Aidan Montessori School is thrilled to welcome Vithusha Balachandran as the lead guide in the Mountain Silverbell Toddler community. Vithusha has worked with young children since graduating college. She originally attended Montessori schools from age 2 to 6. As a young child, Vithusha and her family traveled and lived in various cities across the world and her Montessori upbringing was one of the few constants in her early life. Vithusha volunteered in South Asia--particularly India--at schools that served under resourced communities. This experience inspired her to look back at her own Montessori foundation and re-discover it as an adult, and guide on the other side. Following this, Vithusha lived and worked in New York for six years, where she supported children below the age of 3 and their families in the Young Children's Community (0-3). She started off as an assistant and after a year and a half pursued her 0-3 training to become a lead guide in the same environment for the years that followed. Being a Montessori teacher now has led Vithusha to explore the world of education more holistically, and fuelled her passion for the need to create more accessible education for all children. To support this curiosity, Vithusha is currently enrolled in a Master's in Educational Policy and Leadership at American University beginning this Fall.
Thanks to her upbringing, travel, cross cultural exploration, storytelling and learning are passionate parts of Vithusha’s life. While she speaks three languages fluently (English, Tamil and Sinhala), she is also in the process of learning Spanish. Beyond the classroom, Vithusha enjoys reading, staying active, watching basketball, water sports and discovering new cities through their food, art, and coffee scene.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Regina McCormick brings more than 16 years of experience in graphic design to Aidan as our new Media Designer and Publications Assistant. Her focus has primarily been in design and brand management for nonprofits, specifically higher education institutions.Regina has also worked with local small-town governments to revitalize branding for downtown initiatives and with local print news agencies to modernize their look for younger audiences.
Regina and her family moved to the D.C. area from north Georgia in 2021. She has a preteen son and two furry permanent toddlers (dogs). Regina enjoys hiking, traveling, live music, drawing, painting, sci-fi in all forms of media, cooking, and making friends.
Jahanna Schwab joins the Aidan Community as the new Communications and Advancement Associate for the 2021-22 school year. Before joining the team at Aidan, Jahanna worked as a Staff Writer and Editor for Rise25, one of the world's leading podcasting agencies. 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.
Bio coming soon!
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.