All of our Teachers/Guides are diploma holders of the Association Montessori International (AMI). AMI was founded by Dr. Maria Montessori in 1929 and is the recognized global standard for Montessori quality. VFKH teachers hold a Master of Education in the Montessori Method. The teachers at VFKH have been teaching the Montessori Method between 5 to 30 years and our classroom assistants have been with the school 3 to 20 years.
Head of School
Mrs. Susan Kelly was first introduced to Montessori through a survey of education course while receiving her Bachelor’s degree. Mrs. Kelly spent a summer applying the concepts in a free summer program she created and was amazed at how brilliantly the children responded! Thus, Mrs. Kelly headed to Washington D.C. for her post-graduate AMI studies in Montessori and became a Primary Guide. After meeting and marrying Mr. Edward Kelly, the two opened Valley Forge Kinder House and the rest is history! Now they have 5 children and 8 grandchildren. Mrs. Kelly loves tennis, biking, walking, reading, and family time.
Limerick Campus Office
Mr. Kelly founded Valley Forge Kinder House in 1977 with his wife, Susan Kelly. Originally from the area, Edward Kelly has lived in Bryn Mawr, Ardmore, Wayne, and Royersford. He came to learn about Montessori through his wife and together they opened the school and have been dedicated to educating their 5 children and many more children through the years. Mr. Kelly enjoys making “Dad jokes”, biking, travel, and road trips. Just ask about his cross-country road trips!
Ms. Bernadette attended Valley Forge Kinder House from the age of one and continued through 4th grade in Montessori. Ms. Bernadette studied child development and business administration. She worked in China and Taiwan as an educator. Later, Ms. Bernadette was the child care professional development manager for southeastern Pennsylvania. After having her own children, Ms. Bernadette enrolled in the Montessori Assistants to Infancy training for the prenatal through age 3 time of development. Ms. Bernadette loves spending time with her three children, live music, traveling, and cooking (and eating!).
Mary Sue Barr
Mrs. Barr was introduced to the joyful world of Montessori learning by one of her college professors. She is grateful to have been able to build on her Montessori Primary training taken many years ago by more recently completing her Montessori elementary training and teaching in the area. Mrs. Barr is a lifelong Pennsylvanian, a veteran homeschool mom, and a dabbler in many needle and fiber arts as well as cooking, baking, and gardening. She is also a bibliophile!
A teaching internship after college was Mrs. Paseltiner’s introduction to Maria Montessori, which inspired her to take the Elementary Course at the Washington Montessori Institute. She has taught at The Whitby School in Connecticut and at VFKH Montessori School. Mrs. Paseltiner is also the proud parent of three Montessori graduates — two from The Montessori School in Connecticut and one from VFKH Montessori School. Mrs. Paseltiner was born in Durham, NC, and did most of her growing up in Port Washington, NY until her family moved to Bridgton, ME. She and her spouse lived in Connecticut for 20 years with their 3 children before moving to Pennsylvania 9 years ago. Mrs. Paseltiner is a rhythm tap dancer and an Irish step dancer. She loves genealogy, baking, and geometric constructions.
Primary Lead Teacher
Mrs. Garcia is from Toluca, Mexico and moved to Dallas, Texas in 1995. She loved seeing how independent children are in a Montessori classroom and enjoyed nannying for a Montessori guide. Her three children attended a Montessori school and after involvement at their school, Mrs. Garcia completed her AMI training at MINT in 2015. Mrs. Garcia’s passions are traveling and photography! Fun fact: She loves to share Google reviews of hole-in-the-wall restaurants and all types of fun places. She is also a fan of the outdoors, especially hiking, biking, and rollerblading.
Ms. Phelen started as a volunteer at VFKH in 10th grade and became very interested in Montessori. She continued on to college to earn a degree in Early Childhood Education. She then attended Washington Montessori Institute and completed her AMI Montessori Primary training. Ms. Phelen started teaching at VFKH in 1988 and has been here ever since! Over 30 some years. Ms. Phelen loves nature walks, singing, sewing, gardening, and children are her love.
Toddler Lead Guide