Our Programs

 
Thanks-for-Giving Luncheon/Grandparents Day
Nov. 21, 8:00 am

School closes at 1 p.m.

 

Escuela's teachers combine excellent training, strong academic qualifications and experience with warmth, openness, and a strong respect for children and their parents. Our lead teachers have their Montessori training through either the American Montessori Society (AMS) or the Association Montessori International (AMI).


Mr. Ben

Jr. Elementary East

A Houston native, Ben Tobias began working at Escuela in 2015. He received a BA from UNM and is currently earning Elementary I Montessori credentials. Assistant teacher in Junior El East, Ben is drawn to Montessori for the presentation of materials and tactful nature.

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Mr. Stephen

Primary - White Room

Stephen Lopez started working in Escuela’s Primary Extended Care program in 2012 before becoming an assistant teacher in the White Room. He grew up in Albuquerque, attended Paralegal Studies classes at CNM, was in office administration at Job Corps, and is currently working to earn Montessori certification. He attended Montessori of the Rio Grande as a toddler. Stephen loves Montessori because every day he sees and experiences wonder and pride in this community. Fun fact: Stephen is learning how to two-step/line dancing and he’s a registered minister.

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Ms. Aliyah

Primary - Blue Room

A Montessori student herself (Primary through Junior High), Aliyah Farooki-Qidwai joined Escuela in 2016 as assistant guide in Primary’s Blue Room. She grew up in Toledo, Ohio, and received her M.ED in Montessori Education and AMS Elementary I (6-9) credentials from Xavier University. Aliyah loves Montessori because it just makes sense to follow the child’s needs and interests! Her daughter, Nusaibah, is a current student at Escuela. Fun fact: Aliyah likes adventure and heights – she went skydiving in college!

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Ms. Christy

Elementary Art & Primary Spanish

Christy Cook was a student of Waldorf and later public education in a small hippy town near Ashland, Oregon. Our Elementary Art and Primary Spanish teacher since 2014, she received her BA in Romance Languages with an art minor at the University of Oregon and is finishing her MA in Art Education at UNM. Christy is drawn to Montessori for its intrinsic motivation. She thinks teaching children to find their own motivation/creativity is paramount to being an artist – or anything else! Fun fact: Christy stilts, play in a local band (Cactus Tractor), and recently started yoga teacher training.

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Ms. Cristina

Jr. Elementary West

Cristina Sessa started working at Escuela in 1991. Junior Elementary guide in West, she was raised in the North Valley, received her BLA in Education from UNM, and her Lower El AMS credentials from the Montessori Teacher Education Center San Francisco Bay Area. Cristina loves Montessori because it deepens one’s understanding of the potential of children and their ability to help transform the world around them. This includes respect for each individual child so that every child feels safe, respected, and important as an individual.

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Ms. Diliana

Primary - Blue Room

Primary guide Diliana Ovtcharova joined Escuela in 2011 after growing up in Sofia, Bulgaria, and Albuquerque. She received a BA in Creative Writing from Lake Forest College, an M.Ed in Integrative Montessori Education from Endicott, and earned her Montessori certificate at MECR in Boulder. Diliana is drawn to Montessori because the school treats the child as a unique individual who deserves to be respected and loved, and because of the peace education. Fun fact: Diliana loves to collect hobbies like sewing, gardening, playing a musical saw, riding unicycle, painting, making giant photography, herbalism, and so on!

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Ms. Domenica

Elementary and Jr. High Spanish

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Ms. Elizabeth

Primary - Red Room

Elizabeth Harris has been a teacher’s assistant in Escuela’s Primary program since 1986! She grew up in New York, New York, and received a BA in Education from UNM. Both of her daughters are Escuela alums and her grandchildren also attend Montessori. Montessori gives Elizabeth the opportunity to witness children becoming independent, empathetic, creative-thinking, problem-solving, kind and loving individuals. Fun fact: Elizabeth likes to swim in cold lakes.

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Ms. Emily

Primary - White Room

White Room guide Emily Schuyler has been with us since 2003.  She grew up in Kearney, Nebraska, received a BFA in Textile Design from the University of Kansas, and earned her AMI Primary credentials from Perugia, Italy.  Emily believes Montessori education offers real, daily opportunities to create a better world and practice life-long learning.  Her children, Sofia and Sebastian, are Escuela alums.  Fun fact: Emily can bake a sugar-free vegan cake and she’s learning sign language.

