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Creating the future of Montessori Education

The Prepared Montessorian team consists of a varied group of intellectuals, educators, school leaders and professionals, all contributing in unique value to the work of creating a Montessori future. 
Creating the future of Montessori Education

About Us

Don't hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions. Drop us a line at hello@preparedmontessorian.com

About Us

Our Purpose

The Prepared Montessorian is a professional development platform that provides the practicing adult Montessori educator with the “prepared environment” necessary to optimally guide the communities under her care. Maria Montessori studied how children learn to create her methodology, and we study how adults learn to mirror her approach with children. 

Prepared Montessorian is designed to offer enough upfront to get someone started and then to couple the learning they do along the way with their practice in an actual environment (usually as an assistant guide but even sometimes when an adult learner is already a lead). The training is designed specifically to learn a new principle, concept, or approach and employ it into practice immediately before reconvening and discussing how that new practice worked or didn’t work. This is the equivalent of Montessori’s development of the “hand and of the mind” working in conjunction.

We aim to make learning more affordable and available, in order to make it easier for our students to begin teaching as soon as possible. As it is widely accepted that Montessori teachers shouldn’t be expected to be masters in their first years of teaching, Prepared Montessorian is trying to find ways to speed up the process of gaining wisdom previously only thought to be possible through trial and error in the classroom.

We are empowered by technology which allows us to do this. We were doing distance learning before it was popular! We offer guided video observations of current challenging circumstances, and we problem-solve as a community, observing with various classroom experiences, video-conferencing with Montessori experts around the world while practicing with materials, and video assessing one’s practice to enhance self-awareness of a guide’s initial strengths and weaknesses. It’s a misconception that distance learning requires compromising on quality. Prepared Montessorian is using technology to enhance programming, to translate it and offer it in multiple languages, and to engage with the world’s Montessori community. 

Our Values.

Follow the adult. Always adapt the “environment” to the adult learner, never the other way. Our trainings are accessible along multiple dimensions. They are designed to adhere to the methods by which people deeply learn, at the times and places in which they need to learn and can best learn. 

Knowledge through the mind and the hand. The only way to learn is by practice. One learns by doing, again and again.Likewise, there is no such thing as unapplied knowledge. Knowledge by its nature wants to be lived.

Democratize depth. Guiding others to learn requires the distillation of complex, powerful ideas into clear, memorable experiences, simple, pithy presentations, and fresh, grounded perspectives—that together convey substance and depth without convolution.

Technology aids pedagogy. Seek opportunities to use technology to amplify and even rethink how one observes, learns, self-reflects, and grows. Tried and true is a springboard, not a bedrock.

High-structure, high-agency learning. An adult, just like a child, thrives when agency is respected. And an adult, like a child, benefits tremendously from the right learning structure. Respect, draw upon, and inspire learner agency, and give structures, such as curricula and assessment mechanisms, that accelerate successful learning.

