Faculty and Staff

Toddler

Khadidja Hachemi

Khadidja Hachemi

Toddler Assistant Teacher, Mountain Silverbell Class

Coming soon!

Gloria Jauregui

Gloria Jauregui

Toddler Teacher, Sassafras Class

Gloria Jauregui has over 20 years of experience working with young children and parents in different settings. She worked with private families for many years as a nanny and Spanish and math tutor. Eventually, Gloria had the opportunity to become a talent recruiter, helping families with the process of finding Nannies, Au pairs, and tutors internationally. This experience gave her a different perception of families, and she discovered that although all parents have similar concerns and needs regarding the care of their children, it was also necessary to understand and genuinely accept the particularities of each family and adapt and adjust as necessary to meet their needs. Gloria also offered guidance and support to a new school in Morocco while they were opening and also virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gloria is now the mother of a 3-year-old girl, and feels that her current situation, in addition to her broad experience, allows her to be in a privileged position to connect better not only with children but also with their families and to work together in partnership.

Gloria has a family of three but also has a wonderful extended family worldwide. They enjoy a simple life, full of traveling, watching the sunsets, having meals together, watching soccer matches, and keeping in touch with their extended family and friends.


Mia Manns

Mia Manns

Toddler Assistant Teacher, Sassafras Class

Mia Manns joined Aidan for the 2022-23 School Year. Her robust experience working with children started in 2010, but she didn't discover her love for Montessori methods until the Fall of 2020, when she began working in Montessori education. After spending time each day in Montessori classrooms, Mia realized her love for the Montessori model, and started pursuing Montessori training in February 2021. Aidan is thrilled to welcome her into the Sassafras community!

Mia has a small dog named Jade. In her free time, Mia loves to read, hike, travel, play video games, and spend time outdoors with friends and family. She is also a Jehovah's Witness and is very dedicated to her faith.

Sudharshini Perera

Sudharshini Perera

Todder Assistant Teacher, Sassafras Class

Sue joined Aidan Montessori in 2004 as a Primary Assistant and now serves as a Toddler Assistant in the Sassafras Class. At the start of her working life, Sue obtained a diploma in secretarial studies and worked as an administrative assistant for two multi-national companies. While working, inspired by her passion for uplifting children, she obtained her two diplomas from Colombo Montessori Teacher Training Center. She then accepted an appointment with The Footsteps Montessori School as a teacher in Kandy, Sri Lanka, where she worked for two years. She has also earned an AMI Assistant’s Certificate in the US.

Sue grew up in a coastal town in Sri Lanka and is fluent in Sinhala (or Sinhalese, as it is openly known to English speakers). She is is a skilled seamstress and enjoys teaching others how to sew (for which some of our Discovery students thank her!). She loves taking her sons camping to teach them about outdoor living and scavenging. She also enjoys cooking, gardening, and traveling.

Rut Salas

Rut Salas

Toddler Assistant Teacher, Mountain Silverbell Class

Rut Salas joined Aidan in the 2022-23 School Year. From July 2015 through March 2021, Rut worked as an Administrative Assistant for Trazitos and Colors, a daycare preschool in Cochabamba, Bolivia. In this position, she accomplished many tasks in accounting and business management, and found joy in communicating with families and assisting teachers. In this position, Rut also taught as a Substitute Teacher and created and developed lesson plans to meet students' academic needs. Overall, she is quite experienced in classroom management, lesson planning, student engagement, and collaborating with her colleagues.

Rut was born in Bogota, Colombia, and was raised in Cochabamba, Bolivia. She is the youngest of 4 siblings and grew up with Christian values, as her parents were—and continue to be—Pastors. Rut has always loved music and singing, and currently sings in her church choir. In 2015, Rut married her best friend of 15+ years, and they currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, where they pursue their favorite hobbies of watching movies and playing music together.

Pamela Vigil

Pamela Vigil

Toddler Teacher, Mountain Silverbell Class

Primary

Cecilia Aker

Cecilia Aker

Primary Teacher, Persimmon Class

Cecilia Aker is the lead Primary teacher in the Persimmon class. After completing her Montessori training in 2014, Cecilia co-taught in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, and served as the lead teacher in the same classroom where she started out as an assistant. Prior to joining Aidan, Cecilia spent two years teaching at Rochester Montessori School in Minnesota.

Cecilia comes from a foreign service family and grew up moving all over the world. She lived in the DC area between assignments, and is excited to be back in the District. Outside of the classroom, Cecilia can be found enjoying green spaces, reading, exploring museums, and trying new recipes.

Claudia Caihuara

Claudia Caihuara

Primary Teacher, Mulberry Class

Claudia entered the Montessori world in the summer of 2007 at Arlington Montessori House. While there, she served in multiple assistant roles, earning her AMI certification as an assistant prior to becoming a lead teacher in a Montessori summer program in 2015-16.

