Veronica Dutton 

Lead Teacher, Head of School and founder

Patricia Bertolini
(AMI) Montessori Lead Teacher 

​​After taking a prolonged break from work with children, Sophie is thrilled to be back in the classroom! She is currently studying to complete her Masters in Education in Montessori Early Learning through Montessori Northwest in partnership with Whitworth University. In 2018, Sophie graduated from Portland State University with her B.A. in International Development, and spent two years working in politics and international education. Her experience working at a nonprofit providing holistic educational opportunities to girls in Afghanistan and being witness to the undeniable benefits of education, Sophie realized that her place was working directly with children in the classroom, and is honored to have the opportunity to work alongside the staff at Practical. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, hiking, and all sorts of crafts, and loves to share those joys with children. 

​​​​Veronica has been working with children for over 15 years and teaching in a Montessori classroom since 2007. After moving with her husband to Seattle from Arizona, in 2006 she completed her Montessori education through the United Montessori Association (UMA), and a second Montessori teaching credential through the Association Montessori International (AMI)while also furthering her studies (BAS). In early childhood development and Family Studies Veronica is fluent in, and has taught Spanish, as well as coached families in the Northwest on how to express warmth and connect with their children since 2006. When she's not teaching children, you can find Veronica her dog or smelling rosemary on walks around the neighborhood. She also enjoys hiking, storytelling, yoga, intercultural human interactions,  Salish Sea Awareness, and learning about children through nature.

Zaiya Moon 


Sarah Burkhalter grew up in Ballard and has lived here most of her life, with brief stints in Queen Anne, Fremont, and San Francisco. She has a background in environmental journalism and tech project management and finds great joy in organizing, systematizing, alphabetizing, and any other -izing that involves spreadsheets. Her sons, both taught by Veronica at Practical Montessori, are now old enough that they no longer laugh at her jokes as much as the preschoolers do. But she still loves them a whole lot, along with books, coffee, the sea lions at Ray’s, interesting conversations, and her husband Andrew (who at least laughs at her jokes more than the kids do).

Sophie Allen 

(AMI) Montessori Lead Teacher 

​​​​​A native of Brazil and recent Seattle transplant, Patricia has a Bachelor's degree in physics with four years experience teaching in Brazil. After moving to Seattle, she completed a Child Care Course Program that resulted in the internship at the school. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, she is continuing to improve her English with daily classes at the North Seattle College. With a love for science, she has worked with physics laboratory experiments since her first year at university. She is always interested in new events and science projects and will always be glad to talk about it. Patricia is always walking with her dog, “Café”, around Ballard and discovering new things about her new neighborhood and city. If you are into hiking and snowboarding, she will be happy to join you next time you go!

Sarah Burkhalter 


Zaiya has been in a Montessori classroom since she was only a few months old and has 9 years of experience of working with children. Some of her strengths include helping children with emotional attachment, children loving her and squeezing her gently; she loves all of her friends from her many years in the classroom! Some of her favorite-personal things are to play with the children at recess, sleep in the middle of circle, and search around for dropped food at lunch time.  The children love to give Zaiya snuggles, and she doesn't mind :)

​​​​​​​​​​​​Training and experience:

  • B.A.S in Early Childhood Development and family studies  (NSC)
  • AMI Diploma from MNW
  • MACTE Accredited
  • AMS Diploma from (UMA) 
  • Active Participant  in Early Achievers for Early Childhood Education
  • Active Board ​Member Of the Pacific Northwest Montessori Association (PNMA) 
  • Project manager for Cultural and individual diversity curriculum​
  • Coach trainee for Imagine U (DCYF)
  • **Veronica is a also a state-certified licensed provider (DCYF) and educator, who receives ongoing training and attends conferences quarterly, if you ever want to know more about other current certifications or resources, she is happy to help!**
Meet the Team