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It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. She must first love and understand the universe. She must prepare herself, and truly work at it.
— Maria Montessori
 

Executive Director

Rekha Claytor

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Ms. Claytor received her B.Sc. from Bombay University, Ed. M. from Tufts University, M.B.A. from Boston University, and her AMI Primary Diploma from the Montessori Teacher Training Center of Northern California (MTTCNC). After a few years of teaching/managing early education programs, Ms. Claytor spent more than 20 years as a senior executive providing management consulting services to Federal, State, and private sector clients in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Ms. Claytor also served as a non-profit volunteer at a variety of organizations including Habitat for Humanity, and the AmeriCorps Vista program. She moved to the Bay Area to pursue an Encore Fellowship and partnered with a large non-profit helping build its development and marketing capacity.

While completing her Fellowship, Ms. Claytor volunteered as a tutor in the Bay Area public schools with the intention of returning to her primary field of interest, education. This experience made her acutely aware of the challenges of the current educational system and the need for early intervention for the child’s sustainable academic success. Having experienced the Montessori methodology as a teacher and a parent, and having witnessed the transformation of children into life-long learners, Ms. Claytor decided to focus on promoting Montessori pedagogy as an integral part of any early education system and acquired her AMI Primary Diploma from MTTCNC. Since acquiring her credentials, Ms. Claytor has managed Montessori campuses in southern and northern California as well as in Alaska.

Ms. Claytor deeply shares Mariposa Board and staff’s passion for the child’s holistic development and is excited at the prospect of bringing authentic Montessori experience to the students at Mariposa.

 

Administration

Maria Nugent

Maria started at Mariposa Montessori in the summer of 2015.  She came to us from another preschool. Maria has over 29 years of office experience. She has also received her Early Childhood Education Units from West Valley and UCSC Extension and loves being around children and their families.  She has taught in preschool in the past, and enjoys both the teaching and office atmosphere.  Maria enjoys spending time with her family and friends, trying new foods and traveling.

 

Teachers

Munawar Ahmed

Munawar started at Mariposa Montessori as a classroom assistant in 2003. In 2004 she received her AMI certification from Montessori Teacher Training Center of Norther California, Mountain View.  She earned her Bachelor's degree in Biological sciences from India in 1982 and Early Childhood Education certificate from UCSC extension in 2003.

She taught in the 5 day AM class for three years and is currently the lead teacher for the 5 day extended class for the past several years.  She and her husband, Basheer, have two grown daughters, Sana and Fareeha, as well as a son, Salman, who has two daughters of his own, Naila and Isa.

Year after year, she enjoys all of the children, their work, their individual expression and the way they grow and change. She also enjoys the unique blend of working with children and families, and being part of Mariposa community as it grows throughout each school year.  She also enjoys the unique blend of working with children and their families, and being a part of the Mariposa community as it grows throughout each school year.  It is a joy for her to watch children as they develop their confidence and skills as well as a love for the educational process in the Montessori environment. This year again she is looking forward to continue seeking the great in the child and helping it blossom. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, eating exotic Indian food, walking and spending time with her family and friends.

A personal statement from Munawar: "I enjoy teaching with the Montessori philosophy because the Montessori Method integrates a deep respect for the child's innate desire to learn in a calm prepared environment, having beautiful Montessori materials and a holistic approach to the child's development.  It is such a joy and privilege for me to assist the children as they work to create their own personalities, develop their own abilities and follow their own interests.  I love the Montessori system because it encourages independence and children become competent, confident and lifelong learners."

Grishma Dave

Grishma has more than 24 years of professional work experience including 19 years of teaching experience, with 16 of those years in a Montessori Classroom. This is her 14th year of teaching at Mariposa Montessori School. Grishma’s respect and fascination for the Montessori philosophy/methods and its ability to help children become independent and learn to their fullest potential continues to grow with each year of her teaching experience. Grishma has really enjoyed being part of the Mariposa team as well as Mariposa community.

Grishma started her professional career as a Product Designer, but has always had a passion for teaching young children. This passion drove her to get her Masters degree in Montessori Education from the Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland in 1999.Grishma also has a BS in Industrial and Product Design from the National Institute of Design (NID), India. After working for 2 years for a design firm, she had founded her own design consulting firm in India and ran it for about 3 years.

Grishma then came to the US in 1987 and while raising two children, she joined Loyola College for the Masters program in Education. After completing her Masters degree in one year, she and her family moved to CA in 1999.

