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Amherst Montessori School names Molly Reynolds new head

Molly Reynolds of Holyoke will succeed Alex Gillat, who has served as interim head since July. The school has 85 students from toddlers through fifth-graders.

Reynolds, who was director and a teacher at the school from 1981 to 1984, is currently the head at Pioneer Valley Montessori School in Springfield, where she has worked for 10 years. After the 2011 tornado, she led a campaign to raise money to repair damaged buildings and playgrounds at the school. In 2009, she started a toddler program there.

Reynolds received a bachelor’s degree from Smith College in Northampton and a master’s degree in education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She also has a master’s degree in social work from Springfield College.

She has worked as a child and family therapist and as an adoption counselor.

The Amherst Montessori School’s new 13,000-square-foot building at 27 Pomeroy Lane is expected to quadruple the size of the previous building, which was torn down. The school has been operating out of a building at 7 Pomeroy Lane.

The school is trying to raise $650,000 for the new building, which is under construction. The cost of the new building is $2.6 million, and a large portion of that expense is being raised through a mortgage, said Shelley Poreda, director of finance and operations.

The school plans to start the area’s first Spanish language immersion program for preschool children. The new building will have a capacity for 120 students, and the school anticipates increasing enrollment next year to about 100, Poreda said.

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