Nurturing respect for self, others and the environment ... through academic excellence, global perspective, and environmental awareness
Joe Galante, M.Ed.
Head of School | Executive Director
As a former Montessori student, Joseph has been a part of Whole Earth from day one not only working with the Founder as a classroom assistant during the summer programs but also helping to build and create the school with his own two hands. At 13 years old, Joseph spent the summer with his father and friends completing construction of the original remodel of the school’s present location. During the first year in operation at our current location and many years after, Joseph instructed Martial Arts to Whole Earth students.
Joseph holds a Master of Education (M.Ed.) as a Master Teacher from Central Washington University, a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Spanish from Western Washington University as well as a Washington State Teaching Certificate. Professionally, Joseph is a longstanding member on the Professional Advisory Board to the graduate studies Department of Education CUIN program at Seattle University. Joseph presented his experiences and research on Montessori education as part of his Master’s Thesis to his graduate school cohort.
Acting first as a consultant to Whole Earth, Joseph joined part time as an Assistant Director in 2002, 3-years after the passing of his father, Allan Galante. After spending a few years teaching at the public high school and college levels, Joseph joined WEM full-time in 2005 as the School’s Director. As a former student of Montessori and assistant in an Early Childhood classroom, Joseph returned to Montessori because it was easy to recognize the benefits Montessori could have made with his students at the high school and college levels.
Joseph’s Bulldogs are his pride and joy and are affectionately known as the “School Mascots.” His French Bulldog (Enzo) participates in agility training courses while his English Bulldog (Prime Rib) is currently learning to ride a skateboard without trying to eat it! Joseph is an active member of the French Bulldog Rescue Network (FBRN). Joseph is extremely physically active participating in Backcountry Snowboarding, Power & Acro-Yoga, and competes at many local Cross-Fit Games. Joseph also has a background in Automotive Design and Consulting with field experience in managing youth marketing programs. His professional experiences in marketing have included designing and constructing automotive projects in association with General Motors, Toyota, Scion, FORD, Daimler Chrysler, Discovery Channel, Oakley, Pepsi, XBOX, Red Bull, Mobil-1 and Universal Pictures to name a few. Joseph knows his way around a race track whether it be in a car or on a motorcycle both on, and off-road.
Dianna Galante, M.Ed.
Founder | Philosophical and Program Director
Dianna Galante is the Founder of Whole Earth Montessori. Driven by her passion for a better world for her son and all children of the Earth, Dianna started Whole Earth in 1986 with $300.00 cash and $1,500.00 worth of used Montessori materials in lieu of the $1,500.00 in back salary owed to her by her previous employer.
Dianna holds a Bachelor’s degree in Family and Consumer Studies from Central Washington University with minors in Art and Psychology. She earned a Master’s degree in education from Seattle University and holds a Washington State teaching certificate. She earned an AMS Early Childhood certificate in 1981 and an AMS Elementary-I credential in 1991.
Dianna taught Montessori Philosophy, Early Childhood and Elementary-I language while working first at Seattle University and then the Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest (MEIPN). She taught Elementary-I History and Geography in South Korea for AMS to public school teachers over a three-week period. Several summers were spent in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and Akron, Ohio as part of an AMS team to present a Montessori teacher certification program to inner city public school teachers. Dianna was a member of an AMS Symposium team presenting information on Language and Literacy. She received a Certificate of Recognition from Washington State Senator Patty Murray for outstanding contribution at the annual teacher’s forum in Washington D.C. upon the recommendation of one of the Secretaries of Education. As well, Dianna developed and presented a peace curriculum in many cities throughout the U.S. The curriculum serves as the skeletal framework for units of study here at Whole Earth in the Early Childhood Education classrooms.
CASCADE CLASSROOM: Nidhi Oberoi holds an AMS Early Childhood credential and a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature. She has been teaching at Whole Earth for twelve years. Nidhi’s two sons attended Whole Earth and led her to a career in Montessori education. Tamara Rivera holds both an AMS Early Childhood certificate. Adam Baerwolf has completed the AMS Assistant Training coursework, and is WEM's Art Teacher.
OLYMPIC CLASSROOM: Holly Hellman holds an AMS Early Childhood credential and has earned an Associate Arts degree. She is also a certified Personal Coach and teaches yoga and dance. Her husband, Erik Hellman, assists Holly in the classroom. Holly has been teaching at Whole Earth for a total of nineteen years. Erik is in his sixth year assisting Holly. Erik holds an Associate Arts degree and has a background in the field of digital media with specializations in film production.
GARDEN CLASSROOM: Amy Turner-McVey is AMS certified at the Early Childhood level. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Amy is in her fourth year at Whole Earth. Shivani Tayal is an AMS certified teacher at the Early Childhood level. Shivani has earned a four-year degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management and holds a Post-Graduate degree in Psychology. She has been with Whole Earth for six years. Elisha Wright, a fromer WEM student, assists Amy and Shivani in the afternoon class. Elisha is the Director of the WEM Activity Club after school program.
RAINIER CLASSROOM: Sonali Hedge is AMS certified and the Early Childhood level as in her 5th year with Whole Earth. She is assisted by Jennifer Jones who holds an AMS Early Childhood certificate, a Washington State Teaching certificate, and a Master’s degree in Special Education. Sharlot Malakey is currently enrolled in her Montessori Training program and assists Sonali during the AM session. Sharlot's two boys attend WEM.
BARN CLASSROOM: Jacinda Hansen is AMS certified and the Early Childhood level as in her 14th year with Whole Earth. She is assisted by Julie Adair who holds a Montessori teaching certificate.
LOWER ELEMENTARY (Grades 1-3): Alison Stern is head teacher in the lower elementary classroom and is assisted by Joan Henderson. Alison has an AMS Elementary-I certificate, a Washington State teaching certificate with a Reading Specialist endorsement, and a Master’s degree in Education. Alison has taught at Whole Earth for 14 years. Joan has over 20 years experience and is certified at both the Lower and Upper Elementary levels.
UPPER ELEMENTARY (Grades 4-6): Jenny Immel and Kathy Jau Jou teach the upper elementary class. Jenny has her MA and BS in education and is both lower and upper elementary AMS certified. Kathy has been instructing at Whole Earth Montessori for over 25 years. In addition to serving as our lead upper elementary instructor, Kathy manages the school's IT needs and regularly teaches students everything there is to know about computers including how to build them from scratch.
MUSIC SPECIALIST: Dee Sales, our Music Director, holds a Bachelor’s of Music, a Texas teaching certificate, and is Musikgarten certified. Dee has been teaching vocal and instrumental music, movement, and theatre at WEM for thirteen years.
ART: Adam Baerwolf is the Director of all Art programs at WEM and has a background in Art Therapy. He teaches in both small and large groups, and offers additional after school programs for students of all ages.
Holly Hellman, Nidhi Oberoi, Kathy JauJou, and Jacinda Hansen all completed their one-year internships at Whole Earth Montessori. Alison Stern, Amy Turner-McVey, and Holly Hellman are each former students of the Founder of Whole Earth, Dianna Galante during her 19-year tenure with the American Montessori Society (AMS) teacher certification program.