Teachers

  • Maria Montessori called the adult in her classroom a Directress; some Montessori schools call them Guides. Since this term is not commonly understood outside of the Montessori environment, we refer to our adults as Teachers. Montessori Teachers have a year of specialized education from a training center that is approved by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE). Training can be for Infants and Toddlers (ages 0 to 3), or for Early Childhood (ages 3 to 6). Because we have Kindergarten in our Primary class, the Primary teachers are also certified as teachers by the Maryland State Department of Education. Our Montessori Assistants are all qualified as teachers by the State of Maryland for the age group they teach. We encourage them to attend Montessori Assistant training, which many do. This gives them a deeper understanding of Montessori philosophy, and teaches them the best ways to assist a Montessori trained teacher. Many of our assistants have college degrees, and all are committed to Montessori education. Aides have very few requirements from the state, other than being 16 years old. Since most of our Aides work in the late afternoon, and time to time as substitutes, we look for students who have taken the Early Childhood Education in high school or college. As with all of our staff, they must have a gentle and respectful manner with the children, and enjoy working collaboratively with the other teachers in the classrooms.

    • Maryam Beirami
      Primary Montessori Teacher

      Maryam Beirami

      Primary Montessori Teacher

      Our Primary classroom is a place of peaceful productivity, thanks largely to the efforts of Ms. Maryam Beirami. One of the key elements of the Montessori philosophy is that the children respond to the environment that the teacher creates; their behavior (or misbehavior) is rooted in the environment. Ms. Beirami has created a classroom that encourages learning, where children feel safe to explore any work that stimulates their interest.

      Ms. Beirami joined us as an Assistant in our Toddler program in 2013. After a year, she moved into the Primary program and completed the AMI Montessori Assistant training at Loyola University in Columbia, MD. Ms. Beirami developed a passion for Maria Montessori’s philosophy and methods, reading many of her books and learning from the Montessori teachers she assisted. She then completed her Montessori Early Childhood teacher training in 2016 at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Silver Spring, MD. Ms. Beirami completed an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering in Tehran, Iran, prior to her emigration to the U.S.

      Ms. Beirami enjoys continuing to learn and improve and plans to enroll in a Master’s Degree program in Education soon. When she is not in school, she enjoys gardening, baking and cooking, knitting, playing the santoor, and sewing. 

    • Diana S
      Montessori Primary Teacher

      Diana S

      Montessori Primary Teacher

      Diana is one of our Montessori certified Primary Teachers.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Psychology and Child Development, and an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) credential in Early Childhood. Diana has many years of experience teaching this age group. 
       
      When she is not in school, she enjoys reading, meditating, knitting, painting, candle decorating, spending time with friends, and giving mindfulness lessons.

    • Shilpi Patni
      Montessori Primary Assistant

      Shilpi Patni

      Montessori Primary Assistant

      Ms. Patni has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and has worked as a Montessori Primary Assistant for almost 15 years. She is also a certified preschool teacher.

      When she is not in school she likes to travel and spend time with her family

    • Zoila Villalobos
      Montessori Primary Assistant

      Zoila Villalobos

      Montessori Primary Assistant

      Ms. Villalobos joined us in 2014 as an assistant in the Primary classroom. She is currently working on her Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Montgomery College. She already certified as a preschool teacher. This summer, she attended a two-week Montessori Assistant training at the Washington Montessori Institute in Columbia, MD.

    • Girija Subramanian
      Montessori Primary Assistant

      Girija Subramanian

      Montessori Primary Assistant

      Ms. Subramanian has a university degrees in Mathematics, Computer Application, and Education. She has taught children from age 18 months through 10th grade, and was principal of a school for children age 3 through 16 for five years before emigrating to the United States.

      Ms. Subramanian attended a two-week Montessori Assistant training at the Washington Montessori Institute in Columbia, MD. When she is not in school she likes to travel, read, write, and spend time with her family.

