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LePort Montessori Irvine Woodbridge Staff

School Administration

Lucia Tompkins

Head of School

Mrs. Tompkins has been an integral part of the Montessori community in Orange County since 1972. She has first hand knowledge and experience in AMI school administration and classroom management. Mrs. Tompkins received her Montessori Primary Diploma from the Montessori Institute of Los Angeles. After teaching for over 20 years, she operated her own Montessori school in Orange County.

She has always loved the ocean since she was a child. She is a Whale Watch naturalist in Orange County and an education volunteer at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

Christina Gimbi

Business Manager

Ms. Gimbi received her BA in Psychology and Social Behavior with a minor in Educational Studies from the University of California, Irvine. While attending UC Irvine, she also earned her multiple-subject teaching credential and was a member of the NCAA Division 1 women’s soccer team. Ms. Gimbi has had many opportunities to work with children, whether it be in the classroom, at after-school programs, learning centers or coaching soccer. Prior to joining LePort, she worked with students and adults with learning, behavioral, and social disabilities as a clinician. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Gimbi enjoys watching movies, visiting the beach, and spending time with family and friends. She is also a huge sports fan; soccer and ice hockey being at the top of her list.

Kaitlyn Friday

Administrative Support

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. 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

Janine D'Penha

Head Montessori Teacher (Toddler)

Ms. Janine D'Penha is an AMI trained Montessori teacher who earned her diploma from the Ratan Tata Institute in Mumbai, India. She completed her AMI Montessori teacher training for the 0 to 3 age group at the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Ms. D'Penha also earned her master’s degree from Mumbai University, studied classical music at Trinity College in London, and earned her Certificate of Early Childhood from the Auckland University of Technology.

Ms. D'Penha has not only studied all over the world, but she has also taught all over the world. Before joining LePort Montessori in 2012, Ms. D'Penha led Montessori classrooms from Mumbai, to New Zealand, to Singapore, to Salinas, California. She has seen the value of Montessori to so many children across so many very different cultures, and she never ceases to be impressed by how enthusiastically young children take to the Montessori classroom to learn and gain independence. Ms. D'Penha never tires of watching that unconscious look of pride and delight on a child’s face, as he or she successfully accomplishes a task in the classroom.

Mojgan Esmaeili

Assistant Teacher

Mojgan Esmaeili was born and raised in Iran. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from Tehran University and moved with her husband to the United States in 2010. In 2015, she attended Irvine Valley College and earned an AA in Child Development. With both experience at Irvine Valley College and LePort Woodbridge, Ms. Mojgan took a hiatus after the birth of her son in 2016.

Her favorite life activity is spending time with her son and husband. She loves traveling to other cities and countries and watching movies. She also loves working with children.

Jacqueline Flores

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Jackie Flores was born and raised in Orange County and has a passion for working with young children and is committed to helping them in their growth and development. Before joining LePort Montessori, Ms. Jackie spent time volunteering at her childhood elementary school for over four years. Ms. Jackie will be furthering her education in early childhood education while working at LePort. Ms. Jackie enjoys going on adventures, exploring new places, photography, and going for walks on the beach.

Karla Melgar

Head Montessori Teacher (Toddler)

Ms. Karla Melgar is a graduate of California State University, Fullerton where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development and minored in Human Services. Ms. Melgar enjoys working with children and families and has previously worked at various locations where she was able to work with hands-on with children. Ms. Melgar is excited to be part of the LePort family!

Karen Alvarado

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Karen Alvarado has been following her interest in working with young children since high school. She enjoys each and every child as they grow and blossom in her care. Ms. Alvarado has earned her Early Childhood Certificate at Laguna Technical College. In her spare time, Ms. Alvarado enjoys spending time with her family and playing soccer.

Antoinette Torres

Head Montessori Teacher (Toddler)

Antoinette has earned her Bachelors of Science in Child and Adolescent Studies from California State University, Fullerton. She has been working with children in early childhood and elementary education for the past 6 years. She has done everything from teaching art to volunteering as a camp counselor at Celiac Camp for children that, like herself, have Celiac Disease. Antoinette likes to spend her weekends volunteering, going to church, and spending time with loved ones. Antoinette finds joy in celebrating her artistic talents through drawing, painting, and writing poetry. With a nurturing spirit, she is greatly committed to her work with children, specifically helping them build high self-esteem, discovering new cultures, and exploring the arts.

Nasrin Jalalpour

Assistant Teacher

Mrs. Nasrin Jalalpour received her Bachelor’s degree in Education Sciences - Preschool and Primary School Education in Iran. After teaching six years of preschool, Mrs. Jalalpour moved to Irvine, California where she continued pursuing preschool education because she enjoys working with children. She attended Irvine Valley College where she earned a preschool age certificate. Mrs. Jalalpour has a 14-year-old daughter and loves going on trips with her family. She is excited to be a part of the LePort family and to have a career she is passionate about.

