Founder and Executive Director
Sara Hruska founded Spark Montessori with her husband Val Popovic because she was passionate about her children, her community, and the power of the Montessori Method for child development.
Sara has spent the last 12 years in the corporate world learning through experience how to build and maintain client relationships, develop brands, and lead teams. And while this experience has taught her much, she always had the entrepreneurial itch to start an organization with a more meaningful mission. Having children provided Sara with the ‘Spark’ of inspiration that she needed to launch Spark Montessori, a modern, authentic Montessori school that promotes and supports the values that are both personally meaningful and culturally relevant.
Sara attended Southwest Montessori Preschool in Palos Park and has a Bachelors in Speech Communications with an Italian minor from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.
Director of Education & Lead Primary Guide
Margaret Combs is Spark Montessori’s Director of Education. She is responsible for building, leading, and coaching Spark’s teaching staff and to establish best practices in classroom management beginning as the lead guide within Spark’s first Primary classroom.
Margaret brings 17 years of experience as a lead Primary guide and Lower School Coordinator at Alcuin Montessori, one of the most established Montessori schools in the Chicagoland area.
Margaret has presented in numerous conferences on topics such as Creativity in the Montessori Classroom, The Mathematical Mind, and Building Generation Kindness. In addition, she educates the next generation of Montessori teachers as a consultant and guide at Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center and The Center for Guided Montessori Studies.
Margaret has her American Montessori Society (AMS) Primary certification from the Midwest Teacher Training Center and two Masters Degrees in Fine Arts.
Lead Toddler and Parent/Infant Guide
Emily Meizis is Spark Montessori’s Lead Toddler and Parent/Infant Guide. She is responsible for establishing these programs within the school and leading Spark’s Toddler classroom on an ongoing basis.
Emily brings a unique perspective to our school as both an Association Montessori International (AMI) trained Montessori guide and a pre and post partum Doula. Her passion for Montessori as more than an education system but an approach to human development has taken her around the world to work with children and families located in the US, Africa, Europe, and Asia. This experience globally has deepened her understanding of human development and confirms how powerful and universal the child’s potential is across geography and cultures.
Emily has her AMI certification for ages 0-3 and 3-6 years old. Her doula training is through DONA (Doulas of North America). She has received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and her Masters degree in Education.