Faculty

Administration

Nicole

Nicole Champoux

Head of School

As the child of a Montessori teacher and the parent of a Montessori child, Nicole has experienced firsthand the incredible impact that a high quality Montessori education can have in the life of a child. With a Master of Education in Montessori Integrative Education and a Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown University, she brings to Arbor a deep commitment to creating a school community where children thrive, families feel welcome, and teachers are inspired. Nicole holds three teaching credentials from the American Montessori Society, at the 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12 levels. An award-winning Montessori educator with over 20 years in the classroom, Nicole was voted the region's Best Teacher 2019 by the readers of 425 Magazine. She also received the Unsung Heroes Award from ING in 2009, in recognition of her innovations as a teacher of science. In her spare time, she teaches for the American Montessori Society, presents at national conferences, and loves to travel. Nicole lives in Sammamish with her wife, Amy, their teenager, and two small dogs

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Melissa Laight

Assistant Head of School and Admissions Director

A native Eastsider and former Montessori child, Melissa is a passionate advocate of the Montessori Method. With a Master’s Degree in Montessori Integrative Education from TIES and a Bachelor's Degree in Theater from Cornish College of the Arts, Melissa has spent the last 20+ years working with children in public and private schools as well as in the non-profit sector. A published author, trainer and presenter, she has toured nationally presenting at conferences on parent engagement in schools. Receiving her Montessori Certificate in 2009, she is a certified Master Teacher at the Primary Level, and is also certified in Love and Logic and Positive Discipline, as well as being a facilitator of Positive Discipline's Empowering People in the Workplace. Melissa is the recipient of the AMS 2021 Montessori Innovator Award. During her acting career, Melissa was a regular on Seattle stages as well as on film, appearing in short films and as Orlando Bloom’s sailing double in the blockbuster movie Pirates of the Caribbean. In her spare time, Melissa is known to fire cannons from the main deck of our state’s tallship The Lady Washington, where she has been a member of their crew since she was 15 years old. She is married to a fellow crewmate and current faculty member Nigel Laight, and has two children.

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Riddhi Dave

Early Childhood Director

Riddhi's journey as a Montessorian began as a "Montessori Mom" in 2004. Watching her son discover place-value using the Montessori Golden Bead Materials opened the door to her Montessori Certification in 2007. With a Bachelor's degree in Textiles & Graduate studies in Textile Design, Riddhi has spent the last 16 years working with children in a Montessori setting and has grown through her experiences as a Teacher, Curriculum Developer & Coordinator and Program Director. She believes in nurturing growth through interaction in a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment.

Besides being committed to learning about the Montessori philosophy and child development through attending professional development classes and AMS conferences, Riddhi spends her free time exploring the NW trails, painting, cooking, reading and watching movies with her husband and two sons. She continues to volunteer in the capacity of a trainer and curriculum coordinator at a local non-profit organization she has been a part of for 13 years. If she is not at school you will find her travelling, sewing, writing or hanging out with family... Living LIFE!

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Sarah Starkey

Business Manager

Hired in the summer of 2021 as the bookkeeper, Sarah’s duties expanded into a Business Manager position. She enjoys supporting the remarkably gracious group in which she has found herself.

Sarah’s first taste of finance work was in 1985, in the Treasury Department of a small L.A. film studio. She moved closer to L.A.’s financial district, where a temp job in corporate banking turned into a twenty-year career in international trade finance, ten years of which were on the business side, in the Treasury Department of Costco’s corporate office, which broadened her skills in the world of finance.

Her other work experiences, (many simultaneous), include eleven years bookkeeping for four childcare centers, five years bookkeeping for a CPA firm, and various roles in: a chiropractic office, a music department, a toy company, tutoring, being an assistant trainer, sales, and customer service.

Sarah, and her husband since 1994, are very happy living in Washington. They have one Tuxedo cat and two Maltipoos, all rescues. The whole family, except the cat, delight in bike rides and walks together, especially at Marymoor Park.

