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.

Correine Magee 2

Correine Magee

Director of Admissions

I am deeply passionate about all things Montessori! Originally from Canada, I have lived in the United States for almost 25 years and have been an administrator at Arbor Montessori School since 2007.  I hold a Bachelors Degree in Communications from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.My husband and I are blessed to raise our two incredible children here in Pacific Northwest.I have a special place in my heart for animals, nature, plant based cooking, chocolate, coffee, yoga and travelling to warm places!


Eileen Egger

Early Childhood Coordinator

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.

Mary Obrien

Mary O'Brien

Founding Director

I started Arbor Montessori School in 1993 to bring true Montessori education to the Sammamish Plateau. More selfishly, I founded the school for my three children, the oldest of whom is Mr. Sean, the Head of School.  My passion for Montessori education burns strongly and I’m thrilled to see the school community grow from year to year.  I find great joy from traveling the world, running, sewing, and spending time with my family.

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Infant and Toddler

Michelle Aldrich

Michelle Aldrich

Infant and Toddler Teacher - Bonsai Class

Before joining the team at Arbor, I was attending school at Bellevue College and working part time at a toy store. I have been working at Arbor for just under a year now, and my son Paedan is in the toddler class. I am also continuing to work part time at the same toy store, and am looking to return to Bellevue College this coming year to finish my associates in education. Outside of work, I spend my time sewing, camping with my family, or playing at the park with my son.

Samsi Tiarani

Tiarani Samsi

Infant and Toddler Assistant Teacher - Bonsai Class

Cecile Ricord

Cecile Ricord

Infant and Toddler Assistant Teacher - Bonsai Class

I was born and raised in the Philippines. I graduated from college in 2000 with a Bachelors degree in Food Technology.  It was at this time that I realized I loved working with children. So I continued my schooling and received my Primary Education Certificate in 2001 from West Negros University in the Philippines.  I started teaching at the Primary Level, teaching children from seven to nine years of age. I then decided to work outside the Philippines as a full time, live in Nanny in Kuwait, working there for 6 years.  From there, I was giving the opportunity to worked as a full time nanny in Hong Kong.  All in all, I worked abroad as a Nanny for almost nine years, working with kids between the ages of four to 10.  It was during my tenure as a nanny, I realized I really loved working with children.  In 2014, I moved to the United States and got married in June of that same year.   I have two sisters and a brother and have two beautiful twin daughters, age 13.  They all live in the Philippines along with my parents.

I started working at Arbor in April of 2015 as an Assistant Teacher with the infant children.  I absolutely love working with the infants children.  It is here that I connect with them with love, teaching them the foundations of respect, independence, and early childhood development.  They have brought me such happiness and lots of laughter.

When I am not working in Arbor I love to go shopping, go on walks and watching movies with my husband.

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Keely Strohl

Keely Strohl

Toddler Teacher - Holly Class

I started working in a downtown Seattle Montessori school as a teacher assistant in 1993.  After traveling and working as a summer nanny in New York City,  I realized Montessori was going to be my career. I took my 0-3 AMS Montessori training in 1997, and interned in both infant and toddler classrooms.  I joined Arbor Montessori School in the summer of 2012, as the toddler teacher.  Not only am I staff, but I am also a parent at Arbor.  My two daughters, Rooney and Keane, are also students at Arbor.  My family and I live in downtown Issaquah and enjoy going on long walks to various parks and restaurants.


Zeynep Anil

Toddler Assistant Teacher - Holly Class

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 for three years now. 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.

Madison Frantz

Madison Frantz

Toddler Assistant Teacher - Holly Class

Anita Sunil

Anita Sunil

Toddler Assistant Teacher - Holly Class

I moved to the United States in 2004 after teaching in India for 6 years. I have been in the Holly room now since 2009 and really enjoying working with our amazing toddlers. When I am not at work I like to spend time with my family reading, gardening and enjoying life.

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Balasubramanian Bhavani

Bhavani Balasubramanian

Primary Teacher - Magnolia Class

Ms. Bhavani will be joining the Arbor community for the 2018-2019 school year as the lead teacher of the Magnolia classroom. 

Her educational background is in computer science in which she earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Osmania University in India. More recently she completed the American Montessori Society Early Childhood credential at the Montessori Center for Teacher Education in Bellevue, Washington.

Ms. Bhavani lives in Sammamish with her husband, daughter and son. While not at school she spends lots of time on the sidelines of her children’s sporting activities, and enjoys the occasional hike.

