Michael Kelley
Substitute Teacher/Assistant

Ari Rahmani
Primary Assistant Cashmere

Bethany Byington
Lead Guide Wenatchee

Carmen Leal
Bilingual Assistant

Micah Baker
Afternoon Primary Guide Cashmere

Ramsey McCord
Transitional (K-1st)
Cashmere Lead Guide

Sarah Wittman
Lead Guide Cashmere


Sarah Sims
Administrative Assistant

​(18-36 months)


Ari Rahmani
​Primary Assistant - Cashmere

Kelly Silva
Upper  Elementary Guide

Bethany Byington
Primary Lead Guide - Wenatchee

Grace Daniels-Spencer
Toddler Lead Guide

Bethany is an education enthusiast and mom of many. She has seven children of her own -- five boys and two girls. Due to her large family and over 20 years of experience with children, she is very familiar with the variety of personality types and learning styles that children have. Bethany has been with Joyful Scholars as Primary Lead guide since 2015.  In addition to her Primary Montessori (3-6) Lead Guide certification, she also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Bachelor of Science in Social Studies with a focus on family studies and psychology from Central Washington University. Bethany applies her passion for learning to all she does in her classroom. When Bethany is not in the classroom, her other interests include reading, camping with her family, and traveling.

Kelly is a proud mama of Nicholas and Elisabeth, both of whom are extremely joyful Joyful Scholars. Kelly and her husband Leonard moved their family to Wenatchee in 2013, and consider it one of the best decisions they've ever made. They love experiencing the four seasons and taking part in many of the family-friendly activities the valley offers. As JSM's Primary Reading Guide, Kelly gets to combine two of her favorite things: working with children and sharing her love of reading. Prior to working at JSM, Kelly worked in an integrated special education preschool classroom and one-on-one with preschoolers with autism. She has held many positions at summer camps over the years, including everything from Counselor to Director of Logistics. She also has a background in banking, finance, and administration.


Micah Baker
Afternoon Primary Guide - Cashmere

Grace Daniels-Spencer
Toddler Lead Guide - Cashmere

Ms. Ari has been with Joyful Scholars since 2019 and enjoys working with the primary age group. She has a BA in Children’s Studies and a minor in Art from EWU. Ari also received her certificate of completion with an online Montessori assistant training. Ari has over 15 years experience working with children. Her hobbies include swimming, painting, writing, and rockhounding. 

Kayla Driver started with Joyful Scholars in 2019 as a recess guide and class aid. She became interested in a career in Montessori education after her son Cole started with Joyful Scholars in 2016. She is very excited to assist in the new toddler program offered this year. At home she cares for her two sons Cole (9) and Sam (1 1/2) and enjoys reading, yoga, art, camping, hiking, baking and spending quality time with family and friends.

Hi, my name is Nisreen Al-Soodani. I am currently completing my teaching certification for elementary education at Joyful Scholars.When I am not studying, or teaching, I enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, nordic skiing. I also enjoy road trips with my fiance whenever we have a free weekend.

Nisreen Al-soodani
Lower Elementary Assistant/Intern

Brooke Hinton

​Adolescent Community Lead Guide

Adolescent Community Assistant

Kayla Driver
​Toddler Assistant

Ramsey has over five years of experience working in Montessori Education. She began her work as an assistant. She was immediately taken by the beauty and warmth of the environment and excited by the progressive, child-centered curriculum. She became a lead guide in 2016, upon earning her AMI 6-12 certification through the Milwaukee Montessori Institute. Additionally, Ramsey holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University. Ramsey moved to Wenatchee in the summer of 2018. She enjoys all of the outdoor activities the valley has to offer, and spends her weekends climbing, skiing, and hiking. She is always accompanied by her wonderful husband Ian and her two big dogs, Nessie and Mogul. When not outdoors, Ramsey enjoys reading and creating art, passions she loves to share with her students.

​ (12-18)

Kayla Driver
Toddler Assistant - Cashmere

Grace started her Montessori journey in 2016 and hasn't looked back since. She has worked in the primary, lower elementary, and adolescent community classrooms as well as being the assistant to the director at Joyful Scholars prior to becoming the toddler lead guide. Grace enjoys spending her free time camping, fishing, playing soccer, and exploring the outdoors with her husband, Thomas, and their two sons, Sean and Nicholas.

