Meet Our Faculty

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Sarah Lurie

Head of School

Sarah has been dedicated to working in education for over 12 years, with experience ranging from preschool to secondary school. She currently holds a B.S. in Education and has Reading/ESOL endorsements as well. After becoming a mom, Sarah looked toward Montessori and began to implement Montessori values into both her professional career and personal life. Sarah has spent her last four years guiding her children, Agnes (7 years) and Doris (5 years), at home using Montessori-based curriculums as a guide to their development. She passionately believes this style of education recognizes each child as an individual and celebrates their uniqueness. Furthermore, Sarah feels Montessori approaches to learning allow for children to be respected while gaining a strong sense of independence- ultimately nurturing a lifelong love for learning. In addition to her passion for teaching, Sarah enjoys hiking, camping, homeschooling her girls, spending time with her family, and working towards her master’s degree. As both an educator and a mother, she is thrilled to aid in the continual growth of the DMS students, guides, families, and community.


Samantha Marsh

Primary Lead Guide

Samantha has always enjoyed working with children and has spent many years babysitting and nannying. She first was introduced to the Montessori Method when DMS was in its early stages of development. Samantha fell in love with the philosophy and loves how the Method fosters independence and allows the child to make their own choices based on their own internal motivation.

Samantha has recently finished training through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies and is Montessori Certified for teaching the Primary classroom ages 3-6. 

When not at school, Samantha enjoys spending time with her husband and their 4-year-old daughter, Charlee Grace. 


Emily Ziegenfelder

Early-Primary Lead Guide

While working in the public school system, Emily was introduced to the Montessori philosophy by Laura Tidmore. Emily loves the way the Montessori method addresses each child as an individual and promotes independence.  She loves the energy and curiosity of children 18 months – 3 years old, and delights in watching them develop self-sufficiency. Before graduating from Troy University, Emily moved back to the Dothan area to complete her teaching internship. She and her husband Brandon met shortly after her graduation and were married in 2014. They enjoy going to the lake with family and hanging out with friends. On most weekends in the fall, you can find them in Auburn cheering on the AU Tigers. Emily loves spending time with her family, Taco Tuesday, and going on an occasional bike ride. Emily has always loved kids and has worked with them in many capacities. She has babysat, worked in a daycare, and taught Kindergarten and First Grade. She is ecstatic to continue what she loves here at DMS as an AMS certified Toddler Guide.


Adrienne Lorton

Director's Assistant

After building a 13-year career in business and banking, Adrienne discovered the Montessori philosophy and learned about DMS from her friend Samantha Marsh. Adrienne first worked in the Toddler Environment as an assistant guide with Ms. Emily for 2 years. She then served as the DMS Director from 2018-2020 where she enjoyed building relationships with the DMS families and community. In 2020, Adrienne had her daughter Lyla Mae and began incorporating the Montessori Method as a stay-at-home mom. Adrienne stayed involved with DMS and served as a Board Member from 2020-2021. She is currently an assistant to the Director. Adrienne enjoys spending time with her family and traveling. Adrienne and her husband Garrett have an antique booth and love restoring and collecting antiques. Adrienne is active in her Church. She loves going back to Missouri, where she is from, to be with her family any chance she can get. She loves supporting the spread of the Montessori philosophy in the Wiregrass area. “It’s truly amazing to see what children are capable of! You can see the confidence and independence unfold through each child’s journey."

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Kylie Parker

Primary Assistant Guide

From caregiving to volunteering in preschool classrooms, Kylie was involved in education through her adolescence and young adulthood. She realized her passion for teaching while shadowing in local elementary schools and guiding children in small-group settings. She was first introduced to the Montessori method while completing her career tech classes in high school. She was intrigued by the methodology and began to incorporate this style of learning into her one-on-one student groups, while volunteering. Kylie believes that the Montessori method of learning encourages confidence and allows students to learn independently. Thus, creating their own timeline for growth.  

She has a passion for Montessori education and is currently pursuing her certification. She is thrilled to have planted her roots at DMS and looks forward to the growth she'll be a part of in our community.  


Alli McAfee

Assistant Guide

Allison grew up around childcare and education with her mother and grandmother both working in the early childhood field. During college, she worked at a local academy as the Lead in the Infant & Toddler room and later as an Elementary Assistant Teacher. After completing a degree in Engineering Graphics and spending several years in that industry, Allison returned to Troy University with the desire to teach. When she moved home from Savannah, GA, she learned of DMS and remembered the wonderful times she had in high school when she'd spend her summers working at the Montessori school in McDonough, GA. Her desire for children to learn in a way that embraces their uniqueness led her to the school.  After serving extensively at DMS as a substitute guide, she looks forward to enriching her love for the Montessori method, as the Early Primary Assistant Guide.

When she is not at DMS, Allison enjoys spending time with her husband and cats.