Our Team

“To stimulate life, leaving 
it free, however, to unfold
itself–that is the first duty
of the educator.”
–Dr. Maria Montessori

Our Dedicated & Passionate Team

What we all have in common is a dedication to the classroom, to the vitality of the school, and to the Montessori philosophy.

Melanie Accinno

Owner and Teacher
American Montessori Society Certified Teacher

New England Montessori Teacher Education Center

While studying Education in college in Vermont, I observed in a Montessori classroom for a class project and immediately fell in love with the method.  I hold an early childhood teaching credential and administrative credential in the state of NC. I have worked as a lead teacher for over seventeen years and in administration for three years in both the profit and nonprofit Montessori sector. I had the great honor to work under Nan and Steve’s leadership and was assistant director at Asheville Montessori School for two years, I carry all that I learned there to Julia Street Montessori School.

I have a passion for nurturing and guiding each child, helping to foster a love of learning and preparing a beautiful enriching environment. With a special interest in fostering a sense of community within the classroom helping assist in the child’s full development. 

I am dedicated to organizing local and international service-learning opportunities for children and families to participate in and experience firsthand.

I have come full circle and feel like I’m living a dream come true in owning and operating Julia street Montessori school, it is where my oldest son Noah attended with Ms. Nan as a four-year-old and was my first teaching job in Asheville over 20 years ago.

I live in Black Mountain with my husband and have two children, one is a senior attending NC State University and one is a senior at Owen High. We have a dog, a cat and a flock of chickens. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, mountain biking and gardening.  I am also an avid hockey fan especially favoring the Washington Capitals.

Nathalie Santos

Lead Teacher
American Montessori Society Certified Teacher

Seacoast Center for Montessori Teacher Education

Master’s degree in special education  licensed in Birth to age Kindergarten

Before pursuing my Montessori training this past year, I earned a Master’s degree in special education and an additional license in Birth to age Kindergarten.  I have always had a love for teaching young children, however my vision of becoming a Montessori teacher first came about when I had my own children.  It was such a gift to have the opportunity to observe the amazing changes that occur at each stage of development.  During my time at home, I first began my Montessori journey, taking courses in a program at Barry University.  

After returning to Asheville, I made the decision to leave a traditional teaching setting in hopes of learning more by working in an accredited program with experienced Montessorians.  I was offered a job as an assistant at Asheville Montessori and was fortunate enough to work with a seasoned lead teacher.  I accepted this position assisting a lead teacher at Julia Street, with my goal being to begin my Montessori teacher training at the end of the school year.  

I began my Montessori teacher training in early childhood education in the summer of 2018 at the Seacoast Center for Montessori Teacher Education, in Charleston, South Carolina.  It is with gratitude and enthusiasm that I am entering my second year of teaching at Julia Street with two extremely talented and beautiful women! We each bring individual strengths to our team that contribute to our mission of providing an environment that fosters the construction of one’s own learning and empowers children to be peacemakers.  I am excited to continue to cultivate community among both the children and their families and to evolve as a Montessorian, embracing the spirit of each individual and supporting them in their journey. 

Susanne Olson

Teaching Assistant
Certified K-6 Teacher

This is the start of my 3rd year at Julia Street Montessori School, I am excited and ready for another fun filled school year!  I am a certified K-6 teacher and prior to working at Julia St. I worked for Asheville City Schools for 8 years, primarily as a Kindergarten teacher.  I come from a family of teachers (my mom, sister, and brother) and knew from a young age that I wanted to be just like my mom, teaching is my passion! 

I believe school and learning should be fun, hands-on, connected to real-life experiences, and child-centered/driven.  I love how Montessori education embraces each child exactly where they are in their development and path in life and learning.  My concentration is in Art, and I love incorporating that into the classroom.

I am a potter on the side and love making functional pots on a wheel at The Squeaky Wheel Pottery Studio in the River Arts District, where I also sell my work.  I am one of the few Asheville natives and I enjoy hiking, camping, and being outside with my rescue dog Pearl.  I love to cook, read, learn about herbalism and new crafts/arts/design, travel, and spend time with my family…especially my two young nephews! 

I feel grateful to be a part of this wonderful Montessori community and to be working with Nathalie and Melanie.

Julia Street Montessori School truly is an extraordinary place. I cannot imagine a more nurturing school to meet my daughter’s early educational needs while lovingly supporting her emotional and social development. If you are looking for an exemplary certified Montessori school that will prepare your young child for future academic endeavors while maintaining a warm, family vibe, look no further. Our whole family adores JSMS and we are so grateful for Ms. Melanie, Ms. Nathalie, and Ms. Susanne.

–Amy Fox


15 Julia Street
Asheville, NC 28801


(828) 254-6014