The staff of Spruce Tree Montessori School share a common vision. We believe that education should be an inspiring experience — a journey for both the child and the parent — during which a partnership between the school and family serves both through a love of learning.
All Spruce Tree Montessori School classroom teaching staff hold bachelor’s degrees or have equivalent experience and are CPR-First Aid certified. All Lead Teachers also hold Montessori credentials for the level at which they are assigned. We hold the safety and security of the children of Spruce Tree as our top priority.
This year’s OUR FAVORITE THINGS LIST.
Mrs. Sabrina Binkley
Head of School & Founder
AMS Credential: Administrator
Sabrina was born and raised in Wiggins, Colorado and attended the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) on a basketball / volleyball scholarship. She earned a BS degree in Petroleum Engineering there and enjoyed a well-rounded experience as a student-athlete. She met her husband, Ryan Binkley, at CSM and moved to Alaska in 2001 to begin her life in Alaska and a career in engineering. After a short time with Alyeska Pipeline Service Company (the company that owns/operates the Trans-Alaska Pipeline), she began work in the family business at the Riverboat Discovery. For 15 years she worked as Vice President of Retail Sales and as the Head Buyer for the company. She served as consultant to the retail management team for 3 years following that tenure.
After many seasons of work in the visitor industry with the Riverboat Discovery and four seasons as Head Volleyball Coach at a local high school, she learned the value of top-notch customer service and leadership. During this time, she developed a strong understanding of business operations, finance and marketing. Those skills combined with her passion for inspiring children led her to become the Founder of Spruce Tree Montessori School (STMS) in March 2012, Fairbanks’ only Montessori preschool and elementary school affiliated with the American Montessori Society (AMS) as a Full Member School. The school opened in August 2012 and she has served as Head of School since the beginning. With growth from 7 students and 1 teacher to 50 students and 4 teachers in just three years, the school repurposed the historic Fairbanks train depot in downtown Fairbanks and relocated its campus. This well designed building with beautiful outdoor spaces, combined with its prime location in downtown Fairbanks, positioned STMS for another construction project Summer 2022, adding square footage to the elementary classroom, the library and the teacher office. Spruce Tree now enjoys enrollment of 95 students, and employs 14 full time staff.
Sabrina is involved in her local community in several ways including serving on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for 9 years. She was a Rotarian for 16 years — a charter member of the Golden Heart Rotary Club. She was elected to the American Montessori Society Board of Directors April 2022 and is now enjoying a journey with the esteemed body that affiliates and accredits Montessori schools worldwide. She’s also proud of her past service on the United Way Board of Directors, a 10 year stint, during which she enjoyed co-chairing the organization’s annual fundraising campaign in 2010 that brought in upwards of $1.4 million.
Her professional extra-curricular interests and activities include serving as the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce Board Chair for 2020, the Chamber’s Education & Workforce Development Committee Chair for four years, a member of the Chamber Board Executive Committee for four years, volunteering with her Rotary club at local events, working with the Alaska Montessori Association for which she serves as Committee Chair, and attending AMS conferences for the past 10 years. To begin her journey, she has fond memories of her time serving on the Fairbanks Montessori School Board for four years (2009 – 2013) where her oldest son attended preschool and kindergarten.
Sabrina was named to the Alaska Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 Class of 2017 for her work in education and business.
At home she enjoys cooking/baking, entertaining friends and family, yoga, and playing board games and cards. She looks forward to a time when she’ll have more time for skiing, running, hiking, and summertime gardening.
Sabrina is married to Ryan Binkley and together they have two boys, Simon (16) and Clive (12), and an English Springer Spaniel named Glady who often comes to school. As a family, boating, sports, and travel keep them busy.
Sabrina founded Spruce Tree in March 2012 and has been the Head of School ever since.
Mrs. Kristen Roper
AMS Credential: Early Childhood (3-6)
Kristen was born and raised in Ft. Myers, Florida. She attended a Montessori preschool when she was a child. She went on to earn a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Florida. She earned her Montessori credential for the early childhood level (EC 3 – 6) Summer 2013 from the Center for Guided Montessori Studies in Florida.
Kristen joined our team Fall 2013 as our first Children’s House Lead Teacher. During the weeks leading up to the first day of school, she was instrumental in creating an inviting, fully authentic Montessori classroom environment and led our school’s first early childhood cohort along an inspiring educational journey. After a maternity leave Spring 2016, she returned as our Program Advisor until moving to California that August for a 1-year training stint with the USAF as her husband, AJ, is an F-16 pilot. Upon their return to Fairbanks summer of 2017, she re-joined our team as our Children’s House Program Coordinator, serving as the Children’s House team advisor collaborating with the Lead Children’s House Teachers, Teacher Assistants and other classroom support staff. The following year, she returned to her role as Lead Children’s House Teacher and continued in that position until April 2021 when she went on maternity leave. Kristen returned as our Educational Director this fall and is enjoying her new role.
Mrs. Kristen joined our staff in August 2013.
Mrs. Annie Scott
Hello, My name is Annie Scott! I am local to Fairbanks and I just love being a part of the Spruce Tree Montessori Team!