Though Claudia has lived in the US since 1997, when her parents relocated here with her and her two older brothers, Claudia was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is a fluent speaker of both English and Spanish.

Outside of the classroom, Claudia enjoys making Montessori materials, drawing, and dancing.

Lakmali Cooray

Lakmali Cooray

Primary Assistant Teacher, Redbud Class

Mali came to Aidan as a Toddler Assistant in 2008. Prior to arriving at Aidan, she worked with Chevy Chase Baptist Church Children’s Center as teacher aide for two years and also dedicated time to raising her children. Prior to moving to the US in 2004, she studied both drafting and education, and worked as draftsman and teacher.

Mali grew up in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She currently lives in Rockville, MD, with her husband, teenage daughter, and son. Apart from interacting with children, she enjoys gardening, reading, and traveling.

Maggie  Fletcher

Maggie Fletcher

Primary Assistant Teacher, Mulberry Class

Maggie Fletcher joins Aidan for the 2022-23 school year as a Primary Assistant in the Mulberry community. Maggie was born and raised in DC and grew up less than two miles away from Aidan. She gained a great deal of experience babysitting and tutoring in high school as well as working as a camp counselor during summers in college. After graduating from the St Andrews William & Mary Joint Degree Program with a degree in International Relations, Maggie saw the childcare crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and started working as a nanny and online school helper in DC. It was then that Maggie realized she wanted to build a career working with children! To continue her work in childcare and achieve her personal goals of living in Spain and learning Spanish, she decided to move to Madrid to work as an au pair. After spending four years in Madrid caring for and teaching English to a four-year-old, Maggie decided to move back home to DC, and she is thrilled to join the Aidan community as a Primary Assistant.

Maggie has three sisters who are all very close in age! They were born within a four-and-a-half year period (current ages 25, 24, 23, and 21), and while they didn't grow up in Montessori environments, they definitely had mixed-age learning at home. This benefitted Maggie and her sisters in so many ways, and this formative experience is part of what drew her to Montessori Education, since mixed-age learning can promote healthy development.

Some of Maggie’s hobbies include sports (she’s an ex-rower and rugby player), traveling, living in and experiencing new cultures (she spent two years living in Scotland and one in Spain—she's also a dual citizen in Ireland and hoping to live there or in another part of Europe again someday), trying new vegan recipes/restaurants, listening to podcasts, reading, going to concerts, and meeting new people!

Katia Kozhakova

Katia Kozhakova

Primary Teacher, Dogwood Class

Katia Kozhakova joins the Aidan Community as the new lead teacher in the Dogwood Primary Class. Originally born and raised in the beautiful city of St. Petersburg, Russia, Katia moved to the United States in 2008 as part of a student exchange program. She aspired to be a teacher from a young age and began her career by teaching German at the St. Petersburg Policy Academy. After moving to the States, Katia continued her studies and pursued a master’s degree in education and her AMI Montessori Primary certification. Prior to joining Aidan, she spent 5 years as a Primary Guide at the Montessori Public School of Arlington.

In her spare time, Katia enjoys traveling, exploring new activities and discovering great restaurants in and around DC. She practices meditation and Kundalini yoga, and also loves art, reading, and spending time with her friends.

Gwynne Manty

Gwynne Manty

Primary Teacher, Redbud Class, Aidan Program for Families (APF) Coordinator

Gwynne Manty joined Aidan Montessori School as the new Online Learning Support Teacher for the Lower School in the Spring of 2021, and continued as a Substitute for the Lower School during the 2022-2023 school year. Gwynne is now the Lead Guide in the Redbud Primary Community and the Aidan Programs for Families Coordinator. Her 15 years of experience in Montessori education have all been spent as a guide in the primary environments. Prior to joining the Aidan team she worked at schools in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.

Gwynne's son Axl (5), is a Montessori child who has enjoyed Montessori classrooms since he was a toddler. Gwynne has a great love of music and is a part of a traveling choir (in non-COVID times). She is an avid reader, baker, and loves to get outside whenever she can; for a hike, some yard work, or kicking a soccer ball around the yard with Axl.

Mila Rey

Mila Rey

Primary Assistant Teacher, Dogwood Class

Mila Rey came to Aidan as a parent in 1995 and joined the staff in 1997. She grew up in the Philippines, and received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Far Eastern University in Manila. She speaks Tagalog, likes cooking, and enjoys reading. Her daughter, Kristine, graduated from Aidan in 2004.

Shewit Samuel

Shewit Samuel

Primary Assistant Teacher, Persimmon Class

Shewit Samuel joined Aidan Montessori School as a Lower School Substitute in early 2021. For the upcoming year, Shewit will join the Persimmon Community as its Primary Assistant. Prior to joining Aidan, she has spent several years in various childcare settings:working as an assistant teacher at The Springs Montessori School and Full Circle Montessori School. In addition to her experience in the classroom, Shewit also has an associates degree in accounting.

Shewit is a busy mom of two, a toddler and infant. In her free time, she likes watching soccer and playing tennis.

