Meet Our Staff

Montessori of Gainesville Staff

The quality of the team of teachers is fundamental to the success of any school.  The experience, knowledge and skills of the staff are our most valuable assets.  We are very fortunate to have on our staff the following individuals:

Deepa Simlot - Owner and Administrator

Simlot,  Deepa

Deepa is a Montessori Certified Teacher for 3-6 year olds.  She has 3 children, all of whom are Primary Montessori graduates.  While volunteering in her children’s classes she discovered the beauty and power of Montessori philosophy and materials, and decided to make it her career.  She worked in the telecommunications industry as a computer engineer for 15 years before discovering that she would rather be around children than computers.

Daryl Bell – Assistant Director

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Daryl has over 20 years of experience as an educator for students of all ages in four different countries. Most recently, Daryl was the Lead Educator for the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum in Winchester, VA. Daryl holds a BA in History and Education from the College of New Jersey.

Melissa Bluto – Office Administrator

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Melissa worked in an office administrator role from 2002 to 2010, and has been working with children at the Life Church since 2013.

Jeannie Cho – Pre-Primary Lead Teacher

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Jeannie has a Montessori Teaching Certificate from Institute of Advanced Montessori Studies in Silver Spring, Maryland.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Integrative Studies, with a focus on Elementary Education from George Mason University.  She has been working at MCDB since 2012.  She has experience in working with children from Infancy to 8 years old.

Melinda (Mindy Herbek) – Primary Lead Teacher

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Mindy has a degree in Education from George Mason University, and a Montessori Teaching Certificate through Northern Virginia Montessori Institute in Ashburn, VA.  She has been working with children in Pre-School environments since 2006 and at MCDB since 2011.

 

Sheridan Hotung-Pickeral – Kindergarten Teacher

Hotung Sheridan 9011 264734166

Ms. Sheridan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from Georgetown University, a Montessori Teaching Certificate from Wimbledon College in London, England, and another Montessori Teaching Certificate from Princeton Montessori School in New Jersey.  She worked as a Montessori Lead Teacher in New Jersey from 2007 to 2014. She moved to Haymarket, VA in 2014 and has been home schooling her children for the past few years.

Amanda Hurt – Primary Lead Teacher

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Amanda has a degree in Early Childhood Education from University of South Carolina Upstate.  She is a Montessori Certified teacher from Northern Virginia Montessori Institute in Ashburn, VA.  She has been working with children since 2008. She has been with MCDB since we opened in 2011.

Mika Lin - Primary Lead Teacher

Lin Mika 9015 264734171

Mika is a candidate for Montessori Certification through Northern Virginia Montessori Institute at Belmont Greene in Ashburn. She has been with MCDBG since 2011.

Alejandra Morales - Pre-Primary Lead Teacher

Morales Alejandra 9016 264734170Alejandra has a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies from George Mason University.   She has been working in customer service since 2011. She is a candidate for Montessori Certification through Guided Montessori Studies.

Chauhoan (Christine) Tran - Primary Lead Teacher

Christine has a BA in Information Systems from University of Massachusetts in Boston, MA. She has been a Sunday school teacher for 23 years and has been teaching young adults to become Sunday school teachers for 3 years. She is a Montessori Certified teacher from Northern Virginia Montessori Institute in Ashburn, Virginia.

Bahar Afrasayab - Pre-Primary Assistant Teacher/Intern

 

Bahar has a Bachelor’s Degree in Kurdish Language and Literature from Sulaimani University in Iraq.  She worked with children from 1999 to 2012, teaching Kurdish, Persian and Arabic Languages before moving to the United States. She has been with MCDB since 2014. She is a candidate for Montessori certification from Institute of Advanced Montessori Studies in Silver Spring, Maryland

Cherene Chung - Extended Day Teacher

Cherene has an Associate of Science Degree from Northern Virginia Community College. She has been with MCDB since 2016.

Salima Elaloui - Primary Assistant Teacher and Extended Day Teacher

Salima has an Associate’s Degree from Mohammed V University in Morocco. She is currently working on an Early Childhood Associate Degree at Northern Virginia Community College. Salima was the Owner and Director of Mama Aicha Child Care Center in Morocco from 2005 to 2011.

Laura Gault – Primary Assistant Teacher

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Laura has a Bachelor Arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.  She worked in Computer Graphics for many years before staying home to be a full-time mom of five. She has been with MCDB since 2012.

Shahla Ghahramani – Primary Assistant Teacher and Extended Day Teacher

Ghahramani Shahla 9011 256523212

Shahla has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Iran.  She worked as a Montessori Assistant in Omaha for 5 years before moving to Northern Virginia. She has been with MCDB since 2012.

Lysiane Keel - Primary Assistant Teacher and Extended Day Teacher

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Lysiane has an Associate’s Degree in Information Systems from Northern Virginia Community College. She was a substitute teacher for Prince William County Schools since 2008, before coming to MCDBG as an Extended Day Teacher in 2015.

Jia Kim - Primary Assistant Teacher

Jia has a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Seoul, Korea.  She has been working with children since 2003.

Kelly Levine - Primary Assistant Teacher

Kelly has a Montessori Teaching Certificate from North American Montessori Center. She will complete her Associate’s in Science degree from Northern Virginia Community College in December 2017. She taught at a Montessori School in Rock Hill, South Carolina for 6 years before moving to Northern Virginia.

Meghan Maenza - Primary Assistant Teacher/Intern

Meghan has an Associate’s Degree in Social Science with a Teaching Specialization from Northern Virginia Community College. She will complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from George Mason University in December 2017. She is a candidate for Montessori Certification through Northern Virginia Montessori Institute at Belmont Greene in Ashburn. She joined MCDB in 2016.

Remedios (Remy) Narvaez – Primary Assistant Teacher and Extended Day Teacher

Narvaez Remy 9018 256523222

Remy has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Philippines.  She taught Pre-School and Elementary Age children in Philippines for more than 10 years before moving to Northern Virginia.  She worked as a Primary Montessori Teacher in Philippines for 4 years, and at a Montessori Center is Arlington for 16 years.  She has been a Pre-School Lead Teacher in Northern Virginia since 1982. She has been with MCDB since 2012.

Marina Ventura – Primary Assistant Teacher

Ventura Marina

Marina is pursuing her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Development at NOVA.  She has been with MCDB since 2012. She is a candidate for Montessori certification from Institute of Advanced Montessori Studies in Silver Spring, Maryland. 

Donna Cary – Music Teacher

Ms. Donna has been teaching music and movement for the past 25 years, 6 years in a Montessori School.  She was a music director at a home for troubled teenagers for 2 years.  She has held multiple music training workshops for Headstart teachers, helping them incorporate music in their classes.  She is a guitarist, and a singer/song-writer.

AJ Rudnick - Yoga Teacher

AJ Rudnick is a YogaFit trained instructor who has been practicing yoga since 1998 and teaching since 2006. She was first drawn to yoga as a classical musician to help overcome tendonitis, control asthma, keep mentally alert, physically fit and reduce stress. She has taught yoga to children as old as 2 and adults as young as 82.

Rosa Campos – Spanish Teacher and Extended Day Teacher

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Rosa studied obstetrics for two years at the Institute of San Luis, Peru.  She has four years of experience with preschool children in the United States.  She has been working at MCDB since 2012 with the Primary and Pre-Primary After Care children.

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Tours are conducted between 9am and 11am on weekdays. Please contact the office if you cannot attend during these times.

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