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Anna Prashanth

Administrative Associate

Anna is the parent of a current Arbor student, and loves that Montessori focuses on the whole child and Individualized learning. Loving the Arbor Community and how serious the faculty take education and supporting each child, she joined our Admin staff in 2022. Anna brings a wealth of experience in both Administration and Early Childhood Education. She holds her Bachelor's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and spent 6 years in the corporate world in Human Resources. She was a Pre-K Teacher for 5 years, as well as a youth and adult leader in 4-H Natural Resources. When she is not greeting everyone at our front desk, you can find Anna camping, hiking, spending time with friends and family, planning events and enjoying different delicious food!

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Sean O’Brien

Executive Director

Sean was one of the first students when Arbor began back in 1993, and worked as an after school assistant throughout high school. Sean returned to Arbor in 2010 first as an Early Childhood Teacher, then as Early Childhood Coordinator, and was the Head of School from January of 2013 through January of 2022.

Sean holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Entrepreneurial Studies from Hawaii Pacific University. His 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.

Sean and his wife Monica have two wonderful boys, James and Shane, who are now students at Arbor. His Golden Retriever Finn also loves any chance to play at school or swim in any body of water.

Sean is always 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.

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Mary O'Brien

Founding Director

Bio Coming Soon

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Infant and Toddler

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Cindy Sylstad

Holly Lead

Cindy grew up surrounded by Montessori. Her mom ran her own school in Tacoma, where Cindy helped both in the classroom and in the administration. She has also been a lead toddler teacher at Kreative Kidz. She loves the respect that Montessori teaches children both for themselves and the world around them. Cindy has 3 daughters, 7 grandchildren, and is currently raising her Grandson. When not on campus, Cindy is busy reading, scrapbooking, diving into all things art, rock hunting and antiquing.

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Anna Guo

Aspen Lead

When Anna started here at Arbor in 2022, she immediately fell in love with the Arbor Community, and loves coming to work every day. Her favorite thing about Arbor is that it feels like a big family. Prior to working here, Anna spent her time as a travel guide in China providing sightseeing adventures for tourists from all over the world. An avid outdoors woman herself- she loves fishing, crabbing and hiking in her spare time.

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Ren Wu

Aspen Assistant

Ren holds her Master's Degree from Northwestern Polytechnic University in China, and has completed her Montessori Assistant Training with Montessori Institute of the Pacific Northwest. She says she has learned so much from Arbor since she started here in 2022, and loves working with children. On her off time, Ren is spending time with her husband and daughter, as well as enjoys cooking, planting flowers and vegetables. She also has a couple of guppies and snails.

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Katy Pawlick

Aspen Assistant

Katy brings a wealth of knowledge to our students in all things Horticulture by sharing her love of plants and ecology. She holds her BS in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Northern Arizona University in 2016. She also received her Certificate of Holistic Landscape Design from Bastyr in 2021, as well as her Medicinal Plant Conservation Certificate. She loves working with children, and has years of experience as an Assistant Teacher in both the Primary and Infant levels. She came to Arbor in 2022, and loves the welcoming, kind and innovative energy of the school community, and how Montessori Education honors and nurtures the innate intuition and wisdom that children have. In her spare time, Katy enjoys crocheting, rock climbing, aerial arts and herbalism. She lives with her two cats in Seattle.

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Danielle Kremen

Holly Assistant

Bio Coming Soon

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Esme Napalan

Holly Assistant

Esme grew up from the Philippines and moved to the U.S. in 2001. She currently lives in Issaquah with her husband Michael and has a daughter Ava who is now in University. Her love of working with children brought her to became an active parent-volunteer ever since her daughter attended Montessori. Seeing the amazing human she has become drove Esme to be part of the school that helped her daughter and other children cultivate their love and passion for learning, and joined Arbor in 2016. Esme holds her Early Childhood Short Certificate and has completed her Montessori Assistant Training at MEIPN. Esme is also thrilled to bring ASL to all of our Primary Students as our Primary World Language Specialist. When she is not surrounded by her wonderful students, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing table tennis, shopping, dining out, and walking her two dogs Shaggy and Fluffy. She also has a passion for aquaponics and is an aquarium hobbyist.