Elementary

Shirley Cogasi

Shirley Cogasi

Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher, Magnolia Class

Shirley Cogasi came to Aidan in 1999. She received her B.S. In Education from Baguio Central University, Philippines. She worked in St. Francis Day School (now St. Andrew’s Lower School) in Potomac, MD, as a music support person and in the enrichment program. Recently, she received an AMI Assistants Course Certificate from Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola College. She also works part time at Bartholomew Assisted Living in Maryland as a Medication Technician.

Sean Collins

Sean Collins

Lower Elementary Teacher, Magnolia Class

The Magnolia and Aidan Community are thrilled to welcome Sean Collins as the newest Lower Elementary Guide. After graduating with an undergraduate degree in political science, Sean worked for a renewable energy non-profit on climate issues before switching careers to teaching in 2014. After moving to Chicago, Sean had his first experience with Montessori when he worked as an assistant teacher in an Upper Elementary classroom at Near North Montessori. That experience led Sean to pursue a certification in Montessori and he completed his Montessori training at the Washington Montessori Institute. After completing his Masters in Education from Loyola University Maryland, Sean worked at Lee Montessori Public Charter School here in Washington DC, where he led an Upper Elementary classroom.

Sean lives in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, DC with his wife Dana and small dog June. He enjoys biking around the city, taking his dog on nature walks, playing chess, and supporting the Ravens and Orioles from his hometown of Baltimore.

Hamed Isaza

Hamed Isaza

Lower Elementary Teacher, Red Oak Class

Aidan is delighted to welcome Hamed Isaza as our new Lead Teacher in the Red Oak Lower Elementary Community. Hamed’s entry into the Montessori world was preceded by four years spent in service of youths in and around Chicago where he worked as a crisis intervention counselor and case worker for Youth Outreach Services. It was during this time that he realized how crucial the earliest years of human development were to finding success later in life, and ultimately led him on his current path as a Montessori Guide. Hamed was trained as an AMI Elementary Guide and after 7 years of teaching in Chicago, he made his way to Washington D.C. and continued to work at Lee Montessori Public Charter School for another 4 years. Hamed believes that the Montessori method is a gift, one that he is eager to share with as many children and families as possible. Beginning anew at Aidan, the excitement to share this experience with a new community fills him with the joy of new possibilities to come.

Hamed believes that one of the best things about being a teacher is that part of the job is to never stop learning. This is something he loves and coincidentally a sentiment he hopes to instill in the children. To Hamed, this means spending plenty of time in the great outdoors, exploring nature and seeing the intricate interconnectedness of the world first hand. And, whenever he has the chance, Hamed shares this hobby with friends and family. Beyond that, much of his time is spent cooking, eating, reading, and spending time with loved ones (one of which is his wife and beloved guide of our Upper Elementary Community, Julia Isaza).

Julia Isaza

Julia Isaza

Upper Elementary Teacher, Sweet Gum Class

Julia is the lead teacher for our Sweet Gum Upper Elementary Class. Prior to joining Aidan, Julia led a 6-12 Montessori Elementary classroom in Arlington, Virginia for four years. In addition to teaching, she is a founding member of the Washington Montessori Institute Alumni and Friends and an enthusiastic member of AMI-EAA, a member-run professional affiliate of Association Montessori Internationale elementary guides and trainers providing a supportive community for the exchange of ideas that promote the principles of Montessori education. She is closely connected to Montessori trained teachers and trainers around the globe, participating in professional development conferences to learn new skills like knitting, felting, and calligraphy, and observing in the classrooms of thriving Montessori schools from Portland, Oregon to Chennai, India.

Julia and her husband (Red Oak Lead Teacher, Hamed Isaza) are big fans of camping. Each summer they enjoy plotting out road trips to hike, swim, fish, and explore various national and state parks and connect with friends and family along the way. They have driven together from D.C. to Banff, AB, Canada, and recently backpacked the Pacific Northwest coast in Olympic National Park, WA. Julia enjoys sharing her travel and nature stories with the Upper Elementary community, and doing a bit of camping with the children too!

Sophie Kanter

Sophie Kanter

Upper Elementary Assistant Teacher, Sweet Gum Class

Sophie joined Aidan in the 2022-23 School Year. When Sophie began work at Franklin Montessori School, she immediately fell in love with the Montessori philosophy and its values. Outside of Montessori education, she also adores and has experience with Reggio Emilia and play-based models, which influence her teaching style. Sophie is excited to be a part of the Aidan community and to continue to learn and grow as a teacher.

In addition to her experience with childcare inside and outside of the classroom, Sophie also has a Bread & Pastry Certificate from the San Francisco Baking Institute. She spent 8 years in the Bay Area working in various pastry shops and restaurants, and still loves to cook and bake for friends and family. Sophie is also a very creative person and loves all sorts of art projects (her current obsessions are cross stitch, natural dyeing, and making rag rugs). She is also a house plant addict, and currently own over 100 plants.

