Our Staff



Our Staff


Merika Bach was born in Maine and grew up exploring New England’s coastal towns.  She received an Associated Degree in English and Psychology from, what was then an all-women’s college in Boston, Endicott.  She made a bold move in 1989 and ventured out West!  She received a Bachelor’s Degree in English from ASU.  In 1994 she started a family; it was then that she realized she had always wanted to be a teacher.  She enrolled her daughter in The Montessori Schools of Flagstaff, and continued with own her education. Merika completed NAU’s Education program in 1998 and began working at Cedar Montessori School.  In 1999 she moved to the Verde Valley and was fortunate to find Miss J’s Montessori School for her daughter.  Miss J’s evolved into the Montessori Children’s House and relocated on the Yavapai-Apache Nation.  She accepted a position at the Montessori Children’s House in 2002. Merika has always loved the classroom environment, but in 2018 she was offered the Directorship position. She is dedicated to the children and their needs; academically, emotionally and socially. It is Merika’s mission to provide the highest quality educational environment for the children, as well offering a school that evokes a caring, stimulating and friendly atmosphere.


Felisa McGavock was born and raised in the Visayas Island in the city of Cebu, Philippines. She graduated from the University of Visayas with a Bachelor Degree of Science in Secondary Education.  After receiving her degree she began to work for Gullas High School-Pardo Branch where she taught high school students for eight years.  In 2005 she came to the United States and in 2006 she accepted an Assistant Position with the Montessori School of Flagstaff.  In her position, Felisa saw the transformation the Montessori Method had on children.  This led her to seek certification in Montessori training.  She was then accepted to the North American Montessori Center (NAMC) where she received her certification in 2012.  In August of 2014 Felisa accepted a teacher position with the Yavapai-Apache Nation.  Felisa’s love and passion for children encouraged her to teach them in the Montessori Method. She is happily married and enjoys traveling and dining with her husband.


Rosario Noguez-McClain graduated from Camp Verde High School in 2001.  After high school she continued her education and was accepted to the American Montessori Society (AMS) where she graduated with her Primary Montessori Certificate in 2005.  Miss Rosie has been working with children since 2003.  She started as a volunteer at the Montessori school where one of her sister’s attended which led her to become a Teacher Assistant.  As a teacher assistant she discovered the powerful and positive impact of a Montessori foundation on young children.  In 2015 she accepted the Lead Teacher position with the Yavapai-Apache Nation.  Miss Rosie enjoys teaching children new lessons and exciting science projects.  In her personal life she enjoys traveling and hiking with her husband and their two dogs.


Lisa Cook has lived in the Verde Valley since 2004. She grew up in the small town of Seligman, Arizona and graduated from Seligman High School. After graduation Lisa moved to Flagstaff, AZ and worked at the Montessori School of Flagstaff while attending college. She received her Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education with a content emphasis in Early Childhood Education from Northern Arizona University. In 2011, she achieved a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Development and Education with a study in Early Childhood Special Education from Northern Arizona University and her Montessori Certification from American Montessori Society (AMS). Lisa is married and the proud mother of two. Both children attended the Montessori Children’s House. Prior to becoming a teacher at the Montessori Children’s House in 2015, Lisa worked for the Arizona Early Intervention Program (AZEIP) working with children birth to three years old with developmental delays and disabilities. Lisa looks forward to many more years in the Montessori environment and working with children.

Eva Pic

Eva Ancira was born in Tucson, AZ. She has lived in the Verde Valley since 1996. In 1998, she was hired at Miss J’s Montessori School which moved into the Yavapai-Apache Nation and became the Montessori Children’s House in the year 2000. Her three children have attended the three year program Montessori Children’s House offers.  Eva is a fluent bilingual teacher in both English and Spanish. She loves working with children!

Santee's Pic for website

Santee Spurgeon was born in 1991 and grew up on the Middle Verde Reservation, where the Montessori Children’s House is located.  Santee’s two children attended the school for the entire 3 year program during which time she became a very interested and involved parent.  It was because of this interest that she began working at the school.  She was hired in 2015 and has since taken many trainings and classes to further her education.   Over the summer of 2019 Santee completed the AMI Montessori Teacher Assistant Certification program. She loves working with the children.  She learns something new every day and no two days are ever the same!

Christina Farrell

Christina Farrell was born in Pamona, California and was raised in Phoenix, Arizona.  Christina moved to the Camp Verde community in 2008 and began working at the Yavapai Apache Nation Child Care Center.  Christina has over eight years of experience working with children.  She enjoys working with children of all ages.  She became very interested in the Montessori philosophy over the years that her own children attended the Montessori Children’s House.  Christina is a natural Montessorian, with her quiet voice, her patient personality, her giving spirit, her love of children and her life-long learning mentality. She continues to study and learn about the Montessori methodology and philosophy.

Cristy Mejares-Gardner was born in Labason, Zamboanga Del Norte, Philippines. After Cristy graduated highschool in the Philippines, she enrolled in Computer Science and Care Giving classes. In addition to her classes, she was volunteering at the local hospital and at her mother’s school. Cristy’s mother was the principal of the public school in her hometown. In 2008, Cristy met her husband, they came to the United States in 2015 and got married. Cristy was introduced to the Montessori program when her son enrolled in The Montessori Children’s House. She was immediately interested and started volunteering daily. As soon as a substitute teaching position became available she jumped on it and was brought onto the staff. In 2019 she accepted a full time position and transitioned into the Outdoor Environment position. She truly loves gardening and making crafts with the children. When she is not at school, she enjoys spending time with her husband and 5 children.