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Sunitha Mucharla

Toddler Float Staff

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Swetha Sabbani

Toddler Float Staff

Bio Coming Soon

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Reshma Turambekar

Toddler Float Staff

Bio Coming Soon

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Primary

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Bhavani Balasubramanian

Magnolia Lead

Bhavani joined the Arbor Montessori community as a parent in 2011 and as a lead teacher in 2018. With a master’s degree in Computer Science, she spent a few years working in the technology industry before taking time off to be with her children. Her love for Montessori philosophy was ignited when her children started their education at Arbor Montessori. She earned her American Montessori Society Early Childhood credential from The Montessori Center for Teacher Education in Bellevue, Washington in 2014, and knew she wanted to become a teacher. As a lead teacher in the Magnolia classroom, her goal is to help children develop self-confidence in their ability to succeed socially, emotionally, and academically. It is her firm belief that each child is uniquely gifted with superpowers, which can be ignited through love and care.

Bhavani currently lives in Sammamish with her Husband, Son, and daughter both in high school. In her free time, she enjoys singing, walking around gorgeous trails in Pacific Norwest, yoga, reading, and spending time with her family.

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Lavanya Amasa

Magnolia Assistant

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Samanda Soto De Valente

Magnolia Assistant

Samanda came to the Arbor Community in 2021. Originally from Venezuela, she has also lived in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Samanda received her Bachelor's Degree in Political Science with a focus on International Relations, and spent three years being a Spanish Teacher to children ages 2-12. Samanda also has her Montessori Assistant Teacher Certificate from MEIPN. She loves the welcoming and inclusive environment here at Abor, and finds it very fulfilling to be able to help kids learn new skills and reach their full potential. When not at work, Samanda loves spending time with her husband and two daughters, going on road trips, hiking, scrapbooking and watching old black and white movies.

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Kate Johnston

Juniper Lead

Kate grew up traveling the world and spent time in Romania, Haiti, Russia, Sweden, France and Latvia before settling on the East Coast where she received her BA in Art History from the University of Virginia. She also studied abroad in both France and Italy. Experiencing these varied cultures and political systems played a huge role in shaping who she is as a person and educator. Kate holds her Montessori Credential in Early Childhood and is also trained in Lower Elementary. She has over 25 years experience in a Montessori Classroom as well as in Administration. Kate has also spent over 15 years as a Early Childhood Teacher Trainer at The Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies/Barrie Institute in Maryland. Kate came to Arbor in 2023 and loves the warm and friendly staff and the welcoming community. When not in the classroom, Kate loves to read, experiencing the amazing outdoors of the Pacific Northwest, and spending time in the San Juan Islands with her Partner John, and getting to spend as much time as possible with her 17 year old son George who lives in Virginia.

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Yue Chen

Juniper Assistant

Yue joined the Arbor community in 2023 and loves the friendly atmosphere and beautiful campus. Originally from China, Yue holds her Bachelor's Degree in Executive Management and a degree in Accounting. She has worked in Montessori Schools since 2013, and has her Assistant Teaching Certificate from MEIPN, and is also certified in Positive Discipline. She loves spending as much time as possible with her family including her husband and two children watching baseball and volleyball games. She also has a 9 year old cat.

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Anusuya Chopra

Juniper Assistant

Anusuya has spent many years working in Montessori. She grew up in the north part of India, and has lived in Australia, Singapore and the US. Prior to working with children, Anusuya received her Architecture and Interiors Design and Planning Degree, and worked as a senior designer and partner. Her first introduction to Montessori was as a "Montessori mom" volunteering at her children's schools. Both of her daughters went through Montessori, and seeing them thrive in a hands on learning environment was an incredible learning experience. In her off time you can almost always find her up a mountain on a hike. She loves being anywhere in nature, listening to books, music, talks, spending time with her friends and family, as well as her adorable dog Oliver.

