The staff at Bellevue Montessori School is made up of dedicated individuals from a broad range of educational and professional backgrounds. Our ten lead teachers are devoted Montessorians who hold 4-year college degrees and training credentials from MACTE-accredited teacher training programs (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education). Likewise, the majority of our support staff has either completed or is in the process of completing their MACTE-accredited training. Our five specialists bring their expertise and excitement to each and every classroom. The diversity, experience and dedication of our staff contributes to making Bellevue Montessori School a strong community where children flourish.Please Select:
Aparna Chintala Room 1 Head Teacher
I completed my Montessori training in 2004 and interned for a year at Bellevue Montessori School and taught science for two years. I then worked as a head teacher at Marymoor Montessori before accepting a head teaching position at Bellevue Montessori School where I am now in my eighth year as a head teacher. I hold a Master of Science in Child Development from Madras University. Teaching children is a joyful, rewarding and humbling experience. I am really lucky that I have found what I truly love. In addition to teaching, I enjoy gardening, reading, watching movies and cooking.
Brad Meyer Room 2 Head Teacher
I am well into my second decade as Head Teacher in Room 2. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Business degree from Central Washington University. In 2004 I became a certified Montessori teacher while interning at Mercer Island Montessori. In my off hours I enjoy woodworking, especially woodturning, thoroughbred horse racing and spending time with my wife and two boys.
Jennifer Giambrone Room 3 Head Teacher
My experience with Montessori began in my own childhood where I attended Montessori schools in the area from kindergarten through the sixth grade. After studying child development at Ohio State University, I moved back to Washington to be close to family and began working as an assistant at a Montessori school. I knew right away that Montessori was where I was meant to be and I completed my teacher certification the following year. I found a home at Bellevue Montessori School where I taught for several years until the birth of my daughter. I stayed home with her until she was of preschool age, then returned (with her) to Bellevue Montessori School working half days first as an Associate Teacher, then as the Center Court teacher. This year, as she enters kindergarten, I am thrilled to return to the classroom as a Head Montessori Teacher.
Amy Swanson Room 4 Head Teacher
In 1997 I began work working at Bellevue Montessori School. I graduated from Western Washington University where I majored in English literature and minored in child psychology. I later received my Montessori certification while interning at Bellevue Montessori School. My life away from school consists of my wonderful husband and our two beautiful daughters. When I'm not teaching your children, I am busy at home being a mom: cleaning, making dinner, helping with homework and enjoying my family. I have also discovered hot yoga to relax and loving running and taking walks.
Sharon Kim Room 5 Head Teacher
I was born, raised and educated in the Seattle area. After graduating from the University of Washington I completed my Montessori certification and internship in 2009 and accepted a head teaching position at Bellevue Montessori School. I look forward to coming to work every day. I enjoy shopping, spending time with friends and family, and am thankful for everything I have.
Marnie Stromseth Room 6 Head Teacher
I've been teaching a primary classroom at Bellevue Montessori School. I have a Montessori certification for primary and lower elementary and a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. I support the Montessori philosophy that nurtures the child's whole development: cognitive, social, emotional, physical and inner spirit. Both of my boys attended Bellevue Montessori School from preschool through third grade. My sons are currently in high school which keeps my husband and I busy at home. I enjoy spending time with my family, working with children in the classroom, gardening and yard work. I like learning and sharing my knowledge about the natural world - geology, zoology and botany.
Mona Srikanth Room 7 Head Teacher
I grew up in Mumbai, India where I earned my Bachelor of Architecture degree. I then moved to the United States where I earned a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My two daughters attended Montessori schools which led me to my career in Montessori education. I received my American Montessori Society Early Childhood teaching credential through the Montessori Center for Teacher Education. In my spare time I love to read and garden. I have been a part of Bellevue Montessori School as a former parent and now a head teacher. I live in Bellevue with my husband and two daughters.
