2016-2017 Resident Cohort


Breakthrough Montessori Public Charter School

 
Andrea Solay

Andrea Solay

I graduated with a degree in education from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was employed by Girl Scouts of USA for several years, creating programs that enabled girls to express themselves in the fields of arts and science. I then spent time in the public education systems in Yuma and Phoenix, Arizona, Seattle and most recently in the District of Columbia. I am currently a primary assistant at Breakthrough Montessori Public Charter School.

 
Bonnie Long

Bonnie Long

I'm from Fauquier County, Virginia, went to Virginia Tech for Geography, and then moved to Austin, Texas for a few years. I love backpacking, kayaking, painting and playing piano in my free time. I spent the majority of my childhood outside, teaching myself and learning through a lot of trial-and-error. As I grew up, I honed my skills while teaching at summer camps, and creating nature-based educational programs for youth and adults. I've fallen in love with the Montessori pedagogy because I love how it allows children to perfect their skills through repetition and the use of simple materials, so many of which are found in the home or made easily.

 I find that the following quote aptly describes what I see as the meaning to my own personal life, and knowing that an educational system was founded with this belief in mind is a huge part of why I was drawn to Montessori. 

“Independence is not a static condition; it is a continuous conquest, and in order to reach not only freedom, but also strength, and the perfecting of one’s powers, it is necessary to follow this path of unremitting toil.”  

 

Ebony Marshman

Ebony Marshman works as a Primary Guide at Breakthrough Montessori Public Charter School in Washington, DC. She began her Montessori journey as an assistant in a Montessori toddler community in Bowling Green, KY in 2014. She went on to obtain her AMI Primary Certification at Montessori Northwest in Portland, Oregon. In addition to being an AMI certified Primary Guide, Ebony earned her M.Ed in Montessori Education from Loyola University Maryland in the fall of 2016.

 
Hoandi Seibes

Hoandi Seibes

I am currently a Primary Assistant at Breakthrough Montessori PCS. I am delighted to have the opportunity to be a part of the Residency Program. I have seven years experience in childhood education, with four years in Montessori.

 
Zanso Dalili

Zanso Dalili

“…the teacher’s task is first to nourish and assist, to watch, encourage, guide, induce, rather than to interfere, prescribe, or restrict.” – Maria Montessori

My name is Zanso Dalili from Breakthrough Montessori.  I joined Breakthrough this year as a Primary Assistant. I graduated from Howard University with a degree in Film and Television Production; however, I shifted gears once I interned at the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science. I realized that I found more fulfillment in education and have not looked back since!  After graduation, I worked as an Afterschool Associate at a private Montessori school in Reston, Virginia. I was impressed by the self-discipline, and true love of learning that the guides promoted in their students. It was at this school that my belief in the importance of Early Childhood Education blossomed.  However, as I am also interested in social justice work, I felt a strong pull to teach in the public school system.  I joined the DC Teaching Fellows, and worked as a traditional pre-kindergarten teacher for four years. I took two years off from teaching after I had twin girls. I spent this time reflecting on what attracted me to the field of education, and how I could best serve my students in the future. This process led me back to Montessori, the method that first attracted me to the field of Early Childhood Education.  

I am hoping to refine my skills through the Montessori approach, which I believe aligns with my philosophy of education. Like several other residents, I am also interested in pursuing Elementary Montessori training. I am looking forward to being part of the Breakthrough Family as it continues to grow over the next few years. 

 

Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School

 
Alexandra Torres

Alexandra Torres

I was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. In 1999, I went to college and in 2004 I graduated and got my early childhood education diploma. For three years, I worked as a teacher gaining experience at different levels of learning, always with the aim of developing an integrated curriculum that fosters a positive learning environment. I moved to the DC area in 2007. From my undergraduate days, I learned of Maria Montessori and was intrigued. I welcomed the opportunity to finally get to use the method I learned to love at Latin American Montessori Bilingual School. In 2012, I went to Mexico to start my studies in Montessori and in 2014 I received my Diploma Casa dei Bambini for ages 2 ½ - 6 years and also received my specialization in Montessori Education from Universidad Latina de Mexico.  Montessori has always been my inspiration and I want to continue this legacy that every day excites me more, happy to continue my commitment. This year I found the opportunity to enter the residency program. I am very excited and proud to be part of the team.

