Montessori Kids Universe Hoover recognizes that our caring, dedicated teachers are what makes our school so valuable. MKU Hoover recruits and maintains a high-quality staff through an intensive selection and vetting process. We provide on-going professional development and growth opportunities within our school, and foster a healthy work environment for our employees. Meet the most important aspect of our school: Our quality teaching staff!
Jason and Kimberly McDougall are the owners of Montessori Kids Universe in Hoover, Alabama. They have three beautiful little girls who are current students at MKU Homewood. Their children are the love of their lives and when they decided to give up their careers they wanted to do something that would allow them to spend more time with them and make sure they had the best start in life. Jason and Kimberly both believe in the Montessori teaching method as Jason started his education at Sunrise Montessori in Citrus Heights, CA. We have witnessed our daughters firsthand grow with the MKU program and turn into sweet, independent and strong little girls.
Kimberly McDougall graduated from Hoover High School in 2000 and from the University of Alabama in 2004 with a degree in Telecommunication and Film. She started her professional career as a news reporter and anchor for WVUA 7 news in Tuscaloosa. She then went on to work for CBS 42 news in Birmingham before finding her way FOX 40 News in Sacramento, CA. It’s there that she met her best friend and now husband. In 2014 they welcomed their first daughter and it wasn’t long after that Jason and Kimberly decided they wanted to move back to Alabama and open a state of the art Montessori preschool that would not only challenge our daughter but inspire her to find a love of learning. Kimberly love’s coming to work every day and seeing all the bright and smiley faces ready to learn and have fun. Outside of work, Kimberly loves spending time with family, rooting on her beloved Crimson Tide and playing with her girls at the park.
Jason McDougall was born in Sacramento, CA and is an identical twin. After receiving a job promotion, Jason’s father moved his family to Redmond, Washington in 1994. It’s there where Jason graduated from Redmond High School and eventually earned a degree in Business from Washington State University in 2002. Jason then moved back to California where he began a career in property management. Over the course of thirteen years with the same company, he held numerous positions where he gained knowledge in all aspects of business ranging from accounting to acquisitions. He knew with his business experience and his wife’s communications and sales experience that they would be a great business team. Kim and Jason are so happy to have discovered the Montessori Kids Universe Franchise and to have opened the first MKU in the State of Alabama. Aside from work Jason is a huge football fan and loves boating, camping and fly fishing. Most importantly he loves hanging out with his wife and three daughters!
Ms. Emily is the lead teacher of Casa del Frutetto, the primary classroom here at MKU Hoover. She was born and raised in Huntsville, AL where she graduated from Grissom High School with honors. She graduated from Maryville College in Tennessee in 2011 with a Bachelor’s in English Literature with minors in Spanish and Political Science. She has been working with children for nearly fifteen years. Her first job was teaching Spanish to the pre-k students at Girl’s Incorporated. While pursuing her degree, Emily was an assistant teacher at a preschool for about a year until becoming the lead teacher of her own pre-k classroom. In 2010, she studied abroad in Ecuador at the University of Quito while teaching English as a second language at a local elementary school and working in a nearby orphanage. It was then that she realized her passion for working with children. Upon returning to the states, she began working with abused and special needs children as a Childcare Specialist for Catholic Charities. She later pursued a career in adult education and began tutoring women for their General Education Diplomas and college entrance tests. In 2018, she finally decided to return to her original love for teaching preschool and became employed at our Homewood location. She was the lead teacher of a primary classroom at our Homewood location for over two years, and it was there that she fell in love with the Montessori method. Ms. Emily earned her International Montessori Teaching Diploma from the North American Montessori Center in 2019. She is currently pursuing her Montessori credential for the primary classroom through the American Montessori Society, and she will graduate this program in February of 2022.
Ms. Caitlin has been an Assistant Teacher in a few rooms at MKU. She has worked with children in the Casa classrooms as well as the Toddler spaces. She graduated from The University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She completed her internship in an older toddler room with children ages 2-3 years old at a Reggio Emilia inspired school. Ms. Caitlin believes in the Reggio Emilia approach because it allows for the children to explore their individual creativity in a hands-on way while learning through their expressed interest. She is excited to immerse herself in the Montessori and Reggio Emilia ways of teaching children. She is also working to complete her Montessori Certification with the American Montessori Society.
