A native Texan, Karen has lived most of her adult life in North Carolina, until moving to Huntsville in 2019. She graduated from Baylor University with a BS in Elementary Education and from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with an MA in Christian Education. She received her early childhood teaching certification through the American Montessori Society and is a certified Positive Discipline parent educator. She has completed the Orton-Gilligham teacher training for working with students with dyslexia.
In the first phase of her career, Karen worked for churches, directing outreach initiatives in low-income neighborhoods and creating educational programs for the resident children and their families. While in graduate school, she became intrigued with the Montessori approach to education and became a certified Montessori teacher, teaching 3-6 year-olds for ten years. In
2001, she co-founded Salem Montessori School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and was Head of School there for eighteen years. On a lifelong quest to discover excellence and innovation in the education and care for children, she has done extensive professional development in the areas of child development, parent/child relationships, and nature education – learning from the preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy; the Pikkler Institute in Budapest, Hungary; and New Life Home orphanage in Kenya.
Karen believes that students thrive when they are matched with a learning environment that encourages curiosity and competence, partnering with trusted adults who value their interests and use their unique strengths as a springboard for growth. Sparking a love for reading and inspiring students to become confident readers through structured, multisensory lessons is one of her greatest joys.
An avid hiker and nature enthusiast, Karen serves on the education committee of the Land Trust of North Alabama.