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.



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


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

Faculty and Staff


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.



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

Administrative Assistant


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. 



Kyna is supporting the lead Guide of the Sunset club. She is a junior student in Sherwood High School. She started working during the Summer Exploration Program 2021 and continues to support Mater Amoris. Kyna was born in the Philippines. She has two younger siblings who attend Mater Amoris and her mother is a primary Guide. Watching her younger siblings grow in a Montessori environment inspires her to get involved in this journey. It arouses her interest to support more children and learn more about the Montessori methods of education. Kyna keeps a positive attitude throughout her work and values integrity. She doesn’t know much about being a teacher but she gives her best every time a child needs her

Kyna Dela Pena

Sunset Club Assistant

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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.



Carmen Ascencio Coto

Young children's community assistant

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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

Toddler Guide

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Nancy Gilpin

I grew up in Washington DC.  Loved the city including the Close of the Washington National Cathedral with its Greenhouse, Herb Cottage, Flower Mart; Glen Echo with its carousel; and the Smithsonian museums-such treasures!  Following college, I earned a diploma from the Washington Montessori Institute and began teaching a primary class at the Riverside Montessori School in the Shenandoah Valley.  My co-teacher, Dolores Devereux, and I taught a class of twenty children on her farm for years-such fun! When Dolores decided to retire, I decided to explore a career in libraries as I love children’s literature.  Upon receiving an MLS from Catholic University, I was a children’s librarian at the Norwood School and then joined the Howard County Library.  Later, I became the Archivist at Gilman.  I love children’s picture books, history, dogs, song birds and gardens particularly all the bulbs and tree peonies.  Would like to find a Norwich Terrier puppy.


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Sophie Peet

Sunset Club Assistant

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.


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

Upper Elementary Assistant and Adolescent 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.

Children's House Guide


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


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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Patrick McLaughlin

Pat grew up in Southern California and joined the Air Force after high school, where he received his Associate of Arts in Serbian-Croatian. In his free time Pat volunteered as a tutor at local schools. After leaving the military, he, his wife, and three children moved to Northern Virginia where Pat received his Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Studies (Social Sciences) at George Mason University, continuing to tutor and mentor elementary and middle school students. Pat received his Montessori elementary training at Washington Montessori Institute. Pat has worked three years as a teacher, teaching English language-learners and teaching in a Montessori bilingual elementary class. Pat’s Master of Education is from Loyola University Maryland. He expects to receive his Master of Arts from Saint John’s College in Annapolis this summer. Pat and his wife have been married ten years and have four children. They enjoy hiking state parks and hosting friends.

Lower Elementary Guide


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 Guide


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.

Upper Elementary Guide

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Caroline Morrison

Caroline was born in Tennessee and grew up in north Florida.  She has a lifelong passion for the outdoors, whether adventuring or working on a variety of environmental projects.  She is strongly committed to the “children in nature” movement. Caroline earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Florida State University. She has worked as a Florida park ranger, kayak tour guide, a certified divemaster and gardener.  During her 26-year stint in the US Virgin Islands she raised two children – Kelsey and Travis, both of whom graduated from the VI Montessori School. This is her 23rd year working in the Montessori world; from class parent to PTA president then Toddler and Lower Elementary Assistants before becoming a Montessori Guide. She earned her AMI Elementary diploma from the Washington Montessori Institute and a Master’s degree in Education from Loyola University, Maryland in 2014.  

Caroline is very excited about bridging the philosophy of Montessori’s classroom experience with exploration of the outdoor environment on our campus and the surrounding regions, with the students and families of Mater Amoris Montessori School.

Coordinator of Nature Education and Special Programs


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.

Lower Elementary Assistant


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.

Lower Elementary Assistant


Patricia Salazar

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

Grounds, Facilities and

Administrative Assistant

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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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Alex is a current senior at James Hubert Blake High School. In the fall, he will be attending Ohio University, where he intends to major in astrophysics. He is passionate about math and science, and is excited to share his passion with the children. Alex discovered an interest teaching through Mater Amoris' first Summer Enrichment Program last year, and is looking forward to continuing to learn about the ever evolving job of working with children.

Alex Penn

Sunset Club Assistant