Staff Spotlight: Venus Kohler
Welcome to our Staff Spotlight series. We want to bring recognition to the many amazing guides and administrators while connecting with them in a personal way.
This month, we honor Venus Kohler.
Venus began her work in Montessori education in 2004 in Washington. She went on to pursue her AMI Elementary training in 2006 at the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee and worked as a guide. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Mumbai and a Bachelor of Science in Education, as well as her Master of Science in Education.
Venus came to Hershey in 2012 and is an Upper Elementary Guide. She is a wonderful part of our Hershey family and we hope you enjoy learning more about her.
Tell us about your family:
I’ve been married for 18 years now to the most dedicated and supportive husband and father. I have three children Isaac, Eli, and Anouska who are 12, 9, and 6. I also have 14 chickens.
Where are you from and where do you now live?
I am originally from India. I now live in Concord, Ohio.
What first drew you to Montessori?
I vividly remember walking into a Montessori classroom 17 years ago, and I saw two 6-year-old girls working with the checkerboard on long multiplication. Their concentration was amazing. I looked around that classroom, the guide was in a corner giving a lesson and everyone else was working independently in a group or by themselves. There was a lot going on, yet their independence, the calmness in the room, and the sense of respect and responsibility toward each other and their work was amazing.
What brought you to Hershey?
I was planning a change in our lives. I wanted to be in a place where my children could be in a Montessori environment through most of their academic life.
What is your favorite Hershey memory?
This is a tough question. There are so many memories. You create them every single day. It is hard to choose just one. As a community (pre-COVID) we went on so many trips, camps etc.
What is your favorite place to go?
Home or to visit India.
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re at home?
Spend time with family and of course run my cake/baking business!
Little known fact?
I am a tree hugger! I’ve always loved trees and I’ve hugged some of the largest trees in America.
Who has made the biggest impact in your life and what does that impact look like?
Well, there were a lot of people who made an impact on my life, but in terms of what I do now, it was my former administrator and mentor in Washington, Nikki Skinner. She told me that she knew from the moment she saw me that I need to become a Montessori teacher. She believed in me and my abilities and ever so lovingly coaxed me to get my training. I learned a lot from her, especially that the sky is the limit for each child. We, as society, place limits on what a child can do, but they can do so much more, you have to learn from observing them, guiding them and most of all believing in them.
What is your favorite book?
I have a few favorites, and I have always loved reading. Since one of my graduate degrees was in English Literature, I was exposed to tons of different genres: The Bible, Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice to name a few.
What is your favorite quote?
“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
What is your favorite movie?
I actually love action movies – Fast and Furious (Tokyo Drift) used to be my all-time favorite!
How would your friends and family describe you?
According to my husband and sister: Dedicated and creative as well as ambitious, personable, organized, and disciplined.
How would you describe yourself?
What is your happiest moment?
I am truly blessed to have many happy moments; the birth of my children would definitely be one of them.
What do you do at Hershey that is unique to you?
I grew up in India, so I guess I bring my cultural uniqueness into my classroom. I grew up speaking multiple languages and have traveled a lot and bring those experiences with me.
I am an entrepreneur and started my own business, Cakes Inc. by Venus, in 2017, so I enjoy teaching children different aspects of being in the kitchen and encouraging the children to experiment.
Is there anything else you would like to share or let others know?
I love puns, my kids (school and home) roll their eyes.
What is one of your biggest life lessons you would like to share with others?
Never give up, persevere, and work hard. C.S. Lewis put it best “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis.
Thank you, Venus. It has been an enjoyable experience getting to know you better, watching your incredible work with students, and sharing this journey of life together. We are grateful for your work, your passion, and your compassion.