Our Team

Joel Mendes
Joel Mendes
Joel Mendes is our Executive Director. He has worked in the school setting since graduating from California State University with a BA in English Education and Literature and a California Teaching Credential, and over the years has taught and had leadership roles in schools serving both children and adults. It was when Joel became Head of a Montessori school that things really changed for him. Not only did he have the chance to work with remarkable Montessori children, he witnessed first-hand the benefits of Montessori as a father to three children attending the same school. Joel dove into Montessori completely, earning his Montessori Certification from Montessori Insitute of San Diego and mentoring his colleagues along the way. Today, Joel leads the Prepared Montessorian team, and uses his expertise to create and deliver high-fidelity training and resources to practicing Montessorians.
Rebecca Girn
Rebecca Girn
Rebecca Girn is our Executive Program Director. Rebecca is a lifelong Montessorian who also trained as an attorney. She earned her undergraduate degree in Classical Studies from the University of Chicago and her law degree from the UCLA School of Law. She also holds two AMI Montessori teaching diplomas at both the 0 to 3 and the 3 to 6 levels. She has studied various disciplinary methods, such as Positive Discipline and Parent Effectiveness Training (PET), and has observed in hundreds of classrooms, supporting hundreds of Montessori Guides. She believes deeply in the adult learner to transform and transcend amid a process that requires trust, respect, and patience.
Mariana Serralde
Mariana Serralde
Mariana Serralde is our Senior Trainer. Mariana has been a Montessori educator for more than 20 years, working as a Children’s House Guide, Head of School, Montessori Mentor and currently as a Senior Montessori Trainer. She holds an AMI Primary Diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego, a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education with a specialization in Second Language Learning. Her passion for Montessori and diverse experience across the world brings about an empathetic approach to spreading Montessori pedagogy. Mariana has worked and supported several teachers and schools throughout her journey, including bilingual Montessori environments at all levels and collaborating in the development of a dual-language Montessori model for one of the first public dual-language Montessori schools.
Dr Matt Bateman
Dr Matt Bateman
Matt Bateman is our Montessori Theory Trainer and Educational Historian. Matt earned his BA from Sarah Lawrence College. While there, he worked in their Child Development Center researching the nature of early personality development in children. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied the history of thought in philosophy and psychology. Matt brings to Prepared Montessorian his expertise in intellectual history and experience in teaching in higher education. He serves as a Montessori theory trainer for all levels and works with other trainers and trainers-in-training in keeping the organization’s depth of theoretical understanding fresh, consistent, and sharp. He is constantly pushing himself and others to better understand the pedagogy of teacher training.
Lindsay Journo
Lindsay Journo
Lindsay Journo is our Executive Program Director. Over the past 25 years, Lindsay has worked in numerous educational roles, including Guide, Head of School, Curriculum Director, Professional Development Coach, and Trainer. Her career highlights include being a founding member of two national networks of Montessori schools and designing a comprehensive literature program for elementary students. Lindsay holds an AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego, a Bachelor of Education from York University, and an Honors Specialist Certification in the teaching of English from the University of Toronto. In her current role as an Elementary Trainer for Prepared Montessorian, Lindsay relishes introducing adult learners to the wonder and power of the Montessori method.
Ana Amiguet
Ana Amiguet
Ana Amiguet is our Senior Trainer. Ana was a Montessori child and credits her love of learning to her experiences in a Children's House classroom. This background spurred her to complete her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Brown University, a Masters in Montessori Education from Loyola College in Maryland, and then an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Ana has worked as a Lead Guide in Children's Houses and has also held various Montessori administrative roles. Her favorite role by far is her current one on the Prepared Montessorian team, helping to train and support Guides bring this amazing teaching methodology to children.
Monique Shen
Monique Shen
Monique Shen is our Nido and Toddler Trainer. After earning her BA in Psychology from Stony Brook University, Monique continued to pursue her interests in developmental psychology and found that her true passion was in early childhood education. She graduated with her AMI Montessori Diploma for the 0 to 3 age group from The Montessori Training Centre of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and is currently pursuing a dual master's in Early Childhood and Special Education. Monique has opened and led toddler communities, and has also worked as part of the training team in international Montessori training courses in Mexico City for Nido and Toddler guides seeking Montessori certification.
Laura Kalama
Laura Kalama
Laura is our Nido and Toddler Trainer. Over the past 15 years, Laura has been actively involved in early childhood education. She studied education with an emphasis on music at Bridgewater College, Virginia, then moved to California to work with infant and toddler families. She received her Montessori training from the Prepared Montessorian and served as a Lead Nido Guide before joining our team.
Emily Daggett
Emily Daggett
As a child, Emily attended Montessori programs in Portland, OR through middle school. She credits her education with fostering a love of learning that continues to serve her today. After earning a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Occidental College, Emily traveled the world and found her way back to her roots. She received her Montessori 3-6 and 6-12 certification from the Association Montessori Internationale, as well as an M.Ed. from Loyola University. She is currently working on completing her 0-3 training. Emily has worked with children ages 18 months to 12 years in Montessori settings and most recently served as Communication Manager at Montessori Northwest training center. She hopes to use her background as a Montessori child turned educator to advocate for high quality education for all children.
Meggan Burak
Meggan Burak
Meggan Burak is our Montessori Mentor. After studying Journalism at the University of Wyoming, Meggan moved to Minnesota which is where she began her Montessori training. She received her Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) Primary Diploma from the Montessori Center of Minnesota. Over her twenty-plus years as a Montessori educator, Meggan has worn many hats. She has opened a Montessori school, worked in Nido and Toddler environments, and has been a Children’s House Guide, Head of School, and Administrator. Her passion has always been to help guide others along their Montessori paths. Meggan is delighted to be a Montessori Mentor with the Prepared Montessorian Institute supporting new guides and guides in training as they set off on their Montessori journeys.
Berenice Saint-Saens
Berenice Saint-Saens
