Julia Thompson


Toddler 1 Lead Teacher

Tanya Clark, lives in Wake Forest with her husband and lab mix, Cody.  She grew up in Northern Virginia where she was introduced to the Montessori philosophy by a parent at the local YMCA.  Since then she has spent eight years teaching in a Toddler house, earning her Associate Infant and Toddler Montessori Credential with the American Montessori Society and Bachelors in Early Childhood education through Kendall College in Chicago.  She is passionate about the Montessori philosophy as her experience shows by meeting each child where they are and giving them opportunities to succeed in meaningful work; the Montessori method develops a love a learning, a caring community and strong, independent individuals.



Toddler 1 Assistant Teacher

Caitlyn Meggason attended Montessori School of Raleigh as a child, from upper elementary to middle school.  She loved attending montessori school and and now loves assisting children flourish in one.   In Caitlin‘s spare time she is a competitive body builder in the fitness category!


Toddler 2 Lead Teacher

Sallie Hale lives in Youngsville with her husband, 2 dogs and a cat. She is the mother of 5 children and the Grandmother to 2 grandsons and a granddaughter.

Sallie has her BSBA in Business Administration, Associates in Early Childhood Education and her Primary Age Montessori Teachers Certificate. Sallie moved to NC from the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Area where she owned, directed and taught at a Montessori Preschool for the past 15 years. Although, Sallie has taught all ages from 6 weeks to 6 years, she says the Toddler Classroom is her favorite group of students. This is the time in a child’s life when they are absorbing all the excitement and wonders of their environment. Sallie loves being a part of such an important stage of development. Through practical life, language, sensorial, math, art and music the children in the toddler class will be independent, self-confident and establish a true love for learning.

When Sallie isn’t teaching or making new materials for her classroom, you might see her running the trails of Wake County. She is training to run a Half-Marathon this October!


Toddler 2 Asistant Teacher


Kate Forrest received her Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts from Syracuse University.
She is also in the process of getting her 3-6 Montessori certification. Kate has been the owner/operator of a licensed in-home daycare for the last 5 years caring for children from infant to 5 years.  Prior to this she was a Kindergarten Assistant with Wake County Schools and worked with her church’s children‘s program as the Nursery Coordinator.  In addition to teaching and learning she loves a good cup of coffee and going on outings with her family Kate lives in Wake Forest with her husband and two boys and also happens to be the niece of Ms. Sallie!


Children’s House 1 Lead Teacher

Denise Leonard, a New England native, moved to Wake Forest with her family in 2006.  She became interested in the Montessori Method when her own children attended Montessori schools in Massachusetts.  Denise believes the Montessori Method of Education most closely mirrors her own philosophy that each child is unique and should be allowed to develop emotionally, intellectually and physically at his or her own pace in a safe, stress-free environment that nurtures the child’s self-esteem, confidence and individuality.

Denise holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, with a major concentration in Psychology, an American Montessori Society Elementary I certification, and has completed her Primary training through Center for Guided Montessori Studies.   As a Montessori guide, Denise has had the opportunity to work with children in Primary, Lower Elementary, and Upper Elementary classrooms.

When not teaching or spending time with her family, Denise enjoys creating new materials for her classroom, knitting, and reading.


Children’s House 1 Assistant/Spanish Teacher

Diana Triana is the assistant teacher in our Children’s House 1 classroom. She is also native Spanish speaker who conducts weekly Spanish lesson for our students. Diana’s love for children was sparked when she became a nanny and has only grown since joining Wake Forest Montessori team. Diana has recently obtained her EDU 119 certificate and soon will be working towards her early childhood associates degree. Diana has a great passion for teaching because she loves what she does!




Children’s House 2 Lead Teacher

Kristen Marrisett, the founder of Wake Forest Montessori, has her Montessori Certification from the North American Montessori Center and a BS in Psychology from UCLA. Kristen is a proud mother of 4, all of whom have either graduated from WFM or are currently attending.  Kristen has a strong passion for teaching and a deep love for children. She brings a firm, but loving approach to the classroom, and makes learning fun and interesting for the students.



Children’s House 2 Assistant Teacher

Melissa McElveen has worked with preschool children as a lead teacher and a director. Her teaching experience includes over 11 years of working with children, parents, and staff. Her goal is to provide a safe, fun, and engaging environment for all children to learn.  Her vast experience in a variety of areas allows her to effectively nurture and support children inside of the Montessori environment. Melissa is very passionate about teaching and loves working with children and their families. In Melissa’s spare time she enjoys her morning coffee, reading, walking and being involved in her church. Most of all she loves spending time with her husband Chad, her 2 children Emma and Matthew, and her dog Zoey.