in 2007, and acquired Montessori certification for ages 9-12 through CMTE/NY.

Kim is married to Joe Josephson, and has a son and a daughter.  She enjoys teaching content through the use of hands-on materials in the classroom, and conducts the Science Club after school for Upper Elementary age students.  Kim likes to read, swim, play tennis, and hike during leisure time.



photo (3)Chris Gallas

Chris Gallas was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri. She attended Saint Louis University and earned her Bachelors in Sociology and Education with an emphasis in Math and Science. Chris is married with four daughters. She is an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan and enjoys traveling, photography, kayaking, and playing Scrabble.




photo (6)Kate Chamberlain

Kate is originally from Annapolis, MD. She has a brother and a sister, both younger. She moved to Tuscaloosa and received her Bachelor’s Degree in History and English from The University of Alabama in 2011, and just recently finished her Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from Samford University here in Birmingham. She loves working with students individually to help them meet their goals and is very excited to be working with Bruno’s 7th and 8th Graders! At 24 years old, Kate coaches girl’s lacrosse on the side, enjoys traveling, and being outdoors. She loves college football and usually watches ESPN as her morning news. She also loves keeping track of current events with her students!




EvelynLaRotaProfileEvelyn LaRota

Evelyn is originally from Colombia, S.A. She has 3 children and a grandson. She went to college in Colombia (Javeriana University) and did Pre-med, then she received her degree in Child Development & Early Childhood Education. She has been working with children for the last 24 years in this country and 14 years with JBMA.  She worked in Colombia with the government for a few years, helping children with disabilities, teaching them how to read and write. At the same time she was the assistant at a television program for children “El Mundo de los Ninos” (The Children World). In this country she has worked in various settings: Montessori, Traditional and ESL programs.  She has dedicated many years of her life to children and she loves them! She feels she can help them in many ways. Her purpose is to help them feel secure and loved, to make it easier for them to learn. Her curriculum allows the child to experience the joy of learning.


photo (5)Gianna Zellner

Ms. Gianna is happy to be celebrating her tenth year as Drama Teacher at JBMA. Before joining the JBMA family, Ms. Gianna graduated with honors from Troy University, where she was awarded a full academic scholarship. She then spent 13 years as an Artist in Residence at Birmingham Children’s Theatre, where she did everything from acting, designing wigs and makeup, set construction and painting, props making, to stage managing shows throughout the southeastern U.S. and teaching workshops to Birmingham children. She also taught Creative Dramatics to preschoolers at Advent Episcopal Day School through Birmingham Southern College’s outreach program, and has worked around the country with such companies as the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Atlanta’s Kids Comedy Theatre.

Shortly after Ms. Gianna started raising her own family, a theatre teaching position opened up at JBMA. It was the perfect fit! JBMA has always worked hard to find teachers that are the perfect fit for our family-like community. Since she has a family of her own and has spent so much of her adult life working with children, Ms. Gianna knows how much each child matters and has to give. And because she has had the opportunity to work in so many different positions in theatre, she has real life experience in everything she teaches.


AdamAdam Young

Adam has taught physical education for ten years, nine of those being in a Montessori school. This will be his fourth year at JBMA. He also holds a certification in Low Ropes Course Administration and Community Gardening. Coach Adam has been married for eleven years and has two daughters who attend JBMA. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and competitive sailing.







CherylCheryl Kiker Walls

Cheryl currently teaches music at JBMA. She has been a part of the faculty since 1998 following twenty-eight years at Vestavia Hills Elementary. She earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Montevallo and holds Level III Orff certification. She was Teacher of the Year in Vestavia Hills City Schools in 1993 and Alabama Music Educators Outstanding Music Educator in 1994. Cheryl has served as director of children’s choirs, and as pianist and organist, in a number of churches in the Birmingham area, and on staff at Fine Arts Week at Sumatanga. She has presented workshops throughout Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee and has taught elementary music materials and methods courses at Birmingham Southern College. Cheryl has also served as cooperating teacher for more than 100 student teachers in Alabama.





mabry_bev05Beverly Mabry

Busy hands, busy mind, always wanting to know the how and why of things. I love to create and develop ideas that ultimately make people smile. I love color. I made the move to Birmingham from the Boston area when I married my southern boy. We have two amazing daughters, one living in Nola and one in her senior year at Alabama. Both are artists! I received my BA in Art from University of Massachusetts Westfield. My past experience has been in advertising, freelance design, mural work and gallery art. I am presently a Visual Arts Specialist at a private Montessori school teaching young creative minds and have been doing so for almost twenty years. I love the creative process and am always covered in paint! I live in Pelham, Alabama.




jessicaJessica Linville

Jessica is in her second year as the JBMA Media Specialist.  She maintains the JBMA library, teaching weekly library classes to all students, toddler through 8th grade.  Ms. Jessica received both her B.S. in Anthropology and Master of Library and Information Science degrees from the University of Alabama. Ms. Jessica grew up in Jacksonville, Alabama, and has lived in Birmingham since 2005.  She is happily married with a newborn son.



Upcoming Events

  • April 21, 2014
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  • April 24, 2014
    Lower to Children's Theater
  • May 1, 2014
    Field Day

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