LePort Montessori Lomita Staff

School Administration

Marcia Clark

Head of School

Ms. Marcia Clark pursued her interests in education and marketing during her undergraduate years. This led to initially teaching at the middle school, high school, and college levels. Her love of marketing provided her experience and travel opportunities in international financial marketing. 

Years later, inspired by her own children’s progress in Montessori as preschoolers, she became motivated to move from public school teaching to pursue her own Montessori Primary credential. Ms. Clark taught Primary and Elementary Montessori classes before spending the last 19 years in Montessori administration. With both of her children remaining in Montessori schools through 5th grade, she watched the confidence and love of learning they exuded through their college years and beyond. She has now committed her life to introduce as many children and their families as possible to the Montessori Method. 

Besides enjoying her role as Grandma, Ms. Clark loves working on family scrapbooks, watching college sports on TV, and reading everything from biographies to murder-mysteries.

Annamaria Salzetti

Business Manager

Ms. Annamaria Salzetti has worked in Montessori education since 1997, and has been a Business Manager at LePort Montessori since 2010.

While working at a Montessori school in Rancho Palos Verdes years back, Ms. Annamaria was drawn to the philosophy and method of Dr. Maria Montessori, and decided to pursue a career as a Montessori educator. She received her Montessori Primary Certificate through the Montessori Centre International in London, England. She also holds an International Teaching Diploma from the North American Montessori Center in Vancouver, Canada. Over the years, Ms. Annamaria has had the honor of playing an important role in the development of many children’s lives. She enjoyed many years of teaching before transitioning to the Business Manager role at LePort.

Outside of school, Ms. Annamaria enjoys baking, gardening, and antique shopping with her husband of 19 years. She has two daughters and loves spending time at home with her family.


Annette Castillo

Head Montessori Teacher (Infant)

Ms. Castillo earned her AMI Montessori credential for ages 0-3 from The Montessori Institute in Denver, Colorado. She also holds an Associate Teachers Certificate from Long Beach City College.

Prior to joining LePort, Ms. Castillo worked as an assistant teacher with infants and toddlers at The San Clemente Preschool. Soon after, she progressed to a preschool teacher, guiding and prepping children for kindergarten. Ms. Castillo also worked at the YMCA for nearly a decade, working with the before- and after-school childcare programs.

Ms. Castillo’s passion for children inspired her to pursue a career in early childhood education. Above all, she enjoys developing strong relationships with the children, parents, and staff of LePort. Outside of work, she loves to watch movies and spend time with friends and family.

Eroma Fernando

Assistant Teacher

Mrs. Eroma Fernando was born and raised in Sri Lanka. From an early age, she knew that she wanted to be an educator because of her passion for education from the long line of teachers in her family. In fact, Mrs. Fernando learned about the Montessori method from a family member and was immediately drawn to the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori. This inspired her to pursue a Montessori diploma in Sri Lanka. After moving to southern California, Mrs. Fernando completed her Early Childhood Education units at El Camino College and taught in a Montessori environment for over seven years. What she loves about Montessori is that it teaches children how to live in a community, how to learn independently, and how to think creatively and constructively.

In her free time, Mrs. Fernando enjoys sewing and spending time at home with her family.

Elmira Valiullina

Head Montessori Teacher (Infant)

Ms. Elmira Valiullina is passionate about her work. Both of her parents are teachers and, ever since her early childhood, she wanted to go into the educational field. She began her teaching career in 1998 teaching music and English. She also taught at the Montessori Center in Moscow.

Ms. Elmira received her Assistance to Infancy (0-3) degree from the Montessori Institute in Denver, Colorado. In fact, her roommate during training was Ms. Annette!

She enjoys having the opportunity to help children become happy and self-confident people. Besides her work in the classroom, she plays the piano, makes Montessori materials, practices yoga, and enjoys spending time with her family, especially with her 10-year-old son.

