Alicia Rheel, Head of School
I am originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but relocated to Wilmington, NC with my husband in 2011. Since moving here, we have expanded our family to include our two sons, AJ and Ryan. In our spare time, we like to be in the water as much as we can; whether that is at the beach, in a pool, or kayaking/boating. We also enjoy watching/playing sports and being with our family.
I earned my Bachelor's degree in Special Education (k-12) from West Chester University. I hold certifications in Special Education: General Curriculum (k-12) and Middle School Math. I have also received my Master's degree in School Administration through East Carolina University. I am completing Montessori Leadership courses this fall.
I have been with Island Montessori since 2014 as the EC Coordinator. I have worked as an administrative intern with Mr. Corrigan before moving into the role as Head of School. I value the principles of the Montessori curriculum and our school's mission. I look forward to supporting and leading the growth of our school with Montessori as the heart of our curriculum. As an Exceptional Children's teacher by trade, I pride myself on the understanding that each child is unique and learns at their own pace. Montessori education focuses on the child being the center of learning and knowing that "the child is both the hope and promise for mankind."
Carrie O’Brien Dworshak, Children's School Director
I was born and raised in Maryland alongside my three brothers. Our parents are Washingtonians and both came from big Irish families. Thus, family is everything to me!
A graduate from St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a music degree in voice, I have sang in church choirs, weddings, funerals, rock bands and took part in the mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI in Washington DC in 2008. Music is what keeps my heart beating, as well as the great outdoors. The combination of the two are priceless.
Soon after graduation I came to discover the wonderful world of Montessori by chance and immediately enrolled in the primary training at the Washington Montessori Institute. I was hooked from day one! Graduating in 1983 I accepted a job in Bowie, Maryland working two years then joining The Manor Montessori School in Potomac, Maryland for 30 years, wearing many hats as Primary Teacher, Educational Director and Director of their third campus in Bethesda.
My children and I spend our summers in South Bethany, Delaware where our family has a beach home. The beach has always been my favorite place to be. It has been a dream of mine to work and live by the beach.
This is my eighth year at Island Montessori School. I look forward to continuing to build a strong foundation for future education and create a happy and successful environment for all. The greatest accomplishment an educator can experience is to watch a little one grow into a confident, intelligent, kind and independent human being full of life, joy and love of learning.
Brittany Ivey, Director of Finance and Operations
As a native of North Carolina, I have always been drawn to the beach. I moved to Wilmington in 2006 to attend UNCW, and quickly realized this is where I wanted to plant my roots. I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Business, and as a college graduate fresh out of school, I worked for a few years as a marketing coordinator for a local company. In 2013, I was in the process of going back to school to get my teaching license when the opportunity to work at IMCS came about. I jumped at the chance to not only put my degree in use, but to also be surrounded by students all day. I can honestly say, I couldn't be happier with my decision! I enjoy every minute that I am at the school, and couldn't ask for a better team to work alongside. When I am not working, you can usually find me spending time with my family and friends, relaxing at the beach, or on a shopping adventure with my mom and daughter.
Judie Strauss, Exceptional Children Coordinator
I was born in Ohio, but lived all over the country and in Germany. My husband and I moved here 4 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky for his job (and because I love the North Carolina beaches and weather!). I have two grown boys, two black cats, and one very bossy Yorkshire Terrier named Prada. I have my Bachelor’s in psychology and Master’s in Special Education Mild/Moderate K-12 from Wright State University. I taught Middle and Intermediate EC resource and Inclusion in Fairborn, Ohio for 8 years. Then, I taught high school at a private Exceptional Children’s school in Louisville, Kentucky, called Summit Academy, for 1 wonderful year. I started at Murray Middle School in 2017 as the Intense Academic Support teacher in Math and ELA for 6th - 8th grades. For the past 2 years, I was the EC Department Chair and 8th grade resource teacher at Murray Middle School. My husband, Prada, and I love to drive my yellow Jeep, named Sunnie, to the beach. My husband makes sand art, we walk and collect shells, and play in the water.
Kelly Henrikson, Director of Academics
I have been with IMS since it was founded in 2013. I received my Bachelors degree in Theatre Arts from Appalachian State University. After teaching theatre for several years, I began researching and visiting Montessori schools across NC to learn more about the method. After moving to CA, I decided to earn a Lower Elementary AMS certification and began teaching Montessori while living in L.A. After some time, I moved back to NC, received my Upper Elementary AMS certification and gained a NC Elementary Education license while teaching in the upper elementary classroom at IMS.
I have served in my different roles at IMS and feel grateful to work at a school that strives to guide every student and view them as a whole child. Seeing students thrive in the Montessori environment inspires me and excites me. I look forward to supporting our staff, students, and families as our community grows and to share the beauty of the philosophy with as many families as possible.
When not at school, you’ll likely find me at the football field, traveling, doing something creative at home, or watching a movie with my 2 boys, pup, and husband.
Anna Moraglia, Student Accountability Coordinator
I was born in Wilmington, but my family moved when I was a small child. Growing up in Eastern North Carolina, I have always had the desire to return to this area beyond simple vacations. However, life had other plans for me, and it has taken me many years to have the opportunity to return here fulltime.
Along the way, I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English from UNC-CH. I also received a Masters of School Administration from UNCC and a Masters of Montessori Leadership from Sarasota University. Additionally, I have earned my Doctorate in Educational Leadership.
For the past 30 years, I worked in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System as an ELA teacher, a Talent Development Teacher, an Assistant Principal, and a Principal. Ten of those years were spent in a public Montessori school that was the first of its kind in North Carolina. During that time, I was blessed to become immersed in the philosophy of Dr. Montessori as I was surrounded by exceptional Montessori educators and leaders. What I have experienced as a parent and as the principal of that school convinced me that Montessori is THE way to educate children.
I have been married to my husband, Michael, since 1997. We have two sons, Nick and Joe, who are currently attending UNC-W. I also have an English bulldog, Rocco, who is my favorite child!
I am grateful for the chance to live at the coast and to work once again in a Montessori environment! I firmly adhere to Dr. Montessori’s belief that “establishing peace is the work of education.”