Tarri is originally from Hartselle, Alabama, and has moved all over the Southeast since she was a child. She enjoys traveling and spending time with her two children. Tarri moved to the Birmingham area from Huntsville, about a year ago, to begin her career with MKU as the Nido teacher. She has worked as a preschool teacher for 25 years, and was the assistant director for a multicultural preschool for four years. Children have always been the focus of Tarri’s career, as she was also a swim coach and a nanny. Tarri holds a degree in Music Education and is currently working on her degree in Sociology. Tarri is also enrolled in Montessori Kids Universe Training Institute to obtain her Montessori Certification for ages birth-three years old.
Mrs. Mandi grew up in Pensacola FL and is the second eldest of ten. She was homeschooled the majority of her childhood, and her mom taught her and her siblings with similar Montessori structures and values. Her love for children and to see them succeed started at a very young age, and she’s always had a deep desire to help children become the best versions of themselves. She believes we’re raising small adults and what they learn now in behavior, speech, and character follows them into adulthood. She has six years of professional experience working in childcare facilities and as a personal nanny. Ms. Mandi is currently working on her MKU certificate for ages 0-3 and then plans on obtaining one for ages 3-6. Mrs. Mandi has been married for three years and has a sweet little boy with one more on the way. She loves learning, reading, and serving wherever she’s needed.
Ms. Holly is the lead teacher for our Garden classroom at MKU Hoover. She is from Alabaster, AL, where she graduated from Thompson High School. Go Big Red! She has worked at MKU Homewood since August 2019. Holly earned her International Montessori Teaching Diploma from the North American Montessori Center Infant/Toddler Teacher Training Program for ages birth to three years in 2021. When Holly is not at MKU, she is spending time with her son, Eli, who attended MKU Homewood before going to Kindergarten.
Ms. Allison is 24 years old, and she grew up in Mobile, Alabama where she graduated from high school with advanced honors in 2014. She moved to Birmingham in 2017 where she completed some college before becoming employed at a childcare facility. She became the lead teacher of a three-year-old classroom there, but she quickly saw the limitations of a traditional teaching environment, and decided to pursue a career in a Montessori school in 2019. She has been employed at our Homewood location since June of 2020, where she has worked as an assistant in the primary classroom. She completed her Montessori certification through MKUTI in 2021, and she is now the lead teacher of our Jr. Casa classroom.
Ms.Krystal is 31 years old and grew up in southern California. She has been married for nine years and has two little boys and three step children. Mrs. Krystal has always loved children and teaching. Some of her fondest memories as a child were playing school with her siblings and neighborhood kids. Each day she would come home after school and teach everyone what she learned at school that day. She even taught her younger siblings how to write their names! Mrs. Krystal and her family moved to Alabama from Vero Beach, FL in 2019. She then began working with children in a formal setting. Mrs. Krystal is currently working to become Montessori certified through the Montessori Kids Universe Training Institute for children from birth to age three. She is fascinated with Montessori and is a firm believer in its significance. Mrs. Krystal has always gravitated towards working with infants. These small friends have brought her so much joy and it is truly a rewarding experience. Outside of work, Mrs. Krystal and her husband are completely devoted to their children and their many extracurricular activities. She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, going to the gym when time allows, and watching movies.
Ms. Ammara is an experienced and passionate Montessori teacher and Early Childhood Educator. She works to merge the true essence of a Montessori education and Regio Emilia education to offer the child the opportunity to grow and develop in a unique learning environment. She believes that children need to be given a respectful, warm environment in which to work and create the person, while they foster within themselves, and their community developmental growth and academic excellence. Ms. Ammara has a certification in Children’s Services and has her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She moved to the United States 5 years ago from Australia, where she worked as a Montessori teacher. Ms. Ammara has three children of her own, one girl and two boys. Her hobbies including walking, singing, and traveling. Ms. Ammara has an extraordinary passion for spreading a dome of Montessori and a deeper sense of respect for children throughout communities.