Our Team

Asset 1 Nido – Children 3-8 months

Casa Nido – Children 3-8 months

Catherine Tridas

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Catherine Tridas

Hi my name is Cat! This is my fourth year as a Montessori guide. After receiving my bachelors degree in early childhood development I was inspired by my sister in law, who is a Montessori guide, to acquire my Montessori training. I love how Montessori is a thoughtful, respectful and beautiful approach to guiding young children’s learning. I have been a guide for children ages 3-6, one year olds and for the first time this year I am a guide in the infant environment. I am very excited for this new challenge of aiding infants in their growth and development. In my spare time I enjoy spending time in nature, practicing meditation and yoga and cooking with friends and family.

Sandy Osika

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Sandy Osika

I discovered Montessori during my search for a respectful philosophy for working with children to complement my gentle care giving nature. My love for children stems from my childhood, as I was a big sister to many foster children that were welcomed into my home. I have five years of professional childcare experience and I am currently completing my Early Childhood Education degree. I enjoy being an autodidact, teaching myself any skills I feel would bring joy to the children I work with. So far I have taught myself to knit, do macramé and basic embroidery, play the ukulele, make bird origami and use manual signing (Baby Sign Language) to communicate more effectively with the children in our care. I am also trained in Baby Yoga. In my spare time, I like gardening, insect macrophotography, crafting with my niece and nephew, and hiking with my husband.
Asset 1 Casa Oak - Children 12-24 months

Casa Oak - Children 12-24 months

Dayana Santos

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Dayana Santos

I have been a member of the WMS community since the summer of 2017, and working with young children for 8 years and counting. My interest in Montessori was ignited when I went to observe at a Montessori School. The children were focused and engaged, working individually or with a partner. The teachers (guides) were moving quietly around the room observing, answering questions and very careful not to intrude on the spirit of concentration in the room. I had learned that Montessori was child centered and that the classroom was prepared so that all of the learning materials were attractively displayed and within a child’s reach, but I was simply amazed that the prepared environment invoked so much peace, tranquility and purposeful activity. Montessori says it best: “The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.” My hobbies are baking and gardening. Fall is my favorite season and blue, in every possible shade, is my favorite color.

Liearara Calcano

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Liearara Calcano

I am an educator with over 20 year of experience. My love of children began at home as a child – my mother is also a childcare provider at her cozy in-home daycare. Passionate care giving runs in the family! By watching my mother at work, I learned just how important the timeless values of love, kindness, and tenderness were in the lives of little ones and their families. I have Associates Degree in Business and I am currently finishing up my Bachelors in Early Childhood Education at the City College of New York. I am an identical twin and one of seven siblings. In my spare time, you can find me celebrating the birthday of one of my 13 nieces and nephews, traveling to tropical destinations, or cooking up savory Dominican dishes. My favorite form of self-care is spending time with my beloved family.
Asset 1 Casa Aspen - Children 24-36 months

Casa Aspe

Evelina Hernandez

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Evelina Hernandez

I joined Williamsburg Montessori in 2016 and WMS offered me the opportunity to enroll in Westside Montessori School’sTeacher Education Program, a MACTE accredited program based in New York City. I completed my Infant-Toddler certification in 2018 Over the past ten years I have had the privilege of working with a wide variety of age groups from Toddler to High School. This has given me an even better understanding of the importance of early childhood education. I earned Bachelors degree in Education and Spanish from Molloy College.One of my favorite Montessori quotes is: “Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.” This idea has great resonance to me in my role as a Toddler Guide since I have the both the privilege and the responsibility to help each child in our classroom begin the journey to independence, self confidence and full potential. My favorite leisure pastimes are I eating, dancing, traveling and spending time with my family.

Anthoneth Sepulveda

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Anthoneth Sepulveda

Throughout my life I have always had the strong desire to work with children. In high school, my passion for teaching was ignited by my role as a Sunday School teacher.I majored in Early Childhood Education and English ay Brooklyn College where I completed my undergraduate degree and grew to admire the philosophy of Maria Montessori. The Montessori method is not a one size fits all approach; its focus is on the individual child. I recalled my own experiences as a child with social anxieties. I was fortunate to have some teachers who encouraged me to learn and develop at my own pace and follow my own interests. I have had several years of public school teaching but when the opportunity arose to join this outstanding Montessori Community, I jumped at it. My excitement and satisfaction grows day by day as I not only witnesses the enormous strides in development of the children everyday, but also my own evolution as an educator. When I’m not at WMS, I enjoy my time with music and exercising.