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Nala Zhang

Primary Assistant Teacher - Magnolia Class

Hi! I was born in Beijing,China, and moved to the U.S in 2009. I have a Bachelor degree in Business Administration in International business. I earned a certificate in Montessori Education (2 1/2 to 6 years old) from Montessori Institute of America.I joined the Arbor's community in July of 2017, and have enjoyed it ever since!


Vanita Gupta

Primary Assistant Teacher - Magnolia Class

I am originally from New Delhi, India. I came to Seattle in 2008 and loved the city so much that I stayed here. This is my second year in the Magnolia classroom here at Arbor and I am really grateful to be a part of the team. I love working with kids, as it gives you 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. This past winter I completed the Montessori Assistant Certification from MEIPN.

On personal front, I am the mother of two wonderful children - my oldest one is in middle school at Pine Lake and my youngest started kindergarten this year. When I am not working I like spending time with my family, reading books, cooking and watching movies.

Tara Jackson

Tara Jackson

Primary Teacher - Juniper Class

Hello friends! My name is Tara Jackson and I spent my formative years in the mid-west in Southern Illinois. Currently my time is cherished with my daughter Guenevere and husband Justin creating memories and traveling. We like to meander under the canopy of evergreens finding a new trail to explore or peak to climb with our German Sheppard Elsa. I attained my Associate in Arts in Elementary Education, Associate in Applied Science in Early Childhood, and Montessori Credential in Early Childhood Development from the Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest. I am proud and thankful to enter my 5th year as lead teacher in Juniper.

Esmeralda Napalan

Esmeralda Napalan

Primary Assistant Teacher - Juniper Class

I grew up in Philippines and moved to the U.S. in 2001 and live 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 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.

Veena Bhoite

Veena Bhoite

Primary Assistant Teacher - Juniper Class


Acacia Gilmer

Primary Teacher - Chestnut Class

Hello! My name is Acacia Gilmer. I am a mother of 3 active boys who are the love and joy of my life! They are 19, 14 and 13. My boys  keep me motivated and inspired to be the best mother and person that I can be, not only for myself but for others. I am a certified Infant and Toddler Montessori teacher as well as a certified 3 to 6 primary teacher. I have been working as a Montessori teacher since 2000 and have a passion and a love for learning.

I enjoy hot yoga, walks in nature and sporting events. Go Seahawks!!


Maire Chacon

Primary Assistant Teacher - Chestnut Class

Hi! I'm a Spanish teacher and an artist.I moved from Venezuela 15 years ago.I have a bachelor degree in Media and Marketing.I have worked extensively with non-profit organizations promoting healing for youth through artistic expressions.From 2009-2013 I volunteered at Children's Hospital as an Art Therapist, working closely with children at cancer unit.In my spare time i love listening to music,making art and reading spiritual books.I have a passion for teaching and helping others.


Deja Murray-Peeples

Primary Assistant Teacher - Chestnut Class

I am an independent, ambitious young woman originally from Washington! I enjoy Montessori as not only my job, but as a lifestyle. I was raised by a Montessori teacher and I believe it was something I was born to do. It is my loving passion.In my free time I love to go thrift shopping, listen to music and relax in my home with people I love. I hope to one day begin my AA and become a lead teacher and excel in my career.


Ashley Wyrwinski

Co-Teacher Maple Class

Hello! My name is Ashley and I am a Co-Teacher in Maple class. I have always loved working with children, and am so excited to be a part of the Arbor community. I have a loving husband and two children. In my free time I enjoy taking walks, reading, and watching my children in their activities.

Konika Mathur

Konika Mathur

Co-Teacher Maple Class

Hi! This is my 10year associated with Arbor schools. I received my AMS Montessori credentials in Early childhood in 2010 from MEIPN. This is my first year as a lead teacher alongside my friend and partner in crime, Ms. Ashley. I enjoy watching and learning along children. They inspire and challenge you like no other.

I am mother of two girls, older one graduated from Arbor in 2011 and is now a 7th grader. The younger one can be found in the domains of lower elementary here at Arbor. When I am not working and thinking about my classroom :), I am either reading or watching NFL with my family. I also enjoy long walks and running/walking Half Marathon with my dear friend Ashley. 

Hortencia Garcia

Hortencia Garcia

Primary Assistant Teacher - Maple Class

I was born in Colombia, South America from a very traditional family.  I got married and moved to the Netherlands, while there I learned Dutch, I also speak English and Spanish.  I have two daughters, one son and three grandchildren.  I have an Associate in Arts in Education and Social Studies.  My fascination for multicultural activities have helped me to feel comfortable among children and people from diverse backgrounds.  Working at Arbor has given me the opportunity to share and use my skills.  I enjoy being outdoors and spend my time camping, hiking, and jogging.  I also enjoy my time at home with my family.  My hobbies include dancing, needle point for my granddaughter, cooking and entertaining.  