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Ms. Gretchen

Primary - Red Room

Gretchen Vogelsberg has been teaching since 1998 and joined Escuela in 2006. She grew up in Brooklyn, then backwoods Maine, and possesses a BA in Liberal Studies (Montessori concentration) from Endicott College. First gaining her AMS Infant-Toddler credentials at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder (she, Elizabeth Marcilla, and Ms. Monica all first met that summer at MECR!), she later returned to her studies to earn Primary certification as well. Just prior to Escuela, she worked two years in a traditional private school before returning to Montessori secure in the knowledge that this is where she truly belongs. Gretchen has twin daughters (whom many know through their babysitting or their time spent volunteering and working at Escuela). Rhian and Dylan Small attended Montessori schools in Maine and Albuquerque from ages three through fifth grade. Gretchen also ‘moonlights’ in the office after school as a member of the administrative team. Fun fact: Gretchen raised twin raccoons and a snowshoe hare. She has owned several small businesses, is a licensed cosmetologist, and loves to travel.

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Ms. Inga

Jr. Elementary East

Inga Tomlinson, Elementary Program Coordinator and Montessori guide, came to Escuela in 2004. She grew up in Seattle, possesses an M.Ed from Loyola University, and AMI 6-12 credentials from the Washington Montessori Institute. Inga’s son, Connor, is an Escuela alum and her daughter, Helene, is currently enrolled. Inga loves Montessori for its love of learning, deep study, child advocacy, and imagination of childhood.

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Ms. Jolie

Toddler South

Jolie Tafoya, Toddler guide South, has been with Escuela since…basically forever! Her mother taught here and she is an alum. Jolie earned an Associate’s in Science, holds a Pharmacy Tech degree, and gained AMS Infant/Toddler certification from the Montessori Teacher Education Center San Francisco Bay Area. She loves the freedom the children and teachers have to grow and foster learning.  Her son Trey currently attends Escuela. 

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Ms. Joy

Toddler Community

Toddler guide Joy Maranze joined Escuela in approximately 1987. She grew up in Dayton, Ohio, received her M.Ed from Xavier University with a concentration in Montessori (ages 3-6), and earned her Infant/Toddler credentials from the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New York. Joy loves Montessori because of the focus on the individual child and strong reliance on child development theory.

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Ms. Juli

Elementary - Garden Guide

Juli Kois has been our Elementary Garden guide since 2010. Before that, from 2000-2003, she worked at Escuela in the classrooms. Juli grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and graduated from NMSU with a major in Soil Science. She also attended the Permaculture Drylands Institute and studied primary education at NCME. Juli is drawn to Montessori because it has a learning structure that compliments permaculture in being based on observations, precision, and humanity. Her favorite phrase of children is “following their inner directive.” Fun fact: Juli loves to foster kittens for animal humane.

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Ms. Lisa A.

Primary

Lisa Alessio, our current Primary Extended Care Montessori guide, has been with Escuela since 1988! Growing up in El Paso and Albuquerque, she received her Infant/Toddler and Primary certifications at The Montessori Education Center of the Rockies (MECR) in Boulder, Colorado. Lisa was not a Montessori student herself but loves Montessori because of its philosophy – especially the three-year age grouping. Her son, Seamas, is an alum of Escuela. Fun fact: Lisa is addicted to Home & Garden television and Oprah Winfrey is her hero.

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Ms. Lisa P.

Primary - Yellow Room

Lisa Pearl has worked at Escuela since 2002. Currently the Primary guide in the Yellow Room, she has also worked in Extended Care, Elementary, and administration. Lisa grew up on the coast of Maine and earned her Primary credentials at the San Diego Montessori Institute. She loves everything about Montessori; her children, Solana and Konik, currently attend Escuela.