Primary

Amanda Elliott

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Ms. Amanda Elliott has known since early childhood that she wanted to be a teacher. While other children were dreaming of being a ballerina or an astronaut, she was dreaming of having her own classroom. Amanda has been working with children in different capacities for over fifteen years and graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Eight years later she was introduced to the Montessori Method which opened her eyes to all of the possibilities for children. Amanda attended the Montessori Institute of San Diego and Loyola University of Maryland to earn her Montessori Certificate and Masters of Education with an emphasis in Montessori respectively. She believes strongly in the Montessori Method and looks forward to growing as a guide in the Montessori environment.

Pamela Fletcher

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Pamela Fletcher was born and raised in New York, where she studied at John Jay College and obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has also recently obtained her Teaching Certification in Early Childhood Education from Theoria Technical College. She has worked with children all her life as a baby-sitter, community tutor, and more recently finding her own independent start-up company dedicated to creating educational resources for young children. Ms. Fletcher love spending time with her daughter, husband, and family. As well as traveling
and eating good food.

Ruth Stephens

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Ms. Stephens, born in Erith, Kent, England, came to the U.S. in 1980. She received her A.A. in Early Childhood Education from State University of New York, Farmingdale, and her B.S. in Education from C.W. Post, Long Island University, New York. After four years in New York, Ms. Stephens moved to Southern California. She continued her education and earned her AMI Diploma from The Montessori Institute of Los Angeles in 1986.

Ms. Stephens brings to her teaching a wealth of enthusiasm, experience and talent. She is deeply committed to the Montessori method and continues to attend seminars, refresher courses, and lectures to deepen her understanding and appreciation of Maria Montessori’s approach to education. She has long been an active equestrian, and has a great interest in travel, the arts and nature. Since 1986 Ms. Stephens has been a teacher right here in Orange County, and has been a Head Primary Teacher at LePort Montessori since 2009.

Rupa Goswami

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Rupashree Goswami (Rupa) was born and raised in India. She received her Masters degree from University of Calcutta, India in Psychology with special emphasis on child development. Before coming to United States in the year 2000, she worked several years as a counselor and primary school teacher in India. She completed her early childhood education units from Irvine Valley college, Irvine. She lives in Irvine with her husband and 2 sons. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Rupa loves to cook, travel, watch movies and spend time with her own kids and other children.

Kelly Servantes

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Kelly Servantes has a passion for working with children. Ever since she was young, she thought about becoming a teacher. In 2017, she received her bachelor's degree in Child and Adolescent Development from the California State University, Fullerton. She plans to go back to school soon to earn her credential and her master's degree. She hopes to one day become a Kindergarten or 1st grade teacher. In her free time, Ms. Kelly likes to spend time with her family and find new places to visit. She also enjoys going on adventures with her friends.

Aparna Nambiar

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Ms. Nambiar is a trained Montessori Primary teacher. She completed her AMI Primary Diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego, California and has been a lead teacher at our Lake campus since 2010. She has a Masters Degrees in Human Development, specializing in Communication Media for Children from SNDT College, Pune and in Economics from MG University in India. As a previous pre-school teacher, Ms. Nambiar incorporated various media-like storytelling, puppetry and television in her teaching method.

Her passion for education led her to Montessori education after working with children in traditional schools. She is fascinated by the power of observation and following the child as they unravel intense thirst for knowledge. She has also written books for children and her work has been published in various print and electronic media. Above her many accomplishments, she enjoys spending time with her son.

Carina Reyes

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Carina Reyes attended California State University, Fullerton, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services with a minor in Child Development. She has been working with children for over three years in traditional and Montessori schools. She loves children and enjoys helping them grow. Ms. Reyes enjoys going on trips and going to the movies.

Additional Staff

Maricela Espinosa

Assistant Teacher

Maricela Espinosa has been working with children since 2001. Her primary focus and her favorite age group has always been infants and toddlers. Ms. Espinosa received her human development education at Rancho Santiago Community College. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her family, including her six children and four grandchildren, who are truly a source of joy.

Yolanda Garcia

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Garcia has been working as a preschool teacher for 22 years prior to joining LePort Montessori. She is a proud mother to one daughter. Ms. Garcia was raised in the city of Whittier, where she still resides today. She has a passion for working with children and is dedicated to her career. Her hobbies include running, swimming, paddle boarding and yoga. She is also currently completing a yoga certificate program at Saddleback College.

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