Kona Campus Faculty

Angeline Geldhof

Angeline Geldhof

Executive Director
Montessori allows children develop at their own pace. It acknowledges that we, as human beings, have an internal guide that keeps us on our own unique developmental course.

I hold a BA in History, a Montessori Primary Teacher’s Credential from American Montessori Society, and a Montessori Elementary Teacher’s Credential from Association Montessori Internationale.

I started teaching in London, Ontario in 1991 in the upper elementary grades. I came to Hawai'i in 1993 to teach at Hawai'i Montessori Schools and have taught in all of the different programs at the school since then.

Every day is an adventure. Moments of glory and occur every time one of our students shows me how proud they are of their work, every time a student spontaneously gives hugs, and every time they happily take my hand. As I watch them grow, I am thankful to have had a chance to walk a small way with each of them in their journey through life.

I enjoy reading, going to the beach, and being with my daughter Emmeline.


Noelle Geldhof

Noelle Geldhof

Lead Teacher, Honu Primary Class
Montessori is a philosophy that fundamentally fosters independence and self-motivation while matching the children’s learning and development with teaching materials designed to help children understand concepts through multiple learning modes: doing, seeing, touching, and hearing What could be a better approach to honor the children and best prepare them for a lifetime of learning and initiative?

I have attained a BA in Art with a minor in Biology, BA in Education, Elementary Montessori Certification, and Primary Montessori Certification. I am currently working on my Masters in Education with Chaminade University.

I have taught at Hawai'i Montessori Schools since 1993. In 1993 I came to Hawai'i from Canada to teach at the Kamuela Campus, and in 2002 I began teaching in Honu class at the Kona Campus.

I appreciate the innocence and joy of the children—everything is new and exciting for them every day. I think these formative years are extremely important in brain and personality development.

I enjoy music and am beginning to learn to play the guitar. I also enjoy gardening, which I often do with the children at the school.


Noelle Geldhof

Loretta Hodges

Lead Teacher, Mo'o Primary Class
I have had the pleasure and privilege of being a Montessori teacher for over 25 years.  I received my Montessori Primary credential through St. Nicholas Montessori International Centre in 1986.  I love the beauty of the Montessori environment and the way it addresses the “whole child” and provides the opportunity for each child to grow and learn individually. 

I am from Coronado, California and taught school in Coronado and  San Diego for many years.  I moved to the Big Island in 2006 and was lead teacher in the Honu Class in Kamuela for 2 years, and am thrilled to be back and to be at the Kona School.  I love Hawaii and have made Hawaii my home.  I have 3 grown children in San Diego, Australia and here in Hawaii as well as a brother and sister in law here on Big Island. 

I have many interests and am still pursuing new ones!  Yoga, hiking, swimming, biking, music, reading, cooking, sewing, and organic gardening are things I enjoy, along with spending time with my family and good friends   I love the ideas of repurposing and reconstructing and being creative.  I love nature and beauty and living a positive life that embraces a healthy lifestyle encouraging all to live their best life.


Shea Quitevis

Shea Quitevis

Lead Teacher, Nai'a Toddler Class
My mom started Manoa Montessori School in Manoa on the island of Oahu. I went to school there from the age of two all the way up to middle school. So I am very comfortable in the Montessori environment. I love that each child learns differently and a person gets a chance to learn everything at his/her own pace.

I have a Child Development Associate certificate in Infant Toddler and NAMC International Montessori Teaching Diploma.

I started volunteering at Manoa Montessori School when I was 14 and started full time at 15 I worked there for over 7 years till it closed down. I stayed at home with my sons and niece for two years . I then went to worked at Kama’aina Kids Aikahi for 7 1/2 years . We moved to the Big Island in January 2005 and started working at Hawaii Montessori School in August 2006.

I enjoy working with children; everyday is a unique experience, seeing them learn and grow. Everything to them is new and exciting, and they make teaching and learning fun.

In my spare time I enjoy gardening, sewing and watching movies. I am also a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) which is an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe.


Joy Painter

Joy Painter

Assistant Teacher, Honu Primary Class
When I was looking for a preschool for my son to attend, I was referred to this school by a friend. The Hawai'i Montessori Schools came highly recommended and I was not dissapointed. My son really enjoyed the school, and he was well prepared after graduating to another school.