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Ms. Molly

Lit IP

Molly Nanabah Heavilin-Dobrian was born in Albuquerque, NM and raised in the northeast corner of Arizona on the Navajo Nation. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College in Medical Anthropology in 2006. She then completed Wellesley’s post-baccalaureate Teacher Education Program in 2007. Ms. Molly started off in Montessori education as an assistant at the primary level in Natick, MA. She moved to Albuquerque in the spring of 2007 where she joined Escuela del Sol as a substitute before taking her Montessori training at the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder, CO in 2007. She recently completed her Master’s in Elementary Education at the University of New Mexico. Ms. Molly is married and has three kids (Myles Elise, and Katie). She has three dogs, a cat, and a beta fish and loves to garden, hike, and ride bikes with her family. 

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Ms. Monica

Toddler North

Monica Chavez, Toddler guide North, grew up in Albuquerque and has been with Escuela since 2005. She gained Infant/Toddler certification from The Montessori Education Center of the Rockies (MECR) in Boulder, Colorado. Monica loves the whole cosmic/spiritual concept of Montessori; both her son and daughter attended Montessori schools. Fun fact: Monica loves singing, ballet, and dance performances on stage!

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Ms. Rhian

Toddler Extended Care

Rhian Small has officially been with us since 2011 (but began volunteering at Escuela events before that). She grew up and attended Montessori schools (age 3 through 5th grade) in both Downeast Maine and Albuquerque. Rhian holds a BS in Psychology from UNM and is AMI trained (Assistants to Infancy). Rhian loves EVERYTHING about Montessori and cherishes the lifelong best friends she made at the age of three. Fun fact: Rhian is a twin and loves to travel (especially in Europe).

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Ms. Rita

Toddler North

Rita Francois started working for Escuela as a Toddler teaching assistant in 1999! She grew up in Italy and received her Associate in Early Childhood from NMSU. Rita loves Montessori because each child can learn at his/her own pace.

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Ms. Savanah

Senior Elementary

Savanah Cooper grew up in Houston and received her BA in Education at UNM. She began working at Escuela in 2009 and earned Lower and Upper Elementary AMS credentials at the Houston Montessori Center and MECR, respectively. After spending six and a half years teaching in Junior El, Savanah is now our Senior El Montessori guide. She loves that Montessori is brain-based, learner-centered, and geared toward whole-child education. Fun fact: Savanah enjoys seeing live music, exercising, reading, and spending time with friends and family. Savanah also loves renovating her home!

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Ms. Shaina

Toddler South

Shaina Brinkman, Toddler Montessori guide, grew up in Albuquerque and began working here in 2006. Once a student at Escuela herself, she completed her Assistants to Infancy training at The Montessori Institute in Denver. Shaina loves watching toddlers grow and learn and is constantly amazed by all they are capable of doing. Shaina’s daughter, Audra, is an Escuela alum. Fun fact: Shaina loves traveling with Audra.

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Ms. Sharayah

Senior Elementary

Assistant teacher Sharayah Williams joined Escuela in 2013. She grew up in Kalona, Kansas and earned a BS in Education from Bethel College in Newton, Kansas. Sharayah loves Montessori for the appreciation of life-long learning it instills through intrinsic motivation and lessons made to fit the individual needs and interests of the child. Fun fact: Sharayah is an avid knitter of socks (and hats, gloves, blankets, etc.).

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Ms. Shardae

Primary - Yellow Room

Shardae Ledouix joined Escuela’s Primary Extended Care program in 2011 and is now a teaching assistant in the Yellow Room. She grew up in Santa Fe and graduated from UNM with a double major: a BS in Psychology and a BS in Family Studies.  Shardae works for the love of the children. She likes Montessori for understanding that each child is a unique individual. Helping to guide and nurture each of those individual souls and personalities is something she values and will forever appreciate.

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Ms. Tanesia

Junior High

Tanesia Hale-Jones, former Senior El and current Junior High guide, began working at Escuela in 2007. She grew up in Albuquerque, received her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from Loyola University in New Orleans, and her MFA in Poetry from San Francisco State University. Tanesia earned her AMS EI-II credentials from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies and a NAMTA/AMI certificate in Adolescent Studies. “Not only is it education that emphasizes the whole individual, but at the adolescent level we are solving real problems and applying our knowledge and using our cognition on a daily basis to learn how to be citizens.” Tanesia’s son, Harlow, has attended Escuela from three years of age to Junior High.

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1114 Seventh St. NW   Albuquerque, NM 87102   505.242.3033   email us
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