LePort Montessori Westpark Staff

School Administration

Ana Rivas

Head of School

Ms. Ana is an educational entrepreneur, homeschooling parent, and lifelong learner. Her experience working with children dates back to her teenage years when she took an opportunity to assist in a home daycare. From that moment, she was inspired to guide young children--particularly toddlers. Her determination for understanding their psychology and behavior led her to fill positions such as Director of Curriculum, Assistant Director, Montessori Specialist, "Parent and Child" Instructor, and Head Teacher in various educational settings. Ana has experience coaching teachers at schools on the east and west coast. She has served as an advisor and guest lecturer for training centers and schools in China and the Philippines, furthering the impact of Montessori education worldwide. Ana received a Montessori Assistants to Infancy Diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego. She is an alumna at the University of Hartford and is currently in the midst of Primary training at the Montessori Training Center of Northeast.

When she's not immersed in Montessori, Ana enjoys spending time with her family, exploring nature, and creating art. Ms. Ana believes education happens at every moment and in many forms. She is honored to support LePort's Montessori team as they aim to provide quality education for children across the nation.

When Ms. Ana meets a new student, she frequently recalls a quote by Dr. Maria Montessori: “It is the child who makes the man, and no man exists who was not made by the child he once was.”

Yatziri De La Mora

Business Manager

Ms. Yatziri De La Mora moved to Orange County from Sacramento in 2008 and worked as an Assistant Manager in a Downtown Disney boutique. In her position she became inspired by all the young children that she encountered and decided to go back to school full-time. Ms.De La Mora received her B.A. in Religious Studies from California State University, Fullerton, where she enjoyed all the historical and cultural knowledge of humanity that the major had to offer. While completing her degree, she worked with a non-profit summer science camp, where she was able to assist families in extended education for their children. In her continued quest to build relationships with families and communities, she was offered the opportunity to be part of the administration team at LePort Montessori Irvine Westpark.
 
In her free time, De La Mora enjoys walks in nature, traveling to new places, learning about different cultures, and creating new memories with family and friends.

Tatiana Guerrero

Administrative Support

Tatiana Guerrero graduated from Fullerton College with an Associate of Arts Degree in Business Administration. Since then she has worked in various managing positions, such as running the day-to-day operations at her family-owned daycare center in Corona. Her work experience equipped her with strong administrative knowledge, a profound appreciation for positive relationships and valuable communication skills.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband of 15 years and their four children, as well as hiking, camping, and crafting.

Toddler

Carmen Calvo

Head Montessori Teacher (Toddler)

Ms. Carmen Calvo, the third of nine sisters, was born and raised in Mexico City. She was the first in her family to go to college, earning her B.A. in Education from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. Later, she went on to earn her AMS Primary diploma, as well as her AMI Elementary diploma. She first discovered and fell in love with the Montessori method through researching educational options for her own children. Ms. Calvo has been a Montessori directress internationally since 1993, and completed her AMI Montessori teacher training for the 0 to 3 age group at the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Additionally, she has taught Spanish as a second language to toddlers through adults. Ms. Calvo’s love of travel has sent her from New York to Panama, Hawaii to Russia; her knowledge of world cultures inspires and enriches her teaching.

Norma Gamez

Head Montessori Teacher (Toddler)

Ms. Norma Gamez comes from the medical field where she worked as a medical assistant for over six years. Wanting to work with children, she went back to school and earned her Early Childhood Education units from North Orange County Community College District School of Continuing Education. Mrs. Gamez worked at a family childcare home with children ranging from infants to school aged before joining LePort. Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Gamez enjoys spending time with her family.

Nallely Lopez

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Lopez grew up in Granienal Michoacan, Mexico and is the first member of her family to attend college. Ms. Lopez has worked with children of all different ages since she was 18 years old, and greatly enjoys watching students develop and thrive. Ms. Lopez is currently attending Cal State University, Fullerton to pursue a career as a Child Psychologist. She plans to finish her undergraduate studies and eventually complete a doctorate in Child Psychology.