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Eileen Egger

Chestnut Lead

Eileen began her Montessori education as an Assistant in 2001 after having obtained her 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 her. She now holds her M.ED in Montessori Integrative Learning from Endicott College. Eileen joined the Arbor Montessori School community in 2006 as an intern in MEIPN's Early Childhood AMS certification program. She spent nine years as lead teacher in the Maple classroom before transitioning into the Administration as the Early Childhood Coordinator. After supporting the Program through Covid, Elieen missed the students and teaching and is now back full time as a lead teacher in the Chestnut Classroom. Her 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. Eileen is also an Instructor for MEIPN, teaching Physical Science. In her personal time, you can find her exploring the PNW trails and has a passion for gardening.

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Rocio Martinez Williams

Chestnut Assistant

Rocio holds a BS in Business Administration and a Communication Arts Minor from Bellevue University. Her previous experience is in retail and claims management before taking time off to spend with her children. She came across Montessori in 2014 when she was expecting her first child and was looking at childcare options. Intrigued by the Montessori Method, she took a deep dive into learning and applying Montessori principles at home with her children. Along with Montessori principles, conscious and respectful parenting, REI parenting and positive discipline have all informed her parenting style. Her curiosity to learn more about the Montessori Method in a classroom setting and her desire for her children to experience a Montessori education, led her to Arbor. In November 2021, Rocio joined Arbor as an Assistant Teacher and in October 2022, she completed MEIPN’s Montessori Assistant Teacher training. In her personal time, she enjoys long nature walks, practicing yoga, gardening, reading, traveling, and most of all, she loves spending quality time with her family.

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Tia Samsi

Chestnut Assistant

Tia is originally from Indonesia, and has been a part of the Arbor Community since 2018. She started as an Assistant Teacher in the Infant and Toddler Program, and learned so much from the children. This has fueled her passion for the Montessori Philosophy and to learn more from other Programs. Loving the 3-6 year olds, she has shifted to the Primary Program as an Assistant Teacher. Tia holds a certificate through the Central Guided Montessori Studies on the overview of the Infant Toddler Level and has completed her Assistant Teacher Training through Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest. Tia's other passion is Pottery, and she currently manages her own studio.

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Ashley Wyrwinsky

Maple Lead

Ashley joined the Arbor Montessori School community in 2014 as an assistant teacher. In 2017 she completed her AMS Primary training at Chestnut Montessori in Bellevue with her certification in Early childhood, and also holds a Washington state certificate in Early childhood Ed. She also holds her certification in teaching children's yoga. As the lead teacher in the Maple classroom, it is her passion to prepare an environment that is diverse with children's natural curiosity about the world. Preparing and fostering a safe and loving space provides each child with a community for the joy of learning together.

In her free time, Ashley enjoys yoga, reading, and spending time watching her children in their sports. Her family enjoys skiing, traveling, hiking, and their playful pup Ace!

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Sarah Hooper

Maple Assistant & Aftercare Team Lead

Sarah started here at Arbor in 2022, and has brought a wealth of childcare experience to our community, and currently oversees our Primary Aftercare Program. She has always worked with children in some capacity. She started off nannying as a teenager while growing up in Carnation, and has worked in local childcare centers over the last three years. Sarah has enjoyed discovering Montessori, and loves how welcoming the staff, community and environment are here at Arbor. Sarah has three brothers and one sister, and loves camping, hiking road trips and fishing.

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Marinela Mihai

Maple Assistant

Marinela is a native of Romania. She first learned about the Montessori Philosophy when her children started preschool. Seeing the impact it had on her own children, she decided to begin her own Montessori journey in the classroom in 2019. She is continually amazed by the tremendous positive impact that Montessori Education has on every student, and on the greater community. Marinela holds her Master's in HR Management, and Bachelor's in Economics and Business Administration. Reading will always be her favorite activity, and enjoys spending time with her family, gardening and cooking.

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Rohini Pushkarna

Maple AM Assistant/Float Staff

Rohini is a native of India, and joined the Arbor community in 2022. She has her Bachelor's Degree in IT, a Master's in Computer Application as well as a Post Graduate Degree in Human Resource Management. Her background in Early Education began as part of the Redmond Toddler Group and joining the Redmond Parent Co-Op in 2018. Rohini is the proud mom of two children. She loves the Montessori Teaching Philosophy and the hands on way of learning. She is amazed watching the children in her classroom getting to reach their fullest potential every day. She lived in New Jersey before coming to Sammamish where she currently resides with her family, and when she isn't in the classroom, you can find her cooking, organizing, gaming or hiking the beautiful trails of the PNW.

