Korine Walther

Lower School Admissions


Korine started teaching at Montessori Centre in 1972, under the direction of Mrs. Eileen Bernstorf, while her sons were students. She continued to teach at Montessori Centre after it was sold (1987) and joined the Montessori Academy staff in 1992. This master teacher turned administrator brings her understanding for young children and her extensive experience to Montessori Academy doing what she loves best: working with young children and their families. Her vast experience makes her a valued member of the educational leadership team. She is often the first "face" that people meet at Montessori Academy. Korine holds Early Childhood certification from St. Nicholas Training Centre. After being Primary Director for many years Korine is now looking toward retirement and will be the part-time Admissions Director for the Lower School. Korine enjoys spending time with her husband of 52 years, Charles. Her two delightful grandchildren and her son are a very exciting, fulfilling part of her life. Korine enjoys reading, traveling and walking.

Linda Bernstorf
Upper School Admissions


Linda became captivated by the Montessori philosophy when her mother, Eileen Bernstorf  helped found Montessori Centre.  She joined the MC staff in 1985, completed the 3-6 Montessori certification, and took over as Director while Eileen founded our current campus. Montessori Centre was sold in 1991 and Linda joined her mother at MA as a teacher/Primary Director.  After completing the Lower Elementary Montessori certification, and the Masters in Educational Leadership she was the Assistant Head before becoming the Head of School from 2005 – 2013. With her 30+ years in Montessori education, she now is our Upper Elementary Admissions Director.  She loves giving tours of our campus to new families and introducing them to our  school. Having played viola in the Nashville Symphony, she now enjoys playing her violin in worship. She is married, has two grown sons, a step-daughter, 2 step-grandchildren and one grandchild of her own coming in November of 2017.

Mrs. Tanelle Murphy
Assistant Director, Primary


  • B.A. - English/Dance, University of Memphis


  • MAT - Curriculum & Instruction, University of Memphis


Tanelle earned a BA in English and an MAT in secondary curriculum and instruction from the University of Memphis.  She taught high school English and modern dance for three years in the Memphis public schools.  She then returned to Middle Tennessee and taught K-12 English as a Second Language for six years.  She joined Montessori Academy as a Primary teacher in 2007 and completed her Early Childhood Montessori Certification in 2009. Tanelle joined the Montessori Training Center of Brentwood as an instructor and Assistant Director in 2015 with the hope of inspiring future generations of Montessori teachers.

Marynet King
Upper School Director

  • B.A. - Psychology, Jacksonville State University

  • M.A. - Clinical Psychology, MTSU

  • Certification: Elementary I, Columbus Montessori Center


Marynet began her teaching career at Montessori Academy in 1988 when Mrs. Eileen Bernstorf asked her if she had ever considered becoming a Montessori teacher.  She has taught at the Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary and Middle School levels and has had training at all levels.  She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Jacksonville State University and a M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University. She worked as a Clinical Therapist and Licensed Psychological Examiners before coming to M.A. In 2016 she joined the Administrative Team as the Director of the Lower Elementary Program

She enjoys traveling, gardening, and reading great literature.  She and her husband, Gerald, have three children and four grandchildren.  All of their children attended M.A., and their four grandchildren now do also.

She feels strongly that the Montessori philosophy and approach to education is extraordinary because, “It fosters a love of learning, encourages and supports the pursuit of individual interests, and facilitates the development of talents.  It celebrates diversity and instills respect for oneself, others, and the environment.”

Administration

Dr. Brenda Bernstorf
Deputy Executive Director

  • Ed.D. Organizational Leadership and Development, Grand Canyon University
  • MBA – Trevecca Nazarene University
  • B.S. – Music Education, Asbury University


 Brenda is strategically driven and fascinated by organizational development, specifically engaging people with the organization. She joined the administrative team in 2008 with over 20 years’ experience in business and nonprofits. She is responsible for developing and managing the brand, marketing, human resources, organizational development, continuous improvement, and accreditation.  Her belief in continuous learning, education, and organizational leadership makes her an avid reader and drives the development strategies of the organization. 

She loves quilting, sewing, cooking, and reading and is busy completing a doctoral program. She and Jim enjoy working together and have been married over 35 years. They have two grown children, and five amazing grandchildren. 


Emily Breaux
Director Infant/Toddler

  • B.A. - Women’s Studies, Knox College


  • M.A. – Education, Mount Mary College

   

Certifications:


  • AMS Infant/Toddler (ages 0-3)

  • AMS EC I (ages 3-6)


Emily has been teaching for 12 years and in administration for 2. She has a Masters of Education, a certification in Waldorf education, and two certifications in Montessori for 0-3 and 3-6.  She has been at Montessori Academy since 2009 when she came looking for an exceptional Montessori environment for her 3 children. Emily has been Director of our Infant and Toddler Program for the last 2 years. Emily gives presentations and workshops at Montessori conferences, attends workshops on Sensory Processing, Autism, Gifted education, and loves to observe at other Montessori school. 