Primary

Elizabeth Herlihy

Junior Montessori Teacher

Miss Liz Herlihy graduated from the University of Vermont with a double major in Chinese and Japanese. She moved to California from Connecticut in 2016 where she worked as a Chinese tutor as well as an interior designer's assistant. After Moving to California, she worked as a commercial scuba diver. While looking to expand her career outside of the water, Miss Liz was offered a position as an Assistant Teacher at the LePort Irvine Mandarin campus. Her passion for teaching was ignited and she decided to begin Montessori Primary training at the Montessori Institute of San Diego. During her free time, Miss Liz loves returning to China to practice her Chinese and visit old friends. She also enjoys scuba diving, camping, dirt biking, and playing with her cat, Pumpkin, and her dog, Lola.

Roshika Ruhunage

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Ms. Roshika joined LePort with over seven years of experience working as a Montessori Toddler and Primary Teacher. She fell in love with the Montessori approach after caring for her two children. Ms. Roshika earned her diploma in Primary Montessori Education at the Colombo Montessori Teacher Training Center in Sri Lanka, which is affiliated with Fairfax University in the United Kingdom. She also has numerous continuing education credits in Early Childhood Education from various colleges in the United States. Ms. Roshika describes herself as simple but strong-willed, and a passionate and kind person.

Delmy Zavala

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Delmy Zavala was born and raised in El Salvador. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Francisco Gavidia University. After four years of working in Human Resources, she realized that it wasn’t her passion, so she became a nanny for a child with special needs for six years. Ms. Zavala is excited to be working with the children at LePort. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her own two children, and also likes traveling.

Daniela Monteiro

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Daniela Monteiro was born and raised in Brazil where she earned a BA in Education, a BS in Psychology, a Parental Coaching training, and a Certification in Education Management. Daniela was first introduced to Montessori’s method in 2006. From that moment forward she never stopped studying, researching and working with ​the ​Montessori Method. She received her AMS Montessori Training Certification for 2.5- to 6-years-old​ from the New England Montessori Teacher Education Center in 2011 after living in Boston​, ​MA for a year. In 2013, she founded Educare, a company dedicated to coach​ing​ parents and teachers ​with a ​focus on the Montessori philosophy. Before joining LePort Montessori, she was the Curriculum Coordinator of a Bilingual Montessori School in Brazil​,​ and her primary job was implementing the Montessori Philosophy and mentoring all staff towards the best Montessori Practicum. She has been with LePort since January 2016 as the Assistant Head of School of the Irvine Spectrum North campus.

The year of 2017 ​was​ a landmark ​year ​​for​ Daniela. Her first child was born in May and she knows that being a parent will only make her grow even more.

In her free time, Daniela loves to spend time with her family and friends, watching movies and ​TV​ ​shows​, cooking, and reading.

Anita Sharma

Assistant Teacher

Mrs. Anita Sharma was born in India where she completed her bachelor’s degree in Arts. She has been involved in doing community work from a very young age and realized early that she enjoyed most working with children of all ages. She studied Early Childhood Education at Irvine Valley College in Orange County and has also studied American Sign Language. Her philosophy of education is that all children are unique and must have a stimulating educational environment where they can grow physically, mentally, and socially. In her free time, she likes hiking and listening to music.

Merel Hogeweg

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Ms. Merel Hogeweg was born in the Netherlands and moved to the United States in 2001. She grew up in Redlands, California and made her way out to Orange County to attend the University of California, Irvine. It was during her time at UC Irvine, that Ms. Merel found her passion for working with students. She went on to graduate in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Educational Sciences. After graduation, Ms. Merel began working as an Assistant Teacher in a Montessori classroom and was quickly inspired to become Montessori trained herself. Ms. Merel received her AMI Primary Diploma from the Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies in Phoenix, Arizona and obtained a Masters of Education with an emphasis in Montessori Studies from Loyola University Maryland.

