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, Business Manager
Being raised in a public school setting throughout grade school, I was beyond excited to start at Island Montessori Charter School so that I could experience a whole different world than what I was used to. I graduated from UNCW with a Bachelor's Degree in Business, and as a college graduate fresh out of school, I worked as a marketing coordinator for a local company for almost two years. 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, I enjoy relaxing at the beach, traveling, riding bikes, and tapping into my creative side with freelance graphic design and hands-on crafts.
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, Academics and Data Director
I began my teaching journey by earning my Bachelors degree in teaching theatre arts K-12 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. I felt strongly this was a philosophy I wanted to experience first hand and began working on finding a training program. I received my AMS Lower Elementary certification and taught in the private Montessori sector while living in L.A.
My husband and I moved back to NC to be closer to family. We had 2 children and knew we wanted them to experience a Montessori education. We learned Island Montessori School was opening and I jumped at the chance to be a part of it. I received my AMS upper elementary Montessori certificate and taught the first year the school opened. I have served in many roles for IMS and am excited to begin another year.
I’m grateful to work at a school that strives to guide every student and view them as a whole child. Seeing our children 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 philosophy with as many families as possible.
Brian Corrigan, Director of Finances and Human Resources
Mr. Corrigan has a Master's Degree from the University of Maine in Educational Leadership and a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Toledo in Science Education. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he holds a United States Coast Guard Captain’s license.
He came to Wilmington in 2008 to be the Director of Cape Fear Center for Inquiry. Previously he spent 12 years in Maine as a Middle School Principal, Dean of Students/Athletic Director, and a High School Science Teacher. His first year as a Science Teacher was in Akron, Ohio and he also coached track and basketball for 5 years.
Mr. Corrigan is a very student centered educator that believes that hands-on, real-world experiences are the best way to teach children. Letting students tinker, figure things out on their own, and formulate their own ideas while accepting others ideas is the core foundation of his educational beliefs.