Our Staff

Lynette Goss (she/her)

Head of School

Lynette Goss has been a part of the Walnut Farm community since 2004. She holds Montessori credentials to teach 3 to 6-year-olds and 6 to 12-year-olds.  She taught in both environments but spent most of her teaching career as the lower elementary teacher. She also taught music part-time at our school for 15 years. Lynette has a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s degree in education.  Lynette and her husband, Jason have lived in Bentonville for many years and NWA most of their lives. Their twin boys, Grayson and Andy attended Walnut Farm for six years. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and being in the great outdoors. She also loves to sing, garden and experiment in making art. Lynette has over 25 years of experience working with children.

Azusa Crawford (she/her)

Education Administrator

Azusa has been a member of the Walnut Farm community since 2007, when her daughter Hannah joined Primary, and she has filled a number of roles — substitute, assistant, and teacher — prior to stepping into her position as the Education Administrator in 2021. Azusa was born and raised in Sapporo, Japan, where she attended a Montessori kindergarten (her favorite school experience), played piano, trained in Kendo, practiced calligraphy, and dreamt of working with children as an adult. Though she originally planned to stay in the U.S. for one year to learn English, she fell in love with American culture and diversity in 2001; she has since lived in 4 states (AZ, NJ, SC, and UT) before settling in Arkansas. After her time working as an assistant, Azusa earned the American Montessori Society’s Early Childhood credential at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder, CO. She currently enjoys reading, listening to music, cooking, and Sashiko (Japanese embroidery). Azusa continues to love fulfilling her dreams by employing the Montessori method to guide children both directly and through her support of Walnut Farm’s teaching staff. Azusa has over 13 years of experience working with children.

Michelle Garcia-Martinez (she/her)

Admissions Administrator and Spanish Specialist

Michelle Garcia-Martinez has lived in NWA for a little over twenty years, having moved here from Colorado. Along with a passion for teaching and child advocacy, as a first generation Mexican American, Michelle has also developed a passion for activism and involvement in the local Latino community. She is excited to bring her dedication and experience to Walnut Farm Montessori. Before becoming the new Montessori Spanish teacher and a member of the support staff, she was a Program Coordinator for two years. She enjoys hiking, biking, community events and spending time with family. She says she took on the most important role of her life in 2020 when she became a mother. Michelle has hit the ground running and is looking forward to her first year here at Walnut Farm! She has over 11 years of experience working with children and teachers.

Heather Shakespeare (she/her)

Finance Administrator

Heather, her husband, and dog #1 (Lexi) relocated from California in 2017. This Kansas born and West Coast native (30 years) may have her Degree in Accounting from California, but she started her education as fellow Montessorian pupil at BNC in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For as long as she can remember, she has had voracious love of: learning, all things flora and fauna, and being of help to others (in word and in deed). It is only natural this combination of talents would find her right at home at her last California job: Finance Assistant at Laguna Blanca School. Heather spent 8 life changing years at this EK-12 college prep school. Had she not met/married her husband, she would have gladly spent another 8+ years there. Whether she was “helping with lunch service, chaperoning class trips, or volunteering at fund raising events”, Heather says she found her true vocation: helping build our youth for the future. So, it goes without saying she LEAPT at the opportunity of rejoining the world of child education when she saw her chance. Heather gleefully joined the WFMS family in 2023 and hopes to follow in the footsteps of her adored predecessor, Leslie Johnson, by retiring here! <3. She and her UK husband, have two dogs, two cats, a nephew in the UK, and a niece in Kansas. Heather has over 20 years’ experience in Accounting and over 8 years’ working with children.

Amanda Phillips (she/her)


Director of Development

Amanda Phillips joined Walnut Farm Montessori School as Director of Development in the fall of 2022. She has been involved with WFMS since 2015, as a parent, Family Association president, Trustee and officer of the Board, and now as an alumni parent. Her background is in academia where she is an anthropologist and historian. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology, Bachelor of Arts in History, Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, and Master of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Arkansas where she is continuing to pursue her doctorate studies. Amanda is thrilled to help develop and grow the Walnut Farm Community that has meant so much to her family and which she loves dearly. 

 

Teaching Staff

Whitney Kimbro (she/her)

Toddler Lead Teacher/ Guide

Whitney Kimbro began working at Walnut Farm in 2005 and quickly fell in love with the Montessori Philosophy.  During the summer of 2011 she received her associate Infant and Toddler credential from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies.  She finds working with toddlers very rewarding as she is able to connect with them, help them reach their potential, and guide them toward meaningful growth.  Whitney was born and raised in NWA and is a huge Razorback fan.  She is married to her High School sweetheart and they have one dog.  She enjoys traveling, hiking with her dog, and spending time with family and friends.  

