Thank you for your interest in Adams International School (AIS). The search for the best possible environment for a child's education can be a parent's greatest challenge. As a mother of twelve children, believe me, I understand that challenge. While exploring the possibilities for their children, parents sometimes find it difficult to articulate the exact qualities that would make a school an ideal fit for their child. Some can best describe what they hope to find as the opposite of what they experienced in their own education, or the opposite of what their child has already experienced at another institution. The essence of what they are seeking, however, can often be found in this simple statement: “We cannot make a genius. We can only give to each individual the chance to fulfill his potential possibilities.”
Maria Montessori wrote these words over a century ago. Her philosophy, which is rooted in education's duty to honor, challenge and inspire each unique child, is at the heart of why I founded Adams International School. I envisioned a place where academic rigor was a natural outgrowth of a child's genuine joy and enthusiasm; where respect for the environment was lived, not just taught; and where world cultures could be experienced through art, study, and play. AIS is all that I imagined and more. Here children and their families enter into a dynamic learning community, a safe haven for exploration, discovery and expression where students have access to world-class learning materials and facilities in an idyllic, farm-like setting. I welcome the opportunity to discuss our school's philosophy and practice with you and to determine if AIS might be the place where your child's education can flourish.
In the meantime, let me offer you a few brief glimpses of the AIS campus. Just outside our classroom door, the vegetable garden is lovingly tended by two children, one explaining the specifics of decay and regrowth to the other, both utterly focused on the wonder of what is in front of them. In a sunlit corner of the classroom, a child is thoughtfully considering her mathematics work, immersed in a project of surprising difficulty and sophistication, working for the sheer pleasure of the endeavor. And crossing the footbridge, a group of four children alternate between skipping and running -- the oldest occasionally slowing his pace to let the younger ones catch up -- their voices ringing with delight as they approach the door of the school's library.
At AIS, we know that moments like these sow the seeds of lifelong learning. I invite you to visit us, to spend time observing our day, and to see education as it grows naturally, moment by moment.
Tamra Adams, Director
Tamra Adams, Director/ Middle School Lead Teacher
Tamra Adams founded Adams International School in 2009. She holds an undergraduate degree in Early Elementary Education and a Master's Degree in Education. Prior to founding AIS, she taught public school in rural North Carolina, and later home schooled a number of her 12 children. Eight of the Adams children have graduated from or currently attend Virginia Governor Schools.
Based on her years of experience, Tamra is committed to individual interest-based learning fueled by the child's natural curiosity and desire to "do." She believes that genuine education teaches children how to think, not what to think. These are the founding principles of Adams International School.
Chris Cappiello, Primary and Elementary Teacher/Guide
Before joining the faculty of AIS, Chris Cappiello spent 14 years at Richmond Montessori School, where he was Primary Lead Teacher and Teacher of Physical Education and Health. There he worked with students from ages 3-13 and created the school's PE and Health program. Chris also organized and guided a number of extracurricular activities including sport skill camps, international games, and video clubs. Prior to his tenure at RMS, he spent 13 years at Williamsburg Montessori School in the Primary classroom as intern, co-teacher, and lead teacher. Chris' interests include tennis and music, James River exploring, bird listening and watching, and plant identification. Coach Chris has been with Adams International School since our doors opened in 2009.
Chris earned Montessori teaching certification from American Montessori Society in 1983 and a BA in English at Lynchburg College in 1978.
Alicia Romeo Grebe, Classical Harp & Piano Instructor
Alicia Romeo Grebe performs as a symphony musician, chamber musician and recitalist. She currently performs as harpist with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. Through a grant with the Virginia Commission for the Arts, she has toured not only the rural communities of Virginia but performed in great concert halls such as the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the American Consulate in Florence, Italy and Carnegie Hall.
Alicia earned both her bachelor and master’s degrees with high honors from Indiana University where she studied with Susann McDonald.
A fervent advocate of musical education, Alicia served as instructor of harp at The College of William and Mary and at Virginia Commonwealth University. She also has taught private harp and piano students of all ages for more than 15 years.
An avid lover of the outdoors, Alicia was thrilled to have spent summers in both the American and Canadian Rockies at the summer music festivals of Aspen and Banff where she was able to combine her loves of both music and the outdoors.
Alicia and her husband live in Goochland where they are raising two children.
Christie Holcomb-Guimond, Front Office Admin/After Care Lead
Christie has been working with children in a classroom setting for over ten years. She is in her fourth year with Adams International School and holds an Associate’s degree in Social Sciences. Christie has volunteered with her church for over fifteen years in children’s programs from infancy to high school. With experience working in an office setting, Christie looks forward to meeting new families and getting to know each child’s unique personality. Ask any of our students of her motto: safety is a priority! The students also exercise their love of books during their weekly on-site library visits with Christie as the resident librarian.
She enjoys spending time with her husband and their young son at their home in Goochland.
Michelle Israel, Spanish/Culture Teacher
Michelle Israel was born and raised in Mexico City. Surrounded by art and a holistic environment, she gravitated toward the arts and acquired a degree in Graphic Design with a minor in Visual Arts. Having children inspired Michelle to find alternative ways to teach, and she completed a certification as a Yoga teacher in addition to a specialization in teaching children. For over 10 years, Michelle has shared her talents passionately with students ranging from toddlers and pre-schoolers, to middle-school kids. Her students learn Spanish not only through proper grammar rules, but by being immersed into the culture. She strives to engage the kids in deeper learning through alternative methods such art, food, mindfulness and movement in order to make her classes rich in learning and much fun. Michelle lives in Henrico with her husband Mark and two sons.
Chitra Ravindran, Math and Science Teacher
Chitra holds a degree in Physics with a minor in Mathematics from the University of Madras in India and a Computer Science Application certification form the University of Delaware. Chitra has been in the education field for the last sixteen years, while beginning her second year at Adams International School. She is very passionate and has an aptitude for teaching. She enjoys listening to classical music and playing tennis. Chitra resides in the West End of Henrico with her husband and two daughters.
Monique Taylor, Primary and Elementary Teacher/Guide
Montessori has been in Monique's entire life,as her mother was also a Montessori teacher. She was born in Amsterdam and lived in Brazil for many years. After studying in the Netherlands and graduating from Ravenhill Academy in Philadelphia with an Association Montessori Internationale Primary diploma, Monique taught at Montessori schools. After teaching in the primary level for many years, she took an active role on an administration level. Four years ago, Monique received her Montessori Elementary training at the North American Montessori Center. She has enjoyed the elementary level and continues to learn alongside the children! Monique enjoys gardening and traveling. She cherishes spending time with her three daughters and grandchildren. Monique and her husband, Buzz, live in Henrico.