Chelle Downey-Magee



Ms. Chelle was “sent to the office” at Issaquah Montessori in 2009, after teaching in Montessori early childhood and lower elementary environments for more than twenty years. She loves preparing the environment for the teachers, interacting with children and parents, and only misses the classroom occasionally.

Over the years Ms. Chelle has learned to appreciate that in the Montessori environment the peaceful, purposeful child is allowed to be a curious, collaborative member of a classroom community, and then follow that path into the larger world.

​She holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Union College and a Master of Education from the University of Washington. Her Montessori credentials include an Early Childhood Certificate (3-6) as well as an Elementary Education Certificate (6-9) from the National Center for Montessori Education, and most recently an Administrator Credential from the American Montessori Society. Within the larger Montessori community Ms. Chelle serves on the board and as secretary of the Pacific Northwest Montessori Association, as a state representative to the Montessori Public Policy Initiative, a member of the PNMA Verification committee and the Montessori representative to the Washington Federation of Independent Schools. At the state level she’s the independent school representative to the Early Learning Advisory Council.  Ms. Chelle enjoys travelling, fiber arts, reading about travelling, baking and walking.​

Kim Droppo

Assistant Director

KimThe friendly face found at the front desk in the morning is Ms. Kim. She’s adept at corralling paperwork, organizing schedules, interacting with children and keeping the school generally on track.

Ms. Kim earned a BA in Finance at Gonzaga University and a BA in Early Childhood and Family Studies at the University of Washington. She also completed her Early Childhood credential at the Montessori Center for Teacher Education in Bellevue, June 2019. She lives in Carnation with her husband, and three children (two of whom are away at university). In her free time, she enjoys reading, crafting, volunteering with Girl Scouts, and spending time with her family.

Ms. Kim became familiar with Montessori education in the fall of 2000 when her son attended preschool at Evergreen Academy in Woodinville. Her daughters later attended Montessori middle school at Arbor Montessori Schools. She says, “I love the Montessori philosophy for education because it allows the child to explore their natural inquisitive side, it holds them responsible for their own work, and encourages them to reach their fullest potential.”

Gail Gnehm

Art Specialist – on sabbatical for 2020

00087Ms. Gail is in her 12th year at Issaquah Montessori School. She’s been an assistant, an intern, a co-teacher, a lead teacher and specialist all during that time.

Ms. Gail attended Evergreen State College and obtained her Early Childhood Montessori credential at Montessori Center for Teacher Education in Bellevue. She lives in Issaquah with her husband and Buster, a Bassett hound. When she not at school Ms. Gail can be found zipping around on her Vespa, or on a bike or hike, or making art with paint or fabric or yarn. She is over the moon about her grandson, Gavin, who she describes as super happy, bouncy and a very good traveler. Gavin and his family live in Texas, Ms. Gail visits them as often as possible.

Teaching in a Montessori environment fits Ms. Gail so well because she never grew up and can easily understand the perspective of the child. She loves being around children and delights in watching them learn and grow. Ms. Gail appreciates the good sense of community at IMS, the way in which everyone supports each other and the happy, loving environment.​

Patricia Gonzalez

Spanish Specialist- on sabbatical for 2020

Ms. Patricia joined the IMS community summer of 2018. She became a teacher when living in Mexico City, Mexico. Ms. Patricia appreciates working with the children as “It is a great feeling to work at the same school that my oldest daughter attended 15 years ago.” While not at IMS, Ms. Patricia enjoys teaching Spanish at Arbor Montessori, cooking, getting together with friends and watching movies.

Ms. Patricia is married, with two children Valeria, who is a psychology major in college and Regina a sophomore at Skyline High School. JoJo is the latest member of Ms. Patricia’s family, a 5 year old Shichon. Ms. Patricia and her family have been in the wonderful Northwest since 1997.

Marcia Hoover

Art Specialist -on sabbatical for 2020

Ms. Marcia has been involved with Montessori teaching since 1975 as an assistant, head teacher and parent of children in public and private Montessori. She graduated with a B.A. in Social Welfare in from California State University at Long Beach and stumbled on Montessori one wonderful afternoon in Chico, California.  Ms. Marcia was totally taken with what she encountered in the classroom. Ms. Marcia got her training in the three-to-six classroom with Montessori Institute of America in 1985 after ten years of assisting and loved delving deeper into the philosophy.  Ms. Marcia retired from the role of lead teacher in June 2018, but continues to teach weekly art classes and substitute.

Ms. Marcia truly believes that the greatest way to change the world is by showing children how to love themselves and the world and helping parents raise those children. She thinks the Montessori Method is the best way to expose humans to their potential and to the wonders of the world and living. By allowing children the freedom to explore academic and social life they grow into independent and responsible adults.  A love and respect for all of life is fostered through Montessori education and this can result in happy, productive people.

Ms. Marcia is married with three grown children, who she adores, two of whom are Montessori children.  She loves appreciating and teaching art, gardening in fair weather, exercising through yoga or biking, listening to music and singing, and caring for her home and family.