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Sunitha Mucharla

Float/Aftercare Support

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Joyce Lam

Float/Aftercare Support

Joyce grew up in Hong Kong, and moved to the Seattle Area in 2017. She found her love for Montessori in 2022 when she started her Montessori journey as an Assistant Teacher and discovered the beauty of the Montessori Philosophy. Joyce holds her Assistant Training Certificate from MEIPN, and is currently seeking a degree in Early Childhood Education. When not in the classroom, you can find Joyce skiing and camping with her family which consists of her husband and three children. She also loves yoga and making art.

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Amy Liu

Float/Aftercare Support

Bio Coming Soon

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Tom Kiriaty

After Care Staff

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Lou Champoux-Roberts

After Care Staff

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Manasi Singh

After Care Staff

Manasi began her teaching career in India working with Elementary Children. She has her Bachelor's in Zoology, and her post-grad in HR & Marketing as well as Indian History. She fell in love with Montessori and the freedom it lends to guiding children. In her free time she enjoys cooking, traveling, spending time with her husband and two daughters, friends, and reading books.

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Swetha Sabbani

After Care Staff

Bio Coming Soon

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Keira Ortega

After Care Staff

Bio Coming Soon

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Tanisha Rel

After Care Staff

Bio Coming Soon

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Shubh Chawla

Substitute/Reading Specialist

Shubh began here at Arbor in 2012, but has been a life-long Montessorian. Originally from India, Shubh began her teaching career with older students teaching general education to high schoolers. Once she discovered Montessori, she has never gone back! Shubh has her Montessori Teaching Credential at the Primary Level, and currently supports our community through substituting and reading support with our Primary Students. If you can't find Shubh here on campus doing what she loves, you can often find her volunteering at a local senior center, reading or going for long walks or listening to music. Shubh is a mom to two adult children who are both now grown up and married!

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Lower Elementary

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Shawn Harrity

Madrona Lead

Shawn has been working with children his entire life. Growing up on the east coast, Shawn worked at camps as a teen counselor. After graduating from Mount Saint Mary’s University with a double major in English and secondary education, he started teaching third grade in Chicago, and later, middle school English and Social Studies. After getting married, he began teaching lower elementary at a Maryland-area Montessori school. After receiving his lower elementary training from the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies, Shawn moved to Washington State with his wife and two children, leading Elementary classrooms and developing Montessori outdoor curriculum for local schools. In his spare time Shawn loves to read, hike and play music.

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Kari Ramadorai

Willow Lead

Kari returned to Arbor in 2022 after formerly working as our on-site Librarian. A PNW native, Kari has two children and three cats, and has also been a rancher where she had llamas, alpacas, cows, goats, hens, horses and more. Kari has extensive experience working with both children and adults working at daycares, teaching at the college level, as well as English in Japan. She holds her MA in Early Childhood, State Early Childhood Certification, MS in K-8 with a Library and Science endorsement, as well as her Elementary Montessori Certification through Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest. Her favorite thing about Montessori is that it empowers children to become the future we always say they are. Montessori gives them the critical thinking skills and personal empowerment to do big things! In her spare time, you can catch her reading, and geeking out over science and pop culture.

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Katrina Muser

Madrona Assistant

Katrina came to Arbor in 2021. A former professional ballet dancer and yoga instructor, Katrina graduated from the SSCC Culinary Arts Program in 2007. She also holds her 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training Certificate. With a thirst for travel, Katrina has lived on four of the seven continents, in Switzerland, Peru, Thailand and the United States. What drew her to Montessori is how the philosophy focuses on the whole human-being and is tailored for individuality. In her free time, you can find her on the forest trails, cooking, snowboarding, doing art, yoga, or relaxing.

