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.

Peter LePort, MD

Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. LePort is a general surgeon in private practice in Orange County, California. He received his M.D. degree and surgical training in Brooklyn, New York at Downstate Medical College, where he was an Assistant Professor of Surgery for two years prior to moving to California. He is a member of the Faculty of the American College of Surgeons, and the American Society of Bariatric Surgeons. While in medical school, Dr. LePort became interested in childhood education. He studied the writings of Dr. Maria Montessori and educated his children by the Montessori Method until they completed fourth grade. He helped develop an Upper Elementary Program for his children through the rest of their education.

LePort Schools is the culmination of Dr. LePort’s efforts to provide children with a superior education, one in which they develop strong basic skills, master challenging content, and learn to think independently. From a small homeschool with three students, LePort Schools has grown to 21 locations across California, New York, and Virginia, with more to come. Dr. LePort’s dedicated team of administrators, teachers, and educational experts have worked together to develop and deliver an exceptional curriculum in a stimulating, nurturing environment, earning LePort Schools its reputation as a superior place of learning.

Education

Wendy Fisher

Vice President of Education

Wendy Fisher received her BS in Journalism from the University of Maryland, her MEd from Loyola University in Maryland, and is an EdD candidate in Educational Leadership at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education. Wendy holds AMI primary and elementary diplomas and studied Montessori adolescent pedagogy with the North American Montessori Teacher's Association. She taught for 10 years at the Primary, Elementary, and Junior High levels before serving for 12 years as Head of School at Mountaintop Montessori, a 250+ toddler-8th grade Montessori school in Charlottesville, VA.

As Vice President of Education, Wendy is in charge of ensuring that each one of our schools delivers a consistently high quality Montessori experience to each child. Together with her team, Wendy provides support and guidance to our Heads of School, develops program standards, assesses program quality, and ensures our teachers are well supported so they can focus on offering their best to their students.

Wendy’s work passion is in developing great pedagogy and promoting exceptional school communities, but in her free time she enjoys running, hiking, and eating, especially with her five Montessori-educated and much-loved children.

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

Montessori Systems Coordinator

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!

Carey Curry

Interim Head of School

Originally from Florida, Ms. Curry moved to Northern Virginia with her husband in the fall of 2012 with a desire to live where you could experience all four seasons! With a calling to help others, she pursued and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and her Master’s Degree in Human Resources. She volunteered in preschool programs throughout her adolescence and became certified as an assistant teacher through her high school’s preschool program. After spending many successful years working in the government, staffing and veterinary industries, Ms. Curry followed her passion of working with children again. She joined LePort Montessori in 2016 as a Business Manager with our Broadlands campus and then joined our regional team as the Talent and Operations Specialist in 2017. She is currently serving as an Interim Head of School at LePort Montessori Fairfax.

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 Chen

Human Resources Generalist

Yuliya Chen graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in hotel management. She was born in Russia and 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 in 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.

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!

John King

Facilities Manager

John King has been working in facilities and building maintenance throughout his entire adult life. Prior to joining LePort, he owned a cleaning and maintenance company for over 25 years! John serviced companies such as: Hughes Aircraft, over 750,000 square feet of buildings, for 15 years, Wickes Furniture, 9 stores at over 100,000 square feet per store, for 25 years, City of Beverly Hills for 5 years, and many high rise and banking institutions.

John is a native Southern Californian and is a proud father to two sons. Outside of work, John enjoys gardening, motorcycle touring with his fiancé on the weekends and country dancing.

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.

Brad Barragar

Staff Accountant

Brad Barragar graduated from California State University, Fullerton where he earned his BS in Business with an emphasis in accounting and finance. Prior to joining the LePort team, he worked in banking and accounting. Brad was very impressed by the Montessori philosophy and its promotion of independence, coupled with the individualized learning strategy. Due to Brad’s background in collegiate athletics, he’s sees the value in teaching our youth to think critically and take initiative. Brad is very excited about being on a team that is making such a positive impact on the community.

Jackie Demyers

Bookkeeper

Jacqueline Demyers has worked in the Early Childhood field for the past 27 years. She has her AA degree in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in Infant/Toddler Care from Santa Ana College. She has worked as a Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, Assistant Director, and Director. She went on to earn her BS degree in Business Accounting from the University of Phoenix in 2003. Ms. Demyers' love for being around children and watching them develop is one of the things that lead her to LePort. During her spare time she loves to sew, quilt, knit and crochet as well as teach. She also enjoys spending time with her three daughters and granddaughter.

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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