Staff Contacts

1704 North Center Street
Mesa, Arizona 85201

Map & Directions


You can email the teachers and administrators by clicking on their name.


Ms. Nelleke van Savooyen Executive Director

I established Good Earth Montessori as an AMI Accredited Program in 1991 when I took it over from the previous owners. I started with a class of 5 students and expanded our program to what we are today about 75-85 students. I have worked very hard over the years to make sure that we have a high quality AMI accredited Primary Program and a Charter School Program in Mesa and I believe I have succeeded with a lot of help from Ms. Sandy Holzer and all the parents and staff over the last 21 years..



You can reach the teachers between 3:00 and 3:30 PM by phone 480-833-2622 or using their school email

 0307 GEM   Ms. Melinda Miller AMI Elementary Class 

My name is Melinda Miller, and I have been teaching in Montessori Schools for almost 40 years. I’ve worked with 3-6 year olds, as well as 6-12 year olds. In fact, I taught in the elementary classes here at GEM Charter School in 2000-2003 and 2006-2009, and it’s nice to be back again. I took Montessori training for birth-3 year olds in Denver, CO. My other Montessori training courses (for 3-6 year olds and 6-12 year olds) were in Washington, DC. I have worked in public, private, and charter schools in a number of U.S. cities and in London, England, where I also worked part-time at the Maria Montessori Institute, England’s AMI training center. I live in a condo in Phoenix with my three cats, two of which were born here at GEM and their mother who was smart enough to have her kittens behind the classroom of a cat lover!


0330 GEM     Ms. Nelleke van Savooyen AMI Primary 3-6+

I have been the teacher at Good Earth and GEM Charter for 26 years, I am also the owner of Good Earth Montessori and the Executive Director for GEM charter School.  The last 3 years I have been teaching the primary class and I have really enjoyed being back in the classroom.  The children are the reason why I became a Montessori teacher and why I started my own AMI Accredited School.  I just love watching the children learn from the first day of school and to see them develop at their own pace and accomplish so much by the end of the school year.

Currently I am working Part Time in the office from 11-3:30PM.  I have enjoyed working with the children but at this time it is nice to just work the office.  You can contact me by email at or call me 480-833-2622.

Ms. Rachel Jensen is our new primary teacher for the 2017-2018 school year.  

Email address

Here is her bio:

Rachel Jensen is a 2017 graduate of The Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies where she earned her AMI Primary Teacher Certification. Throughout her training she developed a deep respect and understanding of The Montessori Method, which complements her extensive background in child development. Her passion for children and her belief in supporting the natural development of the child grew exponentially during this time.

Rachel is proud to say she received her certification through an AMI affiliated program, as AMI was founded by Dr. Maria Montessori herself during her lifetime, and delivers the highest quality and most authentic Montessori education to its students.

Rachel earned her Bachelor of Arts in 2009 from The University of Arizona in Tucson, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Child Development and Family Studies. Following graduation, she returned to Phoenix and took a position as a Children’s Case Manger where she worked from 2011-2014, providing support and education to families of children with emotional and behavioral health needs.

Rachel has enjoyed summers teaching private swimming lessons, building individualized lesson plans for each child. She has also taught gymnastics and tumbling classes at various Montessori Schools throughout the Valley.

Rachel’s interests include arts and crafts, swimming, philosophy, snowboarding, and her pet cat! She has lived in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area since 2001. Her parents also live in Scottsdale and she has a younger sister, Sarah, who lives in San Diego.

Mr. Sasha Fani is our new elementary teacher for the 2017-2018 school year

Email address

Here is his bio;

My name is Sasha Fani, I am from England initially, but I have been living in San Diego, Ca for the last 2 years. I have been studying Montessori education for the past year at the Montessori Institute of San Diego. I am 25 and have been working with children and youth from the age of 18. I have worked in communities teaching children primarily about developing their qualities and attitudes. And I’ve worked with youth, my role being to inspire and instill in them the desire to serve in their community, but to also the capacity in them to help other take ownership in helping others grow materially and spiritually.

My goal and interest is to create change in the world and that starts with children, as they are the foundation of humanity’s growth, but to also develop my own capacities to become a better person each day. I want to ultimately become a teacher that instills the desire within children to become active agents of their own learning and take ownership for their development and the progress of the world. The purpose I believe in education is to empower students to take intuitive and become independent

My passions in life are cooking and sports, my family have restaurants and so I have always had a great passion for food, so I hope to integrate the skills and love for cooking with the children. I look forward to meeting you all, and I hope you are enjoying the summer with your children!