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LePort School Solana Beach Staff

School Administration

Shawn Edwards

Head of School

Shawn Edwards received her B.A. in Psychology and Human Services, her AMI Elementary Montessori training and certification, her M.A. in Transformational Coaching and Leadership, and is a Positive Discipline Parenting coach and trainer. She began her Montessori career at the Post Oak School in Houston, Texas. In 2006, she moved to Chicago to lead the Alcuin Montessori School, followed by a transfer back to Texas as the Executive Director of the Community Montessori School in Georgetown, Texas. Ms. Edwards has also served as a consultant to various schools and organizations across the country. Ms. Edwards is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in transformative coaching and leadership from the Wright Graduate University in Chicago. She has been involved in various leadership trainings including school leadership courses offered through Independent School Management and the National Association of Independent Schools.

Ms. Edwards has been married for over 25 years, has three grown children (all who attended Montessori programs), and is a proud grandmother of a Montessori child. When she is not working or studying, she enjoys hiking, camping, reading, writing, participating in and training for adventure runs, and spending time with family.

Angela Kabel

Director of Admissions and Parent Experience

Angela Kabel earned a B.A. in Anthropology from Western Michigan University where she graduated cum laude. She later went on to earn a M.A. in Education from Loyola College of Maryland and in 2008 received her AMI Primary Diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Ms. Kabel spent two years as a Head Primary Guide at Kinderhouse Montessori School and also served as a Head Primary Guide at Lifetime Montessori School in San Diego. There she created and directed a 3rd year outings program, organized a book club that focused on core Montessori principles, and presented parent education workshops for both enrolled and prospective parents. We look forward to the calm, centered energy that Ms. Kabel brings to LePort Montessori Solana Beach.

Sandy Marlor

Business Manager

Originally from the United Kingdom, Mrs. Sandy Marlor obtained a Higher National Diploma in Business Studies before traveling extensively and embracing different cultures of the world. Mrs. Marlor settled in San Diego to be near her family after the birth of her twins. Extensive research brought her to the conclusion that she wanted a Montessori education for her children, and she then found the wonderful Fallbrook Montessori School, where for 10 years she was the administrative assistant.

This role brought great happiness as she deepened her knowledge of Montessori and watched her own children blossom into curious, confident beings. Mrs. Marlor worked at Santa Fe Montessori School as an administrative assistant and is excited to continue her love of the Montessori school environment with LePort. Outside of work, she enjoys art galleries, all outdoor activities, and spending time with her family.

McKenna Moore

Administrative Support

Bio coming soon.

Infant

Carelia Altamirano

Head Montessori Teacher (Infant), Spanish Immersion

Mrs. Altamirano earned her AMI Diploma in 1998 in Perugia, Italy and her BA in Special Education from UEEP (Universidad Estatal de Estudios Pedagogicos), Mexico. After working with children in the Primary sector, Mrs. Altamirano decided to study Infant Community Training in San Diego to continue her learning with child development. Prior to joining LePort, Mrs. Altamirano worked as a toddler teacher in the beautiful city of Pasadena. She enjoys working with toddlers most and loves how children in this age group explore. She enjoys seeing the look on their faces when they discover something new. In her spare time, Mrs. Altamirano loves spending time with her family. She also enjoys the outdoors, photography, painting, and yoga.

Laurie Baldwin

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Laurie Baldwin has lived her whole life in San Diego County and has taught and worked with children for the past 25 years. She received her B.A. in Psychology and studied Early Childhood Education as well. Ms. Baldwin taught in traditional preschools for years until discovering the beauty of the Montessori method. Since then, she has been an assistant in Montessori classrooms for ten years.

Ms. Baldwin has always had a desire to work with children and be a positive influence in their lives. She also has a passion for animals, cooking, reading, and the outdoors.

Silvia Cerda

Assistant Teacher

Silvia studied high school at the Inpade University in the city of Tijuana, Mexico, and began a degree in Psychology at the Humanitas University. She owned her own business in Mexico for many years. When she came to live in the United States, she worked as a waitress and a cashier while running her own landscaping business. Silvia enjoys serving others and studying human relationships.

