Course Instructors


Lee Lanou

MCMS Program Director, Practicum Supervisor, Field Coordinator, Instructor for Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Montessori Philosophy, and Child Development courses

AMI Primary Certification from Greenville Montessori Institute in South Carolina
AMS Early Childhood Credential from the Montessori Teacher Education Center in San Leandro, CA
B.F.A., Theatre Management from the University of Illinois

Lee Lanou is the Director of Training for the Maryland Center for Montessori Studies (MCMS), located right here at Greenspring Montessori School, as well as the Director of our Children’s House Program. With 30 years of experience in education, her expertise in Montessori philosophy and independent school administration is put to good use helping us to guide the next generation of Montessori educators.

Lee first became acquainted with Montessori at age 3 in her pre-primary classroom with an extraordinary Montessori educator. Her early experience as a child in a Montessori classroom helped to shape her into a lifelong Montessorian.

Before starting on her own in the field of education, Lee worked as a theatre and dance stage manager. She worked with the San Francisco Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. After receiving her AMS Montessori teaching certification in 1989, she began as a Montessori assistant, then became a lead teacher. Since then, she has played many roles in the Montessori community, including teacher, parent, Admissions Director, Teacher Training Instructor, Dean, and Assistant Head of School, all in Montessori schools in California, Washington, and Maryland. She has also served as an Administrator for Auxiliary Programs at Sandy Spring Friends School.

“I am so thrilled to be coming home to Montessori. I am excited at the depth of powerful excellence I see at Greenspring Montessori and feel grateful to become a part of their future. I am a firm believer, and living testament, of the power of a Montessori education!”

When Lee is not working, she loves to sing, play piano, paint, and draw. She also enjoys spending time with her 5 children and 8 grandchildren.


Tamara Sheesley Balis

MCMS Instructor for Parent Involvement/Education and Administration

AMS Early Childhood Credential from  the Montessori Teachers Institute in Norwich, CT
AMS Lower Elementary Credential from the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Silver Spring, MD
B.A., English from Principia College, Elsah, Illinois

Tamara Sheesley Balis joined the Greenspring community as Head of School in 2012. With an extensive background in Montessori education, school administration, and childhood development, Tamara has been a great addition to our staff. Now in the process of an ambitious Capital Project to renovate and build 30,000 square feet of our Greenspring campus, Tamara looks forward to bringing Montessori education to many more families.

Prior to joining our team, Tamara served for four years as the Head of School at the Amherst Montessori School in Amherst, Massachusetts. Before that, she served as the Director of the Boyd School’s Reston Campus, the Lower Elementary Directress at the Henson Valley Montessori School, and as a bilingual elementary public school teacher in the Teach for America program.

Tamara also wrote, narrated and produced an educational DVD on using Montessori principles for the care of infants in the home. Additionally, Ms. Balis has presented at National Montessori conferences and is a Montessori classroom consultant. She has also been a contributing author for Washington Families Magazine, publishing articles on Montessori education, child development, and parenting. Tamara lives with her husband and two daughters, both of whom attend Greenspring Montessori School.


Shelby Hiken

MCMS Instructor for Social Studies course

M.Ed., from Loyola University in Baltimore, MD
AMI Primary Certification from the Washington Montessori Institute of Columbia, MD
B.A., Interdisciplinary Studies from University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ

“As a member of the MCMS instructor team, I am dedicated to sharing Dr. Montessori’s Philosophy and Curriculum to inspire new teachers to visualize and contribute to the cosmic task of creating world peace through the children.”

Shelby Hiken has been teaching children for fifteen years. She is a Founding Member and Director of Primary Pedagogy at Nurturing Nest Montessori School in Columbia, MD. She is experienced as both a Field Consultant and a Montessori Instructor for teachers. MSM (Montessori Schools of Maryland) utilizes Shelby’s expertise to validate local Montessori Schools. Her first experience with Montessori began when she was just three years old at Greenspring Montessori. She is honored to participate in growing the community of teachers at the place where her connection to Montessori originated.

“Cosmic Education is intended to help each of us search for our cosmic task as a species and as individuals. To do this, we must understand ourselves in context. It is only against the background of our place in the universe, our relationships with other living organisms, and our understanding of human unity within cultural diversity, that we can attempt to answer the question, ‘Who am I?’” – Michael & D’Neil Duffy, Children of the Universe: Cosmic Education in the Montessori Elementary Classroom


Betsy Wimbrow

MCMS Instructor for Observation and Classroom Leadership courses

M.Ed., Elementary Education from Plymouth State University, Plymouth, MA
AMS Early Childhood Credential, from AERCO Montessori Teacher Training Program, Philadelphia, PA
AMS Elementary 1 Credential, from Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies, Silver Spring, MD
B.A., Fine Arts from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s, MD

Betsy Wimbrow is the Director of Education at Greenspring Montessori School. As Director of Education, Betsy provides support, guidance, inspiration, and continuing education to our staff, parents and other constituents in Montessori philosophy and best practices, as well as current child development theory. Betsy comes to us with 31 years of classroom expe­rience and a great history of leadership in the Mon­tessori community. She has experience leading programs in both the public and private sectors.

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder… he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” – Rachel Carson, A Sense of Wonder


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