Vernon Weathers

Vernon Weathers

Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher, Red Oak Class

Vernon joined Aidan in 2018 as the Assistant in the Red Oak Lower Elementary Classroom. Vernon is actively engaged in the Montessori community and Montessori remains a big part of his life both in and outside the classroom. He served as a presenter at the AMS conference in Denver, where he spoke about Peace and Cosmic Education. He has also served as the program coordinator for the Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) and the coordinator for the Monthly Peace Pole Gatherings. Before joining Aidan, Vernon established his own after school program, P3 (Power, Poise, Presence), which focused on building self-confidence, self-worth, leadership skills and promoting principles of scholarship and diversity among adolescents.

Born in Baltimore, MD and raised in Short Hills, NJ, Vernon is most passionate about his work with youth. Vernon’s mission is to help foster positive, productive global citizens and he works to achieve this goal daily. He enjoys incorporating the Montessori Method into his Sunday school classes and serves as a deacon at his church. When he is not in the classroom, Vernon enjoys traveling, socializing with friends and family, and long walks with his poodle, Korden.


Specialty

Olivia Bartley

Olivia Bartley

Learning Support Specialist

Olivia Bartley is Aidan's Learning Support Specialist. She provides assistance in math, reading, language, and executive functioning support for elementary students who need additional assistance. She is trained in Orton-Gillingham’s literacy approach and Lindamood-Bell’s On Cloud Nine math program. Coming from a small town in western Pennsylvania, Olivia always cherished trips outside of her town to new countries and cities, including Washington, DC. She embraced this love for new experiences when she joined the Peace Corps as an English Education Facilitator in Togo, West Africa. In addition to her time as Education Facilitator with the Peace Corps, Olivia has also worked as an assistant teacher and an aftercare teacher for students with special needs.

In her free time, Olivia loves to belt out to musicals, work on the daily sudoku, and cheer on her Pittsburgh Steelers.

Eduardo Cuesta

Eduardo Cuesta

Substitute Teacher

Eduardo Cuesta joined Aidan in February 2021 as the long-term substitute in the Magnolia Community and currently serves as the substitute for the Upper School. Eduardo first came to the United States a little over twelve years ago from Spain. His first experience working in the States was as an assistant teacher at Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion, a bilingual Elementary school in Minnesota. It was here that he first discovered his love for teaching. In 2015, Eduardo completed his Montessori training in Lower Elementary while working at Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School as an Upper Elementary teacher. He also spent time at Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School, where he learned about Project Based Learning and quickly reaffirmed his passion for Montessori, and served as an Elementary Montessori teacher at Waterfront Academy.

When he is not working, Eduardo likes to spend time with his family. He is the father of two children and his wife is also a Montessori guide. He enjoys the simple pleasures in life: playing with his children, reading while enjoying a nice cup of coffee, going for a run, watching a movie, or soaking up the silence in the house after everyone has gone to sleep. Most recently, Eduardo and his family travelled back to Spain and spent the summer reconnecting with with life-long friends and family.

Natalia Fuks

Natalia Fuks

Substitute & ASP Staff

Coming soon!

Daphnnet Garces

Daphnnet Garces

Spanish Teacher

Daphnnet Garces brings more than a decade of experience working in education to Aidan. She holds a BA in Prekindergarten/Primary Education from Universidad del Este as well as multiple certificates from Montgomery College, including Child Growth and Development Certificate, Creating Schedules and Routines Certificate, Active or Hyperactive Certificate, 3 Hour Mixed-Age Groups in Early Childhood Programs Certificate, and Including All Children and the Americans with Disabilities Act Certificate.

Over the years, Daphnnet has worked primarily with preschool and kindergarten-aged children. One of her most formative workplace experiences was working as an Intern for Montgomery County Public Schools. In this position, she worked in a kindergarten class and learned how to incorporate integrated strategies and standards in the classroom.

Daphnnet loves hiking, exploring the great outdoors, sports, and eating new and interesting foods. She also enjoys traveling to different countries and experinecing new cultures—though one of her favorite places to be is back home with family in Peru, where she was born and raised.

Anne  Henochowicz

Anne Henochowicz

Chinese Teacher

Anne Henochowicz joined Aidan in the 2022-23 School Year. She trained in the communicative method of foreign language pedagogy at The Ohio State University, where she also taught beginning-to-intermediate Chinese. Anne has since taught at the Gaithersburg Chinese School and worked as a substitute at National Cathedral School. After a decade working in digital journalism, she is excited to be back in the classroom!

Anne gets outside as much as she can. She loves to garden and is learning to forage. Anne is also a Masters swimmer and swam across the Hudson River twice.