Gimma Molinelli

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Gimma Molinelli has been working as an infant and preschool teacher for over seven years. She attended Southern California Regional Occupational Center where she completed the Nursing Assistant Program, along with Harbor College where she completed the Child Development Program. Ms. Gimma is passionate about working with children and educating them to be young, independent people.

Carmen Lainez

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Carmen has been working with children professionally for 13 years, in a public elementary program, a Spanish literacy program, the Boys and Girls Club, as well as a daycare, and another Montessori school. She majored in Child Development at Harbor College.

Ms. Carmen is the mother of two children: a 9-year-old daughter and 6 year-old-son. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the beach and parks, as well as exploring museums.


Lundon Garner

Head Montessori Teacher (Toddler)

Ms. Lundon has worked with children for ten years, passionate about early childhood education. She found her love for Montessori by being an assistant teacher working with toddlers and
primary-age students. Ms. Lundon received her Montessori teaching credential from the University of California Irvine. Outside of work she enjoys singing, going to the beach, working out, and spending time with her family. It is Ms. Lundon’s goal to ignite a flame of loving to learn, while bringing out the best in each child.

Francesca Ochoa

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Ochoa is currently attending Los Angeles Harbor College where she is studying child development. It was here that she was initially introduced to Maria Montessori and the Montessori Method of teaching. Prior to joining LePort, Ms. Ochoa worked as a volunteer at the YWCA World of Tots in San Pedro. Additionally, she worked for Wilmington Park Elementary Schools, assisting 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade teachers. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Ochoa enjoys cooking, country music, trying new things, and spending time with her family and two dogs.

Julianne Belanger

Head Montessori Teacher (Toddler)

Julianne Belanger had been working as a Lead Teacher in Montessori schools for the past 8 years in the Minneapolis area before moving to Southern California. She is AMI trained at the Assistants to Infancy (0-3) level from The Montessori Institute in Denver, CO, and Primary trained from The Montessori Center of Minnesota in St. Paul, MN.

Marlyn Hernandez

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Hernandez is currently working towards her AA in Child Development at Los Angeles Harbor College. She comes from a traditional family allowing her to be fluent in both Spanish and English. Ms. Hernandez has always had a passion for children and particularly enjoys helping them succeed in every aspect of their lives. Her love for children began during her junior year in high school while assisting in a toddler classroom at Dolores Children Center. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Hernandez enjoys watching movies, going to amusement parks and spending time with family, friends and her dog Gizmo.

Preschool / Kindergarten (Primary)

Brittany Larsen

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Ms. Brittany Larsen, a South Bay native, holds two Montessori teaching credentials from UC Irvine, and has twelve years of Montessori teaching experience at the Toddler, Primary, and Elementary levels. Outside of work, Ms. Brittany loves art, science, drawing, painting, and visiting museums. Her greatest hope is that her students leave her classroom with a passion and love of learning.

Rosalba Velazco

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Rosalba Velazco has worked with children for several years as an Assistant Teacher, Special Education Assistant for LAUSD and as an English and math tutor. Ms. Velazco speaks Spanish and English, and knows American Sign Language. She also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Development and Deaf Studies at Cal State University, Northridge. Prior to joining LePort, she worked at a Call Center for one of the largest medical health plans in Los Angeles, but her passion for working with children led her to follow her heart. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Velazco enjoys, dancing, hiking, and spending time at Disneyland with her nephew and nieces.

Jessica Fabian

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Ms. Jessica Fabian is currently a full-time student at Santa Monica College, diligently working on obtaining her associate degree in child development. Ms. Jessica first realized that she wanted to devote her time to working with children when she volunteered for Wood Craft Rangers, an after school program dedicated to providing educational activities for children. Not only did she assist children with their homework, but she also engaged them in physical activities to promote their health, and she encouraged their creative abilities with arts and crafts. Aside from volunteering, Ms. Fabian is also a Parent Council Associate for Early Headstart where she helps to ensure the highest quality of services to children and parents. Additionally, her role as secretary for Student Site Council allows her to participate in the financial decision-making that contributes to high school students’ success. Furthermore, Ms. Jessica spent three weeks studying abroad in Latin America. During her time there, she made many idyllic memories while playing and reading to young children.

