Teaching Staff

Indu Agnihotri 

Indu Agnihotri founded Center Grove Montessori in 2007. After spending decades working with young children, she decided to open her own school.

“What impressed me the most was the children in a Montessori room, happy, peaceful and engaged profoundly. I believe that Montessori education supports a young child to unfold into a responsible, compassionate, and confident human adult.”

Upon being introduced to the Montessori pedagogy in the early 1980’s, Indu immediately felt close and comfortable with it. The philosophy was something she felt was missing in her prior five years of traditional teaching and Indu gradually began to incorporate it into her personal life. This grew naturally into a lifestyle; one she is proud to continue to this very day.

Since starting in a basement of a church with only eight students, Center Grove Montessori has now grown into its own building and continues to serve the community of south-central Indiana.


Claire Olson 

“Montessori philosophy holds a very special place in my family and I am thankful to our guides and staff at CGM that provide an environment rich in academic opportunities and kindness for all children.” – Claire Olson
Claire is our Co-Head of School at Center Grove Montessori School. She works closely with the school’s owners, staff and community to create an environment that supports growth among students and staff alike.
Claire started as a Montessori parent in 2014 and was also in a Montessori program as a young child herself.  She has an immense appreciation for Montessori philosophy and how Center Grove Montessori upholds an authentic Montessori environment for all students. She believes strongly in the work of Maria Montessori and is thankful she can be a part of a school that focuses strongly on respecting each child and family in the community in their journey through life.


Jama McKinney 

“I love Montessori, and every chance I get I like to tell people about the philosophy and the freedom of learning found in the classroom.” Jama McKinney
Jama McKinney’s passion for education naturally lead her to the Montessori approach while researching education opportunities for her daughter. The Montessori method more closely resembled her and her husband’s own philosophy about child rearing and learning. She became an advocate after seeing the success her daughter, Sarah, found after coming to Center Grove Montessori. She believes that the opportunities in the Montessori classroom provide a more natural learning environment for children and loves to see the “glow” on a child’s face when a concept comes together for them. Jama has been a frequent volunteer in the classroom and was very excited when she was asked to join the staff. She is the Co-Head of School for Center Grove Montessori.


Darci Hemmer 

 “Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write, and count. Childhood is a small window of time to learn and develop at the pace which is right for each individual child.” -Maria Montessori
Darci Hemmer and her husband moved to Indiana to be closer to her two grown daughters and grandson. She has now been part of the Center Grove Montessori family for 11 years. Prior to coming to CGM, she taught preschool for 15 years, the last four as a Montessori Assistant. She respects the Montessori philosophy that all children are unique and distinctive and each child has their own time table for development. She would love to help your child develop their own sense of order and self reliance.




Faby Denny 

“Children are remarkable and I truly find so much joy in working with and learning from each one of them!”
– Faby Denny

Faby first heard about Montessori when she was in college getting her ESL degree, but it was not until she had her oldest daughter that she began to seriously read and learn more about it. When IMCS (our former sister School) opened in 2014 she enrolled her daughter and volunteered to teach Spanish once a week for the next 2 years. She got to know more about Montessori during that time and became very interested in one day getting her Montessori certification. Then in 2016, she finally got the chance to start her 18 months training through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. She did her internship at IMCS with Ms. Genie Garrett as her mentor. Today she is very humbled to the lead the Maple room and is looking forward to a wonderful school year!



Holly James 

Holly has been with Center Grove Montessori for over nine years and has been certified by the American Montessori Society as an instructor for children 2 ½ – 6 years of age. Holly is our Director of Montessori Curriculum. She graduated from Ohio University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Advertising Management.
“I have been an ardent supporter of the Montessori method and philosophy since my children were in preschool. I found such peace and happiness watching children learn and grow in this environment as a parent volunteer, that I decided to become more involved as a trained guide as well as a Montessori advocate for teaching children with respect and love to establish communities of giving and caring individuals.”



Karren Young 

Karren is our extended day teacher at Center Grove Montessori. She enjoys her 5 grandchildren, antiques and likes to travel to historical sites. She loves to be around children.
Karren recently attended a session at the Montessori Fundamentals Training Series.






Melissa Plunkett 

“This is it; Montessori is what I love, working with children is what I love, I love watching them discover and learn and learning alongside them.  I love the opportunity to share something I have discovered, and I reveal in the genius that is the child. I am thankful each and every day to come to a job I love with people I love (short & tall) and that my own children were blessed with this same experience; of going to jobs they love with people they love, who also love them. We are lucky people!” –Melissa Plunkett
Melissa majored in Physical Education with a minor in business and non-profits at IUPUI and received her Elementary 6-12 teacher training certification from the Center for Guided Montessori studies, an I.M.C. affiliate. She has her Orton-Gillingham certification and serves as a Field Consultant to other guides who are working on their certification. Melissa has recently become a teacher coordinator for the Montessori Model United Nations program.
 An avid 17 year volunteer for the American Cancer Society, she also spent 15 years at the YMCA working in various departments from Aquatics (lifeguard, swim lesson/safety teacher) to Office (as a desk worker to Assistant Manager) until her final years with the Y as the Assistant Program Director working with the Before and After School Program and as Summer Camp Director.  While she always knew she wanted to work with children she never felt called to be a traditional teacher. This is where Montessori entered her life when she was searching for a school for her 2-year-old! She knew this is what her child needed and soon realized this is where she also felt at home, not teaching but guiding and being a generalist in many different subjects while still getting to enjoy her specialties of math and health/fitness.   As a mother of 4 and an exchange student mother of 16 and counting (as of 2019) she finds joy and is blessed with the time she can spend with such wonderful humans! She enjoys running, camping, reading, international travel, playing volleyball and spending time with her family.



Suja Adarsh

Montessori was just a term for teaching to me until 2016. The year 2016 is when my second son would join Center Grove Montessori and he would spend a year there before he joins his older brother at a different school. This one year of Montessori exposure was so profound that I got this urge inside me to know and learn more about the Montessori culture. I started volunteering at CGM and began to read on Maria Montessori’s life and works and related articles. My first thought after getting to know the Montessori method was to start a Montessori school back in my place in India.

The Montessori atmosphere helps each kid, who is unique and special in his/her own way, to grow into a responsible, confident and happy individual. It respects each kid’s uniqueness along with giving emphasis on caring for each other and for the nature. And as a parent of 2 elementary kids, I know how much we can learn from these kids each day, which only helps us in becoming a better human being in our journey ahead.

“The greatest gifts we can give our children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence”. – Dr. Maria Montessori


Pam Black

“Montessori education is everything that I know to be best practice with children. Hands on. Choices. Guidance. Love. I will forever choose this for my family.”

Pam is the classroom assistant in the 6-12 classroom.  Pam majored in elementary education and special education at Indiana University Bloomington.  She then spent 10 years as a 5th/6th grade special education teacher before deciding to stay home with her boys when they were little.  Pam has never met a stranger and has positively loved meeting and building lifelong friendships with all of the families of CGM.  She goes camping whenever she can and loves to be outdoors.

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