Casey Oxendine, Front Office
I'm a North Carolina native who loves the beach so my family and I decided to plant some roots in Wilmington in 2022 after vacationing here all our lives! I went to college at UNCP for my Sociology degree and love getting to work around children in the Montessori atmosphere. When I'm not at work, I enjoy traveling the world, spending time with my family and on the weekends you can always find us at the beach!
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 time 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 starting my third year as the Community Communications Coordinator. I have a heart to serve others and am always excited to empower 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 - 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 & Math Interventionist
Lower Elementary School
I have lived in Wilmington over 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 when the school opened its doors for the first time in the 2013/2014 school year. 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 taking a couple years off to be home with my children, I came back as a Lower Elementary Reading & Math interventionist.
In my spare time, I enjoy outdoor adventures with my husband and three children, playing softball on our co-ed team in Carolina Beach & relaxing near water!
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!
Wendy Richardson, Reading & Math Interventionist
Upper Elementary/Middle School
Hi, my name is Wendy Richardson. I have lived in New Hanover County for over 20 years and love spending time with my family in this beautiful environment. I earned my Bachelors of Arts degree in Elementary Education grades K-6 from UNC-Wilmington and decided to make New Hanover County my home.
After graduating from college I began my career teaching third-fifth grade at Alderman Elementary School and Carolina Beach Elementary School. I then decided to take time off focusing on raising my two children. After staying home with the children, I joined them at Island Montessori School as an assistant teacher working with students from Kindergarten through sixth grade. Then, I transitioned to being a lead teacher again, and reunited with Carolina Beach Elementary School. During my time at Carolina Beach Elementary School, I taught Kindergarten-third grade in the classroom and virtually. While teaching students virtually, I enjoyed taking on a new role as the Virtual Academy Coordinator. With over 15 years of experience in traditional and non-traditional settings in the field of education has prepared me for fostering a love for learning!
I am eager to share my philosophy while focusing on the development of the whole child intellectually, emotionally, and socially. My goal is to see students grow in independence, self esteem, self confidence, and develop a foundation to become successful in life.