About Blue Ridge Montessori School

Blue Ridge Montessori School was founded in September 1999

Blue Ridge Montessori School was started 24 years ago, in 1999, as a service to the Beaverdam Community of Asheville, North Carolina for the development of children ages 2.5 through 6 years old using the traditional Montessori pre-school education curriculum.

We are a fully accredited school in North Asheville, with Gayle Fournier-Southern as the principle. She is trained in early childhood Montessori education and holds a masters degree from The College of Notre Dame in Belmont, California.

What is Montessori Philosophy?

The Montessori education model was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori in the 1900’s to assist children in learning through a prepared environment based on the child’s age. Children are encouraged to work on jobs as a group or individually at their own pace in areas such as art, math, literature, music, geography, and history. The program takes children from concrete to abstract understanding of educational material and from the big picture to detailed studies.

The program is designed to open children’s imagination, encourage independence and self-esteem, and develop kindness and courtesy towards others. It helps children learn by observation, and exploration in a joyful, peaceful environment where skills and knowledge of their society are mastered.

About Ms. Gayle

Ms. Gayle Fournier-Southern, M.Ed – Owner/Director/Lead Teacher

Trained in Early Childhood Montessori Education, Gayle holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from the University of San Francisco, 1979, and a Master of Education Degree in Early Childhood Montessori Education from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California, 1999.

Ms. Gayle has been teaching Traditional Montessori at this location for the past 24 years, and is eager to teach your child time-tested Montessori curriculum with gentle, caring methods in her beautiful, one acre, private wooded setting for learning and play.

For questions or to schedule a visit to the preschool, please fill out this form or call 828-281-0505.



Subala Gillette, BS – Teacher’s Assistant

Subala graduated from St. Joseph’s College in Darjeeling, India in 1997, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. She completed training as a Certified Nursing Assistant in 2009, as well as entry level childcare training through University of Oklahoma. With 11+ years experience in childcare, this is Subala’s 6th year at BRMS. She loves working with children, as they are the future of our society. “Blue Ridge Montessori allows me to work with children in a positive, nurturing environment,”  says Subala. She is always a team player, and often shares her love of gardening with all of us at BRMS.

Mehera Zorn, BA – Teacher’s Assistant

Mehera graduated from Warren Wilson College in 2011. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Global Studies, with a concentration in Asian Studies. With over 8 years of childcare experience, this is her fourth year in Montessori and her third year at Blue Ridge Montessori. Mehera loves working with children, and enjoys watching them learn and grow. She also likes learning languages, meditation, yoga, and nature.