Charlotte Taylor

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Charlotte Taylor

After getting my B.A. from Oberlin College, I moved to New York from Ohio to jump straight into my teaching career. My first experience was to teach young learners robotics and film in an after-school setting. Upon joining the WMS team, I was introduced to the wonderful ways of Montessori. I am inspired everyday by the creativity and independence that children can express in the Montessori environment. Outside of school, I enjoy going on long runs all over the city and spending time with friends and family.
Asset 1 Casa Maple - Children 24-36 months

Casa Maple - Children 24-36 months

Veranica Heyward

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Veranica Heyward

Most people at WMS call me Vee. I am a American Montessori Society certified Infant toddler teacher with over 10 years of classroom experience. I began my Montessori journey in 2014 here at WMS. I’m hardworking, determined, and open-minded. Being able to create strong bonds with students, parents and fellow colleagues is one of my passions. I enjoy working with young children. The look on their eyes when they discover something new or complete something they thought was impossible is priceless. One of my favorite aspects of the Montessori Curriculum is Grace & Courtesy. I firmly believe if you start teaching young children to interact kindly with others, those mannerisms stick forever.

Aliesha West

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Aliesha West

I have been a teacher’s assistant for over 5 years. After working at the New York Department of Education for some time, I was excited to join this Montessori community and learn about Montessori method and philosophy. Once involved I fell heavily in love with this respectful and creative way of working with children. I am currently in school pursuing a degree in education. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and doing puzzles. My goal is to hope help young children thrive and avoid some of the difficulties I experienced in my early education.

Diamonee Reed

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Diamonee Reed

As the oldest of six very close cousins I have always enjoyed being around children. I have been working in early childhood education for six years and I love watching the children in my care grow and discover the different talents that they have. Their amazing ability to achieve independence and age appropriate confidence is an exciting thing to be a part of. Our children are the next generation and it’s my honor to be part of their everyday lives. My goal is to lay some of the ground work for them to discover who they are, what they can achieve, and to encourage them to be the best person they can be.
Asset 1 Casa Birch - children 3-6 years

Casa Birch - children 3-6 years

Helene Rosenberg

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Helene Rosenberg

I am a lead guide credentialed through the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE), an international standard. I have experience in primary classrooms at both AMI )Association Montessori Internationale) and AMS (American Montessori Association) schools and ran a popular daily Zoom, Busy Bees, here at WMS through the pandemic. I have published articles relating to learning differences in early childhood development. Prior to teaching, I worked in with UNICEF on humanitarian projects in the UK and Africa. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family in the US/Canada, running and traveling. I am a member of AMI.

Elizabeth Swift

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Elizabeth Swift

I joined the WMS team last winter with an eagerness to be part of the Montessori Community and to follow the work of Maria Montessori, recognizing that children learn and grow incrementally in response to where they learn and develop. Before joining WMS, I was a teacher for a Nature Based – Reggio Emilia School and a Park Ranger for Maryland State Parks. I hold a B.S. in Elementary Education and a M.S. in Health Sciences. Originally set to be a Baltimore City Kindergarten teacher after graduating from college, I decided to switch careers to follow my itch and my passion for the outdoors. Having worked for various outdoor education programs, I have grown to love how rewarding the experience of learning in nature can be for children. I am passionate about creating a place of learning for children where the indoor classroom and the outdoor environment complement one another and recognizing that we are all part of a global community. When I’m not at WMS, I spend time reading, hiking, traveling, and exploring new places with my husband and my dog, Roxy.

Tayna Fong

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Tayna Fong

I am proud to call Williamsburg Montessori my home. I have been with working with children for the past 9 years. I hold an American Montessori Internationale (AMI) Assistant Guide Certification, and I am currently earning my Bachelors in Education. Teaching and learning from each student has been my pride and joy. When I am not at work you can find me traveling, watching movies and finding new activities and exploring new places with my partner.