Jade Jackson

Jade Jackson

Learning Support Specialist for Literacy

Jade Jackson joins Aidan as a Learning Support Specialist for Literacy with a great deal of experience. In 2016, Jade served an AmeriCorps term with Reading Partners DC after earning her BA in Sociology from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and working at a non-profit supporting Middle School literacy intervention. Jade has lived a life of service and has volunteered with several organizations, including Peace Corps, to achieve educational equity. During her time at Reading Partners DC, Jade worked one-one with students using an evidence-based literacy curriculum, managed a team of AmeriCorps members to individualize instruction further, and served as the program director, creating a vision for an effective literacy program in 22 partnerships.

Jade loves to get creative through jewelry-making, sculpting, and fashion. She writes letters to loved ones during the quiet moments, reads, and goes outside for a walk. Her favorite movie genre is horror, which stemmed from reading Goosebumps and ghost stories as a child!

Dairo Jose Borja

Dairo Jose Borja

Substitute Teacher

Dairo joined Aidan in the 2022-23 School Year. He previously worked as a Lower Elementary Montessori guide and Spanish Reading Interventionist at a public school, and is currently in the process of finishing his Montessori Certification for Lower Elementary with the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (MACTE). He also has two years of experience teaching adults and working as a music teacher for a bilingual music institute in the D.C. metro area.

Dairo has been involved with Montessori education for the past 11 years—first as a parent, and later as a teacher. His children attended a bilingual Montessori school in DC through their elementary years, and those years helped him imagine how wonderful it would be to work in a Montessori school.

Dairo is from Colombia. Though the majority of Colombians play futbol (soccer), Dairo has been in love with volleyball since he was 15 years old. He is also a musician and loves to play a variety of different instruments.

Phillip Katinas

Phillip Katinas

Director of Auxilliary Programs

Phillip Katinas joined Aidan in 2018 and currently serves as the Director of Auxiliary Services. Phillip’s work in education began at the Sheridan School in DC, where he served as camp teacher at their Creative Arts and Summer Adventure Camp (CASA) while home from college during the summer. After several years as camp teacher, Phillip accepted a full-time role as the Program Manager for CASA and was ultimately promoted to the Assistant Director of Auxiliary Programs at Sheridan. As Sheridan's Assistant Director of Auxiliary Programs, Philip oversaw all after school and summer programs and brings a wealth of knowledge to his role at Aidan. In addition to managing Aidan's After School (ASP), Discovery, and Summer Programs, Phillip also teaches PE to the Elementary and Primary students.

Phillip and his family are DC-natives and all still reside in the area. Phillip loves playing sports, especially ice hockey. He also enjoys exploring the great outdoors, biking, camping, and hiking. Philip spends his free time training his two Newfoundland dogs, who not only love to swim but are water-rescue certified.

Zinat Khraishah

Zinat Khraishah

Substitute Teacher

Zinat started her career at Aidan in 2004 by spending nine years as a Lower Elementary Classroom Assistant. She expanded her role at the school in 2009, when she joined the After School Program (ASP) staff. She also spent one year as a Toddler Assistant, several years as a Primary Assistant - a role for which she earned AMI certification - and is now a substitute for the Lower School. Her career in education began in her hometown of Ramallah, where she co-founded a private preschool and worked there as a teacher and administrator. After moving to the US, she worked for several years as an Educational Aid at Hearst Elementary and as a Primary Assistant at Franklin Montessori School. She has also completed Montessori workshops on a variety of topics including music and parent education.

Zinat is a native of Palestine and a native Arabic speaker. She enjoys working in her community garden, reading, cooking and traveling. Her daughter, Janine, is an honors graduate of Brown University and recently completed an MBA at Harvard University. Her son, Omar, is an honors graduate of the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State University.

Courtenay Labson

Courtenay Labson

School Counselor

Aidan Montessori School is pleased to welcome Courtenay Labson as our new School Counselor. Prior coming to Aidan and completing her Master’s in Social Work, Courtenay spent ten years practicing law in the DC area. She recently completed a two year internship as middle school counselor and social/emotional learning educator at private school in Potomac, MD, specializing in students with learning differences. Courtenay also served as a volunteer mentor and counselor working with adolescents in crisis for several years.

Courtenay is an avid cyclist, both on and off pavement, and also loves long hikes, skiing and cooking. She has three teenage children (including twins), a hound and a cat.

Margaret Skor

Margaret Skor

Art Teacher

Margaret joined Aidan as Art Teacher in 2017, in a convergence of her professional background in both art and childcare. She began her art career as a photographer and documentary filmmaker. Much of her work involved kids, schools, and nonprofits that work with children. She transitioned to working with children full-time as a nanny and found that she loved working one-on-one with young children and helping them to cultivate their self-expression and curiosity. She has also worked as a creator of group events, parties, and art workshops for children for 15 years.

Margaret has been a part of the Aidan community as a caregiver for two Aidan students for eight years. She enjoyed getting involved in their Aidan classrooms and getting to know Aidan's community and the Montessori method. She also loves continuing to learn by taking advantage of all the museums and cultural events DC has to offer. You can find her taking photographs, reading, booking, crafting new projects, or just walking in the city in her free time.

