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Our Village Staff Makes the World Go ‘Round


Courtney White

Miss Courtney is a native of Arkansas. Her mother was a Montessori teacher and she grew up spending her entire life thus far in a Montessori environment. Practicing the life skills she gained through Montessori Methods, she was naturally guided back to the Montessori classroom. Throughout high school and college, she worked in Montessori classrooms to further her knowledge and gain understanding of Montessori. She possesses more than 20 years of experience with children, and has been lead teacher continuously from 1999 to today.

Spend just a few minutes in Courtney’s presence and one soon finds what makes her so special. Her calming nature and soft-spoken strength give her the tools necessary to command a classroom, a prepared environment. One of her greatest joys — as she builds a relationship with each student — is to tailor, create personalized lessons suited specifically to an individual child’s interest. Whether it’s dinosaurs, marine biology, entomology or the mammals of the African tundra to name just a few, Courtney will spend her personal time developing a new and interesting way for the student to explore and stretch their brain on the subject, typically handcrafting these new lessons. This attention to educational development empowers children with the freedom to explore their own curiosity while holding their interest and focus, drawing them deeper into their personal learning experience. Courtney’s ability to connect with kids by showing them respect and honor and thereby teaching the same exemplifies and epitomizes the Montessori Method. Grace and courtesy are truly her strong points.


Courtney White and Jennifer Matthews-Drake are co-owners of Village Montessori, LLC.

Leigh Ann Harrington

Miss Leigh Ann is a native of Mississippi. After four years of of working with children in New York, she moved to Little Rock to be closer to family. Leigh Ann is a 2002 graduate of Mississippi State University with a degree in educational psychology. She also received her Montessori certification for ages 0-3 from NAMC in 2011.

Leigh Ann is affectionately referred to by her fellow Villagers as the Pied Piper of children. It’s a fact: they love her and will follow her anywhere. And so will her students’ parents. Leigh Ann is an expert communicator and is constantly searching for new ways to bring parents into their children’s educational life. For example, she frequently and thoughtfully updates a private by-invitation-only Facebook page for her students’ parents. And she posts on one wall of her classroom daily handwritten pages indicating each students’ work and progress. The joy she receives in working with children radiates from her, and the community she builds out of that joy is a lasting one.

“The Montessori method and I were love at first sight. I enjoy the relationships that students, families, and teachers form as they grow together over the years. The community that is developed in a Montessori classroom is completely unique. I feel the emphasis on teaching young people to do and think for themselves is key, because they will use those skills for the rest of their lives.”

Teaching Assistant
Haley Floyd

Haley is the mother of one spunky, charming son and a native of Tupelo, Mississippi. She came to Village with four years of Montessori experience teaching alongside Miss Courtney prior to the start of Village Montessori. Haley’s quiet demeanor has a calming effect on her students and they love her for it. And her warm smile welcomes all who approach.

“Watching these kids learn and grow is truly amazing to me. I’m in constant awe and enriched by their unsurpassed curiosity and love of learning. Just being a small part of their world is hugely gratifying.”

Mary Brown

Teaching Assistant, Toddler classroom

Mary is a native of Arkansas. With an extensive background in childcare, she has worked with various ages- from infants to elementary. If she’s not working with children, she is at home tending to her plants and animals.

Laura Beasley, Yoga Instructor

Laura Beasley is our fabulous Village yoga instructor. She is a certified early childhood education teacher and a certified yoga instructor.  Laura, a native Arkansan, received her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education in 2005 and a Master’s degree in Literacy in 2006 from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. It was in Harding’s band program that she met her husband, Sean. Laura’s love of the arts, especially music and drama, began as a child and this love has continued throughout her lifetime!  Sean and Laura live in Austin, Arkansas with their sweet Pomeranian, Parker, and have been married for 12 years.

Upon completing her Master’s Degree, Laura taught elementary aged children in the Cabot Public School District from 2006-2017. During this time, Laura strove to build positive relationships with her students and promote constructive interactions among her students. Her main objective was to guide students as they developed confidence and creativity in working toward achieving their full potential.

In 2017, Laura decided to adventure into a new career path as a yoga instructor. She received her 200 hour yoga instructor certification through Blue Yoga Nyla studio in North Little Rock in May of 2018.  She is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. Yoga has brought healing and life to Laura and she longs to share this through her teaching of yoga to students of all ages!

Also in 2018, Laura began teaching for Drama Kids of Little Rock. Her love of music, movement, and drama are shared with students in a program which focuses on building students’ confidence through Drama concepts.

When Laura is not teaching, she enjoys taking walks, being in nature, especially on a river or lake, visiting with friends and family, jamming to her favorite tunes and practicing yoga.

Laura feels so very privileged and excited to be a part of the Village Montessori team as the yoga instructor! She loves the students’ sweet smiles and hugs and thoroughly enjoys sharing a yoga practice with them each week.  Laura’s goal is to teach children that yoga is fun, inspiring, and can be used to help train both your body and your mind.




Village Montessori, LLC
Board of Directors

Executive Director, Founder & Co-owner:
Jennifer Matthews-Drake

Primary Lead Teacher & Co-owner:
Courtney White

Facility Liaison and Advisor:
Jane Anne Spikes
Pulaski Heights Presbyterian Church


Village Montessori Foundation
Board of Trustees

Village Montessori Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization comprised of professionals in our community who are willing to volunteer their time and talent and who have a passion for spreading Montessori and are dedicated to fundraising for goals such as continuing eduction scholarships for Village staff, Village playground enhancements, Montessori curriculum, supplies and lessons, and more. The Foundation is currently seeking leadership nominations. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about this, please email us at and we will quickly put you in touch with someone who will help you. Thank you!