Elijah Page Head Teacher, Rossano Campus
Montessori education has been a part of my life ever since I was a preschool student attending a Montessori school in New Mexico. My mother is a Montessori teacher and trainer, so working in a Montessori school has always felt like home to me. For the past 20 years, I have worked off and on in Montessori classrooms including an extended period at The Learning Tree and Daniel Bagley Elementary in Seattle. More recently, I have taken my Montessori training through the Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest and had my internship at Bellevue Montessori School with the amazing Mrs. Swanson. After an extra year as an Associate Teacher with Mrs. Swanson, I am very excited to have my own classroom at the new Rossano Campus at Bellevue Montessori School. When I’m not teaching and learning with the kids, I enjoy skiing, watching and playing sports, and traveling.
Maria Quiroga Head Teacher, Rossano Campus
Maria Quiroga has a passion for teaching and has been working with children since 2007. Originally from Quito, Ecuador, her passion for teaching and positively influencing children’s lives started in a small town north of Quito where she worked at Hacienda of Hope, a Christian Orphanage. Ms. Quiroga was a primary caregiver of 16 children of different backgrounds and ages. Along with orphanage care, children received education in a partnering Christian program, HOH Christian Academy. In the academy, Ms. Quiroga provided support care to the toddler group and assistance to higher grade levels along with ACE PACES, a self-directed program. Ms. Quiroga’s desire for personal and professional growth led to a move to the United States in 2010 to improve her English. She completed an Associates degree in Childcare Management from Lake Washington Technical College in 2015 where she made the Dean’s List almost every quarter. Her curiosity for Montessori Education grew while earning her degree and after graduation she entered the Montessori Teachers program at Montessori Teacher Preparation of Washington. Ms Quiroga enjoys spending time with her friends and family, making messy art projects, hiking in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and salsa dancing.
Kailey Lee Head Teacher, Rossano Campus
I majored in journalism and broadcasting at Gwangju University and have a Korean literature certificate. I worked with children for five years as an assistant director in Korea. After moving to the United States I completed my Early Childhood Montessori Teaching Certificate training and interned at Bellevue Montessori School. This is my third year as a Montessori teacher and I am so excited to be teaching at Bellevue Montessori School again. I want to help and guide young children to a bright and healthy future. I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking and volunteering at my church preschool with my daughter.
Jinhee Shin Head Teacher, Rossano Campus
I am thrilled to be returning to Bellevue Montessori School. After graduating from the University of Washington, I received both my primary and elementary Montessori certifications. Following my internship, I worked as a co-teacher and then head teacher at Bellevue Montessori School. Our family then moved to South Korea, where I worked with elementary students and at the Korean Government Institution as an English teacher. BMS feels like home to me. This school has a wonderful environment, friendly staff, and great support. My younger son will be in kindergarten this year at BMS and he loves coming to school every day. I love what I do, have a great passion for teaching children, and I look forward to coming to school every day. When I’m not teaching your children, I am a busy mom and love spending time with my wonderful husband and two precious boys. I enjoy shopping, watching movies, and traveling with my family.
Eileen Ventura Teaching Assistant
My husband and I are both from Michigan and after graduating from the University of Michigan we moved to Washington. Our son now attends the University of Washington. I have worked with children through teaching and social work. I returned to Bellevue Montessori School in 2012 after working here years ago. I enjoy the professional yet friendly atmosphere as well as the children and their parents. My hobbies include walking, gardening, reading, and arts and crafts, especially jewelry-making.
Maria Bollman Morning Activity Club Teacher and Associate Teacher
I have worked at Bellevue Montessori School since 1985 and feel truly blessed to be part of such a wonderful school. I was born in Greece and immigrated to the United States with my daughter in 1972. After receiving my Montessori training in 1986 I became a teacher at Bellevue Montessori School and have been here ever since, enjoying what every day brings. I love my job and working with children. All three of my grandchildren attended Bellevue Montessori School. When I am not at school, I love cooking, walking, my church, and visiting with friends.
Preethi Balasubramanyam Associate Teacher
After completing American Montessori Society training from the Montessori Center for Teacher Education I began working at Bellevue Montessori School since 2006. I like working at Bellevue Montessori School because of the wonderful environment and professional, friendly staff. I live in Redmond with my husband and daughter. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design from Bangalore, India where I worked as a fashion designer for 3 years. I enjoy working for one of the most reputable Montessori schools on the Eastside.