Nell Stewart

Nell Stewart

Librarian

Nell started her library career working in academic and research libraries. She worked at Georgetown University's Medical Library, and was lucky enough to get a summer position in the Reference Department of the Library of Congress, working in the beautiful Jefferson Building. After being home raising her children she became interested in school libraries, so she took courses in School Library Media and worked as a substitute librarian in independent and public schools in the DC area. Nell has Master's degrees in Library Science and in European History. Her recent Professional Development work has been in children's literature translated into English from other languages.

Nell has been in a book club for 20 years! Besides reading she enjoys biking, swimming, gardening, baking, and spending time with her family.

After-School Programs & Discovery

Natalia Fuks

Natalia Fuks

Substitute & ASP Staff

Coming soon!

Phillip Katinas

Phillip Katinas

Director of Auxilliary Programs

Phillip Katinas joined Aidan in 2018 and currently serves as the Director of Auxiliary Services. Phillip’s work in education began at the Sheridan School in DC, where he served as camp teacher at their Creative Arts and Summer Adventure Camp (CASA) while home from college during the summer. After several years as camp teacher, Phillip accepted a full-time role as the Program Manager for CASA and was ultimately promoted to the Assistant Director of Auxiliary Programs at Sheridan. As Sheridan's Assistant Director of Auxiliary Programs, Philip oversaw all after school and summer programs and brings a wealth of knowledge to his role at Aidan. In addition to managing Aidan's After School (ASP), Discovery, and Summer Programs, Phillip also teaches PE to the Elementary and Primary students.

Phillip and his family are DC-natives and all still reside in the area. Phillip loves playing sports, especially ice hockey. He also enjoys exploring the great outdoors, biking, camping, and hiking. Philip spends his free time training his two Newfoundland dogs, who not only love to swim but are water-rescue certified.

Emily Vanegas

Emily Vanegas

ASP Staff

Bio coming soon!

Administration

Blake Brophy

Blake Brophy

Chief Financial Officer

Blake Brophy brings to Aidan Montessori School more than 25-years of accumulated experience and expertise managing financial and accounting matters, with extensive experience within the non-profit sector. A graduate of Hamilton College and the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University, Blake began his career in the tax practice of Arthur Andersen LLP servicing a broad array of clients with a focus on exempt organizations. This foundational experience inspired Blake to pursue a professional career in service to non-profits, serving as controller and chief financial officer for two professional membership associations, an international grant-making foundation and a philanthropic advisory firm. At Washington National Opera, Blake led the accounting and financial reporting operations for seven seasons and assisted in the organization’s ultimate merger with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Throughout his career, Blake has been committed to providing insightful financial analyses to a wide range of audiences to communicate clearly the link between strategic planning and allocation of resources to assessments of financial and operational performance.

Outside of work, Blake is committed to supporting a vibrant arts & culture environment throughout the greater Washington, DC community. He has served on the boards of three performing arts organizations and has performed in and directed numerous staged productions with several local theatre groups. Blake lives on Capitol Hill and enjoys travel, cooking and spending summer afternoons rooting for the home team at Nationals Stadium.

Kevin Clark

Kevin Clark

Head of School

Kevin is a passionate educator whose leadership approach is deeply rooted in the global, collaborative, and facilitative nature of the Montessori pedagogy. He has more than 25 years of teaching and administrative experience, including thirteen as a Head of Montessori schools. Prior to coming to Aidan, Kevin served as Head at Bay Farm Montessori Academy and Amherst Montessori School, both in Massachusetts. He also served as the President of the Montessori Schools of Massachusetts, an organization serving nearly 100 New England schools.

Kevin’s passion for education developed while in the Peace Corps, training teachers in Pakistan and teaching in Namibia. He went on to devote two years to English and Arabic studies at the American University in Cairo, deeply reflecting upon the processes of learning and teaching, while earning a master’s degree. Following his time in Egypt, Kevin taught at the British Council in Berlin, Germany, before returning to the US to direct multiple international student programs, including the English Language Center at Northeastern University. Appointed Assistant Head of a Montessori school in 2004, Kevin – a new father at the time – was instantly enlightened to a philosophy of learning that, in his words, was life changing.

In addition to his professional ties to Montessori, Kevin and his wife are the parents of three Montessori-educated children.

Julian Denizard

Julian Denizard

Diversity Coordinator

Aidan Montessori School has recently created the role of Diversity Coordinator and we are thrilled to welcome Julian Denizard to our team. Julian has served as a member of the James Madison University (JMU) and Harrisonburg activism community as a Diversity Educator at JMU, a collaborator with JMU admin in matters regarding minority student affairs, and a volunteer for the Harrisonburg On The Road Collaborative. He has also served as an executive board member for several minority student organizations under the JMU Center for Multicultural Student Services. Additionally, Julian recently had the pleasure of serving as a volunteer for Real Industry, a nonprofit organization based in California that focuses on empowering undergraduate students of color and connecting them with prominent companies and organizations for the sake of building their professional networks.

