Meet Our Montessori Teachers


Kristin Weed

Kristin Weed

Kristin Weed has been teaching since her 1993-1995 term as an environmental educator with the Peace Corps Panama. When she returned to the states, her first job was at a public Montessori school in San Diego.  While there, she completed her Montessori AMS Elementary training, taught in both Lower and Upper Elementary classrooms, and earned a Masters in Education from San Diego State University.  


After moving to Washington with her growing family, she piloted the first Montessori Elementary class here at ORLA and has been a part of the growing program ever since.  She is a National Board Certified Teacher.  Besides teaching, she loves fiddling around on the piano or guitar, taking long walks with her dog, Buddy, and spending time with her husband and two daughters. Mrs. Weed's Goldfinch classroom will have a new teaching assistant in 2022-2023.

Teaching Kindergarten - 2nd  grade.  [email protected]


Kristine Zitny

Kristine Zitny

I truly love being a part of the Montessori pedagogy. I began my career stumbling upon Montessori during my time at the University of Montana's Laboratory Preschool in the 1990's. Since then, I have believed in Dr. Montessori and her holistic view of life, learning, and world peace. I am a married, mother of seven. Life experience, combined with the wisdom of Dr. Montessori has shown me that children need to be given well-prepared learning opportunities, to develop strengths that are already within them.


As Dr. Montessori so instinctively knew, children are our future. We need to give them the respect and educational opportunities they deserve so that they may become the problem solvers, global thinkers, and world leaders. Mrs. Zitny’s Sea Turtle classroom welcomes Hien Nguyen back as teaching assistant.


Joined ORLA Montessori in September 2015. Teaching Kindergarten -  2nd grades.   [email protected]


Isabella Rogol

irogol portrait

I moved to Olympia, Washington from Costa Rica in 1994. Before coming to Olympia, I attended law school in Costa Rica. In 2000, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College.


I speak Spanish and some Portuguese and have worked as a Washington Certified interpreter and translator for the past 20 years. We own a Language business in town and also worked as an instructor there.


I co-taught lower elementary with Tiffani Sabatini when I started at ORLA Montessori. I am an AMI Primary Montessori trained teacher. During my free time, I like to take long walks with my family. I enjoy visits to the ocean and absolutely love road trips.  Bella will have a new teaching assistant in 2022-23. Joined ORLA Montessori in September 2018. Teaching Kindergarten -  2nd grades.   [email protected]


Heather Quantrell

Joined ORLA Montessori in September 2018. Teaching Kindergarten -  2nd grades. Mrs. Quantrell welcomes Sopheap Uch-cchen back as teaching assistant.  [email protected]  


Claire Tolstyga-McGibbon

Claire McGibbon

Claire McGibbon is an experienced teacher in our Montessori teaching family and has taught both Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary classroom communities. Claire has experience teaching in a variety of educational settings since earning a teaching degree from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin and a Masters Degree from Washington State University.


Recognized as OEA 2016 Teacher of the Year and Olympia Community award winner, “Making a Difference in the Life of a Child Award”.


Ms. McGibbon loves teaching and being in service. As an experienced educator, she has 39 years of teaching experience at all grade levels. In addition, Claire is a volunteer zoologist at The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium and is excited to share sensorial experiences with ORLA Montessori. Ms. McGibbon completed her Montessori training at the nationally recognized Spring Valley Montessori Academy in Federal Way. Claire loves hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking, animals, service, and spending time in nature.  


Joined ORLA Montessori in September 2017.  Ms. McGibbon welcomes Vanessa Will-Huckaby back as her teaching assistant in 2022-23. Teaching 3rd - 5th grades.  [email protected]


Linda Nelson   

Linda Nelson

Growing up I  always knew I wanted to become a teacher as I enjoyed helping students learn and believe in themselves.  Olympia has always been my home (except when I went to Holland as a foreign exchange student and when I went to college at Central Washington University).  There is truly no better place to live and play. As well as teaching my other love is sports. Sports gave my life purpose from softball and water ballet as a girl to high school sports and college swimming.


In 2010 I completed my National Boards Certification and I also have my Masters in Administration. I love reading and participate in a monthly book group. I’ve been married many years to my sweet husband Mark who works as a Maritime contractor.


Taking care of our Puget Sound has also been an important part of my teaching. For the past 16 years, I have worked to teach students about our water quality and how their impact on our earth effect Olympia.


Learning the Montessori teaching process has deepened my love for helping students learn and follow their passion.


Joined ORLA in September 2015 and ORLA Montessori in 2016. Teaching 3rd - 5th grades. Mrs. Nelson welcomes Gavin Church back as her teaching assistant in 2022-2023.  [email protected]