When she is not working or taking care of her family Grishma enjoys travelling, reading, cooking, listening to music, and watching cricket, baseball and basketball.

PAM DONG

Pam started working at Mariposa in the summer of 2016.  She has her BA degree in Child Development from Sacramento State University.   Pam is a proud mother of three adult children and a recently proud grandmother.  She enjoys spending time with family and friends and enjoys going to the beach, cooking and hiking. Pam loves working with children and watching them grow and is extremely grateful to be a part of Mariposa Montessori.

Junko Khabir

Junko has been proud to be a part of Mariposa family since 2003. She holds an A.A. degree in English Literature in Japan, A.S. degree in Early Child Education from West Valley College, and several certificates from De Anza College and West Valley College - Certificate of Achievement on Child Development, Certificate of Achievement on Early Child Education and on Communication and the Arts Specialization. Junko finished Montessori training at North American Montessori Center in 2012.

Junko was born and raised in Japan. Before coming to the U.S., she worked for a semiconductor company as an administrator for 8 years. Junko loves singing which gives her joy and offers peace to her soul. She has been a worship leader at her church for 18 years and has taught in Sunday school for 10 years. Junko also enjoys cooking, baking, and hiking.

Junko feels that it is such an honor and a great blessing working with children, their families, and other staff members at Mariposa. She really enjoys spending her time with children, observing their growth and development enhancing their capabilities, and helping build their creative minds in their unique ways. Junko always looks forward to getting to know each one of children and is very grateful for having such a wonderful opportunity to work with them.

Naheed Khan

Naheed Khan, has been in the  United States for last 26 years. She was born on 5th January.  Naheed has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, and then did her studies in Early Child Education.  Naheed is happily married and has three beautiful children, two sons ages  25 and 23, and one daughter who is 15.  Naheed loves sports especially Cricket and Soccer, and likes to travel to explore different cultures. She love to work with children, and is very happy to be at Mariposa Montessori School.

Christilla Leon

Christilla Léon was born in Antibes, on the French Riviera.

She holds a BS in Psychology and worked towards a Master's in Psychology of the Young Child in Nice, France. She graduated as a preschool/elementary teacher of the French Public System and taught 1st graders for one year before moving to the US in August 1997 with her husband.

She obtained her AMI diploma from the Montessori Training center of Northern California (Mountain View) in 1998.

Christilla started working at Mariposa in 2003 and has served as 2day/3day teacher for several years, as well as a 5 day AM teacher. She took a few years off to concentrate on her family, but even when not teaching at our school she has stayed committed to deepening her Montessori education/understanding: attending conferences, workshops and earning her diploma for the Lower Elementary Montessori Method (North American Montessori Center, 2009) and is always eager to share its magic and truthfulness with her students and the parent community.

Christilla has a 17 year old son who is starting college in the fall and a daughter (15 years old) who attends Los Gatos High school. Both have followed a Primary and Elementary Montessori education before integrating successfully into the public school system in middle school. Everyone in the family speaks French at home and Christilla has experience in working with multilingual children.

Beside being a teacher, she loves animals and has a dog and 2 cats of her own. Traveling the world with her family is another favorite activity (that she likes to share with her students), as well as discovering different cultures and foods.

Irma Ortiz

Irma Ortiz began her scholarly career and finished with a Bachelors Degree in Interior Design in Mexico City. She began working with a firm and enjoyed her work until she began her married life which led her to establish a new beginning in San Jose, California. After being fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mother of two, Ms Irma found a new passion which was to guide and nurture young children. It was then Ms. Irma embarked on a new scholarly journey. She has acquired her Early Childhood Education studies and finished her Montessori training in 2015. Ms. Irma had been an asset to Mariposa through a professional staffing agency since 2005 and was welcomed officially into the Mariposa family in 2010. She has continued to enjoy such an honor and opportunity since then.

Sandhya Singh

Sandhya's  Montessori journey started about five years ago when her  son started going to a Montessori school. Watching him grow and mature in an environment that gave him not only knowledge but a strong value systemgot Sandhya curious to know more about Maria Montessori and her teachingphilosophy. This curiosity soon pushed her to take the 2-year training, which she completed in 2016. 
Sandhya comes with a lot of enthusiasm and a belief structure that all children come with their own uniqueness and she look forward to guiding them to find their own individuality. In the classroom Sandhya also enjoy the circle time and singing songs with her kids.  
Sandhya was born in India and has been in US since 2005. Sandhya holds a Masters in Japanese language.