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Our Teacher Leaders

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Erin McCarroll

Founding Teacher Leader

Erin’s career as a Montessori educator began in 2012.  After 2 years assisting in a Lower Elementary classroom,  she led an Early Childhood classroom for eight years. Erin holds an Early Childhood credential from the American Montessori Society and a B.A. in Psychology.  


Erin’s practice of Montessori is rooted in her own experiences as a learner.  She traces her path to Hollyhock through a long line of generous teachers and mentors.


She still remembers the thrilling mix of joy and agency she felt when her third-grade teacher began excusing her from class at 1:30 each afternoon, instead sending her to the library armed with a list of research questions. Long before the days of Google (or even the internet) this experience planted the seeds of a lifelong interest in self-directed and experiential learning.  Erin is committed to nurturing this agency and joy in all learners.  



    Ariana Bray

    Founding Teacher Leader

    Ariana is a Fort Smith native.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Social Work from UAFS, and is currently pursuing her Early Childhood Credential from the Houston Montessori Center. 


    Ariana is an experienced nanny who has been privileged to work with several amazing families in our area.  Most recently, Ariana has worked with children on the autism spectrum and their families.  She enjoys guiding children in developing skills that support their independence and improve their quality of life. 


    Outside of her time in the classroom, Ariana is mother to a toddler (and future Hollyhock student!).   Ariana has a deep connection to the Fort Smith community, and she is excited to support healthy growth and development for children and families through her work at Hollyhock.

      Hollyhock was created by our community and for our community.  

      We are grateful to the local leaders, parents, and Montessori enthusiasts who contribute to our mission through their guidance and grassroots community efforts.  As a teacher-led school, our Board of Directors consists of our Teacher Leaders and this amazing group of supporters.

      Nuestra Junta


      Cassidy Canady

      Cassidy is a Fort Smith native and a graduate of Northside High School. She attended Oklahoma State University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science.  She is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership at Southern Nazarene University.


      Cassidy was a teacher for five years before transitioning to an administrative role. She works at Haas Hall Academy in Fort Smith . Cassidy is excited for the opportunity to serve our community and can’t wait to bring her connections to the Hollyhock community!


      She and her husband, Josiah, welcomed a baby boy in March 2024.  They love being with family and friends and watching all things sports related. 


      Erica Hill

      Erica Hill is a former Montessori parent that is enthusiastic about Hollyhock Montessori School’s mission. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in both Accounting and Finance, from the University of Oklahoma.


      Upon graduation Erica began work in corporate accounting in Oklahoma City, including a start-up oil refinery.  For the past 14 years she has performed full charge bookkeeping for various small businesses and held various officer positions. She enjoys yoga, hiking, reading, and playing pickleball.


      Dr. Gregg Roberts

      Dr. Roberts is a professor of psychology at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, where he has served students and community for 20 years. In addition, he maintains a private psychotherapy practice and serves as a dedicated facilitator of Support Groups at D. W. Reynolds Cancer Support House, a role he has held for two decades. Dr. Roberts also serves as a member of the Cancer Committee at Mercy Hospital.


      Dr. Roberts is a longtime advocate of Montessori and often promotes Montessori Methods in his psychology courses.  Before attending graduate school, he received a Montessori credential at the elementary level from DePaul University.  In addition, two of his children attended a Montessori school during their preschool years.


      Dr. Roberts is a graduate of the University of Arkansas Fayetteville (BA Communication; PhD Counseling Education) and Oklahoma State University (MS in Applied Behavioral Studies).


      Jay Hill

      Jay is a Fort Smith native and a graduate of Northside High School. He attended the University of Oklahoma where he received a Bachelor of Science in Construction Science with a Minor in Architecture. 


      He has over 18 years in the Design and Construction industry with much of this time spent working on the design side of numerous development teams focusing on affordable housing.  Jay is also a parent of a former Montessori student.  In his free time, he enjoys cycling, rock climbing, hiking, and golf.

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      Jeana Olszewski

      Jeana Olszewski is founding Teacher-Leader of Azalea Montessori School in Norwood, Ohio, which opened as a primary school in 2019. She has led the expansion of Azalea to include a lower and upper elementary.


      Jeana serves as a part-time Operations Guide for the Wildflower Foundation and supports the growth of new Wildflower Schools across the country. 


      Patricia McKinney

      Patricia McKinney has spent decades serving children in the Fort Smith community.  She began her career as a Head Start teacher, where she was first introduced to Montessori principles. 


      After 16 years in Head Start, Patricia spent over 25 years supporting students and teachers as a dedicated paraprofessional with Fort Smith Public Schools.  Even in retirement, Ms. Pat enjoys subbing on FSPS school busses. 

      Outside of the classroom, Patricia recognized the unmet needs of River Valley children and felt called to help.  She served as a foster parent for 6+ years, providing stability and nurturing for children through many emergency situations.  


      As a lifelong advocate for children in our area, Patricia is an avid supporter of Hollyhock Montessori.  She loves that Montessori supports “learning for a lifetime”.


      The real preparation for education is the study of one’s self. The training of the teacher who is to help life is something far more than the learning of ideas. It includes the training of character; it is a preparation of the spirit. 

      Dr. Maria Montessori

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