Asset 1 Casa Willow - children 3-6 years

Casa Nido – Children 3-8 months

Melina Juarez
(Pronouns: she, her)

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Melina Juarez
(Pronouns: she, her)

I am a Montessori 3-6 guide committed to social justice and peace education. I began my Montessori journey in my home state of California and then moved to NYC to complete my AMS training. I have over 13 years of teaching experience and I believe that Montessori is for every child. I am dedicated to cultivating a learning environment that will meet the needs of the whole child as well as spark joy and curiosity for discovering the wonders of our universe! In my spare time I like to read, travel and spend quality time with loved ones.

Monica Pineda

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Monica Pineda

I am a twenty four year old California native who has been working in the Montessori community for the last five years. I began as a substitute and quickly found a passion for the learning philosophy, later working as a twos teacher before beginning my practicum year in a 3 to 6 class. I am currently in the final steps to completing my 3-6 Montessori certification from the Westside Montessori Teacher Education Program. I am planning to get my Infant-Toddler (0-3) certification next. I love the Montessori Practical Life and Language work, and also enjoy incorporating Spanish lessons into the classroom.
Asset 1 Elementary - children 6-12 years

Elementary - children 6-12 years

Zeynep Catal

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Zeynep Catal

My first memory of teaching is from the time I diligently taught my younger sister to read and write in Turkish when she was seven and I was a few years older. My family had moved from Istanbul and I was attending the American School of Paris.  After finishing an international high school, my swimming brought me to California to train for the Olympics.  Although I graduated with an English and Communications degree, I soon started working on film sets as an Assistant Director and later as a Lighting Designer. Both in Los Angeles and New York, my career is full of amazing stories and collaborative creative accomplishments.

During all those years I was teaching in so many ways and always felt a special interest and respect for the generous minds of children.  My daughter’s primary years in a Montessori school followed by my AMS training in ages 6-9 and 9-12 have brought me to WMS where I feels incredibly fortunate to guide the elementary children through these amazing years of discovery.

Martiina Linna Hipp

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Martiina Linna Hipp

I am a native of Finland and I arrived in New York after earning a degree in interior design at the European Institute of Design in Milan, Italy. I stayed at home to raise two daughters, now in college and high school. During those years I began teaching at the New York Finnish School, a part-time Finnish Language School for children. My love of teaching there inspired me to earn an International Montessori Teaching Diploma in early childhood education. I am currently studying for the diploma in lower elementary education. I live in Brooklyn with my husband, second daughter, and two dogs. I enjoy gardening and reading in my free time.
Asset 1 School Leadership

Administration

Becky Simhai
Head of School

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Becky Simhai
Head of School

I grew up in Manhattan and graduated from the Dalton School. After studying art history at Yale and architecture at The Cooper Union I spent time designing school learning gardens. This work inspired a change of careers, and I became a NYS certified K-12 visual arts teacher. Soon after I discovered Montessori and began working as a Primary guide. I have helped start several Montessori programs in Brooklyn and NYC. When not at school, you can find me cooking in the kitchen with one of my three teen aged children, tending to my layer hens or practicing hot yoga.

Bella Shaulova
Assistant Head of School

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Bella Shaulova
Assistant Head of School

As long as I can remember, I always knew I wanted to work with children. The feeling was completely solidified when I began working with 18 year olds as a Head Counselor at a Brooklyn community center. Ever since, my career has been focused on children of all ages. I completed both my Adolescent Education and Early Childhood Education teaching certificates at New York State Education Department and am now in the process of completing my Montessori Elementary training.
I’ve worked as a teacher in New York City, Detroit, and Connecticut. I was asked to work in administration without the intention to move towards that direction, and discovered that I loved it! As an Assistant Head of School at Williamsburg Montessori, I enjoy connecting with the families and children and ensuring that your time here at Williamsburg Montessori is a wonderful experience, every day. Some facts about me: I love to shop at Sephora, watch reality TV, and host big get-togethers!
Asset 1 Guide Support

Support

Alexandra Lacy

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Alexandra

I have been working here at Williamsburg Montessori for six years. I am a passionate believer in the value of Montessori not only because of my experiences in the classroom, but also because my son was a student here at WMS and his development exceeded my expectations of what a child could achieve, even before going to kindergarten. I was offered the opportunity by WMS to enroll in the West Side Montessori Teacher Education Program and I earned my Infant-Toddler certification in June 2020. Children are our future and we must support them in developing to their fullest potential as individuals and caring citizens of our global world.