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.
Renuka Hallikeri Room 2 Head Teacher
Born in India, the beautiful Pacific Northwest has been my home for the last 15 years. Having completed my Masters in Business Administration from Seattle University, I worked a corporate job for about a year before I took a break to nurture my new born. My daughter’s journey through Montessori education inspired me to pursue a certification in early childhood education from MACTE. This would be my fifth year as a Montessori teacher, three of them as a lead teacher. The best part of being a teacher is having the opportunity to learn something new from the children everyday and being able to be a part of their world of wonder and curiosity. I live in Sammamish with my husband, daughter and very energetic dog. I love to dabble in baking, reading and enjoy a good run when I’m not busy teaching or managing our home.
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.
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.
Christine Reid Learning Specialist
I attended Western Washington University, majoring in history/social studies. I currently hold a Washington State teaching certificate for social studies and language arts in secondary education. Previous to teaching at Bellevue Montessori school, I taught middle and high school social studies. I also have experience in special education, tutoring, and several years as a Montessori assistant teacher. My diverse experience in teaching developed my appreciation for education that embraces the individuality of each child. When I am not teaching, I enjoy paddleboarding, hiking and traveling.
David Repyak Lower Elementary Head Teacher
Originally from Gloucester, Ma, I have been inspired by the natural world. I believe in growing a community of compassionate, ethical citizens and leaders through guiding life-long learning and self-discipline. With a love of humanity, I've traveled extensively throughout Europe, and have acute interest in geology, science, gardening, reading, and Pacific Northwest history. I enjoy making artwork that lifts the spirit, mountain bike riding with my son, Luca, and hiking and skiing in the mountains. I have earned a Lower Elementary credential from AMS, a K-8 WA state teaching certificate from UW/Bothell, and a BFA from Syracuse University, London Center, where I studied Advertising Communications. I have been teaching in both lower and upper elementary Montessori environments since 2013. I’m passionate about guiding curious minds, loving hearts and creative imaginations of children. I enjoy crafting authentic learning experiences when designing and implementing integrated curriculum.
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 worked as a TV reporter in South Korea. I have worked for five years as an assistant director in an academic institute when my daughter attended preschool. After moving to the United States, I completed my montessori certification and interned at Bellevue Montessori School in 2009. I returned to Bellevue Montessori School as an associate teacher in 2014. I have an Early Childhood Education certificate and I am currently studying for another degree of Early Childhood Education at Bellevue College. I absolutely love children and I want to guide children to a bright and healthy future. I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, and traveling. I am really enjoying working as a head teacher at the Rossano campus!
Jennifer Hamilton Head Teacher, Rossano Campus
I am a teacher, mother and nature enthusiast. I am a certified AMS Montessori teacher with 6 years classroom experience. Originally from Chicago, I received a B.A. in Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago. It was after the birth of my daughter that I left the corporate setting and began a new career pathway in early childhood education. I believe that every child is unique. My goal is to help your child develop skills that promote independence, peaceful interactions and ignite the spark of curiosity in the world around them. Outside of the classroom, I enjoy spending time with my husband, daughter and two dogs. My passion is being outdoors and spending as much time as possible hiking, backpacking and climbing mountains.
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.
Krithika Rangan Toddler Program Coordinator
My Montessori Journey began with the birth of my daughter 10 years ago and from then I have devoted most of my time in the pursuit of working with children and parents, both as the Business Director of my own school and also as a Primary Montessori Lead Teacher. I graduated from the University of Madras, India with a Management Degree and worked in the Media and Advertising Industry prior to my Calling to the field of Montessori. After a few years of Corporate Experience and volunteering and observing children in my daughter’s Montessori Toddler Classroom, I pushed myself to start my own school where I was the Director and Head Curriculum Coordinator for 4 years. It was during this time that I took up a tryst to balance home and business and went back to school to receive my Association Montessori Internationale Primary certification and also do an Entrepreneurial Program for Women with the Indian School of Business. I then had the opportunity to work as a Montessori Lead Teacher in a Primary classroom for a year before moving to the US. A year of sabbatical helped me and my family to settle down in the new place and with the birth of my son and observing him grow up I could not stop myself from doing the Infancy & Toddler Training with Association Montessori Internationale, wherein I cherished every moment of the training. Right out of my training, I am all excited and thrilled to be working with toddlers in such a wonderful Montessori Environment. I also volunteer at the Northshore School District as part of the Dyslexia Committee working towards arriving at a draft for the K – 6 schools. I am a positivist, trained Reiki Professional, Indian Classical Dancer, an occasional blogger and love cooking and nature walks. As a parent myself, I believe that children who are treated with dignity and understood by adults in the environment, blossom to be more responsible and independent young adults who have the power to change the course of the world and I am fortunate to work with parents in this mission.
Eileen Ventura Montessori Guide
I grew up in a large family in MI. I attended the University of Michigan where I met my husband. We moved to Washington, California, Alabama and then back to Washington. I have one son who graduated from UW and now works in Seattle. I worked for 6 years in a primary classroom, and I'm currently enrolled in the MEIPN infant/toddler training course to graduate in the fall. I’m looking forward to working with toddlers and their eager, absorbent minds. I enjoy gardening and various crafts, such as making cards and jewelry.
Loriah Challman Montessori Guide
I have been working at Bellevue Montessori School since 2013 and have loved working with the primary and elementary students. I am excited to take on a new role as a Montessori toddler guide. In spring 2018 I completed the classroom training at the Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest at the infant/toddler level. I’m currently in the practicum phase and looking forward to graduating with a Montessori infant/toddler credential in fall of 2019.
Ellie Jones Montessori Guide
Growing up in Washington, I graduated from Juanita High School in Kirkland, and went on to attend Xavier University in Ohio. In 2013 I transferred back to WA, to finish up a degree in Computer Science. I have been working in a Montessori environment for 3 years, but have been working with children for 10 years in total including a Toddler environment. Since 2017, I have enjoyed working at Bellevue Montessori School with the primary students. I am excited to take on a new role as a Montessori toddler guide. Last Spring, I completed the classroom training at the Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest at the infant/toddler level. I’m currently in the practicum phase and looking forward to graduating with a Montessori infant/toddler credential in spring 2019. In my spare time I love to read, cook and bake, and dabble in photography.
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.
Julie Anderson Office Administrator
Previous to my last three years of working at a nearby private school where I was the Office Manager, I spent several years on an adventure in Costa Rica where I volunteered in a well-known animal shelter. From Costa Rica, I returned to Seattle to be closer to my family of two children and five grandchildren. In my working career I also spent many years in commercial property management and in the customer service industry. I am a published author and currently working on a new children’s book. My heart has led me to many wonderful opportunities to also live in India, New York, and California during my lifetime. I am a native of Washington and a WSU graduate, with my BA in Childhood Education. My great love of children led to four years working as a foster care parent to ten challenged foster teens along with raising my own two teens. I am passionate about life and love to be with my family, friends, and two rescue kitties – Topaz and Sampson. My philosophy is to do things that make you happy and I so enjoy keeping my grand-daughter age 9 on weekends, walking, traveling, writing, and being a researcher of universal knowledge…..along with being part of the fantastic team here at BMS to help our little ones become even greater than they already are!
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.
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.
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!