Silvia’s experience with children began when she started taking care of her nephews, her own children and then her grandchildren. Because she enjoys children so much, she decided to take Early Childhood Education units so that she can begin a new career with LePort.

Toddler

Valerie Golden

Head Montessori Teacher (Toddler)

Ms. Valerie Golden was born and raised in sunny San Diego and is a graduate from The Montessori Institute in San Diego, an AMI accredited school. Ms. Golden received her Early Childhood Education units from Penn Foster College and started her teaching career in an elementary school specializing in special education. After 15 years, she made the decision to pursue a career in a Montessori school where she was a toddler after-care teacher. Prior to joining LePort, she was a valued staff member at Santa Fe Montessori.

Ms. Golden’s passion for the growth and development of children is apparent through her positive work with the students. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Golden loves spending time with her two beautiful children.

Giovanna Mawhinney

Head Montessori Teacher (Toddler)

Ms. Giovanna Mawhinney was born in San Diego and grew up in Tijuana. After obtaining certifications in the food industry and real estate, she spent over a decade working in these industries. Then an opportunity presented itself for Giovanna to work and collaborate with children, and that is where she found her true passion which is to help children learn and grow. Outside of work, Giovanna likes to salsa dance and hike.

Natalie Espinoza

Assistant Teacher

Bio coming soon.

Sok Lim Than

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Sok Lim comes from Cambodia where she worked as a nursery teacher for 5 years at Seametry Children's Village which is an integrated bilingual school.

Ms. Sok Lim holds Bachelor?s Degrees in both Business Administration and Education from Cambodia College. Her heart has always been in working with children so she came to the United States in 2013 to study and obtain her Primary Guide Training at the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Sok Lim fell in love with America and Montessori education so she decided to stay. She worked as an teacher assistant for 14 months before happily joining Le Port in August 2015 where she likes to sing to the children.

In her free time, Sok Lim loves to cook Cambodian food, work in her small garden, spend time with friends, travel, go to the beach, practice yoga, and participate in Cambodian dances and cultural events whenever possible.

Faride Assad

Head Montessori Teacher (Toddler)

Originally from the beautiful city of San Diego, Ms. Assad completed her Associates Degree in Child Development from Southwestern College, Chula Vista in 2011 and her AMI Training Assistant to Infancy from the Montessori Institute of San Diego in 2017. Prior to joining LePort, she worked as an Accounting Clerk for Brink’s Incorporated for over 6 years. Ms. Assad also worked as an Assistant Teacher at San Ysidro Child Care Center as well as a Montessori School in Chula Vista with children aged two to five. Ms. Assad is extremely passionate about childhood education and says, “We are the key to success in the children's life.” Outside of work, she enjoys arts, crafts and spending time with her family, especially her “petson” Biggie.

Yanneth Jimenez

Assistant Teacher, Spanish Immersion

Ms. Jimenez was born and raised in Mexico, she completed her Law BA degree from the University of Baja California (UABC). She chose this path because of her love of others and passion defending the rights of people. Ms. Jimenez also worked as a teacher in Mexico. During this time, she enjoyed being part of the children’s educational development. Ms. Jimenez grew up in a family of teachers and they inspired her to continue the legacy of helping children to be successful in life. Ms. Jimenez moved to San Diego in 2013 and is currently in the process of obtaining her associate degree in Early Childhood Development from South Western Collage. She loves the opportunity to help a developing child grow in the early stage of life.

Primary

Margaret Gisonni

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Mrs. Margaret Gisonni has both a BA and Masters in Education, along with her AMI Primary diploma, and five years of Montessori teaching experience. Mrs. Gisonni began her teaching career in New York in a traditional setting, but felt unfulfilled by the lack of creative freedom given to teachers and the effect this had on the students. While seeking out other approaches to education, she discovered the Montessori philosophy.

