NATALIE KEYS - Elementary Assistant & Latin Specialist

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Arriving at La Mariposa Montessori for the first time, to interview, was like the final chapter in a homecoming story. From my first months of life, I spent most days submersed in a Montessori world since both my parents were Montessori teachers. That school was called Sunrise; I now find myself on Puesta del Sol. The years in between have been characterized by my love of learning, passion for animals and delight in adventure.

Graduating from Pitzer College with a B.A. in Classical Studies, I was not sure how to best apply my learnings. I enrolled in Latin and Greek courses at UCLA and hoped that in one year’s time, I would find the right place.  Boston College not only broadened my exposure to Latin authors, it allowed me to experience traditional East Coast Latin classes, taught by at least half a dozen full-time teachers of Latin and ancient Greek. I had never experienced engagement in ancient languages on such a scale, and the students’ accomplishments were awe inspiring. My first job as a bona fide teacher brought me to a boarding school in Virginia, where I taught Latin and Classical Literature. It was very rewarding to be able to share my love of Latin, and make meaningful connections with students and staff, which continue to this day. Four years later, and a few months into my sabbatical leave, I discovered a love of archeology. It was the perfect, practical complement to my language and literature based studies.

One year leave turned into several more. I visited museums, eco-museums, tombs, galleries, artisan shops and excavation sites. A Master’s program at the University of Siena brought me in contact with incredible professors and intriguing places, particularly Etruscan sites, and an excavation with the University of Florence. I was “hooked”, so I decided to pursue an M.A. at the University of Perugia in Classical Archaeology. The caliber of professors did not disappoint, and I found myself appreciating great works even more, while opportunities to excavate opened.

A desire to be with family brought me back to the USA, and Santa Fe, as my mother and sister had moved here 6 years earlier. The beauty and history of this area inspires deeper discovery. I have always had a special love for animals, and feel very privileged to be in a place that allows me to share this connection. The students at La Mariposa are so informed, alive and curious. I am very happy to be in a learning environment so close to my own heart. I look forward to sharing the joy of learning and exploration with each student; observing with awe the gifts, talents and wisdom unique to each one.