I enjoy spending time with my family doing outdoor activities such as snow machining, sledding and berry picking. I also enjoy volunteering time as my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop Leader.
As a young adult, I worked at a local financial institution for ten years. This time brought me a great deal of experience in finance and administration that I have found invaluable. After becoming a mother in 2010, I was inspired to start an in-home daycare business that I continued for the following six years. While this was an incredibly fun, love-filled, challenging experience, it was also an amazing time for me to spend nurturing the hearts and minds of my children.
Spruce Tree Montessori is a perfect environment for me to continue my passion of working with children while making effective use of my administrative abilities. I am excited and thankful for the adventures ahead!
Ms. Annie joined our team in August 2017.
Mrs. Erica Nash
School Counselor & Associate Head of School
M.A.Ed.; Montessori Paraprofessional Certification
Hello friends! My name is Erica Nash and I was born and raised in Palo Alto, California and took a leap of faith by attending the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) to play volleyball.
I earned a BA in Psychology before pursuing a Master of Education degree in Community Counseling. Before joining the team at STMS, I worked as a mental health counselor with teens and young adults, and I truly enjoy helping people on their journey toward a positive life. Outside of work, volleyball is a major passion of mine, and I curb this craving through coaching competitive club volleyball. This California girl loves exploring the natural beauty of Alaska through hiking and camping and I’m looking forward to new adventures at Spruce Tree Montessori School this school year.
Mrs. Jamie Foland
Lead Children’s House Teacher, Taiga Community
AMS Credential: Early Childhood (3-6)
Greetings! I was born and raised in Poway, Calif. (suburb of San Diego) and I came to Alaska in the fall of 2000 to earn a degree from the University of Alaska and play volleyball for the Nanooks. I wound up getting my degree in foreign language (Hispanic studies/Spanish emphasis) with a minor in Linguistics. After graduation, I worked in the athletic department as the media relations and communications director and met my future husband, Randy, who is an Alaska Smokejumper. I stayed involved with the volleyball program as a volunteer assistant coach for 10 seasons and for the past two years I served as the full-time assistant coach. Jamie earned her Montessori Early Childhood (EC 3 – 6) credential Summer 2017 from the Center for Guided Montessori Studies in Florida and completed her practicum teaching year as Lead Children’s House Teacher, Taiga community, at Spruce Tree.
I always had an inclination I would be a teacher and a coach just like my father, a retired public school P.E. and Math teacher of more than 30 years. My Montessori journey really began when our eldest daughter, Isabella, joined the Children’s House class at Spruce Tree Fall 2014. Watching her all-around growth and development coupled with the education and exposure we got through school functions and educational opportunities fueled a deeper intrigue and grew my passion to know more, be more involved in the school’s amazing family community and to bring the Montessori way of living into our home as well.
The ultimate goal of Montessori and several of the guiding principles and methods encompass my preexisting philosophies for parenting, teaching, coaching and living life in general. Working around and with children of all ages has always been a big part of my life. As such, it was a very easy and exciting choice to pursue the path to become a Montessori teacher with an age group where I can foster and guide future leaders, providing a solid and comprehensive foundation of character, intelligence, empathy and understanding so they may grow up with the knowledge, compassion and strength to change the world.
It is a blessing and a pleasure to be a part of the amazing staff at Spruce Tree Montessori and I am looking forward to the exciting year that lies ahead.
Ms. Jamie joined our team Fall 2015.
Ms. Megan Dean
Lead Children’s House Teacher, Boreal Community
Montessori Paraprofessional Certification
Megan graduated from North Pole High School in 2008 and attended the College of Idaho for one year, majoring in Education. Upon returning to Alaska, she transferred to the University of Alaska – Fairbanks and hopes to pursue her degree in Elementary Education. Megan attended the Seton Montessori Institute’s Paraprofessional Preparation course in March 2018, which provided a broad foundation in Montessori philosophy, educational techniques and classroom best practice. She has many years of experience in home childcare and hospitality.
Ms. Megan joined our staff in May 2017.
Mrs. Malaika West
Children’s House Teacher Assistant, Taiga Community
Hello! My name is Malaika and I was born in Kenya and raised in Wisconsin. I moved to Alaska fall of 2010. I earned my BA in Child Development & Family Studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. During my free time I enjoy going on walks and spending time with family and friends.
I knew at an early age that I wanted to be an educator. I’m passionate about providing an environment for students that fosters a love for learning. I’m overjoyed to be part of the team at Spruce Tree Montessori!
Ms. West joined our team in January 2022.
Mrs. Kirsten Willett
Children’s House Teacher Assistant, Boreal Community
Hello! My name is Kirsten Willett, born in Tucson, Arizona, raised in Fairbanks. I attended the University of Alaska, Fairbanks where I studied Psychology. After university I worked in tourism which allowed me to travel all over the state. Wanting to spend more time at home and with my family this lead me to being the FIF Coordinator and lower elementary art teacher for Barnette Magnet School. After the birth of my second child in 2016 I opened up a daycare/preschool which I ran until the birth of my third child in 2021. In my free time I love playing soccer with my family, hiking, berry picking, baking and painting. I am excited to be a part of Spruce Tree Montessori and the community that it has created.