Support  Staff

Tanelle Murphy
Primary Director


  • B.A. - English/Dance, University of Memphis

  • MAT - Curriculum & Instruction, University of Memphis

  • Montessori Early Childhood Credential (Ages 3 - 6)


Tanelle is a native of Nashville who began her teaching career in 1993.  After earning a BA in English and an MAT in secondary curriculum and instruction from the University of Memphis, she taught high school English and modern dance for three years in the Memphis public schools.  She then returned to Middle Tennessee and taught K-12 English as a Second Language for six years.  In addition to working with children, Tanelle taught continuing education ESL classes as an adjunct professor at Volunteer State Community College for two years, and she trained public school teachers at school, district, and regional levels to help them understand how to meet the needs of their ESL students.

This background in traditional education gives Tanelle a strong appreciation for the many benefits of Montessori education. ​ Having experienced K-12 traditional education, she knows from experience the numerous limitations of that approach and the inability to meet the needs of individual learners within a traditional structure.  Her search for an educational method that would nurture the remarkable early learning abilities of her daughter brought her to Montessori Academy in 2005. Inspired by those classrooms full of busy, calm, and happy children, she joined Montessori Academy as a Primary teacher in 2007 and completed her Early Childhood Montessori Credential in 2009. In 2016, Tanelle joined the administrative staff at MA as Primary Assistant Director while still teaching.  After 10 years of teaching at the Primary level, she decided it was time to step out of her own classroom and have a bigger impact within the Montessori Academy community.  She became the Primary Director at MA in 2017. 

In addition to working with children, partnering with and educating adults has always been a passion for Tanelle.  She joined the Montessori Training Center of Brentwood as an instructor when it began in 2015 with the hope of inspiring future generations of Montessori teachers. While working as an instructor, she also became Assistant Director in 2016 and then Early Childhood Program Level Coordinator in 2017.  Whether working with children, teachers, or parents, Montessori education continues to inspire Tanelle and remains her passion.  

​Sara Aronson

Infant/Toddler Director


Sara joined Montessori Academy as a Toddler teacher in fall 2013. She has four children who attend school at MA. Her two daughters are in UE/MS and her two sons are in our Infant and Primary programs.  She lives in downtown Murfreesboro with her husband and children. She is Montessori Infant/Toddler certified and plans to pursue her Master's degree. Her past times include learning more about cooking, Montessori philosophy, and psychology.  

Marynet King
Lower Elementary Director


  • B.A. - Psychology, Jacksonville State University


  • M.A. - Clinical Psychology, MTSU


  • Certification: Elementary I, Columbus Montessori Center


Marynet began her teaching career at Montessori Academy in 1988 when Mrs. Eileen Bernstorf asked her if she had ever considered becoming a Montessori teacher.  She has taught at the Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary and Middle School levels and has had training at all levels.  She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Jacksonville State University and a M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University. She worked as a Clinical Therapist and Licensed Psychological Examiners before coming to M.A. In 2016 she joined the Administrative Team as the Director of the Lower Elementary Program

She enjoys traveling, gardening, and reading great literature.  She and her husband, Gerald, have three children and four grandchildren.  All of their children attended M.A., and their four grandchildren now do also.

She feels strongly that the Montessori philosophy and approach to education is extraordinary because, “It fosters a love of learning, encourages and supports the pursuit of individual interests, and facilitates the development of talents.  It celebrates diversity and instills respect for oneself, others, and the environment.”

Marynet King
Lower Elementary Director


  • B.A. - Psychology, Jacksonville State University


  • M.A. - Clinical Psychology, MTSU


  • Certification: Elementary I, Columbus Montessori Center


Marynet began her teaching career at Montessori Academy in 1988 when Mrs. Eileen Bernstorf asked her if she had ever considered becoming a Montessori teacher.  She has taught at the Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary and Middle School levels and has had training at all levels.  She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Jacksonville State University and a M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University. She worked as a Clinical Therapist and Licensed Psychological Examiners before coming to M.A. In 2016 she joined the Administrative Team as the Director of the Lower Elementary Program

She enjoys traveling, gardening, and reading great literature.  She and her husband, Gerald, have three children and four grandchildren.  All of their children attended M.A., and their four grandchildren now do also.

She feels strongly that the Montessori philosophy and approach to education is extraordinary because, “It fosters a love of learning, encourages and supports the pursuit of individual interests, and facilitates the development of talents.  It celebrates diversity and instills respect for oneself, others, and the environment.”

