Karen Olin Darling, Director and Head Teacher
Karen is the new Director at Red Oak as of July 2018. She comes with a wealth of Montessori experience, starting 40 years ago with her in-depth mentorship by Mrs. Franca Tidoni, trained in the Montessori method herself directly by Dr. Maria Montessori. Karen has served as a lead teacher from pre-primary ages to middle-school grades, in California, South Carolina and New Hampshire. Karen and her husband Dan have 9 wonderful adult children between them, each of whom benefited from Montessori education in their early years. Karen, Dan and their dog Goldie have lived in Franklin, right on the Winnipesaukee River, since 2012 and immediately immersed themselves in the community. Karen enjoys hiking, camping, gardening and nature photography, and is especially excited about supporting area families and young children in her role as Director and co-teacher here!
Jason Rand, Lead Teacher
Jason began working at Red Oak Montessori School in 2015 as an Associate Teacher. Jason grew up in Plymouth, NH before going to Bowdoin College in Maine to earn his B.A. in Anthropology and Asian Studies. He is currently pursuing certification through the Northeast Montessori Institute, having completed his practicum while teaching at Mid-State Montessori in Plymouth. Jason was drawn to the Montessori Method and philosophy by its guiding principle that learning should be exciting, and student-directed. He comes to the world of early childhood education with a diverse background, including being an entrepreneur, landlord, traveling and studying in Japan. He has done archaeology in Labrador and hiked 2000 miles of the Appalachian Trail. He enjoys cross country skiing, rock climbing, and billiards. He lives in Plymouth with his wife Carolyn and their son, Huck.
Nicole Harper, Teacher Assistant
Nicole began her career in early childhood education working with children of all ages at Child Care centers, preschools, and as a Nanny. She opened her own small day care/preschool and operated that for some time before deciding to pursue college at the University of Southern Maine. Her travels with her husband brought her from Portland, Maine where she grew up to British Columbia, Canada then to Massachusetts where she discovered Montessori and enrolled her 4 children. Her children thrived in the self-directed program of Montessori. New Hampshire is where Nicole and her family have now settled. She has been busy raising her children whom are now all productive adults. Nicole is the owner of CrossFit Nova Vita in Meredith. She and her husband coach classes consisting of strength and cardio conditioning as well as nutritional counseling. Nicole is excited to get back to her earlier passion in early childhood education here at Red Oak Montessori!