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Support Staff


Jennifer Sheaffer, Front Office 

I was born and raised in Connecticut and moved to Wilmington four years ago. I love working at Island Montessori, it is a very special place with amazing families.  I taught preschool special education in Connecticut for 28 years and enjoyed every day of my career! I have a bachelor’s degree in Special Education and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education. I am blessed with four grown children, three beautiful grandchildren and one energenic puppy. I am so excited to be living at the beach with my husband Jon, it  has been our lifelong dream. I  enjoy  working with young children and watching them grow to their full potential. I love to read and hope to share my love of literature with the little ones at Island Montessori.


Mackenzie R. Pereira, Guidance Counselor

I was born and raised in Winston-Salem, NC and came to Wilmington to attend UNCW where I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Minor in Health. Upon graduation, I traveled as a Leadership Coach to colleges and universities, promoting leadership skills with individuals and organizations. Traveling the country was incredible, however, I was ready to pursue my true passion working with children in an education setting! I received my Master's of Education in Professional School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling at UNC Pembroke. I have always had a passion for working with children and a love for promoting mental well-being, which is what led me to choose a career in school counseling. I like to incorporate solution-focused, person-centered, and choice theories in my counseling practice. I will always meet your child where they are, and motivate them to unlock their potential! In my free time you can almost always find me at the beach, but I also love to watch sports, practice yoga, listen to music, and explore new places!


Blair Williams, Community Communications Coordinator

I was born in the small town of Rockingham, NC and moved to Wilmington in 2003 where I attended UNCW and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Communications.  After graduating college, I spent the next four years working as the Program Coordinator for DREAMS Center for Arts Education. This was the job that made me realize how much I love connecting and building relationships with youth!  After my four years at DREAMS, I took a four month long road trip across the US, living out of a camper, seeing and exploring all the beautiful sights of our country!  Once the adventure was over, I returned to my hometown where I became a Career and Technical Educator at Rockingham Middle School for 5 years. Missing the coast led me back to Carolina Beach in 2017 where I began working at IMS as a TA for Upper Elementary (4 years) and now the Community Communications Coordinator for two years.  I am excited for this opportunity and look forward to empowering students to find ways to serve our school and local community.


When I’m not working at Island Montessori, you can likely find me volunteering at the Carolina Beach Lifepoint campus, being a summer kayak instructor for Kayak Carolina, enjoying live music, and spending time with my husband and our fur babies - Little, Emmy Lou, June, and Ruby Doo!


Michelle Leonard, Children's School Front Office

I was raised in Lexington, NC and spent most every weekend and summer coming to Carolina Beach to spend time with my great-grandmother. I moved to Greensboro, NC to attend college and stayed there for most of my adult life until my children and I moved to Carolina Beach in 2010. While attending UNC Greensboro I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. I taught 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades for ten years in at-risk schools as well as an arts-based charter school before choosing to stay home with my twins, Matthew and Elizabeth. I was heavily involved in their elementary school as a classroom volunteer, media center volunteer, Vice President of Fundraising and PTA President.  When I’m not at Island Montessori, you will most likely find me in my car driving my children to their many after school activities or traveling to cheer competitions.


Melissa Jeffreys, Reading Interventionist

I have lived in Wilmington for 10 years. Originally from a small town outside of Fayetteville known as Hope Mills. After completing my Master's Degree in Elementary Education, I found a quaint little school called Island Montessori and started my teaching career as a teacher assistant. At this time, I automatically knew the Montessori philosophy aligned perfectly with my beliefs and how I saw myself as an educator. Within weeks, I became a Lead Elementary Teacher and completed my Lower Elementary Teacher Certification Program at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education. After teaching five years in Lower Elementary, I took a couple years off to stay home with my two children. Now, we are all at IMS and excited to be back "home."


My teaching style has always been to provide an independent, child-lead, and authentic environment that encourages strong lifelong learners by utilizing critical thinking. I am looking forward to an amazing school year!

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