The TeamMeet the heroes of Pincushion Hill

Pincushion Hill Montessori School's faculty and staff are continuously dedicated to serving your children's needs. They're always happy to discuss any concerns you have for your children.

Administration Team


Christine Kovago


Christine Kovago is the co-owner of Pincushion Hill Montessori School, now celebrating her 38th year of devotion to the school. She began her career at Pincushion in 1978 after completing a BA in Early Childhood Education with a triple minor in Elementary Education (grades 1-6), Art History, and Special Education from Worcester State College. She did extensive studies of fine art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Worcester Art Museum. She also received her LPN certification from the St. Vincent’s Hospital School of Nursing in Worcester. She worked at St. Vincent Hospital in the Trauma Ward and at Worcester City Hospital in the Geriatric Unit. Christine received her Montessori training at Boston College in 1979. She was in the first graduating class of the New England Montessori Teacher Education Center here in Massachusetts, and she taught for 14 years at Pincushion both in the Children’s House (ages 3-6) and Elementary (ages 6-9) classrooms before becoming the Director of the school. She has served as the Director for 16 years. Her hobbies include life-long learning, reading, gardening, snorkeling, walking, practicing yoga and meditation, and world traveling. She looks forward to many more successful, happy and prosperous years here at Pincushion!




Gus Kovago


Agoston (Gus) Kovago's family came to South Grafton, MA in 1956, after escaping the Hungarian Revolution. He attended Quinsigamond and Worcester State Colleges, earning a BA in Business. He ran a retail gifts and home decor business with his father from 1964-1984. He currently serves as Pincushion’s Co-director. His passions include photography, travel, biking and snorkeling




Michelle Cowell

Head of School

Michelle Cowell graduated from Framingham State College with a B.A. in Psychology and Elementary Education. She has begun working towards her Master’s degree in Special Education. Michelle has worked for 15 years in various social work fields including working with homeless teenage mothers, supporting adults with developmental disabilities, and managing a residential program for adults with mental illness. Michelle has completed her Montessori School Management training at the Center for Montessori Education in New York. Michelle enjoys spending time with her family, reading, the ocean and working in the garden.




Kristen Kemp

Assistant Director

Kristen Kemp attended the State University of New York College at Fredonia and received a BA in Spanish Language and Literature. She also attended the University of Barcelona, Spain. Prior to Pincushion, Kristen taught Spanish in the New Haven, CT school district and worked in an after school program in the Boston Public School District. Currently Kristen is enrolled at the Center for Montessori Education in New York. Kristen enjoys spending her free time doing home projects, traveling, and kayaking.




Lisa Wyman

Business Manager

Lisa Wyman is Pincushion Hill’s Business Manager and she is celebrating her 13th year at Pincushion. She attended Northeastern University, majoring in Accounting. Previously, she worked in the insurance industry for fourteen years. Then she worked at a law firm where she maximized her skills with numbers. She has two daughters that are twenty years apart! In her spare time, she enjoys sports, the beach, her many pets and spending time with her family and friends. She loves all Boston sports teams, but especially the Red Sox!


Children's House Team

image Laura Strauss holds a B.A. in Psychology from U.Mass Dartmouth and an M.Ed. in Counseling Education from Northeastern University. When she and her older son first experienced the Montessori philosophy at a school in Lexington, KY. 29 years ago, she knew the educational philosophy made sense for both of her sons. A few years later, she completed the Montessori training in Chicago at Seton Montessori Institute and has been a teacher since 1991.

Laura Strauss

image Kristina graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelors of science in family studies and human development. Prior to Pincushion, Kristina lived in Arizona for ten years and taught at a private school in Tucson. This past summer, Kristina completed a Montessori training at the Haborlight Montessori School in Beverly. During her free time, Kristina enjoys spending time with family, going to the beach and watching Boston sports.

Kristina Cregg

image Terrie received a B.A. in English and Spanish from Assumption College, a Post Baccalaureate Teacher Certification in Early Childhood Education from Framingham State University, a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College, and a Post Master Certification in Early Childhood Research, Policy and Leadership from UMASS Boston. Terrie has a life-long love of learning and the desire to instill this in young children while developing their sense of self. This past summer, Terrie completed a Montessori training at the Harborlight Montessori School in Beverly. Outside of work, Terrie enjoys poetry and reading, hearing live music, hiking and camping, going to the beach, watching the Patriots, and spending time with family and friends.

Terrie Craig

image Michelle graduated with a degree in Early Childhood from Mass Bay Community College in 1990. She has been teaching for 26 years and was trained in teaching Reggio Amelia. The program is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment. This past summer, Michelle completed a Montessori training at the Harborlight Montessori School in Beverly. Michelle is also a certified American Red Cross instructor. She travels to different schools and homes to help people become certified. When Michelle is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beach, reading, and cooking.

Michelle Levenson

image Geetha is a qualified Montessori teacher from Sri Lanka and EEC certified. She has had experience teaching infants through Kindergarten age for over 15 years. She also has experience in teaching children with learning differences. She enjoys cooking, classical music, and traveling. Geetha's mission is to build children's strengths while instilling a love for learning.

Geetha Rajapakse

image Kristen Barraford graduated from Salem State College with a BS in Biology and a Minor in Chemistry. She has worked the past nine years with children with learning differences and special needs as a Behaviorist Assistant and Personal Care Assistant. She has completed her first half of Montessori Training at New England Montessori Teacher Education Center in Newton, MA.

Kristen Barraford

Support Teacher

Elementary Team

image Connie is delighted to return for her 7th year at Pincushion Hill Montessori School. She is a 20-year veteran teacher whose passion for Montessori began during her two years as a Montessori Assistant. She holds a B.A from Simmons College where she studied psychology and education. Perpetually learning, she also has a certification in Payroll Management from Northeastern University, Orton-Gillingham Reading, and 6-9 Montessori Teaching from Seacoast Teacher Training Center.

Connie Green

image Michael Silverstone is entering his third year teaching elementary at Pincushion Hill Montessori after more than 15 years as a primary grades teacher in Western Massachusetts. He earned his Lower Elementary certification with the Montessori Elementary Teacher Training Collaborative and also holds a Massachusetts Teacher License for Grades 1-6. He received his BA at Columbia University and earned his MA in English Education from New York University.

Michael Silverstone



image PJ received his bachelors of art from Salem State University in Music and Writing in 2014. He has spent over 10 years working with children as an educator, private instructor, mentor, and basketball coach. PJ has spent the past few years performing all over the Western Hemisphere on cruise ships, touring with bands or in off-Broadway productions. He is excited to be at Pincushion Hill and brings his high-energy and enthusiastic approach to teaching along with him. When he is not teaching percussion, piano or songwriting you can find him performing all over the Northeast.

PJ Holaday

Music Teacher
image Ryan received an Associates Degree in Horticulture from North Shore Community College. He works in maintaining all the schools educational gardens throughout the property. Weekly garden tasks and lessons with the children include native and foreign tree, shrub and perennial identification and history, vegetable and herb gardening, harvesting and preparation, seed collecting, composting, rain barrel watering, insect identification, plants with multi seasonal interest and much more.

Ryan Barraford

Gardener and Facilities Manager
image Janet is excited to return for her second year as Art Specialist at Pincushion Hill Montessori. She has a degree in Art Education from Massachusetts College of Art, and has taught art in various capacities in the community for almost 30 years. She loves working with a wide variety of art materials and enjoys seeing the children express themselves visually in original and creative ways.

Janet Sheehan

Art Teacher