Our leadership team is a diverse group of people who came together at LePort in the pursuit of a common goal: developing and delivering a great educational experience for children, one that teaches Knowledge for Life.

Our shared ideas about education motivate us to get up every morning excited about the day’s work ahead. These shared ideas form the foundation for a spirit of camaraderie, a culture of learning, and a joyful dedication to achievement that touches every aspect of LePort Montessori. They are:

  • A deep conviction that a great education is crucially important in shaping a young person’s life, and that offering such an education is a noble and personally meaningful charge.
  • A commitment to a unique educational approach that doesn’t fall into the trap of teaching either content or method, but delivers on both—an approach that equips each child with Knowledge for Life, and prepares him in his whole being for the adventure that lies ahead.
  • Passionate Professionalism in our work—a dedication to becoming the best we can be, as people and as professionals. We live the mastery mindset we want to instill in our students. We love asking why, over and over again, until we get answers. And we love being challenged, by each other and by our community of students and parents, to always improve.

Education

Fatima Asghar

School Leadership Advisor

Mrs. Asghar has been working in Montessori classrooms in some capacity since 1989. She was immediately drawn to Maria Montessori’s ideas after she first observed a Montessori environment-she was amazed at the level of concentration and independent work displayed by the children. Mrs Asghar quickly came to appreciate the uniqueness of the Montessori Method, and to believe deeply in the difference that it can make in the lives of children. In 1997, Mrs. Asghar received her AMI Diploma in her then hometown of Hyderabad, India. After moving to the United States, she taught for two years in a Montessori school in College Station, Texas. She then moved to California in 2000 to join LePort’s Huntington Beach campus team as a Head Primary Teacher. In 2008, Mrs. Asghar was promoted to the position of Montessori liaison. While continuing to teach a full class, in her new capacity she also took on the role of offering teachers both administrative and academic support. Over time, her quiet leadership and genuine dedication to students and staff earned her the deep respect of teachers, parents and management. In 2010, Mrs. Asghar was offered, and heartfully accepted, the position of Head of School at LePort School Huntington Harbor. As the Head of School, Mrs. Asghar oversees all operations, and ensures that each student at the school receives the highest quality Montessori education. In her spare time, Mrs. Asghar enjoys playing basketball and tennis with her family, cooking, sewing, and decorating.

Letty Rising

Montessori Coordinator

Ms. Letty Rising has been working with children and families throughout most of her adult life. She began her work with children several years ago as a Recreation Leader, then a Director of Afterschool Programs. Even then, she was impressed by the state of “flow” that children would attain when absorbed in work that was inspired by their interests. It was around this time she decided to take a college course on alternative educational environments, and visited a Montessori school. She was deeply struck by the way in which children worked freely and with purpose, and how the class navigated the environment independently and with ease, and she knew she had stumbled upon something special.

Ms. Rising moved on from informal learning environments, made her way into the classroom, and eventually stepped into administration. She came into her first administrative role because she wanted a Montessori school for her daughters and there were none in existence where she lived, so she started one! She has held positions as a Homeschool Education Specialist, Montessori Elementary Teacher, School Director, Principal, and Consultant with several different Montessori communities over the years.

Ms. Rising earned her B.A. in Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She went on to obtain her State Teaching Credential through the California State University, San Marcos. Ms. Rising participated in AMS Montessori training for ages 6-9, and later continued forth to earn her AMI elementary diploma for ages 6-12 and M.Ed from Loyola University in Maryland.

Ms. Rising has a deep understanding of the developmental needs of students from infancy through high school. She cares deeply about building strong, personal relationships with both her students and their families, and has learned over the years that it is the quality of the connections between individuals that allows a school to thrive.

When Ms. Rising is not working hard to facilitate a quality education for LePort students, she can be found reading, dancing, singing, writing, painting, spending time in nature, and connecting with friends and family. Her proudest accomplishment is being the parent of two lovely daughters who are now young adults!

Ana Rivas

Director of Curriculum and Innovation

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 Curriculum Specialist, Assistant Director, Montessori Specialist, Mommy and Me Instructor and Head Teacher in various educational settings. She received her Montessori Assistants to Infancy Diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego.

Ms. Ana believes education happens at every moment and in many forms. She is honored to support the LePort Montessori team as they aim to provide quality education for children across the nation.

“It is the child who makes the man, and no man exists who was not made by the child he once was.” -Dr. Maria Montessori.

