Faculty and Staff

Mater Amoris Montessori School staff are experienced educators committed to guiding children in their learning while also facilitating community-building and creating an engaging, empowering, and productive learning environment.

Administration and Staff

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Alicia Davis Enright

Alicia is a passionate educator with a diverse professional background. During her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program in the early 2000’s, she developed an interest in curriculum design and evaluation, which led her into educational consulting with a specialization in accredtiation. Her later choice to homeschool two of her children helped her realize her interest in working with children. With newfound determination to offer alternative and progressive education to children, Alicia pursued her Master of Education (MEd) in Montessori Elementary Education at the Washington Montessori Institute. She received her Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) certification and MEd in 2014. Alicia joined Mater Amoris in June 2019 and is wholeheartedly committed to building upon the rich history of the school and community. Alicia lives with her husband, five children, two dogs, and three cats in Colesville, Maryland.

Head of School

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Beryl Chafin

Beryl started her career in business administration and management after graduating with her bachelors degree from East Tennessee State University with a major in Business Management and a minor in Marketing. After working in business administration and management for a number of years, Beryl found her way to Barrie School through her lifelong love of horses. While there she worked in Admission, advocated to continue the school's development of diversity, equity and inclusion programming, implemented new processes and systems, and she also developed a passion for Dr. Montessori's philosophy and practice and is excited to continue learning and sharing that at Mater Amoris. Beryl has 2 young children, 2 dogs, a cat and 4 ducks to keep her busy at home.

Director of Admissions & Community Engagement

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Emily Tremblay

Emily began her teaching career 15 years ago as an ESL teacher in South Korea. It was while working in a Montessori school there that she found a new passion for teaching and decided to move home and pursue her Master of Education in Primary Montessori at the Washington Montessori Institute. She has spent the past 6 years working as a Primary Guide in Maryland. At Mater Amoris, she is dedicated to honoring the school's rich history while building into the future. It is a joy for her to work with children and families in the community while sharing and implementing Dr. Montessori's philosophy. Outside of school, Emily enjoys running, reading, and doing yoga. She is also a 200-hour registered yoga teacher, and loves bringing Montessori and yoga education to young children.

Director of Montessori Curriculum & Academic Affairs

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Susan Slattery comes from a large family of eight siblings. Her family originated from Buffalo, NY. And when she was five they moved to Miami, FL.  She is retired from the United States Navy, where she spent 20 years working in different fields around the world. She loves spending time with her family and their dogs. She enjoys fostering dogs and finding them their forever homes. She looks forward to meeting each of you and spending time with your children.

Susan Slattery

Operations Manager and Administrative Assistant

Acorn Class Guide

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Ever since her first observation in a Montessori environment fifteen years ago, Babbs has been passionate about carrying out Montessori’s vision of fostering caring communities of joyful learners. Informed by her AMI training, studies in yoga, meditation, and Taoist practices, has also become invested in fostering a more holistic approach to education, one that meets each child where they’re at in order to nurture a future generation of global citizens who are as empathetic and socially aware as they are confident leaders.

 

Babbs’ experience over the last several years working with children as Classroom Guide, Interventionist, as well as the greater community as Presenter and Coach has shown her the powerful part each adult plays in shaping a child’s experience. Babbs strives to encourage and support responsive and peaceful relationships between children and their caregivers, to understand child development, and use observation as a tool to create spaces for children to feel free and safe to express their unique personalities and gifts.

Babbs Bergner

Faculty Affairs Specialist 

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Stephany Case

Stephany is originally from Colombia and graduated from Springbrook High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. She has worked for many years in a daycare owned and operated by her family and has completed college coursework in child development. Stephany completed her Montessori Assistant Training in 2020 and currently assists in the Upper Elementary class. She lives in Burtonsville with her husband, two daughters, two cats, and two dogs.

Children's House Assistant

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Bhavna Bhandari

I am Bhavna Bhandari, mother of two boys, who started their education in the Montessori system.  I have lived in the US for the past 15 years and was born and brought up in India.  I spent seven years teaching elementary level students and leading administrative activities in India prior to moving to the United States.  I love and enjoy working with children of all age groups and believe patience and understanding is the key to success with children. 

