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LePort Montessori Orchard Hills Staff

School Administration

Shelina Suravarapu

Head of School

Mrs. Shelina Suravarapu was born and raised in beautiful Greenville, South Carolina and her family is from Uganda, East Africa. The field of education has always been her passion. She discovered Montessori while observing a school for a student and instantly wanted to know more about it. Mrs. Suravarapu loved the peaceful classroom and how the children had the ability to move freely and make choices while maintaining structure. It stole her heart and paved her way to where she is now.

Mrs. Suravarapu has over twelve years of experience in teaching. She completed her Bachelor's in Communication Disorders with a minor in Anthropology at Winthrop University. While continuing her education Mrs. Suravarapu was also trained to use a communication device, the Dynavox. The extensive training prepared her to effectively teach and demonstrate the device to fellow colleagues, teachers and students. Thereafter, she completed the Montessori Primary training in Atlanta, Georgia and taught in a Montessori classroom for five years. She then went to Loyola University to pursue a Master's in Education with a focus on Montessori Education.

While in Georgia, Mrs. Suravarapu held the director position of a prestigious event planning company for nearly 10 years. In many ways this helped her to direct, lead and organize projects more effectively.

Mrs. Suravarapu's hobbies and joys of life come from spending time with her family, traveling, hiking, reading, exercising, cooking, homeschooling her toddler and planning events.

Kaitlyn Friday

Business Manager

Kaitlyn Friday has always known she wanted to work with and have an influence on children. She attended California State University, Fullerton, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Adolescent Development. She then attended the University of California, Irvine, earning her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She started with LePort in 2015 as an assistant teacher, this is when she discovered a love for Montessori. After two years of working in the classroom, she became the administrative support and gained experience working at two LePort campuses. Before coming to LePort, Kaitlyn worked for the City of Irvine running recreation programs and camps. She is an active person who loves to play sports, read, and watch movies.

Toddler

Lindsey Kim

Head Montessori Teacher (Toddler)

Ms. Lindsey grew up in Palos Verdes and moved to Orange County in 2019. She first encountered working in a Montessori school in 2015. This sparked her interest in obtaining the Montessori certification to become a Head Teacher. She attended North American Montessori Center in 2016 and taught as a guide for five years with experience in Infant, Toddler and Primary classrooms. Ms. Lindsey studied Early Childhood Education at El Camino College and prior to teaching, Ms. Lindsey was in the United States Army for eight years.


In her free time, Ms. Lindsey loves spending time with her husband, family, and friends. She loves to travel and is always looking for the next adventure in life!

Primary

Kabita Sonowal

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Ms. Kabita Sonowal grew up in India, and moved to America with her husband in 1997. Ms. Sonowal has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Chemistry, as well as a Master's in English literature. Although she had already been teaching at traditional schools for many years, Ms. Kabita first encountered Montessori in 2002, when she took a job teaching at a Montessori preschool where she had enrolled her son. She was inspired by what she saw, and went on to complete the Montessori training program offered by the University of California - Irvine. She continues to be amazed at how powerful the Montessori philosophy can be in guiding children to attain joyful independence. Ms. Kabita continued her Montessori education, completing an additional AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego.

In her personal life, Ms. Kabita enjoys traveling to beautiful places, spending time with her husband and two sons, cooking and entertaining.

Farheen Khan

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Ms. Farheen Khan received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Pakistan and has earned a certificate in Montessori education from the University of California, Irvine. She also studied early childhood education at Santa Ana College. Ms. Khan completed her AMI Montessori training in the Primary level from the Montessori Institute of San Diego and worked as a Junior Teacher before taking on the role of Head Teacher. Ms. Khan has been with LePort Orchard Hills since it opened has maintained an enthusiasm for the Montessori pedagogy from day one. In her free time, Ms. Kahn enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Xenia Monroe

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Mrs. Monroe earned her AMI Primary Diploma at the Montessori Institute of San Diego in 2015 and received her bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development from California State University, Fullerton in 2012. Prior to joining LePort, she worked as a primary childcare teacher at another Montessori school for 4 years. Additionally, Mrs. Monroe has over 4 years of volunteer experience working with the Child and Adolescent Student Association, Club Teach, and various child-centered educational programs. Mrs. Monroe is thankful for the opportunity to work in a nurturing, loving environment where children can learn and experience new challenges that will help build their confidence while they grow. Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Monroe enjoys playing board games, reading, swimming, archery, watching documentaries, and rooting for local sport teams!

Shagufta Shaikh

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Coming from India, Ms. Shagufta holds a degree in Business Administration and Marketing Management. She started her career in human resources in a resourcing company. Having volunteered in the fine arts (dance, crafts, and dramatics) at local community centers, Ms. Shagufta found a natural passion for teaching. After the birth of her first child, she switched careers and worked as a Head Teacher. Inspired by the Montessori teaching method, she was trained as a Montessori guide and completed her AMI Primary Diploma. Upon moving to the United States, she continued to pursue a career in the field of education. She has been associated with LePort since 2017.

Apart from her passion for teaching, she is also passionate about Henna art candles, travel, and spending time with her family.

Min Hee Lee

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Min Hee Lee earned her B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Duksung Women’s University, Seoul, Korea in 1992. Throughout her college education, she was introduced to several aspects of the Montessori method and became particularly interested in the program designed by Dr. Montessori. After receiving a scholarship from her university, she received her AMI diploma from the Montessori Teacher Training Center of Northern California, Mountain View in 1994.

Prior to joining LePort, Ms. Min Hee worked in a university preschool for 8 years. After relocating to the U.S. in 2003, she put her career on hold in order to raise her children. Ms. Min Hee passion for teaching eventually brought her back to classroom, a place that most teachers call their second home.

Outside of work, Ms. Min Hee enjoys reading, taking a walk on a sunny day and spending time with her family.

Additional Staff

Jordan-Johnson Nyguen

Assistant Teacher

Mr. Jordan-Johnson has always dreamed of making a difference in the lives of young children, families, and his community. Starting as a dance instructor, Mr. Jordan-Johnson found his calling in early childhood education, inspired by the intricate developmental milestones found in preschool, along with the extraordinary philosophies, such as Montessori and Reggio-Emilia, that influence and frame his image of high quality early childhood education. He studied at Fullerton College, earning an Associates of Science degree in Child Development, and is working towards his Bachelors at California State University of Long Beach. Mr. Jordan-Johnson has been observing and implementing curriculum at the Fullerton College Lab School, a Reggio inspired program, over the past 2 years.

For fun, he loves to spend time outdoors whether it’s hiking, skating, sun bathing, or eating delicious foods.

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