Faculty

Administration

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Sean O’Brien

Head of School

I was one of the first students when Arbor began back in 1993, and worked as an after school assistant throughout high school. I have been back at Arbor since 2010 first as a early childhood teacher, then as Early Childhood coordinator, and as the Head of School since January of 2013.

I greatly appreciate being back at my ‘home,’ and I try to recreate that atmosphere for students and teachers alike. It has been amazing to see these students grow, many, I have now known for 7 years or more. Developing personal relationships in our small community is what makes Arbor special to me.

I hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Entrepreneurial Studies from Hawaii Pacific University. My Montessori Credentials include a Early Childhood Certificate (3-6) in 2009 from the National Center for Montessori Education, and most recently an Administrator Credential from the American Montessori Society in 2013.

My wife Monica and I have two wonderful boys, James and Shane, who now accompany me to school everyday. My Golden Retriever Finn is the unofficial school mascot and is in my office most days as well.

I am happy to speak with anyone about the benefits of Montessori Education and what makes Arbor Montessori a unique and successful educational experience from infancy through 6th grade.

Mary Obrien

Mary O'Brien

Founding Director and Elementary Coordinator

Sarah Starkey

Director of Admissions

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Infant and Toddler

Lily Watson

Infant and Toddler Teacher -

Zeynep Anil

Infant and Toddler Teacher -

Hello! My name is Zeynep Anil. I have a BA in International Relations from Ohio State University and have taught English as a Foreign Language for eight years abroad. I love working with children and I discovered Montessori when I had my daughter who has been a student at Arbor since 2015. I am deeply grateful to be a part of the Arbor community as a parent and a teacher. In my free time I enjoy travelling, reading, taking long walks and spending time with my husband and daughter.

Cynthia Delgadillo-Ornelas

Infant and Toddler Assistant Teacher -

Samsi Tiarani

Tia Samsi

Infant and Toddler Assistant Teacher -

Anita Sunil

Anita Sunil

Toddler Assistant Teacher -

I have enjoyed being part of the Arbor community since 2008. It is amazing to see the children grow over the years.

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Primary

Balasubramanian Bhavani

Bhavani Balasubramanian

Primary Teacher - Magnolia Class

I am thrilled to be joining the Arbor community as the lead teacher in the Magnolia class. It feels like a home coming as I have found memories of both my children's time here at Arbor. I have been working in Montessori classrooms since 2013 and completed my Early Childhood credential in 2014.

Have a peaceful day.

Frances Addison

Primary Assistant Teacher - Magnolia Class

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Vanita Gupta

Primary Teacher - Juniper Class

I am from New Delhi, India. I came to Seattle in 2008 and loved the city so much that I stayed here. I have been at Arbor since 2017, and I am really grateful to be a part of the community. I love working with kids as it gives me an opportunity to learn at every step.I have a Masters degree in business administration and Finance and post graduation degree in commerce from Delhi University, India. I also got my assitant montessori certification from MEIPN last year.

On personal front, I am a mother of two kids - elder one is a middle schooler at Pine Lake and younger one started 1st grade this year .When I am not working I like spending time with my family, reading books, cooking and watching movies.

Sunitha Atla

Primary Assistant Teacher - Juniper Class

Esmeralda Napalan

Esme Napalan

Primary Assistant Teacher - Juniper Class

I grew up from the Philippines and moved to the U.S. in 2001 and lived in Issaquah with my husband Mikey and my daughter Ava.

I love working with children so I became an active parent-volunteer ever since my daughter attended Montessori. As my daughter grew, I realized that having Montessori as her foundation for learning really helped her social and mental development. She loves learning and excels in Math and Science and is now in the National Junior Honor Society in middle school. That’s when I decided to be part of Arbor Montessori that helps children cultivate their love and passion for learning.

When I’m not surrounded by my wonderful Arbor children, I enjoy spending time with my family attending swim meets, playing table tennis, shopping, dining out, and walking my two dogs Shaggy and Fluffy.

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Eileen Egger

Primary Teacher - Chestnut Class

I began my Montessori education as an Assistant in 2001 after having obtained my Bachelors of Science in El.Ed from Miami University and few years as a nanny in Chicago.The Montessori philosophy of honoring the spirit of the child while fostering social, emotional and academic development immediately captivated me. I joined the Arbor Montessori School community in 2006 as an intern in MEIPN's Early Childhood AMS certification program. I transitioned into the Early Childhood Coordinator position after nine years as lead teacher in the Maple classroom. My enthusiasm for the Montessori method has been regularly refreshed by participation in nine national conferences and more recently as a field consultant for the MEIPN internship program. In my personal time, I enjoy exploring the PNW trails. I look forward to continuing to support and strengthen the entire Arbor community through collegial communication and collaborative efforts.