Kim Torres Lower Elementary Head Teacher
I was born in Puerto Rico, but lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas for 16 years prior to moving to Seattle in 2017. It isn't as big of a jump as most people think it is -- I also grew up in New York City, so I'm used to bigger cities! I have my Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice. I also have my American Montessori Society Lower and Upper Elementary certification and have taught at both the Lower and Upper Elementary levels. I love to learn about everything from cultural traditions to fossilized evidence of creatures past. I also love going on weekend travel adventures and trying new foods.
Nathan Cox Lower Elementary Head Teacher
Born and raised in the Seattle area, I began my time at Bellevue Montessori School as an infant teething on the desk of the school's founder. I moved to the classroom where I stayed through my elementary years. After college and Montessori Elementary training, I returned in 2000 as the head teacher in the Lower Elementary classroom. I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have two beautiful children who attend Bellevue Montessori School. In my spare time I enjoy making and listening to music, reading and cooking.
Debbie Haugen Upper Elementary Head Teacher
My husband, son and I moved to Bellevue from Nova Scotia, Canada, 18 years ago. When I came to Bellevue Montessori School it was to follow a passion and ten years later here I am! My love of the children, staff and their teaching styles led me to take the training to be an Elementary Montessori teacher. As the head teacher of the Upper Elementary classroom, I get to watch the children grow and experience each "aha" moment. I can't think of a better place to be! Prior to working at Bellevue Montessori School I worked as a computer manager in government and at a university doing research in neuropsychology.
Susan K. Locke, M.Ed. Director
For the past 21 years, I have dedicated my life to the Montessori method of education both as a Primary Montessori Guide and a Head of School. As a graduate of the University of Washington and former television producer, I found my life’s work during my search for the perfect school for my daughter Kristine. Upon entering a Montessori classroom, I saw my daughter feel right at home in the beautiful and peaceful environment where students had the freedom to choose their own activities. I was struck by the respect that was shown the children and immediately knew that I wanted to be a Montessori teacher. I went back to school and received my Association Montessori Internationale Primary certification from the Montessori Institute Northwest as well as my Masters in Education from Loyola University in Maryland. I then taught in the Seattle area for 4 years before opening Mercer Island Montessori where I was the Director and Head Montessori Teacher. For twelve years, I ran my own school before becoming the Head of School at the LePort Schools Westpark campus in Irvine, CA. I enjoyed the challenge of leading a larger school with students 18 months to 9 years of age and a diverse team of employees. I am excited to be bringing these skills and experience to my role as Director of such a prestigious institution as Bellevue Montessori School. I love being back in the Pacific Northwest close to my family and the forested hiking trails I have enjoyed since my youth.
Heidi Coleman Elementary Education Director
I attended Montessori schools in Laguna Beach, California and Denver, Colorado with my twin sister through fifth grade, so I have had the good fortune of experiencing Montessori all through my life. While I was in high school, my family moved to Bellevue where I attended Interlake High School. Go Saints! After graduating from Bowdoin College in Maine, I went to get my AMI Elementary Montessori Teaching Diploma in Bergamo, Italy. I taught in both upper and lower elementary classrooms in Seattle before moving to Bermuda in 2007. At Somersfield Academy in Bermuda, I was a lower elementary teacher and curriculum coordinator. When my son was diagnosed with dyslexia, I became interested in how best to educate students with learning differences. Last year, I was an assistant teacher/intern at The Lab School of Washington in Washington, D.C, and worked towards my Master’s in Special Education from American University. I am thrilled to be working at such a wonderful Montessori school and living once again in the Pacific Northwest. My favorite thing to do is hang out with my two teenagers and golden retriever, Shorty!
Monica Lalanne Primary Education Director
I have been a Montessori teacher, parent, and administrator since 1993 when I took my first Montessori Course. I earned my Association Montessori International certificate in 1995. Having earned my degree in Italian studies from Santa Clara University, I am fascinated with everything Italian, even early childhood education. My passion for Italy propelled me to study and live there for extended periods. As a new parent searching for infant care, I found Montessori Education and it became a life-long vocation. One of my happiest moments was being able to visit Dr. Montessori's first school in Rome, and experience the roots of Montessori early education. My husband and I have two grown sons. Having recently relocated from Santa Cruz, California I enjoy living in Seattle and exploring the surrounding areas.