Dr. Jim Bernstorf
Executive Director


  • B.A. – Philosophy, Asbury University 


  • M.Ed – Masters in Educational Leadership, Trevecca Nazarene University 


  • Ed.D. - Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Trevecca Nazarene University


Jim's educational background includes a Masters in educational leadership and a Doctorate in educational leadership with a dissertation focused on testing and accountability. Jim came to Montessori Academy in 2001 with an extensive background in business. That experience provided a background in sales, purchasing, accounting, operations, and sales management in five different states.  He served as CFO at Montessori Academy prior to assuming the responsibilities as the educational leader in 2013.

Jim has been married to Brenda for over 35 years, has two grown children, and five grandchildren.  He loves sailing, boating, gardening, and enjoys playing basketball.

Cathi Prather

​Office Manager


Cathi has been at Montessori Academy since July of 2010.  Cathi is the Office Manager and is responsible for keeping student accounts in order. She graduated from the University of North Texas in 1985.  She lived in Texas for 30 years before moving to Nashville in 1992.  When she's not in the office, she fills her time with her other creative ventures: voiceovers for radio/TV/film and assisting with an acting school in Franklin.  Her son is a political campaign worker and her daughter is an Aesthetician working for a laser spa in Green Hills.

Linda Bernstorf
Upper School Admissions


Linda became captivated by the Montessori philosophy when her mother, Eileen Bernstorf helped found Montessori Centre.  She joined the MC staff in 1985, completed the 3-6 Montessori certification, and took over as Director while Eileen founded our current campus. Montessori Centre was sold in 1991 and Linda joined her mother at MA as a teacher/Primary Director.  After completing the Lower Elementary Montessori certification, and the Masters in Educational Leadership she was the Assistant Head before becoming the Head of School from 2005 – 2013. With her 30+ years in Montessori education, she now is our Upper Elementary Admissions Director.  She loves giving tours of our campus to new families and introducing them to our school. Having played viola in the Nashville Symphony, she now enjoys playing her violin in worship. She is married, has two grown sons, a step-daughter, 2 step-grandchildren and one grandchild of her own coming in November of 2017.

Leanna Pound​

Office Assistant


Leanna has been a friendly face around Montessori Academy for over 25 years. She loves children and they love her! Leanna became familiar with Montessori education early in her marriage.  Although she and Pat had no children at the time they fell in love with Montessori and hoped to be able to raise their children through the same method.  Their first born, Kara, began attending Montessori Academy at age four (in 1987)--their son, Casey, at age 3 (in 1989) and their third, Kelsey, at age 2 1/2 (in 1990).  Her granddaughter, Jaden, graduated from  Montessori Academy 8th grade and is now a student at St. Cecelia's. Her two older children are registered nurses and the third is a dance teacher.

Mrs. Brenda Bernstorf
Deputy Executive Director


  • B.S. – Music Education, Asbury University


  • MBA – Trevecca Nazarene University


  • Doctoral Student in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in organizational development - in progress with Grand Canyon University, Phoenix Arizona


  • Certification: Kentucky License, General Music, Vocal, Band, Orchestra, K-12


 Brenda is strategically driven and fascinated by organizational development, specifically engaging people with the organization. She joined the administrative team in 2008 with over 20 years’ experience in business and nonprofits. She is responsible for developing and managing the brand, marketing, human resources, organizational development, continuous improvement, and accreditation.  Her belief in continuous learning, education, and organizational leadership makes her an avid reader and drives the development strategies of the organization. 


She loves quilting, sewing, cooking, and reading and is busy completing a doctoral program. She and Jim enjoy working together and have been married over 35 years. They have two grown children, and five amazing grandchildren. 

Anna Sitter, MBA

Operations Director


Anna began working for Montessori Academy in the Aftercare program while in high school at Franklin Road Academy. She continued working in the Aftercare program throughout college. Anna has a BA in English from Belmont University. Her current position, as Operations Director, makes her responsible for e-News, information through the website, the MA calendar and she is the supervisor of the Aftercare program. She completed a Masters of Business Administration Degree at Trevecca University in 2016. ​

Dr. Jim Bernstorf
Executive Director

  • B.A. – Philosophy, Asbury University 

  • M.Ed – Masters in Educational Leadership, Trevecca Nazarene University 

  • Ed.D. - Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Trevecca Nazarene University


Jim's educational background includes a Masters in educational leadership and a Doctorate in educational leadership with a dissertation focused on testing and accountability. Jim came to Montessori Academy in 2001 with an extensive background in business. That experience provided a background in sales, purchasing, accounting, operations, and sales management in five different states.  He served as CFO at Montessori Academy prior to assuming the responsibilities as the educational leader in 2013.

Jim has been married to Brenda for over 35 years, has two grown children, and five grandchildren.  He loves sailing, boating, gardening, and enjoys playing basketball.