Ms. Kirsten joined our team Fall 2022.
Mrs. Erin Reger (currently on maternity leave)
Lead Upper Elementary Teacher, Tongass Community
Hello Spruce Tree community! My name is Erin Reger and I am happy to be returning to my home town of Fairbanks after several years away.
I knew I wanted to become a teacher from a very young age, and I have enjoyed my teaching journey over the past 15 years. I graduated from Simpson College in Redding, CA in 2001 with a BA in Liberal Studies and later went on to earn my Elementary Teaching Credential from Crown College in Minnesota. I earned my Multiple Subject Teaching Clear Credential upon moving to California a couple years ago. I’ve worked with children from early childhood through 5th grade in both the public and private school spheres. For the past 10 years my focus has been mostly on Upper Elementary, including 6 years teaching 4th grade at ICS in Fairbanks. I’ve most recently been living and teaching in the San Francisco Bay area.
I have long been interested in Montessori teaching, and my interest has been further enhanced with the birth of my daughter in 2018. As I approach her care and early education I have found myself leaning toward Montessori tools and methods in an effort to nurture her curiosity and independence. I believe that every child is unique and should be given the opportunity to develop their individual gifts and talents.
In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family – cozy days at home, reading, baking and having dance parties. I recently learned to love running and I am working toward running my first half marathon this year. I enjoy learning new things and expanding my worldview in the process. I am excited to join the team at Spruce Tree Montessori, and I look forward to learning and growing together.
Ms. Erin joined us August 2020.
Ms. Nadrienna Damaris
Lead Lower Elementary Teacher, Tongass Community
AMS Credential: Elementary I (6-9)
Nadriennna Damaris is a lifelong learner and mother of three amazing boys. She enjoys traveling for business and pleasure and has taught in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, California, and Hangzhou, China. She holds a BA and MAEd in Education and a MAEd in Curriculum and Instruction. She earned her Lower Elementary Montessori credential at the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Illinois in 2016. She has many interests and hobbies such as choreographing, creative writing and astronomy, and enjoys bringing those interests into the classroom and giving students space to discover and explore their own interests. Being able to give her students the tools to follow their curiosity is one of the many things she appreciates about the Montessori Method.
Ms. Nadrienna joined our team September 2021.
Ms. Amy Boyd (photo and bio coming soon)
Ms. Hannah Beavers
Physical Education Teacher
Hello! My name is Hannah, and I am a new teacher at Spruce Tree this year. I have moved from East Tennessee with hopes of new adventures and experiences in this season of life!
I graduated from Lee University in 2016 and have 5 years of experience teaching elementary PE in public schools. I am excited for a new environment to serve and grow in as an educator. I love helping children see the importance of living an active, healthy lifestyle!
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, being outside, hiking, camping, and hanging out with my golden doodle, Murphy! I look forward to being a part of the Spruce Tree community.
Ms. Hannah joined our team Fall 2022.
Mrs. Francely Mobley
Hola! My name is Francely Mobley. I was born in Mexico, and raised in the Bronx, New York. I attended a small private college in Kentucky where I earned my degree in Elementary Education. For the past three years I have been traveling alongside my husband and our baby boy. After moving around so much with the Army, I am so excited to have landed at Spruce Tree Montessori School! After becoming a mom I discovered Montessori teachings and have enjoyed implementing it at home. After spending time as a Children’s House Teacher Assistant in 2021, I’m excited to share my love of language with all Spruce Tree students while continuing my own learning and growing as a teacher.
Ms. Francely re-joined our team Fall 2022.
Ms. Christan Barber
Lead Sprout Teacher (Toddler program)
Hello families of Spruce Tree Montessori. My name is Christan Barber, I was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, playing sports, doing art projects and camping!
Coming from a large family I had plenty of role models and the support of an army. In 2010 I began attending cosmetology school. Upon completion in 2013 I was awarded my license for Cosmetology and limited Aesthetics. I currently hold my license as well as continue to educate myself in this field.
By accepting the Lead Toddler Teacher position and starting the next chapter in my life, I am incredibly excited and proud to be a part of the school and the community.
Graciously, Christan Barber
Ms. Christan joined our team July 2022.
Mrs. Priscilla Paye
Hello, my name is Priscila, I was born in Brazil. I moved to Alaska in December 2019 and have been studying English since then. I have a degree in Physical Education from the Catholic University of Brasília and worked as a physical fitness trainer before moving to America. I began to enjoy my experiences with children as soon as I graduated, as a swimming teacher. I am currently taking the Montessori Paraprofessional certificate course in Early Childhood. I am very happy to be part of the Spruce Tree Montessori team and to be able to contribute to the education of children in our community.
Ms. Priscilla joined our team August 2022.
Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) — formed in 2016.
- The specific purpose for which the STMS Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) was formed is to serve as an advisory body for strategic planning, measured growth, program and policy development, and a coordinating body for parent communication and parental involvement according to the school’s mission and vision and under the auspices of its Founder, Sabrina Binkley.
- PAC Members 2022-23