Drew Winter

Primary Assistant Teacher - Chestnut Class

Ashley Wyrwinski

Ashley Wyrwinsky

Teacher Maple Class

I have been a part of the Arbor Community since 2014. I am very proud to have completed my Montessori Early Childhood Certificate her at Arbor and joined my good friend Mrs. Konika as Co-teachers in the the Maple class in 2017!

Stephanie Giraud

Primary Assistant Teacher - Maple Class

Bonjour, I love learning about Montessori education and working in the Maple class!

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Lower Elementary

Allison Foote

Allison Olsen

Lower Elementary - Madrona Class

I was welcomed to the Arbor community in 2013 as an assistant teacher, now in Lower Elementary as lead in the Madrona class. I am currently earning my AMS 6-9 certification as a self-directed intern from the Montessori Elementary Teachers Training Collaborative in Lexington, MA. Recently, I completed my M. Ed. with a focus in Montessori Education from William Howard Taft University. I became AMS certified in Early Childhood in 2014 through MEIPN and fondly reflect on my first four years at Arbor as a guide in the Early Childhood Program. Before my journey lead me to Montessori, I earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in German and International Studies from Allegheny College in PA. I have a passion for travel and I originally hail from North Shore Massachusetts, yet I am happy to call our house atop Squak Mt. home. In my free time, I’m often outside and frequently on-the-go by bike or skis. Yoga, delicious food and garden projects are my happy balance that keep me present with the ones I love.

Laura Balcom

Lower Elementary Teacher - Willow Class

I came to Arbor in 2020-21 as one of the online elementary co-teachers. Prior to Arbor, I was the Upper Elementary Montessori teacher in the Bremerton School District. I have also taught at two private Montessori schools in Bellevue and in long-term substitute positions in Seattle Public Schools.

Prior to teaching, I was a software engineer specializing in natural language processing (getting a computer to parse and extract information from natural languages, such as English or Spanish), and also an ordained Christian minister. I fell serendipitously into Montessori teaching when my family moved to the Puget Sound area, just as an earthquake and the dot com crash knocked the wind out of the sails of my previous careers, but I soon discovered that teaching is my true love, and I see preparation for teaching in all of my previous experiences.

I am also highly prepared academically, with an undergraduate degree in Biology from Bryn Mawr College, a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Arizona State University, a Master of Divinity from Boston University, a Montessori Elementary credential, and post-baccalaureate teaching credential from Western Governors University. I love school and learning a broad variety of academic subjects, and it is my joy and privilege to help children love school, as well.

I live in Port Orchard on the Kitsap Peninsula with my husband and adult son, and will be staying in Bellevue during teaching weeks. I enjoy gardening, singing in a choir, playing guitar, piano, and Middle Eastern percussion, knitting and crochet, writing songs and poetry, working various kinds of puzzles, walking, hiking, and traveling.

Suparna Ray

Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher

Katrina Muser

Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher

2021 is my first year here at Arbor, as well as at a Montessori school. I have always been interested in the Montessori philosophy, and like many others who work here, wish I had a Montessori upbringing! I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work and learn here.

I lived most of my childhood here in the Issaquah/Sammamish area. I recently moved back after 9 years of working in Switzerland and traveling abroad. I am a first generation American, and getting to know my parents' different cultures was and is important to me. They introduced me to travel, and since then I've visited 23 countries, on 5 continents, and spent roughly 14 months backpacking/volunteering. I love immersing myself in different cultures, and witnessing a different way of being.

I hope all of my experiences will help me genuinely connect with each student, and their unique way of experiencing and learning.

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Upper Elementary

Anika Winter

Upper Elementary Teacher - Cedar Class

Bio coming

Nisha Sikaria

Upper Elementary Assistant Teacher-Cedar class

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Online Teacher

Andon Dansberger

Online Elementary Teacher

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Specialists

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Stephanie Lamb

Librarian and Reading Specialist

I joined the Arbor community in 2016, as the reading specialist. I started my career as a Montessori teacher in 1994 in the California Bay Area. After graduating from College of Notre Dame with a Masters in Education, my desire was to help children learn how to read, which is now a passion. Most especially, working with students who have reading difficulties provides me with the most satisfaction. I hold a certificate specializing in helping dyslexic children received from the Academy of Orton-Gillingham. When not at work, I enjoy walking my dog, McDuff, and spending time with my family.

Raquel Tovar Abad

Spanish Specialist

Stacey Mullins Jensen

Stacey Mullins-Jensen

Horticulture Specialist

I have been a lifelong learner of outdoor and elementary education with degrees from the U of Colorado-Boulder and University of Minnesota. I have taught children in both private and public school settings. When my twins Sarah and Michael went to college I became a Master Gardener enjoying the intensive evidence based horticultural training that Washington State University provides. In 2013 I was invited to join the team of specialists at Arbor to share my passion for the art and science of growing plants. Arbor garden and the seasonal life within it provide endless opportunities for learning, sharing and growing. When I am not in the garden I enjoy hiking with my energetic doodle Ellie, reading, skiing, and exploring with friends and family.

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Elementary Coordinator

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