Ali Parks Office Administrator
Having grown up in Redmond, with my family close by, there is no place I would rather be! I started working at Bellevue Montessori School in 2017. I learn something new every day working at Bellevue Montessori that I take home to help me be a better parent to my three children, Julianna, Jameson, & Adrienne. I feel very fortunate to work in my dream environment alongside other staff that truly care about children uniquely as they are. In my spare time, I enjoy the outdoors and taking my children on new adventures.
Laurel La Valle Assistant Director
Montessori education has been a part of my life since 1978 when I began Montessori training at the Santa Monica Montessori Teacher Training Institute. Prior to my Montessori training I attended Western Washington State and the University of Washington. When my husband and I moved back to the Northwest I began teaching in the Lower Elementary Classroom at Bellevue Montessori School and then taught in the Upper Elementary Classroom. Bellevue Montessori School is the brightest, friendliest and most authentic Montessori School I have found. I am now the assistant director at Bellevue Montessori School and enjoy collaborating with and supporting our staff along with the daily joys of working with children. My two girls are now grown but we continue to meet for delicious Sunday family dinners, usually created by my husband.
Kathryn Cox Office Manager
My husband and I moved to Bellevue in 1972 following graduation from Montana State University. I began working at Bellevue Montessori School in 1973 as a classroom assistant, moving into the position of office manager in 1974. My husband and I have two adult children who attended Bellevue Montessori School through fourth grade and are now both educators. I enjoy cooking, gardening, traveling, and spending time with my grandchildren, both of whom are students at Bellevue Montessori School.
Nelima Dighde Science Specialist at the Main Campus and Park Campus
I have a Master of Science in Biochemistry and worked as a research assistant for Hoechst in India before coming to the United States. I acquired my Montessori training through the Montessori Center for Teacher Education, then began my teaching at Bellevue Montessori School where I have taught for four years. I thoroughly enjoy all the aspects of seeing children blossom. When I'm not at school I love spending time with my husband and two daughters, going on walks, listening to music, sightseeing and traveling to India.
Kari Hailey Music Specialist at the Main Campus and Park Campus
I graduated with a degree in music, focusing on vocal performance and music education from the University of Washington. I am trained in Musicgarten, a Montessori based music program. My music classes weave a broad background of drama, world, classical and folk music into the curriculum. With great joy, I have been teaching music to children for nine years. In addition to teaching music, I assist with special education reading programs in public school, am an elementary art docent, storyteller, vocal performer and fiber artist. I have two boys, now eight and eleven, who attended Montessori preschool and early elementary.
Bridget Ardissono Spanish Specialist at the Main Campus
I developed my passion for Spanish while in an exchange program in Costa Rica. While attending college at Southern Oregon University, I spent a year abroad attending the University of Guanajuato in Guanajuato, Mexico where I traveled extensively. I returned to Oregon where I completed a degree in elementary education with a minor in bilingual education and an endorsement in Spanish. While there I was chosen to participate in a summer work study program in the Canary Islands in Spain. After graduation, I worked in Oregon as a high school Spanish teacher for 5 years during which I visited Peru and Ecuador. When my boys attended Bellevue Montessori School I had the opportunity to pilot and develop a Spanish curriculum for young children.
Toni Carter Spanish Specialist at the Park Campus
I was born in Venezuela, raised in Guatemala, and attended school in Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia and Venezuela. I teach children Spanish through activities, games, songs, reading and writing in Spanish, and culture from Latin America and Spain. In addition to teaching at Bellevue Montessori School I have taught Spanish at Seattle Pacific University, Bellevue College, Bennett Elementary and PACCAR Corp.
Britt Boyd Drama Specialist at the Park Campus
I grew up in the audience of Seattle Children's Theatre and am delighted to now teach there and at Bellevue Montessori School. I joined the Seattle Children's Theatre as an apprentice after earning a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington. In addition to my work at Seattle Children's Theatre, I have served as a teaching artist for a number of theaters and schools in the Pacific Northwest. Professionally, I have appeared on stages around the country including the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. I love swashbuckling, musical theatre and exclamation points - all of which might appear during my classes!