Sara Lopez (she/her)

Toddler Assistant Teacher

Sara is from Bella Vista, Arkansas and currently lives in Gravette. Sara has worked at Walnut Farm for six years. Sara and her husband who are high school sweethearts, have been married for three years and have a son named Wyatt who is in primary with Ms. Stephanie. Sara has two dogs named Ruger and Maggie. Being at Walnut Farm has fostered her love of Montessori education and her love for working with toddlers. One of Sara’s favorite things about working with toddlers is watching them grow and learn new things each day as well as helping them to foster independence.

Koralys Vallejo (she/her)

Toddler Lead Teacher/Guide and Spanish Specialist

Koralys Vallejo, is pleased to be a Toddler lead guide and Spanish teacher for the Toddler and Elementary program. She is originally from Puerto Rico. Koralys has a Montessori Nido & Infants (0-3 years old) MACTE Teacher Diploma, a master’s degree in business administration, and a bachelor’s degree in Sign Language Interpreter. Her journey in Montessori began 4 years ago, and she says she loves and enjoys every day of it. In her free time, she likes to be with her family, mountain biking, hiking, and yoga. She has over 10 years of teaching experience and has always enjoyed working with children.

 

Virginia Force (she/her)

Toddler Assistant Teacher

Virginia came to Walnut Farm as a parent in 2008, when her first son started the primary program. Both of her boys went through their primary years at Walnut Farm. In 2012, she brought her love of cooking and creating recipes to our kitchen as the school cook. In 2020, she was excited to make a change and become a primary assistant, but her time in the classroom was interrupted by a bout with cancer. Now she’s cancer-free and feeling great!  She has worked several summer camps in the toddler and primary environments.  She is looking forward to staying in the toddler program and working with Mrs. Kendyll for her third year. She and her husband, Damon, and their two boys live in Pea Ridge. Virginia loves animals and in her spare time enjoys training dogs and horses. Her favorite weekends are spent with her family at the lake, hanging at home, or hanging with friends!

 

Jennifer Crosby (she/her)

Primary Lead Teacher/ Guide

Jennifer was born and raised in Arkansas. She and her husband got married 12 years ago, moved to Tennessee and spent their free time taking road trips and traveling overseas. Their favorite place by far is Scotland. Once they had their three daughters, Eleanor, Sophie and Kate, they patiently waited for an opportunity to move back to NWA. When her husband had the opportunity to work remotely, they saw this as the right time to move back over the summer. They love being closer to their families and now spend their time exploring two-lane roads, finding playgrounds, baking bread, and watching movies. Jennifer earned her Bachelor’s of Early Childhood Education from Harding University and received her Master’s in Reading Education from University of Missouri. For the past 8 years, she worked as a lead teacher at Nashville’s first public Montessori school, which is where she received her early childhood Montessori certification. During Montessori training, Jennifer met Mrs. Stephanie and was impressed with how highly she talked about Walnut Farm. This is Jennifer’s second year and she’s feeling grateful to be a part of the Walnut Farm family.  Jennifer has over 25 years of experience working with children.

Brandy Wilson (she/her)

Primary Assistant Teacher

Brandy relocated to Northwest Arkansas ten years ago with her husband Mike and their three children. She has over twenty years of experience teaching preschool. She has served in multiple roles with various organizations involving children of all ages. Brandy is excited to be a part of Walnut Farm Primary program and further her education and knowledge with the Montessori method. She joined our staff in 2020. Brandy has over 24 years of experience working with children.

Stephanie Throop (she/her)

Primary Lead Teacher/ Guide

Stephanie is from Bentonville. She has worked at Walnut Farm for over 14 years and also has experience as a parent at our school. She previously served as an assistant teacher in a Primary classroom and as the Primary Art teacher. Stephanie is now a lead Primary teacher in Dogwood. Raising her own children on her family farm, Stephanie has a passion for children and farm life, which complements her work in Montessori. She is grounded in tradition, and she is looking forward to more work in Montessori Education for herself and our school community and global peace work. Stephanie has over 24 years of experience working with children.

Paige Kemp (she/her)

Primary Lead Teacher/ Guide

Paige was born and raised in NWA and calls it home for her family now. She graduated with her bachelor’s in Educational Studies from the University of Arkansas in 2015 and immediately pursued her Montessori training in Boulder, CO at the Montessori Education Center Of The Rockies. Paige began her Montessori teaching career at Walnut Farm in 2015 teaching in the Primary environment. In 2016 she took another opportunity to grow in her career at a Montessori school in the mountains of Vail, CO. After 5 amazing years in Colorado, Paige, her husband, Kolby, and 2 daughters are happy to be back. 

 

Jamie Van Horn (she/her)

Primary Lead Teacher/ Guide

Originally from Texas, Jamie has been in NWA for over 20 years. She has been working at WFMS for over 18 years having followed her children to school. Her love for her children brought her to Walnut Farm and her love for children has kept her here. Jamie graduated from Texas A+M University with a B.S. in Journalism and received her MACTE certification to teach Montessori many years later. Jamie loves the outdoors and spends many hours hiking, biking and canoeing all over Arkansas with her husband Greg. They have two children, Judge 23 and MaryJane 20, both currently attending the University of Arkansas. She and her husband began a non-profit organization to free Little Sugar Creek and are currently actively fighting to do so. Jamie has over 24 years of experience working with children.