Floating Substitute

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Cristina DeLeon

Cristina was born in Los Angeles, California. She later emigrated with her mother to Guatemala City, Guatemala, "the city of eternal spring." There she studied as an accountant, taking courses in public accounting and auditing at the Universidad De San Carlos. She decided to return to the United States where she currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two beautiful children. Cristina will be taking on a new role this year in the Young Children's Community.

Housekeeper

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Cicile Elnas

Cicile was born in the Philippines, where she attended university and received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a major in Management. She worked in different companies as accounting staff before moving to Dubai where she worked as a human resources executive and an Executive Secretary in an aviation consultancy for six years. She then decided to focus on taking care of her twin daughters (now 6 years old and students at Mater Amoris) as a full time mom. Cicile spent a year as the Assistant in Mater Amoris’s Young Children's Community (YCC) and loved spending time with the children, watching how they mature and grow - becoming more independent each day. This experience led her to enroll in the AMI Assistants to Infancy training in preparation for becoming a Lead Guide in the YCC. Outside of school, Cicile loves creating beautiful memories with her family, traveling, and cooking

Acorn Class Guide

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Alden Kendall is AMI-trained in Montessori Primary, Elementary, and Adolescent, and has been teaching in DC-area schools since 2011. An avid gardener, woodworker, and cook, Alden brings a wide range of interests and experiences to Mater Amoris. Having studied theater, film, and philosophy prior to becoming a teacher, he firmly believes that curiosity and love of learning are a few of the most important characteristics of not only students, but of all people. He enjoys experiencing the world through the eyes of his students as they discover the wonders that surround them, and looks forward to joining the Mater Amoris community as it continues to grow!

Alden Kendall

Adolescent's Program Guide

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Ammara Malik

Ammara received her bachelors degree in accounting in 2009 from the University of Maryland. She started her career with Ernst and Young in 2009 as a staff accountant and moved to Nielsen, Inc., in 2011. In 2014, she took a position at Lockheed Martin Corporation as a senior tax accountant, where she worked for five years before deciding to be a stay-at-home mom. Ammara has two children. She lives in Laurel and enjoys cooking, spending time with family, and traveling in her free time.

Children's House Assistant

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Cam McFeeters

Cam McFeeters is pleased to be joining Mater Amoris as part of the Sunset Club team. She has lived in a lot of places but considers the DMV her hometown. She has worked in a lot of different jobs, but her passion is helping people use art to learn about the world and about themselves.

After a career in graphic design, Cam stayed home for ten years to raise her three sons. During that time, she was an active volunteer at her sons’ schools, chairing their preschool and serving as the fundraising chair at their elementary school. She returned to art as a teacher at St. Michael the Archangel School in Silver Spring, Our Lady of Lourdes School in Bethesda and at two locations of Brightview Senior Living.

Cam lives in Silver Spring with her husband, Jim, their dog, Echo, and Phoebe the tortoise. She is adjusting to being an empty nester.

Sunset Club

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Mary Hanyok has a lifelong love of learning. She just loves school. She loves school so much that she can’t get away from it. In one form or another, Mary’s always been in school- as a student, as a teacher, or as a parent volunteer. After earning a Bachelor’s in Anthropology, she stumbled into her first job as an assistant in a local Montessori school. While there, she became enthralled with the work the children did. It seemed amazing that such challenging concepts were always
presented in such a straightforward and concrete way. What followed next could only be described as a flurry of graduate school. First, Mary attended St. John’s College in Annapolis, earning a Master’s in Liberal Arts. It was here she rediscovered her love of philosophy and became convinced that Euclid most certainly was a genius (until she came across non-Euclidean geometry and had to rethink things). After that, Mary attended the Washington Montessori Institute, earning her AMI Elementary Diploma and a Master’s in Education from Loyola. Since then, she’s enjoyed working in both Upper Elementary and Adolescent classrooms, and is constantly reaffirming her belief that Maria Montessori was the smartest person ever. Recently, Mary has been working on her most challenging position yet, Montessori mother to 3 young boys. In her “free” time, Mary enjoys anything that can be done outside or in a kitchen, or both.

