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
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 103 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 Giving Tree Montessori 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 Sensorial Materials in a Snap, and has developed several enrichment materials for the geography, peace, and sensorial curriculum areas, as well as Montessori jewelry.
Hobbies include (but are not limited to) playing games, traveling, 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. Her CD of children’s peace and earth keeping songs, “The Ants’ Dance” has sold over 600 copies. 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.
Renée Soukup - Intern
Staff Member since 2017
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. While her sons have moved on to elementary school, she decided to stay, take the Montessori Early Childhood Montessori last summer, and is now interning to become certified Montessori teacher.
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.
Amy Pelton - Classroom Assistant
Staff member since 2017
Amy, a native of Colorado Springs, attended Giving Tree 2001-2004. As a Giving Tree graduate she was often drawn back to come and help out on days off from school. She graduated from Cheyenne Mountain High School in 2016 and wants to pursue a degree in early childhood education. She is thrilled to come back to her roots at Giving Tree, where she is in her second year as a classroom assistant, while also taken college classes.
Amy has taken the Montessori Early Childhood overview in Boulder last summer, and intends to take the Montessori training during the summer of 2019, interning at Giving Tree, of course. Amy appreciates the opportunity to help build the foundations for a child’s life.
Amy enjoys dancing, hiking, and anything nature.
Giving Tree Montessori School
1110 W. Moreno Ave
Colorado Springs, CO 80905