LePort Montessori Lomita Staff

School Administration

Annamaria Salzetti

Assistant Head of School

Ms. Annamaria Salzetti has worked in Montessori education since 1997 and with LePort Montessori since 2010. While working at a Montessori school in Rancho Palos Verdes, 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 has enjoyed many years of teaching before transitioning to school leadership.

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

Katie Churchill

Administrative Support

Ms. Katie Churchill’s background began in Senior Living where she worked in Sales and Marketing for the past 10 years traveling the Western United States, living in the Bay Area for 5 years, and eventually settling down in her hometown of Rancho Palos Verdes. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Science and a minor in Gerontology from California State University, Chico. After having her son in March of 2019, she decided to do a career shift to work with children in education.

Katie enjoys spending time with her large family, snowboarding, traveling, and being outside. She has one son, Lyle, and loves watching him grow.

Infant

Gilda Gil

Junior Montessori 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.

Areli Romero

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Areli has been working with children in a preschool setting for the past four years, and as a personal caregiver for 15 years prior to that. She majored in Child Development at Theoria Technical College. For hobbies, Ms. Areli loves cooking, spending time with her family, and doing Karaoke with friends!

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.

Toddler

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.

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.

Joey Aviles

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Joey, has been working with children for over 14 years, and teaching in Montessori classrooms for over five years. She has many interests to keep her busy when not in the classroom, including astronomy, cooking, visiting art galleries, as well as painting herself. To keep in shape, she’s been participating in roller derby for over six years.

Rochelle Daniels

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Ms. Rochelle brings with her 15 years of Montessori teaching experience. She holds two Montessori certifications in Infant/Toddler, as well as Primary. Ms. Rochelle is the mother of two young daughters. She and her family enjoy traveling, going to the movies, and, of course, spending time at our incredible South Bay beaches.

Lilia Meredith

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary), Spanish Immersion

Ms. Lilia has been working with children over 25 years. She received her degree from University of California Irvine’s Montessori program. She and her husband have one adult daughter, along with a dog named Lucky. Ms. Lilia loves to walk and does so every day, including at lunchtime on school days. She is a bookworm! She loves reading everything from murder mysteries, to biographies, and even historical fiction.

Additional Staff

Sabrina Vasquez

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Sabrina Vasquez was born and raised in the South Bay area, where she continues to reside today. Ms. Sabrina graduated from Phineas Banning High School where she was a proud member of the International Trade Academy. During and after high school, Ms. Sabrina volunteered for small businesses offering her administrative skills. During her volunteer hours, she realized her true passion was with children. With this new mindset, she enrolled in Los Angeles Harbor College, completed her Early Childhood Education units, and received a Child Development Certificate. Before working at LePort, Ms. Sabrina was a teacher at a nearby preschool. She is excited for the upcoming years and new experiences at LePort. In her spare time she loves reading and spending time outdoors.

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.

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