During her free time, Ms. Merel enjoys being outdoors, traveling, going to Disneyland, and spending time with her family and friends.

Patricia Shaw

Assistant Teacher

Mrs. Shaw was born and raised in Mexico and moved to California in 1985. Prior to joining LePort, she worked in the medical field, but had always desired working with children. Mrs. Shaw attended Laguna Technical College to receive an education in Human Development and Childhood Education. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys reading, movies, music, and most of all, spending time with her two sons and family in Mexico.

Elementary

Lorine Dapic

Head Montessori Teacher (Elementary)

Mrs. Dapic was born in Brazil, with strong influences from her Italian and Spanish family. These frequent interactions with languages and cultures inspired her to attain a bachelor’s degree in German Literature. She had previous professional and personal experience in the field of education, but it wasn’t until motherhood that she discovered her true calling. Prior to joining LePort, she volunteered for two different schools in Southern California. She believes there is always something new we can learn from children. In her free time, Mrs. Dapic enjoys reading, exploring the world with her children, and spending time with friends.

Additional Staff

Cecilia Flores

Assistant Teacher

Mrs. Cecilia Flores joined LePort in 2012 after over six years of working with children from infants through fourth grade. She studied Child Development at Santa Ana College, earning her Child Development Associate Teacher Permit. She continues to further her education in this area, for instance by attending seminars hosted by the Children’s Home Society of California. She strongly believes that to fully uphold her responsibility as a teacher, she must herself be a life long learner, always seeking new techniques and growing as a professional. Ms. Flores is originally from Mexico, but has made Southern California her home for twenty years. She is the caring mother of four and spends much of her time outside of work with her family.

Blair Hurst

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Blair Hurst studied Early Childhood Education at Saddleback College in Orange County. Prior to joining LePort, she worked as a Practicum Student Teacher at Saddleback College in the Child Development Center. There she created and implemented developmentally-appropriate curriculum that addressed all learning styles. During this time, she focused on promoting good behavior by using the positive reinforcement method and encouraged children to be understanding of others. Above all, Blair is committed to providing children with a safe, friendly, and creative environment to learn.

Mireia Martinez

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Mireia Iglesias has a bachelors' degree in Primary School Teaching with an emphasis in science didactics from the University of Barcelona (Spain). She is currently completing her master's degree in Psychopedagogy from UOC (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain). While at the University of Barcelona and during 8 years in total, she was a volunteer free time youth leader in a children's association where she worked with children on Saturdays and during summer camps to contribute to their education and promote healthy and positive social values. Prior to joining LePort, Mireia finished her studies and worked as a public school teacher in Spain for two years. She moved to California and had different experiences as a Spanish teacher and Montessori teaching assistant too. Her goal has always been to work in the educational field and she loves creating and discovering new learning material for the children.

Outside of the classroom, Ms. Mireia loves to be in nature, reading and spending time with loved ones.

Barbara Hernandez Cornelio

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Barbara is an an advocate for social justice, teacher, and a lifelong learner. She graduated from Orange Coast College in 2012 where she completed her early childhood education and earned an associate degree in Sociology. She has worked in various positions in different educational settings, such as a one-on-one aid, assistant teacher, and site supervisor. She has also served as a political campaign coordinator giving her the opportunity to travel to different states in the east coast where she guest lecture for different universities.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her boyfriend of ten years and their cat Yoshi, as well as hiking, traveling, and watching movies.

Gabriela Avalos

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Gabriela was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. She is a mother of five and has worked with children for over 10 years. Currently, Ms. Gabriela is working on an associate's degree in Child Development at Irvine Valley College. She looks forward to transferring to Cal State Fullerton to pursue a degree in education. Ms. Gabriela's favorite pastimes are walking, swimming, and reading and she has a passion for working with children.

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