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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.

Fatima Asghar

Head of School

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.

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.”

Katherine Yang

Head of School

Mrs. Katherine Yang learned of LePort Montessori while researching schools for her daughter and was excited to find an opportunity that combined her varied interests and experience. In the fall of 2014, she led the launch of LePort's very first Montessori Mandarin Immersion program and campus in Irvine. Mrs. Yang received her B.A. in Sociology and Music Performance from the University of California, Irvine and her M.A. in Arts Administration from New York University. Prior to joining LePort, she worked in the field of performing arts administration and previously served as the Director of Education and Community Programs for Pacific Chorale, where she worked with local colleges, high schools and elementary schools to launch new education and outreach initiatives for students. Before pursuing her graduate education, Ms. Yang spent time as a foreign student in Beijing, China. While in Beijing, she studied Mandarin at Beijing Normal University, took a few Chinese cultural courses at Peking University and also taught English through music and movement to local preschool students. In addition to her graduate studies in music and arts management, Mrs. Yang also worked with after-school Mandarin Chinese language programs in both California and New York.

Throughout her years at LePort, Mrs. Yang has learned so much from our community of LePort Montessori educators and tries her best to incorporate the philosophy in all aspects of life. Outside of work, Katherine is a mother of three (all who attend LePort!), and also enjoys traveling, attending classical orchestral concerts and occasionally playing rock drums!

Ayanthi Ratnayake

Head of School

Ms. Ayanthi Ratnayake was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her first experience with Montessori came as a child. She attended the same school where her mother taught primary children. She remembers some of her favorite Montessori materials from childhood: the color boxes and dressing frames. In hindsight, she believes that her experience as a Montessori child has led her to be more flexible in thought and more accepting of others.

Ms. Ayanthi completed her B.A. in psychology and worked at a Montessori school and a traditional preschool for over seven years. She completed her AMI Diploma at the Montessori Institute of San Diego. In conjunction with her diploma, she earned a master's degree in education from Loyola University Maryland. She feels strongly that the Montessori approach provides a holistic approach towards learning. She loves that each day of working with young children brings new experiences and growth over time.

Outside of teaching, Ms. Ayanthi enjoys traveling and learning about different cultures, trying new restaurants, listening to music, shopping, and last but not least, spending time with family and friends.

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.

Stephanie McReynolds

Head of School

Stephanie McReynolds has served the greater Montessori community for over 30 years. After receiving her training through NCME/AMS under the mentoring of Maria Montessori colleague Hans Tidoni, Mrs. McReynolds began her career as a preschool teacher in La Canada-Flintridge, California. She founded her own Montessori school two years later with an enrollment of 59 students. The school experienced phenomenal growth, expanding to over 285 children and a faculty of 30, serving preschool, kindergarten, and elementary students grades 1-6. The school was commonly utilized by local college students as a model Montessori environment for visiting as they completed their early childhood courses.

A popular speaker, Mrs. McReynolds has addressed parent groups, school forums, and college classes as an effective ambassador for the Montessori Method. Always community-minded, Stephanie helped establish and implement the Propel program for at-risk teens through the STARS program, for which she received the Impact Award. She served as President of her local Little League Baseball
program for 10 years and received the Distinguished Teacher Award from U.S.C. Verdugo Hills Hospital. Her alma mater, Crescenta Valley High School, awards a scholarship in her name annually in recognition of her local accomplishments.

Stephanie holds an Associate of Science degree in Early Childhood Education with honors from Glendale Community College, and an Associate of Science - Child Development Teacher degree with honors from Glendale Community College. She graduated summa cum laude from California State University at East Bay with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development/Child Development Concentration
and will soon receive her Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from the same university. When not immersing herself in everything Montessori, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her husband Chris, her five children, and seven wonderful grandchildren.

Katherine Yang

Head of School

Mrs. Katherine Yang learned of LePort Montessori while researching schools for her daughter and was excited to find an opportunity that combined her varied interests and experience. In the fall of 2014, she led the launch of LePort's very first Montessori Mandarin Immersion program and campus in Irvine. Mrs. Yang received her B.A. in Sociology and Music Performance from the University of California, Irvine and her M.A. in Arts Administration from New York University. Prior to joining LePort, she worked in the field of performing arts administration and previously served as the Director of Education and Community Programs for Pacific Chorale, where she worked with local colleges, high schools and elementary schools to launch new education and outreach initiatives for students. Before pursuing her graduate education, Ms. Yang spent time as a foreign student in Beijing, China. While in Beijing, she studied Mandarin at Beijing Normal University, took a few Chinese cultural courses at Peking University and also taught English through music and movement to local preschool students. In addition to her graduate studies in music and arts management, Mrs. Yang also worked with after-school Mandarin Chinese language programs in both California and New York.

Throughout her years at LePort, Mrs. Yang has learned so much from our community of LePort Montessori educators and tries her best to incorporate the philosophy in all aspects of life. Outside of work, Katherine is a mother of three (all who attend LePort!), and also enjoys traveling, attending classical orchestral concerts and occasionally playing rock drums!

Christina Gimbi

Interim Head of School

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.

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