Julian’s passion for education primarily stems from his mother's longtime service as a substitute teacher in Northern Virginia and North Carolina. Combined with his expertise in dialogue facilitation, cultural awareness, and diversity education, the progressive nature of the Montessori approach deeply resonates with him and Julian is excited to join the Aidan community.

Linda Fincham

Linda Fincham

Office Manager

Linda, born and raised in Maryland, attended Washington Bible College where she earned her B.A. in Education. After graduation, Linda was a Kindergarten teacher until the birth of her son. Rejoining the work force in 1988, she was offered a position as a Children’s Library Associate for Prince Georges County, Maryland, where she enjoyed planning story times for local schools until the birth of her daughter in 1991. After raising her daughter, Linda became the office manager for a computer company for six years but was anxious to return to work in an academic environment. From 2002-2013, she worked as an administrative assistant for the Speech-Language Department of The Lab School of Washington.

Linda enjoys spending time with her two grown children, Tim and Rachel, and she is very active in her church. On the weekends, Linda loves to dog sit and discover walking trails, and can often be found her with her nose in a good book.

Jacqueline Gibson-Barrow

Jacqueline Gibson-Barrow

School Receptionist

Jacqueline Gibson-Barrow grew up in Barbados, where she studied accounting, and moved to the United States in 1985. She received her childcare certification from Montgomery College. Before joining Aidan, she worked as a nanny for eight years. She also works at the Arcola Health and Rehab Center (Nursing Home) part time. Jackie is a member of the Barbados National Association and is always ready to volunteer.

She enjoys all kinds of craft and meeting people. Jackie has been married to her wonderful husband, Earl, for over 25 years. They have an older son, Emerson, and a daughter, Lisa-Anne, (Aidan Class of 2009) Holton-Arms class of 2015. Lisa-Anne recently graduated from San Diego State University, where she received a Track and Field scholarship.

Nicole Goodman

Nicole Goodman

Assistant Head of School for Operations

Nicole joined Aidan Montessori School in 2018 as the Director of Communications, Marketing and Advancement. Prior to joining Aidan, Nicole spent six years at Oneness-Family School in Chevy Chase, Maryland where she served as Director of Communication and Fundraising. A native to Silver Spring, Maryland, Nicole attributes her lifelong love of learning to her own experiences as child in the Montessori classroom.

Nicole currently lives in Maryland with her mini-poodle Luna. In her free time, Nicole loves catching a concert, spending time browsing local bookstores, and exploring new restaurants in and around DC. She is an avid solo traveler and is always planning her next adventure.


Grace Lee

Grace Lee

Director of Admissions & Enrollment Management

Grace is an AMI Primary-trained guide and has worked in both independent and public Montessori schools. Prior to joining Aidan as Director of Admission in 2016, she served as the Montessori Instructional Specialist for DCPS supporting all Primary programs and collaborating with Central Office to maintain and align Montessori standards and practices. She has also served as co-leader of the DC Montessori Coalition since 2013. She is also an AMI Primary Consultant, one of a small number of people rigorously trained and certified to assist Montessori schools in perfecting their craft as practitioners of the Montessori method.

Grace loves DC - and she especially loves that it is a unique hotbed of Montessori programs that creates amazing, high quality access to Montessori education across the private, public, and charter sectors. She also enjoys photography, especially of children and food (and sometimes helps document life at Aidan due to her talent behind the camera).

Ellie Lehnert

Ellie Lehnert

Staff Accountant

Ellie Lehnert joined Aidan Montessori School as the Staff Accountant in 2019. After graduating from college, Ellie served as a bookkeeper and assistant property manager for three years at a firm that managed 100+ residential properties in Maryland and DC. She later spent 6-1/2 years with Keller Williams Realty as the Market Center Administrator for offices in McLean, Arlington, and Tysons Corner. During her time with Keller Williams, Ellie managed the office financials and reporting, coordinated charity golf tournaments and supported numerous community outreach and fundraising initiatives. Aidan is pleased to have Ellie and her considerable experience as part of its Business Office.

Ellie is a DC native and currently lives in Fairfax, Virginia. In her free time, Ellie enjoys photography, hiking, sewing and watching movies.

Oscar Manzano

Oscar Manzano

Building & Grounds Coordinator

Aidan is pleased to welcome Oscar Manzano as our Buildings and Grounds Coordinator. Prior to joining the Aidan community, Oscar was employed at the National Press Club for 35 years. Before that, he was employed for five years as a Maintenance Supervisor.

Oscar was born in El Salvador and came to the United States in 1985. He currently lives in Virginia with his beautiful wife and children.