Kristal Price (she/her)

Primary Assistant Teacher

Kristal is from Fayetteville and now lives in Springdale. She is married to Scotty, and together they have 2 boys, Gage, 19 and Garett, 15. They also have 2 dogs, Rio and Bentley, and 2 cats, Bonz and Marvin. Kristal has worked with children for over 10 years and has loved every minute of it. She enjoys kayaking, camping, and gardening-pretty much anything outdoors. Kristal is very excited to be a part of the Walnut Farm Montessori family and has been with WFMS since 2020. Kristal has over 16 years of experience working with children.

Sally Davis (she/her)

Lower Elementary Teacher

Sally grew up in a small town in South Carolina among alligators in the swamp. Before she discovered the Montessori philosophy of education, her parents encouraged a path of experiential education via exploration of the natural environment, experimentation, and fostering creativity. As a young adult, she worked as an Assistant Director of a Clemson University 4-H camp while earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Minoring in Studio Art. She spent years working with youth as a Guide for Wilderness Therapy in Georgia and the Four Corners. She shares a teenage daughter with her co-parenting family who all relocated to Bentonville, AR together in 2020. She left her profession as a Paramedic to join the amazing staff and families at Walnut Farm Montessori School later that year. She earned her Montessori Certification to teach Lower Elementary through the Center For Guided Montessori Studies. She is delighted to bring her interests, joy of learning, and love for children to the school. She enjoys hikes with her blue heeler, floating on rivers with friends and family, arts and crafts, and comedy.

Briana Cooper (she/her)

Lower Elementary Assistant and Music Specialist

Briana is a product of a Montessori education and is so thrilled to continue her Montessori education, this time as an adult in the classroom! She graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education with a concentration in vocal music and a piano minor from Baylor University. Briana taught in Texas as a middle school head choir director in Waco, TX; high school assistant choir director in Waco, TX; and an elementary general music educator in Houston, TX. She can’t wait to continue her career here in Arkansas in a Montessori environment! Briana has over 12 years of experience working with children.

Jill Bauer (she/her)

Lower Elementary Teacher/ Guide

Jill grew up in Wisconsin and loves how NWA reminders her of home. She has an MBA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and worked in marketing research for 25 years in the corporate setting. She fell in love with the Montessori style when her niece and nephew were in school. She has been teaching children 6 to 12 years old since 2014 when she received her Master of Education at Loyola University in Baltimore. Her first Montessori job was in a trilingual school in Casablanca, Morocco. She has also lived in Tampa, Florida and Paris, France. She and her husband, Dave live on five acres west of Centerton. Jill loves to travel and would love to hear any suggestions you have. Jill has over 14 years of experience working with children.

Autumn Wisniewski (she/her)

Outdoor Classroom Assistant/ Aftercare

Autumn was born and raised in Siloam Springs, Arkansas and currently lives in Fayetteville. This will be her first full school year working at WFMS and she is so happy to be a part of the Walnut Farm family! She helped run her dad’s local farm and is passionate about teaching children how to grow food. She is currently in school earning her bachelor’s degree in Family and Human Development. Autumn has over 2 years of experience working with children.

Joe Love (they/them)

Elementary Outdoor Classroom Specialist / Aftercare/ Maintenance

Joe has experience in professional outdoor education and leadership – both leading children at Walnut Farm and as an adventure trip guide during grad school. In the Outdoor Classroom and greenhouse, Joe wants to cultivate attitudes of curiosity and wonder for the world through exploration. Joe joined the WFMS team in 2020. Joe has over 8 years of experience working with children.

Christy Hrycun (she/her)

Toddler Outdoor Classroom and Support

Christy was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She grew up on a small 40-acre farm in the Elm Springs area, raising pigs, cows and horses. She is a Springdale High School graduate. She is now married and has 3 girls ages 14, 10 and 8 years old. She loves spending time outdoors with her family fishing, swimming, having campfires and riding horses. Christy was a sub for Walnut Farm for a while before going to Bentonville Public schools as a para for special needs students. Christy has been a part of WFMS since 2017. Christy has over 8 years of experience working with children.

Kerrey Klatt (she/her)

Art Specialist and Support

Kerrey joined Walnut Farm Montessori in 2022. As a fine art graduate from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, she has taught drawing lessons, ceramics, painting, and all things art in a variety of educational settings. Kerrey is originally from Michigan, where her parents (Big shout out to Kim and Rick Klatt!!!), 2 sisters, 5 nieces & nephews, 2 great-nieces & nephew, and a bunch of other amazing humans reside! Kerrey enjoys teaching art to children and seeing them feel accomplished and proud of themselves!    ❤️ Montessori = great education! Kerrey has over 17 years of experience working with children.

 

Ava McGee (she/her)

Aftercare

Clancey Wood (she/her)

Aftercare Assistant

Emely Aguirre (she/her)

Aftercare Assistant