Mrs. Gisonni's Montessori career began at a local Montessori school where she honed her craft and deepened her knowledge of the methodology. After five years of teaching, she gave birth to her daughter and began to research and study Montessori on the infant and toddler levels. Her daughter, Willow, will be going to school for the first time and joining Mrs. Gisonni at LePort.

Vrunda Patwa

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Bio coming soon.

Paola Prieto

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary)

Ms. Paola Prieto was born in San Diego and raised in Tijuana. She received her AMS Diploma in 2012 and has worked in various schools in Mexico, Canada and the US. Ms. Paola found her love for teaching while volunteering at orphanages in Mexico. In her free time, she enjoys going for acai bowls, dancing and horseback riding.

Monica Revilla

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Revilla was born in Obregón, Sonora, Mexico. She holds a bachelor's degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Sonora in Hermosillo, Mexico. Additionally, she studied Child Development at Southwestern College. She enjoys math and history. For the past 22 years, she worked as a Head or Assistant Teacher guiding children the ages of infant to 4th grade. For the majority of this time, she taught at a private school implementing the Pierre Faure philosophy in Mexico. She taught up to 26 native Spanish-speaking students, including students with special needs. Prior to coming to LePort, Ms. Revilla was a Montessori Assistant Spanish Teacher working with toddlers and primary-aged students.

Michelle Aguiniga

Head Montessori Teacher (Primary), Spanish Immersion

Ms. Michelle Aguiniga was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. She finished her Montessori training in 2002, and started a classroom for children of all abilities. Over the years, she has worked with the parents and other non-profit organizations to empower the community, and she has given lectures in Mexico about Maria Montessori and how the Montessori curriculum can help a child's development and prepare them for a traditional classroom. She also has helped introduce interpreters (both sign language and Spanish) into the classrooms.

Ms. Aguiniga’s love of learning and interest in cultural diversity were part of her decision to come to LePort, where she is a part of the Spanish Immersion program, along with the opportunity to experience the diversity here in America. Ms. Aguiniga would love to see her students become fluent in Spanish, and she looks forward to sharing old traditions and songs that share values and respect for others. In her free time, Ms. Aguiniga loves new experiences and food, and she enjoys spending time with her family and being outdoors. She has a son, Antonio, and a daughter, Aranza, who both live in Tijuana and attend the university there.

Elementary

Ivonne Sanchez Alpizar

Head Montessori Teacher (Elementary)

Ivonne C. Sanchez Alpizar, received her B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering, received a Masters Degree in Human Development, and her AMI Infant Community Training (A to I Certified) and AMI Elementary Montessori Training, both certificates from the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Ivonne has been involved in various human development and educational trainings, and has undertaken the Comprehensive Orton-Gillingham Training from IMSE.

Ms. Sanchez discovered her passion in the field of Education thirty years ago, when she started tutoring young minds on the subjects of chemistry and math as a way to help them with a smooth transition from elementary to middle school. She then decided to continue on this field, pursuing areas of study that would help her develop lead children/young adolescents into discovering and bringing out their inner potential, parallel on working to become a better version of herself. One of her triggers is seeing the spark in children’s eyes when they make hose connections in their brains that lets them know they’ve got it!

Ivonne has a passion for education and takes joy on the surroundings of this field. Also enjoys spending time in nature, studying, training, hiking, running, listening to music, and exploring life
with her husband and three children.

Daniel Gomez

Head Montessori Teacher (Elementary)

Bio coming soon.

Additional Staff

Rana Al-Azzeh

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Rana grew up in Jordan where she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Jordan. She majored in Nutrition and Food Technology. After graduating, she worked as a nutritionist in a hospital, and then joined a food manufacturing company working as an analyst doing chemical and microbiological tests for canned food.

Upon moving to the United States, Rana attended Mesa College in San Diego to obtain a certificate in Nutrition. It was only after enrolling her 2 children in a Montessori school that Rana became interested in the Montessori methodology. She enrolled in the AMI certification program and successfully completed the AMI Primary training from MISD (Montessori Institute of San Diego) in 2014. After that, she completed the master’s degree requirements from Loyola University Maryland, in Summer 2014 and received a Master of Education Degree (M.Ed.).