Berenice earned a bachelor's degree in History from Tulane University and a Master's degree in Education from Loyola University Maryland. She also holds a Montessori Assistants to Infancy certification from the Association Montessori Internationale and is a trained Doula. Ms. Saint-Saens served in the Peace Corps as a Youth Development Volunteer and has since worked in early childhood education. She discovered the Montessori Method 7 years ago and worked as an assistant & head teacher in infant & toddler classrooms. She then worked to empower families to begin Montessori at home and from birth and now spends her time training school leaders. In her free time, Ms. Saint-Saens loves practicing yoga, hiking and dancing West Coast Swing.
Margaret Whitley
Margaret Whitley
Margaret is our Elementary trainer. She attended Montessori as a child for four years. After an undergraduate degree in history, she pursued elementary teacher training in Bergamo, Italy. She spent more than 35 years in Montessori education, including establishing the first Canadian Montessori middle school. She embraced roles in Montessori leadership including head of school, teacher trainer and the Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators Director of School Accreditation. She has two adult children who attribute their success, in part, to their Montessori experiences. In 2019, she completed an MFA in creative non-fiction writing to pen her memoir about Montessori's impact on her life. "A World of Difference" is in progress looking for a publishing home. She serves on two boards for food literacy with children. She also enjoys cooking, gardening, yoga, cycling, skiing, hiking and being with family and friends.
Peter Piché
Peter Piché
Peter serves on the Prepared Montessorian team as a theory trainer. He is MACTE-credentialed (Primary, Elementary I–II,) Montessori educator who founded and designed the Secondary I Montessori program at Montessori Community School in Durham, North Carolina, after attending Great Work's Orientation to Montessori Adolescent program. In addition to getting his professional leadership coaching certification from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching in New Jersey, he holds a Masters in Education. Formerly he served as a consultant to the American Montessori Society for their Pathway of Continuous School Improvement program. Recently he's worked with Montessori leadership professionals to help them with assertive communication and mapping their leadership style to Montessori principles.
Letty Rising
Letty Rising
Letty Rising is our Elementary Trainer. During her last undergraduate year at UC Santa Barbara where she earned a BA in Sociology, she took a course that involved her spending a day at a Montessori school. She was deeply moved by her observation, and felt inspired to enroll in a Montessori teacher training program. She received her AMI 6-12 diploma from the Washington Montessori Institute and her Master's Degree in Education from Loyola University. In addition, she has her California State Teaching Credential and has worked in public, private, and charter school settings for 20 years. She has held positions as a Homeschool Education Specialist, Montessori Elementary Teacher, School Director, Principal, Montessori Coordinator, Teacher Trainer, and Consultant with several Montessori communities worldwide. In addition, she writes articles and blog posts for Montessori organizations and has developed online courses for Montessori teachers and homeschool parents.
Julia Richards
Julia Richards
Julia Richards is our Adolescent Trainer and Coach. Julia earned her BA in English Literature from Brown University, and after several years working in literacy education, traveled to Italy where she completed her AMI Elementary Diploma. She then worked in an Elementary classroom for 6 to 12 year olds before turning her attention to the adolescent age group. After she achieved her AMI Adolescent Certification, Julia opened an adolescent program. It was during this program that she discovered the joy of working with teenagers. Over the past three years, Julia has organized Montessori teacher programs specializing in adolescence, including the AMI/NAMTA Orientation to Adolescent Studies.
Lisa Kathleen
Lisa Kathleen
Lisa Kathleen is a Montessori educator with a knack for articulating the deepest of principles in clear and relatable terms. Lisa attended University of Texas at Austin, where she gained a double BA in History and Philosophy, before obtaining the AMI Diploma in Italy. Lisa rejuvenated the struggling lower elementary program at a school in her hometown of Calgary, Canada, and then founded and developed an upper elementary program for the same school. With the birth of her own baby, Lisa turned to administration and ran the admissions program for a local Montessori primary program on two campuses on a part-time basis. At the same time, Lisa built her own business as a parenting coach and parent educator and has served hundreds of families. Now she helps guide those studying to become Montessori Elementary Educators and also helps train school leaders in admissions.
Jea Vallee-Villanueva
Jea Vallee-Villanueva
Jea Vallee-Villanueva is our Vice President of International and also verifies MACTE certifications for Montessori teacher education programs around the world. Jea is an Australian early childhood educator who has spent the past 20 years nurturing young children and educators in China and around the globe. She holds an Montessori Primary Diploma from Australian Montessori Teacher Education Foundation (AMTEF), a BSc in Psychology, and a MA in Early Childhood Education. Before joining the Prepared Montessorian team, Jea helped build the largest Montessori network of schools in China, established an infant-toddler center in Beijing, and consulted for various international schools and institutions on pedagogy, practices, curriculum, and training.
Nicole Fedorehder
Nicole Fedorehder
Nicole is an Elementary trainer. She has been a Montessori educator for more than 15 years and is an experienced elementary guide, presenter, and mentor. Nicole holds an AMI Elementary Diploma from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee and a Bachelor's Degree from Columbia College Chicago. She has additional certifications in Positive Discipline and IMSE: Orton-Gillingham Comprehensive and Intermediate trainings. Her enthusiasm for Montessori pedagogy and her practical knowledge of classroom management are her greatest attributes. She enjoys working with adult learners and setting them up for success as they start their journey as Montessori guides.
Nikolle Marrero
Nikolle Marrero
Nikolle grew up in a family of educators. She graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. Over the years in the field of Education, she has worked as a guide, mentor, coach and administrator. Nikolle is also a mom of two wonderful and independent Montessorians. She found Montessori after completing her master's degree in Educational Neuroscience. As her passion for the Montessori curriculum evolved, she decided to complete her 0-3 Diploma with the Prepared Montessorian. She credits her love for education to the wonderful mentors and educators she has encountered over the years. She enjoys connecting with fellow Montessorians who are at different stages of their journey and finding opportunities to really set them up for success.

EXPLORE A REWARDING, IMPACTFUL CAREER IN EDUCATION

Take the first step to open up future possibilities, and become a fully certified Montessori teacher in under 15 months.

To help bring forth a Montessori future, we have combined unprecedented accessibility with deep rigor and high standards. Our programs provide a variety of flexible options that accommodate your goals and schedule, while ensuring you receive a quality educational experience.

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