Characteristics of Professional Excellence

Our guides…

Meet the Faculty


Mrs. Heather Bonacorda, Head of School

Both of Heather’s children are JMS graduates, from the school’s Adolescent Level. She came to the school as a parent in 2004. After witnessing the effect Montessori education had on her son, at 2 ½, she decided she had to know more of what it was all about and applied for the training at Meca-Seton (now called Seton Montessori Institute) in Clarendon Hills, IL.  Heather completed her training in 2000.

Heather served on the Board of Trustees of JMS for six years, the last year of service as President. She has been a consistent volunteer for events and functions as well. She enjoys the feeling of family in a Montessori environment. Here at JMS she loves watching children progress from 3 years old through Adolescence and being part of a community that understands and respects Montessori education so thoroughly.

Heather has lived in Peotone, IL, moving to Plainfield with her husband and family in 1999. She has worked at two other schools gaining 15 years of experience. She joined JMS, as faculty, in the fall of 2014.


Mrs. Kristina Reid, Primary Level Guide

A guide at the Primary Level, Kristina has had many years of experience as a classroom assistant here at JMS, having come to the school in August of 2005. She and her husband moved to Joliet at this time, and then to Shorewood in 2006. She had been in the social work field but upon the move didn’t find work in that field, so applied at the school. She “fell in love with Montessori” immediately and has been a distinct asset to the school ever since.

Mrs. Reid has recently completed her training at Seton Montessori Institute in Clarendon Hills, IL, with the bulk of the training completed in the summer of 2014. She attended seminars throughout the school year and obtained her certificate after completing her student teaching in 2015. She appreciates the wealth of Montessori experience here at JMS, and the support and guidance from her colleagues.

Kristina grew up on a farm in Odell, IL and enjoys running, working out, Bears football and her family.


Ms. Suzannah Walter, Elementary Guide

Suzannah joined the JMS team in 2009.  After receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Columbia College in Chicago, she went on to earn her AMI Montessori Elementary certification in 1998 from the Washington Montessori Institute.  She has also earned an Orton-Gillingham certificate from the International Dyslexia Association.

Ms. Suzannah worked at Near North Montessori in Chicago for 10 years until 2003, when she moved with her family to Sandwich, IL.  Before coming to JMS, she was the co-founder and director of Stone Prairie Montessori in Ottawa, IL.

Ms. Suzannah enjoys traveling, the arts and spending time with her family in the great outdoors.


Mrs. Ashley Zupan, Elementary Level Guide

Right out of college Ashley started working at Nature’s Classroom in Mukwonago, Wisconsin as an environmental educator. Ashley was exposed to Montessori education through the visiting students and also through the Montessori school associated with Nature’s Classroom.

Ashley wished to work in Illinois, and so came to JMS in the fall of 2012 as a math specialist with the Adolescent Level students.

In the summer of 2014 she attended her first of 3 summers of Elementary Level training at the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee. She looks forward to earning her Master’s Degree in Montessori education by 2017. She loves making a difference in the lives of children.

Ashley grew up in Manhattan, IL having attended Lincoln-Way High School. She lived in Fort Myers for 5 years where she attended Florida Gulf Coast University, and then moved to Mukwonago, Wisconsin. She currently resides in New Lenox with her husband.

Ashley loves outdoor activities, all sports, volunteering, and hobbies that include crochet, reading, movies and cooking.


Mrs. Vicki Hartmann, Adolescent Guide

Vicki Hartmann was hired as the Adolescent Guide in 2012 after having been a volunteer parent at JMS for a number of years. She has a B.A. in Elementary Education, with a minor in Psychology, from Eureka College in Eureka, Illinois. She received her Adolescent Training at the AMI Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies course provided by North American Montessori Teachers Association in 2013.

Some of her interests include gardening, reading, the environment, art, theater, photography and politics.



Thanksgiving Day Break- No School

11-22-2017 LEARN MORE



JMS Introduces the "Shop With Scrip" Program


To Replace the Former Manna Program


JMS Open House on Monday, November 13th


Upcoming JMS Open House


Parent Toddler Classes Starting Soon


Openings still available ...