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Suparna Ray

Willow Assistant

Suparna first came to Arbor as a parent of an Arbor student. She joined the faculty in 2021, and has felt at home here with the welcoming community in both parents and co-workers. She loves the Montessori Philosophy and values, and she brings a wealth of knowledge to her classroom. Suparna completed her Masters of Science in Zoology, and her Senior Diploma in Fine Art. She also completed her Digital Marketing Course from Vermont University. Her experience with children includes teaching Elementary in India for two years, and has worked as a preschool and kindergarten teacher here in the United States. Suparna loves painting, music, reading, gardening and photography.

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Upper Elementary

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Laura Balcom

Cedar Lead

Laura came to Arbor in 2020-21 as one of our online elementary co-teachers. Prior to Arbor, she was the Upper Elementary Montessori teacher in the Bremerton School District, and has also taught at two private Montessori schools in Bellevue and in long-term substitute positions in Seattle Public Schools. Prior to teaching, Laura 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. She fell serendipitously into Montessori teaching when her family moved to the Puget Sound area.

Laura holds 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, and is currently working on her Montessori Inclusion Endorsement.

She resides in Port Orchard on the Kitsap Peninsula with her husband and adult son, and makes the trek to the Eastside on weekdays. She enjoys 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.

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Amy Roberts

Cedar Assistant

Amy is a local recording artist and singer songwriter who has spent her time teaching music in area schools over the last 20 years. Originally from the East Coast, Amy has her Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Film Production, and is certified in Positive Discipline. Amy loves Montessori because it allows children to find their own path and become who they truly are. She loves being able to be a part of a community that fosters independence, curiosity and kindness. When not teaching music in schools, Amy is busy writing music, playing guitar, drawing, reading, and reading tarot. A Montessori Parent, Amy also has two dogs, Rocky and Djuna.

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Specialists

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Esme Napalan

Primary World Language

Esme grew up from the Philippines and moved to the U.S. in 2001. She currently lives in Issaquah with her husband Michael and has a daughter Ava who is now in University. Her love of working with children brought her to became an active parent-volunteer ever since her daughter attended Montessori. Seeing the amazing human she has become drove Esme to be part of the school that helped her daughter and other children cultivate their love and passion for learning, and joined Arbor in 2016. Esme holds her Early Childhood Short Certificate and has completed her Montessori Assistant Training at MEIPN. Esme is also thrilled to bring ASL to all of our Primary Students as our Primary World Language Specialist. When she is not surrounded by her wonderful students, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing table tennis, shopping, dining out, and walking her two dogs Shaggy and Fluffy. She also has a passion for aquaponics and is an aquarium hobbyist.

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Vanessa Contreras

Elementary World Language

Vanessa was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico; her first language is Spanish. She has been teaching children for more than 20 years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in Mexico, with an endorsement in special education. Vanessa was part of a pilot program at University of Washington for parents and educators, and has been part of “Fiestas de Alfabetizacion Temprana” (Early Literacy Parties in Spanish) organized by King County Library System. Her passion is working with kids, and is very proud of her students when she hears them speaking in Spanish, incorporating expressions and sentences in their daily life. She has lived on the Eastside for the last 15 years with her daughter and husband. She enjoys outdoor activities like hiking and admiring nature.

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Amy Roberts

Music Specialist

Amy is a local recording artist and singer songwriter who has spent her time teaching music in area schools over the last 20 years. Originally from the East Coast, Amy has her Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Film Production, and is certified in Positive Discipline. Amy loves Montessori because it allows children to find their own path and become who they truly are. She loves being able to be a part of a community that fosters independence, curiosity and kindness. When not teaching music in schools, Amy is busy writing music, playing guitar, drawing, reading, and reading tarot. A Montessori Parent, Amy also has two dogs, Rocky and Djuna.

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Maxine Phillips

PE Specialist

Maxine grew up in Sammamish and headed to Providence, Rhode Island and Phoenix, Arizona to receive her degrees. She has her associate degree in Baking & Pastry Arts and her bachelor degree in Exercise and Wellness. After spending her time working as a Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor she decided to change her focus from adult’s physical education to children’s physical education. Her favorite things about Arbor Montessori are the friendly, welcoming staff and the enthusiastic children. In her free time you can find her baking, gardening, and spending time with her fiancé and two cats.

