Caroline Caldwell is dedicated to compassionate living and, in particular, sharing compassion in education through learning and teaching about the interconnectedness of all life.  Caroline has her Bachelors of Fine Art and her Masters in Art Education from University of Cincinnati – DAAP.  She is a certified pre-K through 12 art teacher.  Caroline has taught high school art and photography for eight years, while exploring her own art and furthering her teaching experience in the realm of yoga. After eight years of high school art teaching, Caroline took a step away from traditional teaching school, in part to ask how are we better serve our children, our teachers, and our communities. Getting to the heart of this, she is inspired by her yoga practice for answers – a focus on compassion and interconnectedness. Heärt Montessori is part of the answer. Caroline is a co-founder of Heärt Montessori, a school she aspires to be a model for learning, teaching, and living. Click here to send an email to Caroline @

Anna Ferguson is a co-founder of World Peace Yoga, a yoga practice that inspires manifesting the most exquisite version of one’s self through developing intuition, empathy, and compassion. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and is the director of the World Peace Yoga Personal Spiritual Growth and Yoga Teacher Training programs. After years of operating a studio, she gave birth to her son Noah. Noah has been an inspiration in many ways and a strong motivating force for her involvement in the co-creation of Heärt Montessori. Anna enjoys the overall happiness and peace of mind that yoga brings to people’s lives and feels it is such a gift when practices such as mindfulness and meditation are taught at a young age. She serves Heärt Montessori in their outreach and social media.

Brett Hornberger developed a passion for Montessori education when she was a child and attended a Montessori school in Cincinnati from age 3-13.  Brett received her Bachelor’s degree in Montessori Education from Xavier University.  She taught as a lead Pre-Primary teacher at a private Montessori school in Northern Kentucky and was the Enrichment Business Manager at the Montessori Center Room.  Brett has also worked as an education intern and summer camp leader at the Cincinnati Nature Center in Milford. Brett is a co-founder of Heärt Montessori and serves the school as a consultant for the Primary level, ages of 2.5-6 years old. Brett was born and raised in Cincinnati, and she currently lives near Eden Park with her husband David, son Rory, and dog Gatsby.  Brett also enjoys teaching yoga classes, cooking plant-based meals, and spending time in nature.

Nayana Shah is a theoretical physicist focused on Condensed Matter Physics. Using the fundamental laws of physics, her research seeks to understand how different phases and properties of matter emerge in a collection of many particles interacting with each other under different conditions. That quest is also to identify the universalities within the diversity. Nayana has been working in the academia since receiving her PhD in physics from Rutgers University and has started and organized several forums and initiatives to build communities and also to increase scientific -enquiry, -awareness and -excitement in the society at large, especially children. After the birth of her daughter she clearly saw the amazing potential in building a thriving community to learn from and nurture the inner wisdom, peace and harmony that children naturally possess and to create an environment in which equanimity, intuition, empathy and compassion go hand-in-hand with intellectual and professional pursuits. This vision led her to be a co-founder of Heart Montessori and she subsequently serves on its Advisory Board. She is more generally interested in holistic pedagogy and learning environments that naturally bring out the interconnections and interdisciplinarity at different levels and get to the heart of sustainability.

Mark Stroud is a Culinary Olympic award-winning vegan chef and runs the kitchen at the Heärt Montessori school. He was exposed to professional food preparation early in life having grown up around his Grandmother’s catering business where he, at ten years of age, developed a fond love for hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Mark later went on to open Christos and Drivakis in the 1980’s; a Cincinnati restaurant voted one of the ten best vegetarian restaurants in the country by Vegetarian Times magazine. Chef Stroud participated with a vegan team at the Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt, Germany, where they won a bronze medal.

Mark has great passion for the Montessori method as his mother, Dottie Turner, who passed in November of 2016 was an educator for over thirty years. Dottie was the first teacher of the first Montessori class at the first public Montessori School in the United States. The school was located in the neighborhood of Mount Adams in Cincinnati and was called Children’s House, which eventually became Sands Montessori. Part of Mark’s dedication to and involvement with Heärt Montessori is a way to honor his mother’s legacy.  He is also incredibly passionate about sharing whole food plant-based meals with the kids at the school and making greater steps to world peace.