Patty grew up on a farm in central Michigan as the youngest of 6 children. While she considers herself a city person, she still loves to visit the farm. She was a Rotary Exchange student in Brazil for a year in high school, which fueled her passion for travel. She graduated from Stephens College and also studied in Salamanca Spain for her junior year. She completed her first AMI training at the Montessori Institute of Denver for ages 0-3. She couldn’t get enough Montessori, so she went back for more and became certified in AMI for ages 3-6 at the Milwaukee Montessori Institute.
Patty has delighted in working with children for over 30 years.
She has worked at some incredible AMI Montessori schools in
the Chicago area including Forest Bluff School and Countryside Montessori. She feels blessed to be
a part of the WSMS community, and her youngest daughter attended the school. Patty has been at WSMS since 2012.
Patty lives in La Grange with her husband Scott and three children. In her free time she
enjoys walking with friends, traveling, gardening, camping and driving to countless soccer games
and cross country meets!
Patty Eggerding - Head of School
Emily Peterson - Lower Elementary Guide
Emily grew up in Western Springs, Illinois with three brothers and five cats. She was a Girl Scout from kindergarten through senior year of high school and received the Gold Award after organizing and carrying out a school supply drive for a school that she visited in Tanzania.
After high school, Emily attended Saint Louis University and studied elementary education, ran for the cross-country and track teams (Go Billikens!), and ate a lot of Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. Then, Emily moved to Milwaukee to become elementary Montessori trained at the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee. After her year of Montessori training in Milwaukee, she continued her studies during the summer at Loyola University Maryland to receive a Masters of Education in Montessori education.
Emily has been at WSMS as an elementary directress since 2015. She looks forward to coming to work in such a beautiful community every day.
Carolyn McDonald was born in Dublin, Ireland. She attended a Montessori school from ages 3 to 6, while growing up in a small rural Irish town. Later, her family moved to Texas, where she spent the majority of her childhood. Carolyn moved to Chicago to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Ceramics and Community Based Art Education. Carolyn has taught art to children at contemporary art museums, art galleries, summer camps, park districts, and other not-for-profit institutions. It was while working at the Oak Park Art League that she found her way to WSMS and reconnected with her love for Montessori.
Carolyn completed the AMI 3-6 Primary training at the Montessori Institute of North Texas under the direction of Uma Ramani and Beth Ann Slater.
Carolyn lives in Oak Park with her partner Mike. They enjoy playing disc golf and fostering English bulldogs through Chicago English Bulldog Rescue. In her free time Carolyn makes her art at a local ceramics studio and listens to lots of podcasts.
Carolyn McDonald - Primary Guide
Greta Nagel - Primary Guide
Greta grew up in Lake Bluff, Illinois, where she attended Forest Bluff School from the age of 18 months through 8th grade. As a Montessori child, she loved reading and writing, as well as the performing arts. In high school, Greta’s favorite class was English Literature, which she credits in large part to her Montessori education.
Greta always knew that after college she wanted to be a Montessori teacher. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Northwestern University with a BA in English Literature, and immediately moved to Maryland, where she received her AMI Primary (3-6) diploma from the Washington Montessori Institute and her MA in Education from Loyola University Maryland. She spent the next three years starting a new Primary classroom at a farm school in northern Virginia. Now, she is absolutely thrilled to become a part of the West Suburban Montessori community.
Casey McClellan - Upper Elementary Guide
Casey was born and raised outside of Boston, Massachusetts, as the second of five siblings. She graduated magma cum laude from Mount Holyoke College (located in western Massachusetts) with a BA in History and a minor in Environmental Studies. While in college, she spent a semester living at a maritime museum, in which she studied marine science, history, literature, policy, and music, and even sailed for ten days on a tall ship. This experience sparked her interest in experiential, interdisciplinary learning.
After graduating, Casey spent five years working with children as an AmeriCorps tutor and a museum educator. She completed an MA in Museum Education from Tufts University, intending to shape school and visitor programming in museums, but realized during her studies that her true passion lay in working directly with children. She began learning about the Montessori method in 2019, and has not looked back since! She earned her AMI elementary diploma from the Montessori Training Center Northeast, under the direction of Carla Foster and Gerry Leonard. During her training, Casey gained experience working in primary and elementary Montessori environments.
Casey and her partner, Wesley, relocated from the Boston area to Chicagoland in 2020, and she joined the staff of WSMS in 2021. She loves being a Montessori guide and feels blessed to work in this welcoming community! In her free time, Casey loves to run, sing, read, cook, spend time outside, and go to the theater and museums.