Human Resources

Audrey Kelly

Recruiting Specialist

Audrey Kelly had the good fortune to be introduced to Montessori as a child through her mother’s small school in the Chicago suburbs. Later, her family relocated to sunny Southern California, where Audrey attained her B.S. in Business Administration at CSU, San Marcos. She had the opportunity to manage operations in a variety of industries including film and live event production, investment banking and real estate development. The common thread throughout every industry was her thrill at connecting dots and finding solutions. Additionally, she loves interacting with people and enjoys the human element in a corporate structure. She is delighted to be a part of the Human Resources team, as she is able combine the best of both worlds.

Audrey joined LePort in July 2012, after actively pursuing an employment opportunity that would be fulfilling to her and her family. She sought out the school for open positions and was excited to bring her journey full circle back to Montessori. She is also elated that her own children are able to share the LePort experience as students. In her free time, Audrey enjoys spending time with her family and friends and experiencing all that California has to offer. She loves to “get off the beaten path” and loves a good planned…or spontaneous…adventure!

Rose De-Grads

Talent Coordinator

Rose De-Grads graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Communications and Media Arts. She has diverse experience in public relations, marketing, and education. Upon regularly volunteering in her son’s Montessori classroom, she realized the joy she felt while working with children. Rose returned to school and earned her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Fullerton. She has happily been working at LePort since 2013.

In her free time, she enjoys taking regular trips to Disneyland with her family. She also has a passion for travel and enjoys learning about different countries and cultures.

Yuliya Teterina

Human Resources Generalist

Yuliya Teterina graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in hotel management. She was born in Russia and was raised in both Russia and England. Prior to joining LePort, she worked for some of the most luxurious hotels and spas around the world. With her son at LePort Montessori, she has gained a tremendous appreciation for the Montessori philosophy. She is thrilled for the opportunity to help deliver the finest education to families in the Irvine area. In her free time, Yuliya enjoys spending time reading and traveling with her family.

Outreach

Franci Ramynke

Director of Marketing

Franci Ramynke received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at California State University, Fullerton and is currently pursuing her MBA. Irvine, California holds a special place for Franci as her childhood hometown, and attended Irvine High School. Prior to joining LePort Schools, Franci held marketing positions in fashion retail and for the last five years in post-secondary education. Her experience in post-secondary education led her to pursue a more comprehensive understanding of the impact early education had on students, which led her to the benefits of the Montessori philosophy.

Franci lives in Orange with her husband Tony, a local psychotherapist, and her teenage daughter Ashley. In her free time, Franci enjoys running, reading, listening to music, and spending time with friends and family. If the family cannot be found during the weekend at the neighborhood organic coffee house, they can be seen exploring the record stores and art galleries of Los Angeles.

Richard Unten

Art Director and Web Developer

Shortly after his first child was born, Richard became fascinated by the educational approach of Dr. Maria Montessori while researching various pedagogical activities. Despite settling his family down in one of the nation’s top public school districts, Richard sought out the best, most authentic Montessori program for his son. His search concluded with LePort Schools. Now known as a “Montessori Dad” among his peers, Richard is passionate about spreading the word about the school that he chose for his own two children.

Yuen Liang

Outreach Consultant

Ms. Yuen Liang received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan in Honors Economics and Philosophy and her Master’s Degree in Management from the Australian National University. During her studies at ANU, she began to learn about Dr. Montessori's pedagogy and has been studying her educational principles ever since. While living in Japan, she received a diploma from the North American Montessori Center and worked for two years at a Montessori school in Okinawa. She continues to be actively involved with the Montessori programs her children attended in Taiwan and Japan. She is really excited to be making an impact in LePort’'s unique immersion program.

Operations and Development

Peter Mali

Director of Business Operations

Before joining LePort Schools, Peter worked for a national restaurant company as an Operations and Marketing Administrator. His education and background is in business, but he admires the Montessori philosophy. When not working, Peter enjoys spending time with his wife, trying new restaurants or watching movies. He also loves playing and watching sports with his childhood friends. Peter is honored to be working with LePort Schools.

Sarah Sherlock

Director of Campus Operations

Sarah Sherlock is a native southern Californian with vast experience in education, project management, compliance, and social services. She holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a master's degree in Forensic Sciences. Prior to joining LePort, Ms. Sherlock worked extensively in higher education as both an administrator and a faculty member. While the start of her career was primarily in social service and government compliance, her most rewarding work has been in education. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, watching British television, and spending time with friends and family. She is thrilled and honored to bring her talent and experience to LePort!