Mary Hanyok

Adolescent's Program Guide

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Athena Gaalswyk

Athena grew up in California and graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz with
a degree in history. After an early career in marketing, she decided to stay home to raise her
two sons. When her youngest son started Kindergarten, she went back to work as a preschool
teacher, a role she loved for 13 years. She particularly loves the wonder of children and tries to
capture that wonder in her own life through reading, hiking, traveling with her family, and ice
cream!.  She lives with her husband and two sons in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Monarch Class Guide

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Chris Chafin

Chris was born and raised in Montgomery County, Maryland. From an early age, he found an adoration
for creating and an appreciation for the outdoors. Chris received his A.A.S. from Montgomery College
and studied art at Frostburg State University. He expanded his project management and customer
service knowledge while working in Bethesda, MD as a Servicing Analyst for many years. Chris was
previously a professional groundskeeper, managed property maintenance in VA, and has basic
carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical skills. He has two young children that attend Mater
Amoris and a variety of pets including geese and a gecko. For fun, Chris enjoys painting, homesteading,
and completing renovations to his home.

Groundskeeper

Brian Lamberson

Brian was born in South Korea where he was later adopted and moved to the United States at
the age of two. He graduated from Sherwood High School and went on to attend
Montgomery College where he studied computer science for a year and a half before switching
to cybersecurity. He found an interest in the field and earned an Associate of Applied Science in
Cybersecurity in 2022. He is currently attending UMGC to pursue a bachelor's in Cybersecurity
Management and Policy in hopes of finding a job within the IT/security field. In his free time,
Brian likes to exercise, play video games, draw, go out with friends, and play soccer.

Administrative Intern

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Trevor Imedi

Trevor Munyaradzi Imedi is from Zimbabwe. He also lived in China as a teacher and tutor and has permanent residence there with his wife. He has taught varying ages of students, including adults in Africa and Asia for the past 8 years. Prior to teaching, he worked as a paralegal in a law firm. In China, Trevor began working a Montessori environment and decided to pursue receiving his Montessori training. He recently graduated his Elementary Montessori training at Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies (SIMS) in Arizona. Mater Amoris is excited to be a part of Trevor’s journey in his plans to open a rural Montessori school in Zimbabwe once he has gained the required experience to become a Montessori teacher trainer. He enjoys tennis, cricket, travel,
reading, and golf.

Cedar Class Guide

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Patrick McLaughlin

Mr. Pat grew up in Southern California, and spent a decade in the United States Air Force. With years of volunteering as a tutor and a young family of his own, it’s no surprise he found the Montessori Method to be a compelling life choice. Mr. Pat has been a teacher since 2018, and joined Mater Amoris in the midst of the pandemic in 2020. His B.A. is from George Mason in Integrative Studies - Social Sciences; he has a M.Ed. from Loyola (Maryland) in Montessori Elementary Education, and lastly received a M.A. from St. John’s College in Liberal Arts. He enjoys spending his evenings and weekends with his wife and four children, hiking, reading, painting, and visiting with friends and family.

Maple Class Guide

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Felma Lichtenburg

Felma completed her undergraduate studies in Elementary education from a prestigious university in Cebu, Philippines. She taught preschool and elementary students for 5 years in the Philippines before moving to the United States. She completed two Child Development Associate (CDA) degrees in Washington, D.C., and then worked as a preschool teacher from January 2006 to August 2013 and an as an infants and toddlers teacher until 2017. In the summer of 2019, Felma completed her in-class Montessori studies and served as an intern in a Mater Amoris Primary class during the 2019-20 school year. She completed her Montessori Primary training and earned her Nature-Based Teacher certification during the summer of 2020. Felma lives with her husband and four children in Brookeville.

Liatris Class Guide

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Marcia Perez

Marcia taught primary Montessori before receiving her AMI Elementary diploma from Washington Montessori Institute and completing a master’s degree from Loyola College. She has taught Montessori Elementary 6-12, Upper Elementary 9-12, and Primary at Mater Amoris. She is a recognized Montessori lecturer and has presented the complete Montessori music curriculum throughout the United States and internationally. She has been an examiner for the AMI Elementary teacher training centers in both Dallas and San Diego. During her time at Mater Amoris she has played an integral part in both the annual holiday programs and spring musicals. Marcia is married and has two adult children who both attended Mater Amoris Montessori School from ages 2 ½ to 12 years of age.

Monarch Class Guide

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Marlene Phillips

Marlene is an Assistant and Nature Educator for an Elementary classroom. She has worked as an Assistant Teacher in Montessori Schools for 9 years. She enjoys working with children, especially in a Montessori environment, where she has had the privilege of instilling the love of learning in each one of her students. She recently completed the AMI Orientation Course for ages 6-12 through the Washington Montessori Institute. When she is not teaching, she spends time working in the garden, playing tennis and travelling.