I grew up on the beautiful islands of Hawai'i and attended high school here. I am now currently pursuing my BA.

I have taught at the Hawai'i Montessori Schools in Kona since 2005: in both the Extended Day program and as the Assistant Teacher in the Mo'o Primary Class. I truly love the kids. It is so rewarding to watch them and help them to discover.

I enjoy spending time with my son, reading, and Tahitian dancing.


Vicky Ponce-Basmayor

Melissa Carlucci

Assistant Teacher, Nai'a Toddler Class
The Montessori philosophy is a very special way of teaching and learning. It's a way for the child to be himself and learn at the same time. There is a real peace about the Montessori classroom because the teacher does not have to do the instruction to the class as a whole. A quiet lesson is all that is needed. Montessori teaches respect for the classroom and everyone in it.  The child is free to learn and grow at his own pace and style.  

I moved to Hawaii five and a half years ago from Cannon Beach, Oregon. I have been teaching children of all ages for 20 years. I became familiar with the Montessori method while working at a preschool in Oregon. I have been at Hawaii Montessori for about four years and enjoyed having my youngest daughter attend both campuses.  

I love to surf, paint, read and play at the beach with my family.  


Vicky Ponce-Basmayor

Vicky Ponce-Basmayor

Assistant Teacher, Nai'a Toddler Class
I have been at Hawai'i Montessori since 1992. The Montessori philosophy of education has given me great insight into the development of children and how they see the world around them. Their hunger for knowledge is amazing.

I have been working with children for the past 30 years at various schools. I believe our children are our future leaders. We are only their mentors.  

I enjoy gardening and sewing.


Karen Branum

Extended Day Teacher
I graduated from Chaminade University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis on Montessori Philosophy and Practicum. I am passionate about Maria Montessori’s approach to education because of its emphasis on respect for the individual, independence and intrinsic motivation.

I consider it an honor to work with children in their earliest experience with education for the unique opportunity to inspire a lifelong love of learning and self confidence in their role as scholars.


Vicky Ponce-Basmayor

Tricia Gunberg

Extended Day Aide
I grew up gardening, fishing and playing sports with 2 brothers and 5 sisters in Racine, Wisconsin. My favorite childhood memory is of my family making sauerkraut in the garage while watching the Greenbay Packers. My husband, Nathan and I moved to the Big Island for the beautiful weather. We relocated here in May of 2013 from Colorado with our two cats, Bondi and Sydney. All of us are enjoying every ounce of sunshine and exploring the island. 

While attended the University of Wisconsin, I received a Geography Degree along with Teachers Education credits. I have been working with children for 30 years. First as a babysitter for my nieces, nephews and neighborhood kids, then as a coach, nanny, and teacher (home school and physical education). It is my preference to have children in my life because they remind me that play and self expression are an important part of being.   

n my free time I enjoy all things metaphysical as well as cooking/baking, sports and teaching my cat Bondi new tricks. I feel blessed to be able to share my gift of Reiki healing as a Hospice volunteer here in Kona. My husband and I enjoy learning all we can about Hawaii. I understand the ‘Aloha’ now, it truly is a place that warms your skin as well as your soul.  



Kona Campus Office staff

Maya Wheaton

Admissions Director & Office Manager
When I met Angeline in 2003 while interviewing for a substitute position, her passion about the philosophy and the approach of teaching drew me to Montessori. I knew a little about Montessori and Piaget, and I really wanted to be part of it. It was an exciting and promising concept to me.

I attained my B.A. in Business Administration in Paris, and I worked there in Paris for 10 years as the supervisor of the Internal Communication Department of Frequence Plus AIR FRANCE.

After enrolling in training programs in Early Childhood Education, I was fortunate to be mentored by the current Montessori Teachers on campus. I have been an assistant teacher in the Nai’a Class, in the Extended Day program, and in the Honu Class.

Working with children is a fascinating and unique experience. They are the most authentic people I have ever met. They are strongly asserted in their individuality and they are as eager to learn as they are to have fun — there is not a dull moment and I’m loving every bit of it.

My interests include surfing, camping, hiking, and fishing.