Bianca Solorzano

Admissions Services Partner

Bianca Solorzano has spent her entire career working in Montessori Education and has worked with children and their families for over a decade. She has her Bachelor's Degree in Child and Adolescent Development from Cal State Fullerton, her Associate Degree in Communication Studies, and is currently completing her Master's Degree in Montessori Education from Loyola University, Maryland. She also obtained her AMI Assistants to Infancy Certification from the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Ms. Solorzano has a passion for child development, specifically from pregnancy through age 2. She spent many years working directly with infants as a Montessori Lead Infant Teacher: giving lessons, assessing their development, teacher training, working with parents, and more. In addition to teaching, Ms. Solorzano has led a variety of Educational Parent and Child classes at both the Infant and Toddler levels for LePort Schools, spoken at Parent Education Events, and trained Assistant Teachers on Montessori and best practices in Infancy. She also spent time as the Interim Admissions Director at the LePort Spectrum Campus. Also an entrepreneur in this field, she independently focuses on Parent Education: guiding on infant development, giving parent talks, and working directly with families. She finds that basic development and Maria Montessori’s methods support each other in countless ways, which is why she loves what she does! In her spare time, she loves backpacking around the world, singing, playing her ukulele, hiking, swimming in the ocean, and continuing to learn, explore, and grow in this marvelous adventure we call life. She is happy to be a part of a team whose core values align so well with her beliefs, as they keep what is best for the children at the heart of everything they do.

Finance

Jennifer Iarossi

Vice President of Finance

Ms. Iarossi graduated with honors from Northwestern University. She worked for nearly a decade as a strategy consultant to Fortune 500 companies, preparing detailed forecasts, conducting market assessments, and advising on profitable growth platforms. Along the way she discovered the works of Maria Montessori. Jennifer pursued the training courses at all levels — completing her AMI infant and toddler training, MCI primary training, and AMI elementary training. Ms. Iarossi then went on to earn her master’s degree in education from Loyola University Maryland. In addition to her passion for Montessori education, she brings a strong background in financial analysis and will oversee our investor communications. Ms. Iarossi traveled across the country to join us in 2013 and she is proud to have her young children attend LePort Schools.

Rebekah Lee

Director of Accounting

Rebekah Lee earned her BA in Business Administration from California State University Fullerton, with a focus in Accounting, in 2003. After graduation, Rebekah went on to work for the 5th largest public accounting firm in the US, and spent her time auditing and providing technical assistance to clients in a variety of industries. After earning her CPA license and leaving public accounting, Rebekah served in various accounting roles, including a start-up company providing English immersion courses to Spanish speaking adults seeking college degrees.

Rebekah is excited to use her experience to develop the accounting department and assist with the growth of LePort Schools across the country. Outside of work, Rebekah loves to spend time with her daughter and husband. Additionally, she enjoys pushing herself through workouts at her local Cross fit gym, and watching her husband compete in jiu jitsu tournaments.

Darshee Shah

Director of Payroll and Tax

Ms. Darshee Shah joined LePort Schools with over eight years of experience in public accounting, specializing in taxation and audit. In 2001, Darshee received her B.A. from the University of Mumbai, India with a dual-major in taxation and accounting. She stayed in India for her initial professional experience, then later moved to California, where she earned her CPA license, and continued to expand her range of expertise in taxation and other areas of accounting.

When Ms. Shah decided to make a career change to private accounting, she was thrilled to discover LePort Schools. Here, she is able to apply the full range of her skills in providing critical financial services and guidance to an incredible network of schools.

When away from work, Darshee loves spending time with friends and family, cooking, and traveling with her husband, Vishal, a Manager at Deloitte Consulting.

Elizabeth Birrueta

Bookkeeper

Elizabeth joined LePort Schools in 2016 as a Bookkeeper and comes to LePort with 9+ years of experience in accounting. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with family and friends. She is very excited to join the finance team at LePort Schools.

Jean Chung

Corporate Counsel

Jean Chung received her B.A. from University of California, Santa Barbara and J.D. from Whittier Law School in Orange County. After becoming an attorney, Jean worked for several law firms based in Southern California, where she gained considerable experience in employment and immigration law. Before joining LePort Schools, she was Of-Counsel at Kinaga Law Firm, where she represented clients in litigation and administrative proceedings, drafted legal documents, and advised clients in general business law and immigration law.

Jean lives in Irvine with her husband, her son, and two dogs. In her free time, Jean enjoys reading, dancing, sewing, and knitting.

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