Director and Lead Teacher
Michelle dedicates her free time to NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Association) as a first responder on the Monk Seal Response Team. The Hawaiian Monk Seal is a critically endangered species. By educating the community on Maui on this species and helping this population grow we can contribute to the well being of our environment and ecosystem. Like Maria Montessori, Michelle believes in teaching children through what interests them. She uses her passion for the Monk Seals to teach children in all areas of the classroom including practical life, sensorial, language arts, mathematics, and geography.
Michelle Lazuka holds a Masters Degree in Education from Chaminade University of Honolulu with a Montessori Teaching Credential. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and is a certified Yoga Instructor. Michelle’s work with children is extensive and diverse. She interned in Pediatrics at Northeast Medical Hospital in Concord, NC as a Child Life Specialist. She also has worked as a Lead Preschool Teacher, Montessori Preschool and Kindergarten Teacher, Wish Granter for Make- A- Wish Foundation, and she developed Yogi Friends; a successful children’s yoga program in NC.
Director and Lead Teacher
Katie became a Montessori enthusiast upon setting foot in a Montessori classroom. It was the search for a perfect preschool for her own child that led her directly to Montessori. After graduating from the University of Colorado with a Communications Degree and spending nearly a decade managing restaurants, she decided to attend the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies and become a certified Primary Teacher. Montessori was already her passion, and now she was trained to make it her career. Throughout the years, Katie served as President of the Parent Committee at Bergamo Academy Montessori in Denver, Colorado and coached youth soccer in
Denver area Montessori Schools. In 2012 she moved to Maui and began teaching. She has also run a successful private tutoring business here in Maui, where she taught a range of children ages 5-15 and ability levels ranging from general education to severe learning disabilities. Katie spent some time working within the Hawaii Public School system providing one on one support to disabled students. She now has opened her very own Primary Montessori School with her best friend Michelle Lazuka. What a dream come true!
Coach Brant has been working as a Gymnastics Coach for Maui Tumblers for over several years. Before his time in Maui, Brant lived in Korea for two years, where he was an English PE teacher and also an after school sports instructor for Bishop Sports. He spearheaded a variety of sports programs for the kids in soccer, basketball, baseball, inline skating, and swimming just to name a few. Brant also spent a year in Saipan in the visitor industry as a Kids Club Scout leader.
Brant’s goal is to make sure students learn how important it is to be physically active in life and educate the students about eating the proper foods to help them have the energy they need to stay physically fit. In addition to a variety of sports and game curriculum, the program will also focus on learning sportsmanship. Last but not least he hopes to see the students having fun and enjoying themselves.
Miss Joy went to Fisher College (a two year private college) in Boston, Massachusetts where she earned her degree in Early Childhood Education. During her time there she interned at Commonwealth Children's Center and Beacon Hill Nursery school. In 1997 she received a job at Wailuku Hongwanji Preschool where she taught as a teacher for 22 years managing a total of 62 children. Having that opportunity was a great experience and made her realize that she took the right direction in her career. Working with children is her passion and she loves to see the growth and development from each child from the beginning to the end. Miss Joy is a hard worker and always does her very her best to succeed! LMSM is extremely grateful for Miss Joy's hard work and dedication to the keiki!
Hello! My name is Miss Rita. I am the mother of two wonderful adults, Aubrey and Erik and the proud grandma of Nora Elizabeth! I have been a Director of Music/Choirs for over 40 years. I am also proficient in Piano, Organ, Guitar and voice/basic ukulele
In 1987 I began to teach music in a private school. I went back to college for Music and Education in 1987 as well. After I graduated from the University of Wisconsin majoring in human development, education, and music, I taught 2nd grade for one year then music for the next several years. I also taught 3rd and 5th grade and later taught Spanish and General Music, Guitar and Choir. In addition to this I taught private lessons for piano, guitar and voice for many years. Since I moved to Maui in the summer of 2016 I have been helping my daughter, Miss Aubrey, who founded La-ti-da Productions over 12 years ago. At La-ti-da I help with teaching piano, guitar and ukulele, Music Family Classes, among other things.
Who We Are
Little Monk Seal Montessori is a creation Michelle and Katie just could not resist diving into. The two women met each other, quite appropriately, in a Montessori classroom. Upon becoming friends, they discovered they had both moved to the beautiful island of Maui at the same time to chase down their ultimate calling. The partnership was perfect and they got right to work! After hearing testimony after testimony that Maui needed more quality preschools, Michelle and Katie decided they would take on the task. Satisfying a community need and teaching Montessori would be the ultimate dream come true for these two!