Gayathri Geddam

Primary Program Assistant


Mei Gazit

Primary Program Assistant


Meghna Sarvaiya

Primary Program Assistant

Hi! I’m Meghna,I grew up in India and moved to Seattle after marriage.I have a degree in Accounting from India, after moving to U.S I pursued my education in Computer Science.My previous working background has been in Information Technology with the focus on Developing.

This is my 3rd year association with Arbor family,and I'm delightful to be part of such an amazing team.I work closely with Administration and also substitute for teachers as required.I have received my Assistant Teachers Training from MEIPEN last year.

I'm a busy mom of three active kids who also attend Arbor.In my free time I love to read,sew and take long walks and enjoy nature.

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Lower Elementary

Allison Foote

Allison Foote

Lower Elementary - Madrona Class

It is an honor to return to Arbor for my fifth year this fall in a new role as Lower Elementary Lead in Madrona. 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. online 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 Children’s House. 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.

Christine Wernette

Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher - Madrona class

Debbie Steele

Debbie Steele

Lower Elementary Teacher - Willow Class

I have been at Arbor Montessori School for twelve years and I have been teaching for eighteen years. 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 buddy Stormy. I enjoy the outdoors, hanging in Arizona, running and, being with family and friends.


JoDee Johnston

Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher-Willow Class

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Upper Elementary

Hana Toko

Hana Toko

Upper Elementary Teacher - Cedar Class

Aloha. My name is Hana Toko and I am the Lead Guide for the Upper Elementary Class. This is my second year here at Arbor Montessori School. I truly love guiding this age group of students. They have the ability to see the world from many view points and start to form their own beliefs and opinions about, while still seeing the innocence in it. This year I am working to finish my Masters in Elementary Education and working towards receiving my Washington State Teaching Certification. In my spare time I love spending time with my daughter who also attends Arbor Montessori.  I enjoy working with my hands doing various kinds of fiber art and crafts. 

Elkunchwar Sonal

Sonal Elkunchwar

Upper Elementary Assistant Teacher-Cedar class

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Stephanie Lamb

Librarian and Reading Specialist

I am the reading specialist and librarian at Arbor Montessori. 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 located in New York. When not at work, I enjoy reading, walking my dog and spending time with my family.

Ms Virginia

Virginia Navarro

Music Specialist

Hi! My name is Virginia and the kids call me Ms. Vivi.  I was born in Venezuela and started my music and dance training when I was 5 years old. I spent my childhood as part of a music family in Caracas, getting the opportunity to make music at every gathering and party. I hold a Master Degree in Piano Performance and has been teaching music individually and in group settings since 1995.  Twelve years ago, shortly after I moved to the Seattle area, I fell in love with the Music Together® curriculum and became a trained teacher by the co-founder of Music Together, Lili M. Levinowitz, Ph.D. I am the founder and director of Seashell Music Together, and I am really excited to have the opportunity to bring the Music Together Curriculum to the Arbor Montessori School.

Mc Omber Amy

Amy McOmber

Music Specialist

I have been teaching music,dance and drama for 25 years.I love working at Arbor school and the students who attend here.I started Small Hands on Art with my husband almost 23 years ago.Since then, we have been teaching at many schools in the area.Together we have staged literally thousands of productions and have put on dances,assemblies and specialized curriculum.I love being active, and have coached for many years.I have also started to teach physical education at Arbor this year and loving it.When I'm not teaching, i compete in triathlons and races every year.

Carolina Moreno

Art Specialist

Chawla Shubh

Shubh Chawla

Reading Specialist

Hi, I'm Shubh Chawla.I'm a Montessori trained teacher.For last few years I worked as a substitute teacher in Arbor and now as Reading Specialist.

In my family, I have husband one daughter and a son.In my free time I like to read and go for walks.I also love to cook and try out new recipes.


Patricia Gonzalez

Spanish Specialist

 Hi! My name is Patricia, this is my first 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 an educator in private and public setting for 27 years.When my twins, Michael and Sarah, left for college I began the Master Gardener program to learn more about the science behind edibles,perennials and soils.I am delighted to be sharing this passion for outdoor education with the enthusiastic children at Arbor Montessori school.When I am not in the garden,I enjoy walking+ talking,reading and hiking.

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