Our teachers hold the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) diploma in addition to their undergraduate degrees.
John Page, Founder & Executive Director
Mr. Page founded the Meher Montessori School in Altadena in 1972. He taught there, as well as administrated, until 1982 when he started an affiliated school in Alhambra. Then for the next 2 years he taught in Alhambra, as well as doing its administrative work, until starting our Monterey Park School in 1984.
He is a graduate of UCLA and the AMI Montessori Institute of Los Angeles. Mr. Page holds an AMI Primary teaching credential from the Montessori Institute of Los Angeles and an AMI Elementary teaching credential from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee.
Adela Muñoz, School Director
Mrs. Muñoz started with the school as a part time substitute teacher in September 1992 and became our assistant director in 1993.
She became the school's director in 2004. Adela graduated from the AMI Teacher Training at the AMI Montessori Institute of Los Angeles and holds an AMI Primary Teacher’s Diploma.
Len Mindes, Middle School Teacher
Mr. Mindes has returned to Meher after a 15 year absence and is now the teacher for our new middle school. Len is an AMI Elementary Teacher. He is a 1995 graduate of the Washington Montessori Institute.
This past summer, Len spent 5 weeks at the Hershey Montessori School in Ohio taking the AMI Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies course. We are excited to have him back and lead our new middle school during the inaugural year and beyond. Click here to see Mr. Mindes's 2013-2014 class photo.
Allison Tenold, Lower Elementary Teacher
Ms. Tenold hails from the great state of Washington and is our AMI Montessori elementary teacher for the Lower Elementary classroom with children from 6-9 years of age. Allison joined us in 2011 as an assistant in both the Upper and Lower Elementary classrooms. In 2013 she completed her Montessori Elementary training at the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee. She holds a Masters in Education from Eastern Washington University and is credentialed to teach in the WA public schools. Allison is passionate about the Montessori philosophy as she was a Montessori child herself. Click here to see Ms. Tenold's 2013-2014 class photo.
Salena Bayon, Primary Assistant
Ms. Bayon is with us for her fourteenth year. She is the assistant in the Primary classroom. Her daughter Kaya is starting her first year in Ms. Tenold's class.
Maria Rivera, Primary Teacher
Ms. Rivera is with us for her thirteenth year. She is a teacher in one of our primary classrooms. She is a graduate of Western Mindanao State University in the Philippines where she achieved two B.S. degrees. One is in chemistry and the other in elementary education.
In addition, she has a Certificate of Specialization in Pre-school Education. Maria graduated from The Montessori Institute of San Diego with her AMI Primary Teacher's Diploma. Click here to see Mrs. Rivera's 2013-2014 class photo.
Emily Strand, Upper Elementary Teacher
Emily Strand joined her first Montessori community back in 2008 in San Rafael, California. She spent many years in a Lower Elementary classroom first as an assistant, and then became a Head Teacher after her training was complete when she received her AMI diploma from The Montessori Institute of Milwaukee in 2011. She is originally from the San Diego area and attended San Diego State University. Emily has also completed the AMI Inclusive Education training at the Montessori Institute of San Diego. She is now thrilled to be at Meher in the Upper Elementary class and is eager to do many community projects with the class! She really loves working on math, art, and cooking with the children. In her spare time, she is usually enjoying a hike, run or training for a triathlon.
Danushi Fernando, Primary Teacher
Danushi has her BA in Child Development and Adolescence and a minor in Childcare Administration from California State University, Northridge. She also holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policies. Her AMI primary certification is from the Good Shepherd Montessori Training Center in Sri Lanka.
Michelle Gonzalez, Lower Elementary Assistant
Ms. Gonzalez (Samantha & Jacqueline’s mom) joined our staff seven years ago as a substitute teacher and a librarian. Michelle earned her certificate in Child Development from Rio Hondo College.
Ji Young Suh, Primary Assistant
Ms. Suh is Mrs. Rivera's full time teaching assistant. She is starting her eleventh year at Meher. Ji was with our school for many years as a parent. Her two children, Joon-Woo and Erica are former students. She is a graduate of Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, Korea and received her Child Development Certificate from Patten University.
Cindy Deng, Primary Assistant
Cindy Deng has joined Meher this year as an additional assistant for the primary classes. Cindy graduated from Guangzhou School for Childhood Education in China. She is trained in Music Together and is currently taking the AMS primary course at Capital Education Institute. She is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese.
Monica Lopez, Middle School Assistant
Ms. Lopez is a full time classroom assistant to Len Mindes' middle school class at Meher Montessori School.
Anette Mills, Primary Assistant
Ms. Mills started working at the Meher Montessori School in Monterey Park in 1992 as a part-time P.E. teacher. She also worked with the primary children in extended day care in the afternoon. She completed her required child development courses at East Los Angeles College. She is assisting in Ms. Fernando's class.
Royann Kulwicki, Primary Assistant
Ms. Kulwicki joined our staff in 2013 and is assisting in Ms. Fernando's class. She completed her required child development course work at Pasadena City Collage and is the mother of a 2 year old baby girl.
Cynthia Martinez, Primary Assistant
Ms. Martinez is an assistant in the primary classrooms and also works in our after school primary day care. Cynthia is a very special staff member because this is her thirtieth year of service in our school. She started with us in September 1984 when our Monterey Park facility opened.
Besides having completed course work for her Child Development I certificate, she has completed a special course on the Montessori Method for the paraprofessional.
Nancy Ramirez, Primary Assistant
Ms. Ramirez works assisting in the primary classrooms as well as the primary and elementary after school day care. She has twenty years experience in child care.
Elodia (Kookie) Chavez, Business Administrator
Ms. Chavez (parent of Meher Alum Evita & Eli) is the school's business administrator. She is in charge of all student records, county required student reports, payroll, and human resources.