    • Ryan M
      Montessori Toddler Teacher

      Ryan M

      Montessori Toddler Teacher

      Ryan has an American Montessori Society (AMS) teaching credential in Infants and Toddlers. He has many years of experience assisting in Montessori toddler classes, and completed his teacher training in 2017.
       
      He enjoys the peacefulness involved in implementing the Montessori Method with toddlers, and he is especially valued for the calm demeanor he maintains with the children. Ryan has a passion and commitment for Dr. Montessori’s method and philosophy. One of the key elements of the Montessori philosophy is that the children respond to the environment that the teacher creates; children’s behavior (or misbehavior) is rooted in the environment.  Ryan has created a classroom that encourages learning, where children feel safe to explore work that stimulates their interests.

      When he is not in school he enjoys reading and writing, spending time with his family, and spending time out in nature with his dogs. He is also interested in digital preservation.

    • Daisy M
      Montessori Toddler Assistant

      Daisy M

      Montessori Toddler Assistant

      Daisy has worked for us as a Montessori Toddler Assistant since 2013. She is a certified preschool and infant/toddler teacher. She really enjoys working with the younger children, admiring their energy and their curiosity. Everything is new to Toddlers.

      Daisy has five children of her own, and when she is not in school, she likes to spend time with them and her husband.

    • Mildred O
      Montessori Toddler Assistant

      Mildred O

      Montessori Toddler Assistant

      Mildred has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and a Certificate in Practical Nursing, and is a certified preschool teacher. Her father has a Ph.D. in Education and was an Ambassador to France, and her daughter has a Ph.D. in International Development. Mildred comes from a family that values education.

      When she is not in school she likes to travel and spend time with her family.

    • Lilia C
      Infant Teacher

      Lilia C

      Infant Teacher

      Educated in Columbia, Lilia has cared for young children in this area for the last 13 years. She is a certified Infant and Toddler teacher, has completed specialized training in caring for infants, including training on SIDS. She also has and maintains current CPR and First Aid certifications. Mrs. Clavijo is especially valued for her gentle manner and genuine concern for the infants in her care.

    • Estella P
      Infant Teacher

      Estella P

      Infant Teacher

      Estella is a certified preschool teacher and has worked with us since 2015. She is especially valued for the calm demeanor she maintains with the children.

      Estella also works with older children with special needs. When she’s not working, she enjoys traveling.

    • Janet
      Aide

      Janet

      Aide

      Janet is studying at Montgomery College, and plans to transfer to UMBC next year. She particularly likes chemistry.

      When she is not in school she likes to play the piano, travel, and spend time with family and friends.

    • Haley
      Aide

      Haley

      Aide

      Haley is a rising senior at Gaithersburg High School, which is one of the high schools in Montgomery County that have an Early Childhood Education program. The school also has a small preschool where the high school students can practice what they are learning in classes. At graduation, Haley will receive her preschool teaching certificate.

      When she is not in school she enjoys being a cheerleader for her school, acting in the drama club, and singing in four choruses.

    • Lauryn
      Aide

      Lauryn

      Aide

      Lauryn is a rising senior at Gaithersburg High School. She completed the Early Childhood program and earned her preschool teaching certificate.

      When she is not in school she enjoys being the Co-Captain of the Gaithersburg High School Poms Team, traveling, and spending time friends and family.

    • Briel
      Aide

      Briel

      Aide

      Briel is a rising senior at Gaithersburg High School. She completed the Early Childhood program there last year and received her preschool teacher certification.

      When she is not in school she enjoys being involved in Field Hockey, travel, and spending time with friends and family.

    • Margarita Clavijo
      Substitute

      Margarita Clavijo

      Substitute

      Mrs. Clavijo has worked at Top Hat Montessori since it’s founding in the fall of 2012. She is trained as a preschool and infant/toddler teacher, and has many years of experience working in Montessori schools.

      When she is not in school she enjoys traveling and spending time with friends and family.

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