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Our Staff


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 now has 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 a mother of one spunky, charming son and a native of Tupelo, Mississippi. She comes to the Village with four years of Montessori experience teaching alongside the Village’s Director/Primary Teacher Courtney White. 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.”

Admissions and Office Manager
Carley Harrigan

Carley grew up in New York and moved to Montreal, Canada shortly after High School to attend Concordia University where she studied Sociology and then Business, receiving her B.B.A.

She has taught at and worked in both a traditional and a Montessori environment and she believes the difference is truly monumental!

Carley has traveled and lived all over in places like Canada, Sweden, Richmond and now Little Rock. She and her husband have two sons, and one daughter. She enjoys traveling, photography, tennis, and snowboarding, but can most often be found on her hammock in the back yard watching the kids play.


Teaching Assistant
Emily Yarberry

EmilyEmily Yarberry was born into a military family in Landstuhl, German, but has spent the majority of her life in Arkansas. She is working toward her Associates of Science in Education. Emily’s fascination in education started when she was a child and it grew as she watched her mother advance in the field of Early Childhood Education. Her personal experiences with her four-year-old daughter, Audrey, furthered her passion for education. Emily highly values the same aspects of learning that Montessori schools offer and she is looking forward to all the new adventures ahead! One of her favorite quotes is: ” When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it’s our job to share our calm, not join their chaos.” – L.R. Knots

Michelle Drusky


Michelle Drusky is our Village yoga instructor and has been practicing yoga since she was a teenager. She has a Masters in Psychology with an emphasis in Health Psychology. She is an experienced registered Hatha yoga teacher, Balance Barre Certified, and the manager at Blue Yoga Nyla. Michelle is an avid animal lover and has two dogs, Kaos and Sir George, and two cats, Lola and Mouse.


Village Montessori, LLC
Board of Directors

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

Primary Lead Teacher & Co-owner:
Courtney White

Board Member:
Sonia Fonticiella-Rios
The Fonticiella-Rios Law Firm

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


Village Montessori Foundation
Board of Trustees


Chadwick Rodgers, MD

Jaime Norton

Stephanie Simonton-Atchley, PhD