Whoever touches the life of the child touches the most sensitive point of a whole which has roots in the most distant past and climbs toward the infinite future.

~ Maria Montessori

GTM Staff

All Giving Tree teachers are personally committed to the exciting and dynamic work of teaching children by allowing them the freedom and respect to make their own choices within our uniquely structured environment. The five fully certified Montessori teachers share a combined Montessori experience of 81 years and maintain a teacher/student ratio of 1:8.

Please meet them individually.


Gisela Tilch - Director / Teacher / Owner / Founder
Staff member since 1995

Originally from Germany, Gisela loves living in Colorado. Teaching has always been her dream ever since girlhood. She became involved in the Montessori Method of teaching in 1985 and received her Montessori Early Childhood Teaching Certificate from the Montessori Institute of America (MIA) in 1993. Her 10-year dream of her own Montessori school came true when GTM opened its doors in 1995. Every single day she thanks the universe for giving her the opportunity to be in the presence of the most wonderful staff team, parent group and children.

Gisela has been a faculty member of the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies (MECR) in Boulder, Colorado, since 2004 where she teaches the very comprehensive Geography Curriculum she has developed for the Early Childhood Classroom. She has presented that curriculum to the Manitoba Montessori Teachers Association in Winnipeg, Canada as well as at regional American Montessori Society (AMS) conferences. Gisela has copyrighted two teaching manuals: Geography in the Early Childhood Classroom and Material Guides for the Montessori Sensorial Materials and has developed several enrichment materials for the Geography, Peace and Sensorial curriculum areas.

Hobbies include (but are not limited to) playing games, traveling, amateur photography, crafting and new projects as the mood strikes.

Gisela has two daughters and three grandchildren.


Judy Feeney - Head Teacher / Co-Founder
Staff member since 1995

Judy has been teaching Montessori to 3 – 6 year olds since 1979. She enriches the curriculum with emphasis on peace and tolerance using her extensive music background and guitar. She has developed and implemented a wonderful peace curriculum which blends well with the Montessori approach to teaching.

Judy was selected to present this curriculum entitled “A Montessori Peace Curriculum Made Simple” at the American Montessori Society (AMS) National Conferences in Miami, Chicago, Breckenridge, New York (for the 100 year anniversary of Montessori Education in 2007), and New Orleans.

She has been invited to schools to hold teacher workshops, to include the Association of Montessori Teachers of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada and the Chinese Montessori Society in Beijing, China in 2011.

Judy loves traveling, reading, singing and living and hiking in the Colorado mountains.

Judy has one son and two grandchildren, and Grandma goes as often as she can to see them.


Jenny Pelton - Teacher
Staff member since 2003

Jenny has lived in Colorado Springs since 1974.  She graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs with a degree in Letters, Arts, and Sciences.  In 1996 she took her Montessori Elementary Training at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies (MECR) in Boulder, CO and worked as an elementary school teacher in a Montessori School for the next four years.  In 1998 she decided she wanted to work with younger children, and when her daughter started at Giving Tree Montessori she returned to MECR to take the Montessori Early Childhood Training in 2003.  She served her internship at this amazing school and has worked here happily ever since.  She completed her Colorado Directors Certification for Early Childhood Development in 2012. She feels very blessed to work in such a wonderful, peaceful school.  

Jenny has a son and a daughter. She and her husband enjoy hiking and biking, and Jenny practices yoga in her spare time as well.


Chelsea Prince - Teacher
Staff member since 2013

A Montessori child herself, Chelsea has Giving Tree in her veins. She was there at its inception and is thrilled to be part of its teaching staff now.

When she was in high school, Chelsea knew she wanted to be a teacher, but was unsure of what age group she wanted to teach.  In the years after, she tried many different avenues, including attending the Rocky Mountain School of Photography and working for a time as a photographer's assistant, as well as several years as a server where she was able to interact with children (and adults) of all ages. 

Through encouragement from her mentor, she joined the Giving Tree team in 2013 as an assistant. There she found the joy that only comes from guiding young children to find their potential, and knew she had found the perfect age group she wanted to teach.  She graduated from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in 2014 and is excited to continue her adventures within the loving arms of the Giving Tree Family.

Chelsea enjoys jewelry making, sewing, and other craft projects.


Autumn Morrison - Teacher
Staff member since 2015

Autumn is a Colorado native. Although she has enjoyed traveling in and out of the United States, she has always called Colorado her home.

In 1996 Autumn attended Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal apprentice program and became a certified Herbalist.

While her daughters attended Giving Tree Montessori School, Autumn fell in love with the Montessori Method of education and philosophy, took training and received her Montessori Early Childhood Certification through the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies (MECR) in 2011.

Autumn is proud to be part of a team that strongly believes in creating peaceful beginnings for our children and thankful for this opportunity and life path which allows her to nurture children as they discover the world around them and flourish within themselves.

Currently Autumn is cofounder of “Peaceful Warriors”, an after school program that brings yoga to schools for every child.

Autumn is married with two beautiful daughters; she enjoys all things Nature and loves being in the outdoors. 


LeAnn Carpenter - Intern
Staff Member since 2016

LeAnn graduated from Tarleton State University in 2001 with a B.S. in Sociology. She has served her community in multiple roles as a caseworker in Social Services.

LeAnn is no stranger to Giving Tree Montessori School; she has two boys that are alumni. While subbing in the classroom she fell in love with the Montessori philosophy and way of teaching. In 2016 she took her teacher training at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado.

After completing her internship at Giving Tree and receiving her teaching certification, LeAnn volunteered with Helping Hands Health and Education to bring Montessori to Khandbury, Nepal. During their time in the village two Montessori primary classrooms were created and Nepalese staff received hands on training on the Montessori Method.

LeAnn enjoys reading, writing, traveling and music. She will forever be a student and is grateful for her fantastic family and friends.


Renée Soukup - Teacher Assistant
Staff Member since 2016

Renée is originally from New York, but has called Colorado home since 2006.

Renée discovered her love for the Montessori philosophy and teaching method when her first son started attending Giving Tree in 2013. The following year she was volunteering and subbing in the classroom as much as possible.

Renée feels grateful to work in an environment that promotes imagination, curiosity and peacefulness to all who are lucky enough to walk through the doors of Giving Tree.

Renée enjoys reading, photography, hiking and spending time in nature with her husband and two young sons.



Giving Tree Montessori School
1110 W. Moreno Ave
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
(719) 630-3763