Myles Watson, BA

Teacher/Counselor, Ceeley Cottage

Contact Myles Watson at watsonm@starr.org

Myles’ goal is to help young people become successful citizens. “Using academics, I strive to incline my students' thoughts, in a happy and calm temper, toward those things that are noble and of moral excellence.”

Myles is a graduate of Spring Arbor University with a bachelor’s degree and is highly qualified to teach English and history at the secondary level. He began his career with Montcalm in June of 2010.

Myles enjoys reading, playing soccer and spending time with his wife. 

Payton Saunders, BA

Teacher/Counselor, Reynolds Cottage

Contact Payton Saunders at saundersp@starr.org

Payton began his career at Montcalm as the teacher/counselor for Reynolds Cottage in 2010. After a brief stint as assistant dean of students, Payton's desire to return to the classroom prompted his move back to Reynolds Cottage. His passion around education lies in working directly with students.

He earned his bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate from Spring Arbor University. Payton is working toward his master’s degree in reading from Spring Arbor University.

Tabitha McAuley, BS

Teacher, Kutsche Cottage

Contact Tabitha McAuley at mcauleyt@starr.org

Tabitha’s belief is ALL students are capable of learning. She believes it will be her responsibility to harness her students’ achievement abilities through the promotion of a positive learning environment and development of relationships with her students, their parents, her colleagues, support staff, and administration.

Tabitha is a 2006 graduate of Saginaw Valley State University earning a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Athletic Training. She continued her educational career at Spring Arbor University earning her K-12 teaching certificate in Special Education Learning Disabilities. Tabitha recently completed her student teaching experience with the students at Montcalm School and comments that her experience was invaluable in preparation for her teaching career.

Tabitha enjoys watching and participating in sports, volunteering, and spending quality time with her family and friends.


Abbey Smith, BA

Teacher/Counselor, Newton Cottage

Contact Abbey Smith at smithal@starr.org

Abbey has always had a passion for teaching, reaffirming this passion with every new teaching experience. Through teaching, she feels she has been given so many more opportunities to build meaningful relationships, providing guidance and direction.

She is a 2009 graduate of Spring Arbor University with a bachelor’s degree and is highly qualified in the areas of mathematics and chemistry. She began her career with Montcalm in June 2010.  

She has lived in Jackson, Mich., her entire life and loves this area. Outside of the classroom, Abbey is the mother of a young daughter who keeps her very busy. She also has a passion for scrapbooking, reading, watching movies and listening to music. 

Marley Knakal, BS, MA

Teacher/Counselor, Wilcox Cottage

Contact Marley Knakal at knakalma@starr.org

Marley enjoys teaching and strives to be a positive influence on her students, in school and out. She loves seeing her students make progress in their academics and life choices.

Marley began her career with Montcalm in March 2011.  She is a 2007 graduate of Rochester College with a bachelor’s degree and is highly qualified in the areas of mathematics and history. She now has a MA from Marygrove College with a degree in Curriculum and Instruction: Mathematics Grades 6-8. Before teaching at Montcalm, she taught two years in the Battle Creek Public Schools.

She grew up in Clarkston, Mich., and currently resides in Grass Lake, Michigan. Marley likes to spend time with her husband, children and dog. She also enjoys reading and running.

Jesse Buck, BA

Teacher, Math/Science

Contact Jesse Buck at buckj@starr.org

Jesse Buck started his career at Montcalm School as a youth specialist. He then went to Houston, Texas, to help facilitate Montcalm School's transition to the Monarch School model. Jesse is now one of the teacher’s in the Math/Science classroom. Jesse desires to bring new ways to teach students using Project-Based Learning (PBL), helping each student learn in the best way possible. Jesse believes that building meaningful relationships is the key to helping students be successful in both education and life.

Jesse is a graduate of Spring Arbor University with a bachelor’s degree and is highly qualified in mathematics and physical education. Jesse began his career at Montcalm in November of 2012.

Jesse lives in Jackson, Mich., and enjoys hunting, fishing and anything to do with the great outdoors.

Nathan Smith, BA

Resource Room Teacher

Contact Nathan Smith at smithn@starr.org

Nathan became interested in assisting those with learning disabilities early in his life as both he and his brother struggled with hearing loss. 

Nathan worked as a teacher at Montcalm School previously, returning as the Resource Room teacher in 2012. He has a bachelor’s degree with certifications in biology and English and an endorsement in learning disabilities.

Nathan enjoys spending time with his two daughters and his nephew whom he has taught how to play tennis. He has also played and taught guitar for many years and uses the mutual appreciation and love of music as a “doorway into students’ worlds.”