Deliriously happy to be working with LePort, she finds herself fascinated by the independence acquired by the children who attend the school. She strives to create and maintain a safe, fun environment where children can flourish and succeed. In her leisure time, she enjoys reading to her daughter and spending time outdoors. Ms. Jessica is proud to be bilingual, and effectively communicates in both English and Spanish.

Alejandra Jimenez

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Alejandra Jimenez received her Bachelor of Science from California State University, Northridge in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Applied Fitness and Active Lifestyle. She also has an associate degree from El Camino College with an emphasis in child development courses. At LePort Montessori, Ms. Alejandra focuses on how she can assist children individually with their physical, social, and emotional development. Ms. Alejandra has created fitness programs for children which focus on the development of balance, coordination, and gross motor skills. During her free time, Ms. Alejandra loves to explore the outdoors through jogging and hiking with friends.

Constanza Visone

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary), Spanish Immersion

Ms. Constanza has been teaching for 5 years in Mexico. She received her education degree from Iberoamericana University in Mexico City, along with her AMI Montessori credential at the Montessori Institute. Ms. Constanza has been co-teaching in a dual immersion classroom: the American children were taught Spanish, while the native Spanish speakers were taught English!

During her free time, she loves to cook, and enjoys reading and painting. She enjoys everything artistic and creative, including going to art galleries and museums. Ms. Constanza loves animals and is an advocate for conservation and animal rights.

Karla Salgado

Assistant Teacher, Spanish Immersion

Ms. Karla Salgado is currently working on her degree in Early Childhood Development at Los Angeles Southwest College. Ms. Karla has always had a passion for working with young children and enjoys working on art projects with her students. In her free time, Ms. Karla enjoys exploring new places with her family.

Additional Staff

Gilda Gil

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Gilda began her Associates degree work at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, completing her degree in Early Childhood Development at Southwest College in Los Angeles. She keeps busy with her three children: including her daughter at UC Santa Cruz, her son at Cal State Monterrey, and a three-year-old at home. She enjoys cooking and spending time with family.

Sumaiya Patel

Assistant Teacher

Sumaiya has over 5 years of experience working with children in schools. She attended Laguna Tech College in Pomona for her Early Childhood Education classes. The mom of three sons (high school, middle school, and elementary!) she loves baking in what spare time she has. She has a special interest in cake decorating. Raised in the U.K., Sumaiya speaks 4 languages.

Yaritza Snyder

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Yaritza Snyder is originally from Northern California and attended Sacramento State College for her early childhood education classes and has previous teaching experience at another Montessori school. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, painting, and walking her two dogs, Luna and Chloe. Ms. Yaritza is a member of the Army National Guard.

Marylu Cruz

Assistant Teacher

Ms. MaryLu Cruz has over 30 years of experience working with children. She completed her Early Childhood Education units at Harbor College, and has been working with preschoolers, toddlers, and infants. Ms. MaryLu is a proud grandmother of four and loves working with children. As an educator,she feels fortunate to be a part of LePort Montessori, and believes that is very important that children are actively involved discovering, exploring, learning, and having fun at the same time. She believes that teaching is about respecting, loving, and accepting the children for who they are, and providing them the tools to grow. As a native of Mexico, Ms. MaryLu is very excited to be in an environment where she can utilize her native language to help children learn another language.

Katherine Gribbins

Assistant Teacher

Mercy Castillo

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Mercy has been passionate about children and their behavioral, emotional, and academic development since taking a child development class in high school. She began her child development studies at Mt San Jacinto College, before completing her BA in English Education from CSU Dominguez Hills in May 2018. 

In her spare time, Ms. Mercy likes to bake cakes, decorate and organize her home, and read. She is always buying books to fill her home library too. Parenthood is her favorite TV show! Her favorite vacation spot is Boston because of its history, architecture, and weather.

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