About Us

Who we are

The Hammer Montessori Foundation (HMF) is comprised of parents, staff, and community members seeking to enhance public Montessori education at Hammer Montessori School in San Jose, California. The HMF was founded in the spring of 2009 and has been recognized by the San Jose Unified School District.

What we do

We host events to share information about the Montessori educational approach and raise funds to support our public school's programming. Everyone is invited - please check our Announcements for the next scheduled gathering.

Why we raise money

A children's project with colors and shapes

We're passionate about the Montessori approach to education. It emphasizes creative sensory materials, hands on exploration, and learning opportunities customized for individual students' interests. Hammer is the only public Montessori school in Santa Clara County.

Due to the budget constraints of our school district, our Montessori program benefits from additional outside funding. The HMF supports supplemental enrichment programs which could include a second language, educational garden, and field trips that include experiential learning.

The HMF's emphasis on supporting the Montessori educational program complements the Hammer-Galarza PTA, which focuses on fundraising and community building for both schools at the site.

Kids Working on a diagram

2012-2013 Board

Aimee Heeren, Parent, HMF Vice President and Chair of Programming Committee
Aimee has three daughters, Alaina (5th grade), Marin (1st grade) and Maya (pre-school). She is a school counselor in San Jose Unified and enjoys volunteering at Hammer and Galarza schools. In her free time she likes to cook, garden, hike and practice yoga.

Chris Bateman, Parent
Chris is husband to Sarah and proud father of Parker (1st grade) and Nate (Kinder). Chris leads global communications for the Small and Mid-size Business Unit of VMware, a local software company. In addition to his role on the HMF Board, his school volunteer work includes maintaining both schools’ websites, serving on the Hammer School Site Council, and administering the HMF Facebook page. He is especially excited about exploring ways to expand the music program and finding new ways to support the needs of our teachers and administrators.

Gladys Salm, Teacher
Gladys has been an active part of Hammer Montessori from its beginnings. Over the last 15 years, she has enjoyed teaching at Hammer as the school grows and develops an identity of its own. She is fully committed to the advancement of public Montessori education as a service that should be available to all children in our community.

Jennifer Gursu, Parent, HMF Treasurer
Jennifer has two children, Kaya (2nd grade) and Mina (pre-school). She has a background in non-profit management and is a member of the Hammer Montessori School Site Council for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years. Her favorite things to do include drafting budgets (no, really); casual dinners with good friends and good food; and exploring the amazing array of nature the Bay Area has to offer with her kids

Jessica Von Borck, Parent, Chair of Fundraising Committee
Jessica is mom to Stella (3rd grade) and Hailey (Hammer alum, now in 7th grade at Valley Christian). She is a member of the Hammer/Galarza PTA. Her day job is Downtown Project Manager for the City of Fremont and Chair of the Silicon Valley Economic Development Alliance, where she works to balance the needs of Silicon Valley's businesses with those of our communities. Jessica is an avid runner, loves spending time with her family, and aspires to be a ski bum.

Joanne Pittman, Community Member
Joanne retired from San Jose Unified School District after 37 years as a regular and special education teacher, and as a site and district administrator. The highlight of her career was being the principal chosen to open Hammer Montessori School. Some of the happiest and most fulfilling experiences of her career were serving students and community of Hammer Montessori. She is pleased to continue to serve the Hammer community as a board member of the Hammer Montessori Foundation.

Kate Loftin, Teacher
Kate has been teaching in private and public Montessori classrooms for 20 years. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Natural and Environmental Science, she went on to earn her Montessori and California Teacher’s Credential. During her free time, Kate enjoys gardening, hiking, and playing music.

Kristina Loquist, Parent, HMF President
Kristina is mom to Hanne (5th grade) and Amanda (2nd grade); she has served two years on the Hammer School Site Council and is a founding member of the Recruitment Committee. Besides volunteering at the school, Kristina loves to read, spend time with her kids outdoors and is learning Norwegian. Kristina served on the HMF Board as Secretary from 2009-2011. She took a year off and rejoined the Board in 2012.

Lynn Belmonte, Principal of Hammer Montessori School
Lynn has been with Hammer Montessori since it opened in 1997. She began as a classroom teacher, served as Resource Teacher for eight years, Associate Principal for two years, and is now in her first year as Principal. Her training in Montessori is from AMS (American Montessori Society) for ages 6-12. She has Master’s degrees in Administration and in Montessori education, a BA in Child Development and an AA in Liberal Studies. She is the mother of 3 children and resides in San Jose with her husband. When not at school she can be found under a shady tree with a good book.

Mary Elena Moore, Resource Teacher
Mary Elena started teaching the 3-6 Montessori program in 1980 with Christine Hoerbelt as her director. She received her various levels of Montessori credentials from the San Leandro Training Center and her California Teaching credential from San Jose State. She worked in private schools for 20 years and came to the public sector of Montessori education in 2001. She was lucky enough to work at the original site off Cherry Avenue and made the move to our current site at Ernesto Galarza. Two years ago, she moved from classroom teacher to Resource Teacher and thoroughly enjoys this new perspective of our program. She is encouraged daily by her interactions with our fabulous students, staff and families and looks forward to working with our community on the HMF board.

Pamela Kittler, Grandparent
Pamela is Omi to Richie Brown (1st grade). While raising her two daughters, Pamela was involved in PTA, her local education foundation and on the local school board. Pamela enjoys cooking for family get-togethers and spends her free time doing arts projects, genealogy searches and reading.

Stephanie D’Ornellas-Bosteels, Parent, HMF Secretary
Stephanie is mom to Jonah (2nd grade) and Luke (pre-school). She volunteers for the Hammer-Galarza PTA and last year chaired Science Night and helped to coordinate the End of Year School Party. She is now serving in her second year as HMF Secretary. She works part-time as a dental hygienist, and for fun enjoys biking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Susan Hough, Parent
Susan is the mother of Avery (3rd grade), Carter (Kinder) and Logan (pre-school). She is currently a stay-at-home-mom, but taught elementary school for five years. She has volunteered regularly in Hammer classrooms and at PTA events. She enjoys reading, yoga, riding her bike, and playing with her family.