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Meet Our Team

Desert Sky Montessori is proud to have a staff of teachers that are passionate about making a difference in students’ lives through tireless dedication to education. Get to know each of our team members below.

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Miss Paty


Miss Paty took ownership of Desert Sky in 2019, to carry on the great learning environment it has been known for.

Miss Paty loves to watch each child grow physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Paty's academic background is in bilingual education and early child development. Miss Paty started at Desert Sky Montessori as the lead toddler teacher. She has since introduced a bilingual program through songs, and their special "amigo" Paco.

When she is not at school, she loves spending time with her husband of 40 years and 3 beautiful and talented daughters (and spoiling her grandpups).


Miss Sally


Miss Sally joined Desert Sky Montessori 25 years ago, and has since taken ownership of the math department. Miss Sally has consistently brought passion and dedication working with each student one to one to introduce new materials. Sally also works in small groups of students to facilitate team learning.

Miss Sally is a native Italian, and spent her early teaching years in Long Island in special education.  When she isn't at school, she enjoys yoga and spending time with her 5 grandchildren. Sally shares her love of yoga every morning with the class, which is the perfect way to start the day.  What brings Miss Sally the greatest joy, is watching each student progress during their time at Desert Sky.


Miss Christina


Christina Carlson joined the Desert Sky Montessori team in 2021. She teaches outdoor life, environment, sciences, and practical life to primary and kindergarten students. In addition to these subjects, Ms. Christina encourages students to share her love of nature, art, books, and friendship. 

Originally from Massachusetts, Ms. Christina fell in love with the Sonoran Desert in 2010, and has no plans to leave. She has been teaching children and adults about the natural world since she and her family moved to Arizona. 

Ms. Christina earned a Bachelor of Arts from Miami University. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, gardening, and reading about anything and everything.


Miss LeighAnn


I am an Arizona native, born and raised as well as living in Seattle for 10 years. I am a proud mom of an 11-year-old daughter, and I just married the father of our child after being together for 14 years.

My passion is to ignite a love of learning in my students. I'm always on the lookout for new ways to inspire their creativity and curiosity. Whether we're exploring nature, playing games, or experimenting with art; I believe that hands-on experiences are the key to unlocking their potential.

In addition to my teaching skills, I bring a wealth of knowledge from my background as a wellness practitioner. I hold an associates degree from Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in transformational psychology, and I am a certified hypnotherapist and life coach. This training allows me to teach my students different tools to handle their big emotions, so they can develop healthy ways to process and express them.

Outside of the classroom, I enjoy indulging my artistic side. I love to build, create, and design, and I'm always on the lookout for new projects to tackle. In fact, I often collaborate with my family on our YouTube channel called Conquer You, where we play games on Roblox with our viewers and share our journey growing our channel together. Our motto is “ Winning the game, together.”

As an educator, I am committed to fostering an environment where my students feel seen, heard, and valued. I know that each child has their unique strengths and abilities, and I'm here to help them discover and develop those talents. By igniting their love of learning, I believe that we can help our children grow into confident, creative, and capable adults.


Miss Kristen


Hello, my name is Kristen Branco. I recently moved here from Connecticut six months ago to be closer to my family. I am currently working as a pre-primary teacher at Desert Sky Montessori, where I enjoy helping young minds grow and learn every day.

Apart from teaching, I have a deep passion for creative arts. I love spending my free time painting, doing pottery, and working on resin projects. It helps me unwind and express myself in ways that words cannot.

I have been a teacher for four years now and find it to be a truly rewarding profession. Seeing my students learn and grow is an incredible feeling that makes me love my job even more. I received my associates in early childhood education from Manchester Community College, which provided me with a solid foundation for my career in teaching.

Overall, I am grateful for the opportunity to teach and inspire young minds, while also pursuing my creative passions.


Miss Erica


Hi my name is Erica Bashkin and I have been a part of DSMS off and on for about 10 years, starting when my kids were part of the DSMS family. I'm a graduate from NAU and I'm a graduate gemologist from GIA. 

Here at Desert Sky I help the children with Language (sounds, moveable alphabet, and reading).  I love it when sounds click with students and it starts them on the road to reading. 

I am originally from New Jersey and I have a husband, two kids, and two dogs. Life is crazy but I love it.


Miss Deca


Hello my name is Miss Deca. I have recently moved from Oregon with my husband and I am very excited to start the new school year as part of the Desert Sky Montessori team. 

I have been working as a Montessori Teacher for 12 years and I appreciate the Montessori method of education because it inspires children to be independent and passionate learners. 

I am originally from Brazil where I worked as a History Teacher for three years before I moved with my oldest daughter and husband to the United States. My family and I lived in Bothell, WA where I went to school to become a Montessori teacher. The Seattle area provided me with many great opportunities to work in beautiful Montessori schools alongside experienced teachers that helped enhance my teaching skills. I also worked in a public school in my neighborhood as a Paraeducador, volunteered to teach Sunday school children at my community church, and arts and crafts at the local YMCA. Although I love the Pacific Northwest and its natural beauty, I can’t wait to explore all that Arizona has to offer with its bright-open sky, incredible mountain views, and amazing places to go hiking. I fancy outdoor activities!

When I am not working I like reading, baking, going for long walks with my husband, and  spending time with my two daughters, their cats, and friends.

For more information on our staff, we invite you to get in touch.

About Us: Staff
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