KMS takes a hands-on, child-directed approach to learning. Many of our beliefs and philosophies are based on the work of noted developmental psychologists Jean Piaget, Erik Erickson, Rudolf Dreikurs, and Alfred Adler. Other educational programs that have inspired and influenced us include the High Scope Educational Research Foundation of Ypsilanti, Michigan; the Bev Bos Workshops and model school in Sacramento, California; and the approach of Reggio Emilia’s schools in Northern Italy as described in the book, The Hundred Languages of Children. KMS will provide a complete bibliography for interested parents.


Katherine Michiels, Founder

A graduate of San Francisco State University with a major in biology and a minor in dance, intending to become a physical therapist. In 1976 Katherine Michiels decided to change her interest to Early Childhood Education and continued her studies at Skyline College. There she met and was profoundly influenced by David Giveans and his progressive early-childhood teaching model. At his suggestion, she studied the British Infant Schools in London, and later visited more than 50 educational facilities in various countries. Michiels’s daughter, Mary Katherine, graduated from KMS.

“All my life I have been drawn to children and felt their joy. When I realized I wanted to make a difference in this world, I decided I could do it best by working with and being an advocate for children and childhood.  Establishing the Katherine Michiels School and later accepting the invitation to Chair the Board of Open Mind: A Project for the Education and Development of Children are the direct result.”


Naama Zoran, Developmental Psychologist and Education Consultant

Naama Zoran began her mentoring relationship with KMS in 2000 and continues to consult and provide training sessions with the school. She has worked in early childhood development for over 30 years, has extensive experience with the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy, and was among the founders of the birth – three Early Childhood Department for the Ministry of Education in Israel. Naama brought the Reggio Emilia approach to Israel in 1998, and she is the Reggio Children International representative for Israel, in the Reggio Emilia International Network. Since 2011, Naama has been the Director of Education of MJP, a preschool in Mequon, Milwaukee.

Naama’ s extensive experience with the Reggio Emilia early educational philosophy, her annual lectures at the N.A.E.Y.C. conventions, her publications and her hands-on work with children in Israel and here at KMS, have led to the development of the KMS approach based on the best of the Reggio Emilia philosophy and the relationships between child, parent and teacher, between home and school.


Bonnie Murray Tamblyn, Certified Council Facilitator and Trainer

Bonnie Tamblyn is a Certified Council Facilitator and Trainer with the Center for Council Training at The Ojai Foundation and serves in an advisory body to the TOF Board. She currently is writing curriculum for the Council in Schools Program. Bonnie first interned as a Council Facilitator in 1993 at Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences and then taught there for 17 years. She facilitated at Palms Middle School, where she met Joe Provisor, and brought the program to Santa Monica Alternative School (SMASH) and Archer School for Girls. She conducts yearly Council Intensives for GiRLFeST Hawaii, whose mission is to prevent violence against women and girls through education and art. A singer-songwriter as well, Bonnie’s passion is building community, giving voice to the human story, whether told in a Council Circle, or shared on stage with a guitar in her arms.

Bonnie’s mentor-ship with KMS started in 2011 when she trained our founder, faculty and directors to be facilitators of Council, connecting social-emotional to academic learning.  With her continued mentor-ship and deepening of Council, KMS is the first preschool/elementary in northern California to embrace the practice of Council.