My name is Michael Kelley, and I grew up in East Wenatchee. I graduated from Eastmont High School in 1971. I attended Seattle Pacific College (now University) and earned my B. A. in Philosophy and Biblical Literature in 1976. After four years of graduate studies in Linguistics, I returned to Wenatchee where I have remained until today. I have five children, Andrew (41), Alisa (39), Alexander (32), and then coming a bit later Basil (6) and Samuel (4). I retired from the Washington State Dept. of Transportation, where I was in IT Support in January 2019 to raise these youngest two boys. We attend Three Hierarchs Orthodox Church here in Wenatchee. When I’m not raising boys, I’m working in my garden. 

Cara Hackenmiller
Co-Founder and Lower Elementary Guide

Sarah Wittman
Primary Lead Guide - Cashmere

Ramsey McCord

Transitional (k-1st grade) Lead Guide - Cashmere

Hey Y’all, 
​My name is Micah Baker. I am the Afternoon Primary Teacher for Cashmere Campus. I have been working with children for over 4 years as a Nanny and Daycare assistant and am excited to expand my knowledge in a Montessori setting. In my free time I enjoy hiking, paddle boarding, cooking, and watching documentaries.

Hello my name is Zoe Sorensen and I’m a teacher's assistant at Joyful Scholars Montessori elementary. This is my first year working and I’m super excited to work all these amazing kids and teachers!

Primary ParaPro

Michael Kelley

Substitute Teacher / Assistant

Sarah Simms
​Administrative Assistant

Sarah Sims has been working on and off with Joyful Scholars since 2017.  She started her journey here as the Lower Elementary Assistant and has since moved into an Administrative Assistant role.  Sarah works as Cara’s right hand gal; she answers emails, makes phone calls, sends out reminders and organizes behind the scenes.  In Sarah’s free time she enjoys cooking, singing and playing music, making jewelry, and hiking and adventuring with her kiddos, Rosemary and Violet.

Zoe Sorenson
Upper Elementary Assistant

Sarah Wittman is our primary lead guide at the Cashmere campus and has worked in Montessori education since 2003. She has taught in 0-3, 3-6, and 6-9 year old  classrooms as well as doing some remedial teaching at the 9-12 year old level. Through this experience she discovered she really loves the 3-6 year old, or primary the best! She took Montessori teacher’s training with AMI in Portland Oregon in 2009 and earned her bachelor of education at the University of Southern Queensland. 

 Sarah takes some leadership in curriculum and pedagogy for the early childhood classrooms at Joyful Scholars and loves using her experience to help other teachers. 

 Sarah believes in independence, accountability  and respect as core tenets of her classroom. She runs a traditional Montessori classroom and believes strongly that a well functioning classroom community has the power to make positive societal change, now and as the children grow into adults. 

 On winter weekends Sarah enjoys snowboard instructing at Mission Ridge. She adores her black and white kitty, and loves gardening, preserving, knitting and creating visual art.

Michaela R
Lower Elementary Assistant

Carmen Leal
Primary Assistant - Wenatchee

Brooke Hinton
Adolescent Community (JSMAC)
​Lead Guide

For more information about our staff, please look below (listed in alphabetical order by first name)

Cara Hackenmiller

Lower Elementary Lead Guide 

Kelly Silva
Upper Elementary Lead Guide

Lower Elementary Assistant 

Nisreen Al-Soodani
​Lower Elementary Assistant/Intern

Zoe Sorensen 
Upper Elementary Assistant

Specialty Staff
​and Support

Cara has been teaching elementary grades 1-3 since 2006.  A National Board Certified Teacher, Cara is passionate about Montessori education and recently added elementary Montessori certification to her repertoire, and was named a 2013 honoree of the Wenatchee World's 30 Under 35 award.  Her special interests include language acquisition, mathematics and science education. Cara enjoys working in the garden with her three children, Landin, Graysen, and Lila (not pictured), her husband Dustin and their dog, cat, and chickens.  Cara is delighted to fulfill her dream of building a safe, nurturing and engaging place for her children to learn to the best of their ability, while making life-long friends in the process.