About Us

Palencia Montessori Academy provides unique experience and expertise to the children of St Johns County.

PuzzleIn 2012, our school was founded by Babette and Curtis Weaver, owners of The Village Academy and Village Academy North – the two most highly regarded early childhood education centers in St Augustine and St Johns County.  Ms. Pilar Neira was a big part of our school’s beginning and Palencia Montessori Academy’s first Montessori Directress.  With 21 years of Montessori experience, Pilar helped to build a strong foundation for our school and we are thrilled to have worked with her.

Megan Merlini

Ms. Megan Merlini earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and has experience as a School and Program Director. She also has over seventeen years of teaching experience. Ms. Merlini worked as a Head Teacher responsible for curriculum in Montessori methodologies, lesson plan development, and preparation of Montessori materials. She is North American Montessori Center (NAMC) certified, and has completed coursework towards her American Montessori Society (AMS) certification. In addition, she has been trained in differentiated instruction, classroom management, and behavioral intervention. Ms. Merlini brings a unique set of skills to our school including language immersion in a Montessori environment (Mandarin and Spanish), special needs education, and she has a specialized background in math, language arts, healthy cooking and nutritional counseling.

Connie Phillips

Connie Phillips embraced the Montessori Method of learning originally as an assistant teacher in Winchester Massachusetts in 1988.  With great excitement and anticipation, she completed her Montessori Teaching Certification in 1990 at The Montessori Education Center in Cambridge, MA.  Connie enjoyed teaching in Massachusetts, California and now she has resided in Florida for over 25 years.  Her experience she believes has given her the ability to reach children at their level with patience, love and guidance helping them to become independent and confident.  Connie says, “Montessori works! Children learn to love learning, and isn’t that what we want for them?”

Mary Bartholmey

Mary Bartholemey holds her Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Maria Regina College in Syracuse, NY and a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Ottawa University.  Mary has a Montessori Primary Lead Teaching Certificate and prior to joining us at Palencia Montessori Academy in Summer of 2015 had taught for a total of 10 years as a Lead Montessori teacher at Mission Montessori in Scottsdale, Arizona and at Julia Brown Montessori School in Laurel, Maryland.  Mary also taught VPK for a number of years and  has both her VPK certification and CDA in the State of Florida.

Teri L. DeLucca, PhD

Dr. Teri DeLucca is the Vice President of Operations, and is responsible for the success of all three of our learning academies. Dr. DeLucca has a dual PhD in developmental psychology and educational psychology from the University of Florida. Dr. DeLucca’s research and expertise are focused on cognitive and socioemotional development during early childhood with an emphasis on the aspects of development that are important for school readiness and academic achievement. She enjoys translating research into methods and practices that teachers can easily understand and use in their classrooms to best prepare children for kindergarten success and future academic achievement. Dr. DeLucca oversees the daily operations and curricula of our schools, extended day programs, and summer camps and provides leadership, training, and coaching to our teachers and staff so that we may continue to provide the highest quality early learning experiences within St. John’s County.

Babette Weaver

Babette Weaver is the Owner of The Village Academy and co-Owner of Village Academy North and Palencia Montessori. Those schools consistently earn the Best of St Augustine award from the parents in this area. Babette taught in public school for eight years prior to founding The Village Academy, originally named Children’s Village, in 1981. Her educational credentials include a B.S. from Northwestern University and a Masters in Education from UNF. Babette holds teacher certifications in Deaf Education; Elementary Education; and Elementary Education Administration and Supervision. She also has the Advanced Level Florida Child Care and Education Program Director Credential.

Curt Weaver

Curt Weaver is the co-Owner of Village Academy North and Palencia Montessori.  Curt was a pilot in the US Navy for 8 years, before beginning a 14 year business career with AT&T.  He subsequently opened Internet Commerce Strategies, a strategy and management consultancy with a global clientele from start-ups to the Fortune 50.  Curt closed his consulting business and joined Babette in the early childhood education industry after their marriage in 2006.  Curt is also on the Board of Directors of the Florida Association for Child Care Management.

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