In her free time, Rana enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends.

Paloma Ledesma

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Paloma was born in San Diego, California, and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. She is the mother of three children, who, from the very first day, have always been her teacher. Ms. Paloma holds an American Montessori Society certification and has over 20 years of experience in the Montessori classroom. Being proficient in the teaching of the Spanish language, she has worked in three different schools before joining LePort Montessori. Ms. Paloma has a caring, patient, and loving nature, which is perfect for the toddler environment she enjoys the most.

Vivian Lentz

Assistant Teacher

Ms. Vivian Lentz is originally from Peru. She studied Early Childhood Education in Lima, Peru. She worked with poor communities developing early stimulation programs for children under three years old.
She lived in Mahwah, New Jersey where she was a Spanish Immersion Infant teacher. Vivian moved to Orange County and became an Operation Supervisor at Kohls, but she wanted to return to working with children and found a position as a Montessori Assistant Spanish Guide in Laguna Hills. She moved to San Diego and was thrilled to join the Toddler environment at LePort Montessori School.

Ms. Vivian has a high service-ethic and finds value in her job. She is enthusiastic and enjoys working with toddlers. Her hobbies are hiking, dancing, traveling, photography and spending time at the beach with her family and the dog.

Yimei Cheng

Assistant Teacher

Yimei Cheng comes from Shanghai, China. She studied French and Journalism, and after graduation worked for the Shanghai Foreign Affairs Office. After three years, she knew she needed to search for something more meaningful. Yimei knew she loved children and decided to embark on her journey to become a teacher. A friend introduced her to the Montessori philosophy, and she came to the USA to study. While studying she volunteered in a Montessori daycare and worked as an EEG technician in a neurological clinic.

Yimei loves human interaction and learning new things. She wants to focus on the Montessori method and learn as much as she can. Working at LePort gives her every opportunity to do just that and she is extremely happy to be living her dream.

Andrea Rivera

Assistant Teacher

Andrea Rivera was born in San Diego, California and was raised in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. Andrea graduated with an Associate Degree in Social Work from Southwestern College and obtained a license in Child Development from this same institution. She has two years of experience in the area of Child Development and her area of interest is Bilingual education. Her mother was a preschool teacher in Mexico and has always been inspired by her work. Her upbringing in Mexico and studying in the U.S. have immersed her in both cultures and motivated her to pursue her professional career as a teacher. Andrea is passionate about teaching and working with children of preschool and kindergarten ages. She believes that Montessori education and Bilingual immersion programs help children develop cognitively and socially. The biggest reward for Andrea is knowing that she is having a positive impact on children and facilitating their development. Andrea loves traveling, is a cinematic enthusiast, and loves drinking coffee. She is very family oriented and loves spending her free time with them.

Magdalena Xibille

Assistant Teacher

Bio coming soon.

Amanda Verga

Assistant Teacher

Amanda Verga originates from Santa Barbara, CA. She graduated from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo in 2016 with a BS degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Visual Arts. After graduating, Amanda embarked on a 6-month credential program to be certified to teach K-6th grade, and she gained experience being a student teacher in a second/third grade combo classroom. Amanda has extensive background in elementary education, but she has been in a preschool setting for over a year now and loves it! She genuinely believes that she has two
passions in her life; teaching and creating art. Her motto for teaching is "Learn by doing", and she thoroughly believes students learn the best when they are given the opportunities to explore, create, and imagine with a hands-on approach.
Nunno Pacano

Nunno Pacano

Physical Education Teacher

Mr. Nunno Pacano is a graduate of Alliant International University where he studied Early Childhood Education with a concentration in motor development. He dedicated six years in the field of athletics as a sports specific trainer, coach of after school programs, and leading the Albion Soccer Club. Mr. Nunno finds joy in observing a child’s growth in the areas of balance and coordination, as well as supporting their overall physical development. Mr. Nunno also leads the physical education program within the Elementary program, where he teaches a variety of sports as well as provides education on healthy routines that can be used by students inside and outside the classroom.

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