Community Montessori School (CMS) began in 1997 in the basement of a Fishers home with just 5 primary students. One of our current toddler teacher’s, Kate Bender, was the founding directress of the school. The school was named after Kate’s childhood school in Lexington, Kentucky.

In the early years we relied heavily on mentoring from Community Montessori School in Lexington, Kentucky; generously giving advice and refurbished materials (they even shared their school song, which the children love to sing for parents at social events!).

CMS soon grew to need more space and moved to St. Louis De Montfort Church. The Knights of Columbus graciously allowed us to rent their hall where we put out shelves on castors each Sunday night; then wheeled them and stacked them into a closet every Friday night. It was a true labor of love, but we were growing!


CMS continued to grow and soon needed to add additional classrooms. We moved to portable classrooms near the Fortville area. Once in Fortville we realized our population was more centrally located and moved to the Castleton area.

In the fall of 2004 the elementary program began under Carrie Wisser. In 2007 we moved into our current, custom built location, returning to Fishers where it all started!

In 2010 we began our toddler program, and the growth continued. When you combine a (still!) revolutionary form of education with the dedicated and talented staff that we have, growth is inevitable!


Inspiring a life-long love of learning in children by allowing them to develop at their own pace in an authentic AMI Montessori environment that embraces diversity, individuality, and community.


Our building was custom-built for Community Montessori School in 2008, and gives us many advantages including.


We have a school hall that allows us to:

  • offer extra-curriclas to our students during recess and after-school,
  • have toddler recess inside when the weather prevents outside recess,
  • have social events,
  • hold board meetings.


  • Every classroom has at least one internal observation window. Parents are always welcome to observe their children through the windows.
  • Multiple exterior windows
  • Toddler & Primary classrooms have internal sinks, restroom facilities, and kitchens for the children.


We have a large, well equipped outside playground for recess and after-care.  One portion of the playground has a small slide for our toddlers, another portion has monkey bars and a climbing wall which is the favorite hang-out of our primary children, while the elementary tends to gather around our basketball hoop.  Recess time is staggered so that each community has the playground all to themselves during recess.

Outside Work Areas

Every classroom has a door to the outside with access to an outside work area. In the warmer months children have the option of taking their work outside and working on picnic tables. We also have garden areas where the children plant flowers and vegetables.


We are proud at Community Montessori School (CMS) to have a diverse, international population, with families who come from all around the world. Approximately 30% of our students are bilingual, speaking languages from four different continents. We also have children from a variety of faith backgrounds, and family structures. All are welcome at CMS, where we celebrate our differences!

We embrace diversity, individuality, and community. We welcome students of any race, gender, religion, national or ethnic origin.


Kate obtained her B.S. in education from Miami University in Ohio. She then obtained her Master’s degree in Education, with a concentration in Montessori, from Loyola College in Maryland. Kate obtained her AMI Primary Diploma from the Ohio Montessori Training Institute. Herself a Montessori child, Kate was the founding directress of CMS when it opened in 1997. After taking a break to stay home with her own children for several years, Kate rejoined CMS as directress of the Oak Room in 2011.
Michelle PenwellOak Room Assistant
Brittany KhanOak Room Assistant


JOSIE BANDAPrimary Guide
Josie obtained her B.A. from Xavier University in Ohio. She went on to obtain her Master’s Degree in Education, with an emphasis on Montessori education in early childhood, at the same university. Josie also completed her American Montessori Society primary teaching credential from Xavier University in Ohio. Josie started working at CMS in 2011 as directress in one of the toddler classrooms. In spring of 2012 she became directress of the Sycamore Room.
KALPANA NAIKPrimary Assistant
Kalpana grew up helping in her dad’s school in India. She obtained a diploma in Computer Science in India. Kalpana started working as a toddler assistant in the fall of 2013.
NIKETA NAIKPrimary Guide
Niketa earned two Bachelors’ degrees in her native India: a B.S. in Educational Psychology, and a B.S. in Chemistry. After moving to Virginia she earned her Montessori Early Childhood Certification NMI. Niketa had 11 years’ experience as lead teacher in a primary classroom before joining CMS as the Sycamore Room assistant in August of 2014.
KAMY WOOLDRIDGEPrimary Assistant


CARRIE WISSERHead of School, Magnolia Room Guide
Carrie obtained her B.A. in History from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. She obtained her AMI Primary Montessori Certification from Ohio Montessori Training Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and taught in a primary Montessori classroom for 5 years in Ohio, Indiana. She then obtained her AMI Elementary Montessori Certification from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota (MTCM). She opened our Elementary classroom, the Magnolia Room, in 2004, and has been with us ever since.
ALLEN THOMPSONMagnolia Room Assistant
Allen received a B.A. in Geography from I.U.P.U.I. After graduation, Allen worked for several years in the digital mapping industry. Allen has been working as a stay-at-home dad and running a part time business and joined CMS in March of 2015. He enjoys running marathons in addition to camping, hiking, and reading. Allen works as an aftercare coordinator and classroom substitute.