Linda Joe, School Graphic Designer
(aka Mrs. Yoshida – recent Meher graduates Taylor & Timmy’s mom) is in the office one day a week. She is in charge of the school newsletter and with her graphic arts background also makes materials for the school.
Karina Page, Library / Garden / Special events
Karina Page gives all-round support in the Schools, developing the gardens and library, purchasing supplies, and helping with special events. She has recently begun offering elective class material as well.
Althea Wildhaber, Director / Primary Teacher
Ms. Wildhaber is the director/teacher at our Altadena site. She has worked in the primary classrooms at both the Monterey Park and Altadena schools, as well as before and after school daycare.
In addition to completing her required child development course, she has also earned an AA in Social Sciences from PCC. Althea graduated from The Montessori Institute of San Diego with her AMI Primary Teacher's Diploma.
Victoria McCray, Primary Assistant
Ms. McCray has been with the Meher Montessori School since 1986. She completed her child development classes at Pasadena City College. Victoria is the assistant teacher in Mrs. Wildhaber's classroom and she also does the day care in the mornings, greeting the children and parents.
Gracie Avila, Assistant
Ms. Avila is an assistant teacher at our Altadena school. She first started with Meher 18 years ago and has worked as an assistant at both the Altadena and Monterey Park locations. This is her 8th consecutive year as an assistant at the Altadena campus. In addition to completing her required child development classes at East Los Angeles College, she also earned a diploma from the San Marino American Montessori Society as a Primary Teacher.
Philomena Thomas, Lower Elementary tutor
Ms. Philomena has retired from Meher in 2012. She is a 1963 graduate of the Good Shepherd Maria Montessori AMI Training Centre in Sri Lanka. In 1968 she founded the Montessori program at De Sales Heights Academy in Parkersburg, West Virgina where she taught for 11 years. Philomena later went to South Africa and established a Montessori School in Johannesburg.
She then taught for 3 years in Hawaii before joining our staff in September 1986. Mrs. Thomas continues to tutor our children in the Lower Elementary class on a weekly basis.
PRIMARY Children of mixed ages (2 1/2–6) are in each classroom. Each child is free to learn at his own level, pace and degree of interest. Younger and older children learn from each other. Each one is both a student and a teacher. Each classroom has a complete set of specialized Montessori teaching materials. Each of the materials has a specific skill to develop, quality to demonstrate or fact to reveal. The children are very active learners in such a strong and exciting learning atmosphere.
ELEMENTARY The elementary program continues the development of the child through age 12. The child will now use his basic reading and writing skills to research and explore all areas of Science, Language, Math, History, Geography, Music & Art, and will greatly expand his study of Mathematics.
MIDDLE SCHOOL Middle school ushers in a new level of independence, which must be provided for in the Montessori environment by increasing activity from the point of view of work level, choices, and planning. In the middle school, the Great Lessons, timelines, and charts are replaced with overviews of general sequences of learning for which the student becomes responsible in the context of an integrated whole. Within this overview, the student has open time to collaborate on both self-initiated and instructor-initiated projects.
Open time allows for individualized instruction, a natural pace for absorption of material presented for both mastery and emotional understanding, unlimited depth of pursuit based on student interest, and release time to study art, science, music, business, and other topics students choose.
The general premise for the adolescent program is that it must bring into consciousness the moral and world view of the elementary years. Philosophical ideas related to natural history and cultural history now come into play. Great Lessons evolve into great ideas derived from a serious approach to the humanities. For example, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" may be tied to a specific part of American history, but this ideal also has a life in the history of philosophy and literature.
Consistent with the moral relationships stressed in the elementary program, the adolescent can make great cognitive leaps while integrating ideas and values in conjunction with current events, home life, or community activities.
Service programs such as working in a soup kitchen, farming as a community venture, and apprenticeships or mentorships in the workplace are part of an advancing "going out" that gives the adolescent a combined vocational and liberal arts curriculum with a particular emphasis on economic enterprise.
Adolescent programs characteristically have discrete spaces for specialized activities: photo lab, science lab, stage, art room, and lesson rooms all adjacent to open space that unifies the siderooms.
A MONTESSORI EDUCATION The Montessori Method evolved from decades of careful, scientific observation of children by the great physician and educator, Dr. Maria Montessori. Her focus on the individual child, the peaceful unfolding of self, and the prepared classroom environment offer opportunity for renewal in the appreciation of family life.
A Montessori education fosters independent, freethinking children. A Montessori education also greatly encourages self-discipline, selfconfidence and high academic standards. Freedom of speech, freedom of movement and freedom of asscociation is a normal part of Montessori school life.
Your child will want to do what is right because it feels good, not because they are fearful of the results of doing wrong.
WHY SETTLE FOR SECOND BEST? The Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), with its headquarters in Holland, was founded by Dr. Maria Montessori in 1929 to train teachers in her Method. It also serves as an accreditation agency for schools that come up to the highest standards set by Dr. Maria Montessori.
However, of the thousands of schools in the United States that call themselves “Montessori Schools” only a small percentage – are legitimate AMI accredited Montessori Schools. Dr. Maria Montessori founded AMI to keep the integrity of her Method pure and authentic. To gain AMI’s “Certificate of Recognition,” a School must staff only teachers who have received an AMI Montessori Teaching Credential.
Schools must also have thoroughly equipped classrooms with all the specialized teaching materials Dr. Montessori insisted upon. Most of these materials are imported from Europe and are very expensive.
So why take second best? You and your child deserve to have an authentic Montessori Education at Meher Montessori Schools.
OUR AIM Our aim is not merely to make children understand, and still less to force them to memorize. Our aim is to touch their imagination in such a way as to enthuse them to their innermost core...
— Dr. Maria Montessori