Sean Obrien

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 over 7 years. 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.

When I am not walking about the school checking in on classrooms or meeting with students, teachers or parents I enjoy traveling both locally into the mountains or out to the sea, and internationally to experience different cultures and meet friends from around the world.

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.

James Ward

Assistant Head of School and Admissions Director

Joining our team is the former Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management for Eastside Catholic, James Ward. Mr. James brings years of experience into our office, and I expect he will become a valuable asset to our community. His combination of business and school leadership will help guide us through this pandemic and set us up to grow as a school into the future.

Mary Obrien

Mary O'Brien

Founding Director and Elementary Coordinator

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Infant and Toddler

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.

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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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.

Tara Jackson

Tara Jackson

Primary Teacher - Juniper Class

I lived in the mid-west for 34 years before finding my calling in the beautiful state of Washington. Ambitiously my husband, daughter, and I drove 2,000 miles and found the perfect place to call home in the Evergreen state. We love to spend all of our time outdoors seeking the next adventure around the bend with our German Sheppard. I have always been surrounded by teachers in my family and continue to draw inspiration and humbleness from them. I attained my Associate in Arts in Elementary Education, Associate in Applied Science in Early Childhood, and Preschool/Kindergarten Montessori Diploma. I taught at a licensed early childhood center for 9 years and then continued on to the position of Administrative Director for 7 years before moving to Washington. I worked for the state of Illinois Network Child Care Resources & Referral Agencies as a professional development advisor and spent many hours writing grants. I discovered Montessori and felt that there was no other type of school comparable to the ideas and concepts that were implemented through the Montessori method. I knew that this was the path waiting for my family and I am proud to be the lead teacher in Juniper since 2014!

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.

Acacia Gilmer

Acacia Gilmer

Primary Teacher - Chestnut Class

I am very proud to have started the Chestnut class back in 2015. It has been wonderful to see the children learn and grow over the years. I am a lifelong Montessorian and truly enjoy seeing the year over year growth of my students. I am also the mother to three wonderful boys who are the joy of my life.


Maire Chacon

Primary Assistant Teacher - Chestnut Class

Buenos Dias! I am originally from Venezuela, and have found a wonderful home here at Arbor. I have been working with Ms. Acacia and the children in the Chestnut class since 2017.

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!

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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.

Debbie Steele

Debbie Steele Jones

Lower Elementary Teacher - Willow Class

I have been teaching at Arbor since 2008 and I had been a teacher for six years before that. When my son turned three and was ready for school, I started to look into the Montessori philosophy and realized that this was where we both belonged. I have a bachelor’s degree in education, a certificate to teach K-8, and a partial endorsement in special needs. I am a yoga instructor for children, and am certified to teach Primary Montessori. My son is one of my favorite people to hang with. We live in Kirkland with my husband, Derek, and our little dog Stormy. I enjoy the outdoors, running and being with family and friends.

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.

Kaylee Anderson

Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher

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Upper Elementary


Eileen Egger

Upper Elementary Assistant Teacher-Cedar 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.

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Online Teacher


Vanita Gupta

Primary Online Teacher

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.

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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.


Patricia Gonzalez

Spanish Specialist

Hola, this is my second year at Arbor teaching Spanish. I became a teacher back home in Mexico City. It is a great feeling to work at the same school that my oldest daughter attended 15 years ago. Teaching and cooking are two of my passions in life.

Outside Arbor, I love cooking, getting together with friends and watching movies with my husband and our two daughters, both sophomores. Valeria in Psychology and Regina in Skyline HS. JoJo is the latest member of the family, a 5 year old Shichon. We have been in the wonderful Northwest since 1997.

Stacey Mullins Jensen

Stacey Mullins-Jensen

Horticulture Specialist

I have been developing and teaching the horticulture curriculum at Arbor since 2013. My passion is to be outside enjoying natures beauty.

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