Maple Class Guide

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Ridah Raja

Sunset Club Assistant

I’m a recent graduate from Reservoir High School and in my second semester of college. I’m currently enrolled at University of Maryland in the College of Education. In my spare time I like to read, skateboard, and am passionate about photography.

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Lindy Rivera

Lindy graduated from the Washington Montessori Institute (WMI) at Loyola University Maryland in 2005 receiving her primary Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) diploma and Masters of Education degree. She has worked as a Children’s House guide, assistant and co-teacher since 2005 at Christian Family Montessori School in Washington, DC, where she helped to establish the All Day Primary Montessori Program. Lindy received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology from Towson University with a concentration in Human Development.  She has enjoyed her many years of working with children in a Montessori classroom. She was born and raised in Maryland, although she has a great love for her family's homeland of Puerto Rico. She is fluent in Spanish and fairly fluent in French.  In her spare time, she enjoys sewing, crafting, reading, gardening, and spending time with her husband Johnn, son Mason, and chihuahua mix Tanner. 

Student Support Specialist 

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Sophie Peet

My name is Sophie Peet, I am 24 years old from Parkville, MD. I have a Bachelors of Science from University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Environmental Science where I focused on Ecology and GIS work. I am currently working on my Masters of Science from Towson University where I am focusing on water resources assessment and management. I am passionate about the environment and about education. I think that everyone deserves a chance to learn and grow from it, and my skills as a scientist bring a unique perspective to my teaching. During the summer of 2021 I had the opportunity to go on a 10 week solo road trip around the United States where I could focus on some of my joys in life which include traveling, hiking, camping, crafting, painting, and yoga! I hope in my role as a Nature Educator at Mater I can find success and fulfillment and grow as an educator and a leader.

Nature Education and Special Programs for YCC & Children's House Coordinator 

Enyah Perez

Hello! My name is Enyah Perez and I’m so happy for the opportunity to introduce myself to the community and in a returning capacity as I am also proudly a MAMS alum! And now, after spending most of my life in education-I feel more poised and honored to return along side the amazing staff here at Mater Amoris. Studying and learning from the Montessori method has offered so much in my understanding of the world - how it works in terms of the physical and how it is shaped, designed and built. As a child, it gave me the internal structure for
understanding my passions and interests and has laid a foundation for which I connect with the world and find inner peace. 

A little about me - my primary interests and hobbies surround positivity, music, art, science, nature and how we all can relate to each other through these wonderful
things. My education after Mater Amoris led me to the Field School in Washington D.C. and then the University Of Hartford where I graduated from the Hartt School of
music with a BFA in Music Production and Technology. After college I spent some time working as a DJ/musician and teacher in Oregon where I spent part time as a
wedding DJ, 10 years as a High School special needs assistant teacher, a mac and cheese chef and a basketball coach with Special Olympics Oregon. All this said, I can’t wait for a chance to get to know you all and work with the
students here at Mater Amoris!

Sunrise Club Lead and Sunset Club

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Katherine Russell

Katherine received her A.M.I. Primary certificate in Dallas, TX. in 2008 after witnessing her
daughter do amazing things after coming home from Lumin East Dallas, an AMI Primary class:
like put her clothes in rainbow order and try to wash all the big bowls in the kitchen sink. After
being a Lead Guide at a few schools in the DFW metroplex, her and her daughter, now 7,
moved to Phuket, Thailand to continue teaching, consulting and offering parent education.  I am
a community minded Peaceful Artist at heart.  Get ready for an exciting year in the Azalea class
and all over campus.  We are So excited to welcome all the families to  a new school year.  I am
looking forward to exploring and growing with you.

Azalea Class Guide

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Patricia Salazar

Patricia was born in Bogota, Columbia, and came to the United States 30 years ago. She is fluent in both English and Spanish. Patricia has been an integral part of the Mater Amoris team for 29 years, serving as a Primary Assistant throughout her tenure. She established the Elementary Spanish Program during the 2019-20 school year and is passionate about supporting children in their Spanish learning. This year, she will be serving as a Lower Elementary Assistant, and in preparation, she completed the AMI Orientation Course for ages 6-12. Patricia has two adult children who are graduates of Mater Amoris.

Cedar Class Guide

Faculty