 
Marcela Tampe

Marcela Tampe

I was born in Colombia and studied hotel business administration. I worked over 16 years as a manager for a large American corporation. It was late in my life when I began to pursue my dream of becoming an educator, in my early forties. I studied Early Childhood Education at NOVA and then obtained my Montessori AMI certification in Mexico with a specialization in early childhood Montessori studies at the Universidad Latino Americana. This is now my 6th year as an English and Spanish teacher at LAMB.

Becoming a Montessori teacher is very fulfilling and rewarding; it develops a natural love for learning and work as it seeks to educate the whole child.  Montessori philosophy became my way of living and a good part of my spiritual growth.  The appreciation for the environment, the beauty of simplicity and the love for nature, color, textures, smells, music, silence and movement links with the respect I have for life and the respect I have for each individual. I am very grateful to be a Montessori teacher and to participate in a residency program in D.C.  

 
Maria Elena Herrera Garcia

Maria Elena Herrera Garcia

I have been immersed in Montessori life for 27 years. Currently I work at LAMB, Latin American Montessori Bilingual Charter School, as a Montessori Guide for Children’s House.

I graduated as a dental surgeon in Mexico and had some years of private practice. A few years later, I got married and my first approach to Montessori was as a mom; I took the training for Children’s House while my 3 daughters were in Montessori schools. I worked in Mexico in primary and also had other tasks to perform like coordinating and preparing students to attend the Montessori Model of United Nations in New York. I have enjoyed working with kids and being able to watch their development. When I moved to the U.S., I worked one year in Colorado before coming to Washington, DC. This is my second year at LAMB.

 
Carolann Stephens

Carolann Stephens

I am starting my 3rd year at LAMB.  I am originally from New Jersey, but have lived in DC for the past 8 years.  I went to Catholic University with a dual degree in English and Secondary Education.  After I graduated, I worked at LAMB as a reading specialist for a year, then went on to teach middle and high school AP LIT in DCPS. I found that I missed Montessori, so I got my Lower Elementary certification and I am now in my second year as a Lower El teacher.  

 
Patricia Linares

Patricia Linares

I'm originally from Venezuela, where I completed my bachelor's degree in Childhood Education with a specialization in technology education (innovating educational websites and educational videos). I also worked as a preschool and elementary school teacher in a traditional school for approximately 7 years. Due to the economical and political situation in Venezuela, I decided to restart my life in the USA. I started to learn English and then I enrolled in a Montessori training course in Boston, MA. After my Montessori Training, I started to work at Latin American Montessori Bilingual Charter School (better know as LAMB) and am starting my 5th year as a Spanish Montessori teacher. 


Lee Montessori Public Charter School

 
Carlena Zayac

Carlena Zayac

I began my Montessori journey when my mother got her training (about 2 years before I was born). We moved to Maryland from Cleveland, Ohio and she worked as I attended a Montessori school. After primary I moved to public second grade and continued in Howard County Public Schools until graduation. I then moved onto Towson University in pursuit of my Early Childhood Education degree. It was here that I enrolled in a special cohort that did the teaching internships in Baltimore City high need schools. I quickly fell in love with the children and decided to stay in the public sector where they needed me most. I completed my primary training and the Master's from Loyola University and applied to open a new Primary classroom at the school where I did some practice teaching: Lee Montessori Public Charter School.

 
Allison Denny

Allison Denny

"My path to becoming a Montessori guide has not been the straight line we write about in our geometry albums. Born and raised in the hills of southern Indiana (go Hoosiers!), after college I attempted to flee cold Midwestern winters by moving to D.C.  I earned a master's degree in library and information science and worked for over a decade in software development.  After having a son, I fell in love with the Montessori method and earned an AMI Elementary certification from the Washington Montessori Institute.  I worked as a floating teacher at Christian Family Montessori School last year, and this year I joined Lee Montessori Public Charter School assisting in a new Lower Elementary classroom.  A proud Montessorian, public charter school parent, and D.C. resident, I am delighted to join the inaugural cohort of this residency combining all three of those interests.  I live in the Petworth neighborhood of D.C. with my husband, son, pug dog, betta fish, and stacks and stacks of books."


Shining Stars Montessori Academy

 
Aminat Onafuwa

Aminat Onafuwa

I am currently a Lower Elementary Guide at Shining Stars Montessori Academy. I started my Montessori journey as a primary assistant teacher in Catonsville, MD in 2011.  Being so interested in the Montessori Curriculum, I decided to obtain my Elementary Montessori training at WMI and my M.Ed at Loyola University.  This is my third year teaching Lower Elementary and I am still loving every minute of it. I hope to learn more things as a member of the Residency program!