Lexi O'Malley

Lexi O'Malley

School Nurse

Lexi O'Malley keeps the Aidan community healthy and safe as our School Nurse. Prior to joining Aidan, Lexi spent three years at Children's National Hospital working on the Hematology/Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. While at Children’s, she also served on the Wound and Skin Team and was an auditor for a hospital-wide hand washing data collection initiative. Lexi also gained valuable experience working with children during her three year stint with White House Nannies. She completed a mission trip to Myanmar in January 2020 to perform health screenings and provide basic teaching to children in several orphanages. Lexi plays a pivotal role in maintaining Aidan’s health and wellness policies and procedures as we tackle the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and we are thrilled to have her expertise to guide us.

Lexi grew up in New Jersey, right outside of Philadelphia. She currently lives in Arnold, Maryland with her husband. In her free time, Lexi enjoys being with family and friends, vacationing at the beach and lake, practicing yoga, reading, and cooking. She also loves ladybugs, acai bowls, and house plants.


Bianca Ruggiero

Bianca Ruggiero

Graphic Designer & Publication Assistant

Bianca was born and raised in Miami, Florida where she attended Design and Architecture Senior High. She later attended Oregon State University where she majored in Graphic Design. After graduating from Oregon State, Bianca worked with the Juntos program, a program designed to empower Latino students around Oregon. Additionally, Bianca is the owner of her own online plant shop, and spends her days managing both the business and botanical aspects of the store.

After growing up around the lush tropical plants in Florida, Bianca is passionate about plants and often uses them to find inspiration for her designs. Bianca also enjoys spending lots of time with her beagle, Bowie, and two cats, Teresita and Suki.

Jahanna Schwab

Jahanna Schwab

Director of Communication and Events

Jahanna Schwab joined the Aidan Community in 2021 as the new Communications and Advancement Associate, and then rose to the position of Director of Communications & Events for the 2022-23 school year. Before joining the team at Aidan, Jahanna worked as a Staff Writer and Editor for Rise25, a respected podcasting agency. Prior to this, she served as the VP of Communications for her college's chapter of International Justice Mission, the world's largest anti-human trafficking organization, and worked as a member of the Nursery and Children's Ministry Staff at Clemson Presbyterian Church.

In her free time, Jahanna loves to read books of all genres and sizes, write everything from poems to memoirs, and explore both the nooks and crannies of the city and hike and backpack in the great outdoors. She and her husband, Tim, live in Central D.C. and enjoy eating delicious food, watching movies and sitcoms, and generally living day-to-day life side-by-side.

Garret Tyson

Garret Tyson

Director of Advancement

Garret Tyson joins the Aidan community for the 2022-23 school year as Director of Advancement. After receiving a degree in Psychology from The George Washington University, Garret found his path in the nonprofit sector as Program and Development Assistant at The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. While there, he worked to support congressionally-mandated research studies in the field of behavioral sciences with funding support from federal entities, private foundations, and individual donors. He later joined The Duke Ellington School of the Arts as a Development Associate before rising to the position of Development and Grant Manager, where he supported the school's annual fund efforts, including grant writing and outreach to local businesses, board relations, and community engagement with the admissions team. Right before joining Aidan, Garret worked at Dumbarton House, a historic property and garden in Georgetown, where he started as Advancement Officer before becoming the Chief Advancement Officer, where he led the annual fund, planned giving society, a large-scale fundraising efforts for a multi-year capital project, multiple committees, and much more.

Garret’s hobbies and passions include film, spending quality time with family, traveling with his twin brother, and playing with his cat, Roger.

Mariana Vicéns

Mariana Vicéns

Assistant Head of School for Faculty and Curriculum

Aidan Montessori School is delighted to welcome Mariana Vicéns as its new Director of Education and Head of Lower School. As a Montessori child, Mariana knew from an early age that her passion was working with children, helping others, and making a difference in the world. After graduating, she attended the University of Florida, where she got a bachelor's in Sociology and Latin American Studies. Mariana continued her education at The Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico earning a master’s degree in Special Education. During this time, she worked as a Teacher Assistant at a local Montessori school. Mariana returned to the United States for Montessori Training and graduated with a master’s degree in Montessori Education from the Washington Montessori Institute (AMI) at Loyola University Maryland. After 5 years of teaching at the Primary level, she decided to continue her education and received her Assistance to Infancy Diploma from The Montessori Institute in Denver Colorado.

Mariana loves her Caribbean roots and incorporates the Puerto Rican rhythm, love, food, and language into her daily life andinteraction with her students and families. With each passing day, the children inspire her to become a better person. In her spare time, Mariana enjoys doing outdoor activities, traveling, learning about other cultures, and spending time with her family and friends.

John Worsham

John Worsham

Security Officer

John Worsham joined Aidan in 2021 as our Security Officer and is known by all the staff and students as "Officer John." After receiving his Diploma from Crossland High School in Maryland, John joined the United States Navy, where he served as a Sailor. Before joining the Aidan community, John spent years working as a Security Officer for multiple different businesses and organizations.

John is a proud father of 7 children, and in his free time he loves to draw, paint, and listen to music.


To email a member of our faculty or staff, contact firstinitial.lastname@aidanschool.org.