Our Team

Our faculty and staff make education a joyful and challenging proposition.


Reihaneh Bigdeliazari

Student Advisor, Sciences

With a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Northern Kentucky University, and a master’s degree in teaching from Eastern Kentucky University, Reihaneh initially volunteered at Montessori High in the Spring of 2012 and found herself becoming passionate about Montessori education and philosophy.  Reihaneh, with her gentle manner and her encouraging ways, is able to bring the most complex concepts to life in the classroom, whether she is teaching basic Biology or Physics.

When she is not in the classroom, greenhouse, or with her 6 year old daughter, Reihaneh likes working out, dancing, and watching movies.




Marshall Herbst

Student Advisor, Social Sciences, History, Technology

Marshall is a Lexington native who joins us from the University of Kentucky College of Education, where he completed his master’s degree in Secondary Social Sciences Education. Marshall retains a current AMS Secondary I-II Montessori Credential, obtained through the Cincinnati Montessori Secondary Teacher Education Program (CMStep). Prior to his time at UK, Marshall attended Hanover College where he graduated with a major in History, minor in Psychology, and as a Theatre Scholar.  Marshall currently serves on the Board of Directors as the faculty representative.

When he is not serving at MHS, Marshall enjoys being outdoors, acting, directing, lighting design for local high schools, running, world travel, and enjoying Lexington with his friends and family.



Caitlin Minnick

Student Advisor, Math, German

Cait received a bachelor’s degree in the History of Medicine and Science, and minor in Biology from the University of Rochester.  Cait is pursuing her AMS certification for secondary education with CMStep.  She taught at a public school in northern New York before moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to pursue a master’s degree in History with a focus on the German-American experience between World War I and World War II. She has worked as a professional tutor for at-risk freshmen at LaSalle University, and facilitated at a learning center for home-schooled children.  Cait is our German Excursion intersession facilitator that traveled with a select group of students to Germany for three weeks in January of 2015.

Cait and her husband, Andrew, live in Lexington with their three dogs. When she is not at school, you will find her hiking, snowboarding, and remodeling their fixer-upper.



Jennifer Pederson

Director of School, Administration and Finance

Jennifer Pederson has a bachelor’s in Science in Secondary Education from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. She taught secondary science at a local private school prior to staying home with her three children. For several years, Jennifer worked part-time in the Director’s Office at Providence Montessori School, served on Providence Board of Directors for three years, and chaired the Providence fundraising committee. Jennifer is excited that her two daughters have the opportunity to attend a Montessori high school, and she has a son who is looking forward to attending as well.

In her free time, Jennifer enjoys a leisurely stroll on the Florida beach, and sitting fireside with a good book as her dogs sleep at her feet.



Patrick Wallace

Student Assistant Director, Advisor, Arts and Humanities Instructor

Patrick received his bachelor degree from the University of Kentucky in Anthropology and his teaching certification from Western Governors University. Patrick has also completed his coursework for his AMS Secondary Montessori Credential with CMStep. In January 2015, the Board recognized Patrick’s gifts of leadership, dedication and organization and asked him to step into the role of Assistant Director.  Giving up his cargo pants for fashion forward khakis, Patrick wholeheartedly accepted the position.  Patrick has been an archaeologist, author, artist, musician, and business manager in addition to teaching.

 Although usually too busy for hobbies, if given the chance Patrick likes to build things with his two young sons and spend time with his beautiful wife.


Not Pictured:

Leslie Strempel

Spanish and English Literature

A woman of the world, Leslie came to Lexington to teach at University of Kentucky.  We felt fortunate when she agreed to teach Spanish at MHS, and even more delighted when she agreed to step in to teach English.

Leslie has a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She has studied at The Center for Cross-Cultural Study (Universidad de Sevilla, Spain) and at the Centro de Lenguas Modernas (Universidad de Granada, Spain). She has a Master’s in Hispanic Studies from Auburn University.


Jeff Castro

Mathematics and Science

Jeff volunteered at Montessori High in the spring of 2014 and joined the faculty at the beginning of the 2014-2015 academic year.  Jeff received his master’s degree in Secondary Science Education as well as his bachelor’s degree in Geology from the University of Kentucky.  During the completion of his Master’s degree in Secondary Science Education, he taught science and English at the Gaoxin High school in Xian China.

Jeff, his lovely wife, and their darling daughter, live in Downtown Lexington where they are currently restoring a historic home.  When not teaching, hammering, or painting, he likes to rock climb and travel.


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