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Katy Pawlick

Horticulture Specialist

Katy brings a wealth of knowledge to our students in all things Horticulture by sharing her love of plants and ecology. She holds her BS in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Northern Arizona University in 2016. She also received her Certificate of Holistic Landscape Design from Bastyr in 2021, as well as her Medicinal Plant Conservation Certificate. She loves working with children, and has years of experience as an Assistant Teacher in both the Primary and Infant levels. She came to Arbor in 2022, and loves the welcoming, kind and innovative energy of the school community, and how Montessori Education honors and nurtures the innate intuition and wisdom that children have. In her spare time, Katy enjoys crocheting, rock climbing, aerial arts and herbalism. She lives with her two cats in Seattle.

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Katrina Muser

Lower Elementary Art Specialist

Katrina came to Arbor in 2021. A former professional ballet dancer and yoga instructor, Katrina graduated from the SSCC Culinary Arts Program in 2007. She also holds her 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training Certificate. With a thirst for travel, Katrina has lived on four of the seven continents, in Switzerland, Peru, Thailand and the United States. What drew her to Montessori is how the philosophy focuses on the whole human-being and is tailored for individuality. In her free time, you can find her on the forest trails, cooking, snowboarding, doing art, yoga, or relaxing.

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Suparna Ray

Upper Elementary Art Specialist

Suparna first came to Arbor as a parent of an Arbor student. She joined the faculty in 2021, and has felt at home here with the welcoming community in both parents and co-workers. She loves the Montessori Philosophy and values, and she brings a wealth of knowledge to her classroom. Suparna completed her Masters of Science in Zoology, and her Senior Diploma in Fine Art. She also completed her Digital Marketing Course from Vermont University. Her experience with children includes teaching Elementary in India for two years, and has worked as a preschool and kindergarten teacher here in the United States. Suparna loves painting, music, reading, gardening and photography.

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Nigel Laight

Farm Specialist

Nigel is a native of England, and began working at Arbor in 2022. He loves the hands on learning and interaction that Montessori provides its students. Nigel holds his Assistant Teacher Training from Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest. He has spent many years working with children in different capacities in childcare settings as well as hands on education on Tallships teaching ship and sailor history. Most notably, Nigel spent years touring around England as Pirate Nige teaching the history of Piracy to English schools. Nigel is also a distance hiker, completing the Camino de Santiago multiple times. A published author, Nigel spent his time in lockdown during Covid drafting and publishing his two novels "Dandy: A Higher State of Nonchalance" and "Flickflouder". He is currently working on his third book in his free time, which also includes traveling with his wife, watching movies and exploring art galleries. Nigel has two step sons and our Arbor farm dog named Silo.

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Claire Benn

Farm Assistant

Claire is an Arbor Alumni Student, and is coming back to campus to help on our new farm when she is not in High School. The biggest thing she learned here at Arbor as a student was that she had the freedom to make her own choices and decide on what she wanted to learn about. She is very happy that Arbor continues to find ways to foster and support her love and connection with animals. Claire would like to be a Wildlife Biologist some day, and owes much of that drive to her Montessori Education. She is very excited to help with the animals and share her knowledge with the current students here at Arbor!

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Brad Meyer

Woodworking Specialist

Brad Meyer has been a Montessori teacher and woodworking instructor for 20 years. He is also an award-winning wood artist. In his classes, Brad teaches children to properly use hand tools while constructing real wood projects. These are quality projects the children are proud to put their names on. Kids will learn how to safely use Japanese pull saws, hammers, drills and a variety of measuring tools. Brad is excited to be back at Arbor working with our Elementary students this year!

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Meghan Sullivan

Student Success Coach

Meghan Sullivan started at Arbor in 2021 as our Student Success Coach. She is available to students, parents and teachers to discuss challenges in the classroom, on the playground and/or at home. She spent 13 years as a Children's Counselor at Betty Ford Center before she joined our team. She completed her B.A. at Wheaton College in Massachusetts and earned her Masters of Education with a focus in Equity and Social Justice from San Francisco State University. Meghan has 3 kids of her own at home and enjoys reading when she has a quiet minute.

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