Staff Bios

Joseph AlexJoe Alex, Director:

Joe graduated from Colby College in 1975, earned his MBA from Husson College in 1985 and CAS in Educational Administration at the University of Maine in 1989. He was a member of the Maine Air National Guard until his retirement in 2001. Since founding the Stillwater Montessori School in 1983, Joe has served as Director and has supported and enhanced the operations, curriculum development and afterschool programming of both the primary and elementary programs at the school. In 1996 he began a school Chess Club and has led several chess teams and individual students to regional and state awards and hosts the annual Martin Luther King Day Chess Tournament. Joe is actively involved in Maine Montessori Association, American Montessori Society, CISV and officiates high school soccer and swimming. He tends a thriving garden each summer and enjoys traveling, watching and play sports, especially basketball and racquetball. He lives with Joanne in Old Town with their two cats and visits regularly with his three children and two grandchildren.

Joanne DeFilipp AlexJoanne DeFilipp Alex, Education Director and Head Teacher, Primary Classroom:

After graduating from Colby College in 1976, Joanne received her Montessori Degree in 1979 and became certified as a Montessori Teacher in 1982 before opening the Stillwater Montessori School in 1983. Since then her classroom has grown and developed into a model of excellence for early childhood educators; a bright, vibrant classroom full of beautiful materials and extensive units of study that engage students and support a wide range of learning. In 2001 Joanne received her Masters of Education from the University of Maine. In addition to her position as Head Teacher and Education Director, she has been an active and dedicated advocate for early childhood education nationwide, and has held positions or done presentations for the American Montessori Society, Maine Montessori Association, Project Learning Tree, Project Wild, National Geographic Society, Maine Geographic Alliance, Maine Audubon, CISV, Maine Elementary Science Partnership Advisory Board, and Eastern Maine Community College Advisory Board. She transfers her love of children and the environment to upcoming teachers as an adjunct professor of early childhood and environmental education at the University of Maine and visiting faculty at the College of the Atlantic. Joanne's work in the field of education has been recognized nationwide and she has been the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in education, including 1998 Maine State Teacher of the Year, 2012 Maine Environmental Educator Association Eberhart Thiele Environmental Educator of the Year, 1995 Maine Audubon Society's Teacher of the Year, and 2002 and 2004 finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Education. She is also a published author; her book "I Wonder What's Out There? A Vision of the Universe for the Primary Classes" is a guide for teaching cosmic education to young children. Outside of the classroom Joanne enjoys walking, hiking, traveling, biking, wildflowers, reading, art and enhancing classroom materials and creating cultural kits for her classroom. She lives in Old Town with Joe and her two cats, and loves visiting her three children and two grandchildren.

Linda HallLinda Hall, Assistant Teacher, Primary Classroom/Administrative Assistant:

Linda received her CDA in Early Childhood Education in 1994 and has since worked as Director of Children's Circle Day Care and with Penquis and York County CAP. Linda joined the Stillwater Montessori School staff in 2000 and has filled both teaching and administrative roles at the school. Linda has a wonderful demeanor and connection with children of all ages. She enjoys reading, crafts, working with children and spending time at the ocean. Linda lives in Herman with her husband and has one son and a grandson.

Kate NoonanKate Noonan, Head Teacher, Elementary Program:

Kate earned a degree in Social Work from the University of Maine in 2011 and joined the staff at Stillwater Montessori School in the winter of 2012 as a long-term substitute for the Upper Elementary Program. She continued her involvement in the school as an Assistant Teacher and Montessori Intern for the 2012-13 school year. Kate began her Elementary Montessori Training the summer of 2012 and brings a wealth energy and enthusiasm into her classroom. Kate was born in Vietnam and grew up in Old Town, Maine. She has traveled abroad and done internships with Global Work with Immigrant Kids and Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine. She has taught swim lessons, worked at summer camp, as a behavioral health professional, and nanny. She enjoys sports, traveling, reading and spending time with friends and family. Kate lives in Old Town.

Meg Butler, Assistant Teacher, Primary Classroom:

Meg earned her BS in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Maine in 2011, including an independent study at Stillwater Montessori School. She is currently pursuing her MS Ed. in Early Childhood through the University of Maine at Farmington. Meghan began working at Stillwater Montessori School in 2013; her love of environmental education is a wonderful addition to the classroom. After graduating, Meg spent a year in Juneau, Alaska with the National Association for the Education of Young Children - Southeast Alaska through AmeriCorps. Since her return to Maine she has worked as a lead teacher at a small childcare center where she has gained experience working with all ages from infant through third grade. Her interests include spending time with friends and family, gardening, cooking, and caring for her ever growing list of pets (currently two dogs, one cat, 9 chickens, and two mice). She is an aspiring beekeeper and hopes to begin her first hives in the spring. She also looks forward to marrying her fiance next August.

Special Instructors

Cyd Dyjak Cyd Dyjak, Creative Movement and Dance Cid has a MA in Physical Education from the University of Maine and teaches physical education at several area schools. He also coaches Orono High School Varsity Girls Soccer and Cross Country Skiing. Cid has been teaching Creative Movement at Stillwater Montessori School since 1984. He lives in Orono with his wife and daughter.

Dan BarretDan Barrett, Music

Dan earned his BA and Masters in Music (Trombone) from University of Nevada and Brigham Young University and a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from Arizona State University. He currently teaches low brass instruments, music theory, and chamber music classes at the University of Maine. He performs as a trombone soloist throughout the country and has performed with the Utah Symphony, Bangor Symphony, Boston Brass Symphony, Carson City Symphony, University of Maine Symphonic Band, BYU Philharmonic Orchestra, and many other ensembles. He was a national finalist in the Music Teachers National Association Brass Solo and Chamber Music competition. Dan has been teaching music at Stillwater Montessori School since 2012 and has fun sharing his love of music with the students. Outside of music, Dan enjoys playing ball, wandering the woods and sledding with his two sons and wife.

Valiere Wallace Valerie Wallace, Art
Valerie holds a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design with a major in Illustration. She is a working artist specializing in painting, photography and papier machet. She has taught art in various capacities since 2006, including teaching lessons out of her studio, filling substitute positions for Orono High School, University College of Bangor, teaching at Suzanne Smith Elementary in Levant and volunteering at Asa Adams Elementary School. She has been the Artistic Director of OPL Pixie Promenade since 2008. She has artwork on display at the Orono Public Library and has donated work for Abnaki Girl Scout fundraisers. She has taught art at Stillwater Montessori School since 2011. Her passion for art is contagious and students love creating their own art under her tutelage and guidance. In addition to art, Valerie has been involved in her community through little league softball and Canoe City Swim Club. She lives in Orono with her husband and four children.

Shellie Butuski Shellie Batuski, Spanish, Shellie graduated from the University of Maryland with a major in French and minor in Spanish. She spent several years abroad in Spain, France, Mexico and Israel, increasing her knowledge of foreign languages before earning a degree from University of Maryland Law School and was a practicing attorney for many years. A few years ago she retired from law and now teaches Spanish, French, Hebrew to children and adults through classes and private tutoring. She has been teaching Spanish at Stillwater Montessori School since 2010. She lives in Orono with her husband; her two daughters are alums of the Stillwater Montessori School's Primary and Elementary Programs


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1024 Stillwater Avenue #1
Old Town, Maine 04468
Phone: 207-827-2404
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