Betsy Mitchell - Head of School
Betsy received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from George Washington University in 1971. She taught for two years in the Prince George’s County Public School System before coming to MSNV as a classroom assistant to former elementary teacher, Harvey Hallenberg. After several years of volunteer involvement as a parent and Board member at MSNV, Betsy was hired as our Head of School in 1985. She has three grown children, all of whom attended MSNV.
Nikki Moody - Associate Head of School
Nikki received her Master’s degree in Literacy from The Citadel, her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from North Carolina State University, and her Elementary Education Licensure from Meredith College. She taught 4th grade before she received her Lower Elementary Certification from the North Carolina Center for Montessori Education. She taught Lower Elementary for 5 years, as well as served as a Curriculum Coordinator for 3 years. She has volunteered teaching children in the Dominican Republic and Tanzania.
Margaret Masters - Business Manager
Margaret started working at MSNV in June 2000. She received her undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Virginia. With more than twenty years of accounting experience, Margaret handles billing, financials, budgeting, payroll, health and safety, and human resources issues at MSNV. She has two children who graduated from MSNV.
Anna Sipin - Accounting Clerk
Anna joined MSNV in April 2012 assisting in the business office with the accounts payable, payroll, inventory, credit card and other accounting issues. She went to Jefferson Business College in Washington, D.C. for a Secretarial Diploma and took Computer-Assisted Bookkeeping with International Correspondence Schools. She brings with her 19 years of administrative and accounting work experience. She moved to Virginia from Alaska a year ago with her family.
Beth Bell-Leresche - Admissions Director and Elementary Drama Teacher
Beth has been the Admissions Director with MSNV since July 2005 and the elementary drama teacher since 2011. She has also co-taught summer theatre camp here with her son Peter since 2006. With a degree in International Relations from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, she worked for 20 years in the immigration and refugee fields. She is in the middle of her master's degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. Beth has two children, one of whom attended MSNV.
Ann Payne – Assistant Admissions Director
Ann received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from William and Mary and her Master's degree in Social Work from Smith College. She attended a Montessori school as a child and took courses at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Maryland in 2003. Ann has worked as a clinical social worker, autism therapist, and Montessori Primary teacher. Originally from Maryland, she lived in England and Germany for five years before returning to Virginia in 2010. Ann has one son, who is currently enrolled in the Primary program at MSNV. She enjoys reading, traveling, and writing children's books.
Ariadne Allan Autor - Director of Development
Ari manages development and alumni relations for MSNV while also coordinating parent fundraising volunteers. She graduated from Smith College with a B.A. degree in Government and has continued her involvement with Smith as an alumnae class officer and annual fund representative. Her two sons attended MSNV from preprimary through lower elementary. An award-winning investigative journalist, she produced television documentaries for PBS before joining MSNV’s staff. Ari enjoys sharing her love of dance. She is a founding instructor of the Falls Church Recreation and Parks Ballet program and has appeared in Ballet Nova’s Nutcracker.
Oanh Tran - Office Manager
Since joining MSNV in 2003, Oanh has managed an expanding array of office responsibilities ranging from production of our weekly newsletter and computer graphic design work, to supporting daily student, parent, faculty and staff needs. She also works alongside the Business and Admissions offices as well as assisting the Head of School. She helped launch administrative operations at Valleybrook in 2010. A graduate of George Mason University with a B.A. in Integrative Studies in Social Work, she was heavily involved in community outreach programs helping at-risk youth, mentoring at an advocacy center for people with disabilities, organizing workshops designed to help adolescents increase self-esteem and coordinated an annual cancer research event. Oanh also brings previous experience as a Montessori teaching assistant. Mother of two MSNV alumni, Oanh holds a Virginia Real Estate license. She is truly invaluable for the success of everyday operations at MSNV.
Diana Hwang - Office Manager
Diana received her Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Film and Media Studies from George Mason University. She has taught preschool and school-age children, and was formerly a Preschool Assistant Director. Diana enjoys working with children, traveling, reading, and loves film and popular culture.
Ned Mitchell - Facilities Manager
Ned received his B.A. in Queer Studies from George Washington University in 2008, with a minor in Technical Theater. He managed a local theatrical rigging and drapery company for two years before he was hired at MSNV. He is responsible for ensuring that MSNV has a safe, effective, and beautiful learning environment for the students and staff. He has a particular interest in energy efficiency and sustainable design and practices. He attended MSNV from pre-primary through third grade.
HILLBROOK EDUCATIONAL FACULTY
Tina Savage - Pre Primary Teacher
Tina attended a Montessori school from age 2-12. After graduating from George Washington University with a degree in Liberal Arts and Speech Communication, she completed her Primary Montessori training at The Washington Montessori Institute in Washington, D.C. Tina has worked in many different capacities in Montessori schools since her teens and has been teaching at MSNV since 1998. She has four children, all of whom attended Montessori, including one daughter who is the Upper Elementary teacher at MSNV.
Gina Moeller - Pre Primary Assistant
Gina has a Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State University. All three of her children have attended MSNV. Gina has volunteered in numerous capacities since 1992, and worked as the preprimary assistant before her third child was born. She and her family have fond memories of MSNV and she is happy to be back, sharing her love of arts and crafts with children.
Jared Oerke - Primary Teacher
Jared studied Special Education at the University of Virginia and completed his Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Loyola College, Maryland. He received his Montessori training at The Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola College. Before joining the staff at MSNV in 1998, Jared taught on the Pre-Primary level at Family Montessori, in a Head Start School in Charlottesville, and in a high school in Kenya. Jared has also worked as a program assistant for the Discovery Museum in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Atim Obidegwu - Primary Teacher
Atim has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Sociology from York University in Toronto, Canada and a Master’s degree in Anthropology from University of Toronto. Atim worked in the human resources field and health insurance industry prior to becoming a teacher. She received her Montessori certificate from the Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola University in Baltimore. Atim was a primary school directress for 12 years prior to joining MSNV. She has four children, all who attended Montessori and are college graduates, two of whom now have post graduate degrees.
Laura Portch - Primary Teacher
Originally an art major, Laura has worked with children since 1986. She has been employed with MSNV since 1990, first as an assistant and teacher in the All Day Montessori Program, and then as a Primary teacher. She obtained her Montessori training at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies at the Barrie School in Wheaton, Maryland in 2000. Laura has two children, both of whom are MSNV alum. She is a flautist and a Suzuki trained flute teacher and loves history and Irish culture.
Heidi Bishop - Primary Teacher
Heidi came to MSNV in the fall of 2006. She received her BA in Elementary Education with a minor in Preschool Education from the University of Northern Colorado. She worked as a Montessori assistant for 6 years before obtaining her Montessori training from the National Center for Montessori Education in Bellevue, Washington. Since then, she has taught in various capacities, including three years in Germany and two years in Japan. Prior to coming to MSNV Heidi taught for three years. Heidi has three children.
Jean Carr - Primary Level Coordinator, Primary Teacher
Jean has worked at MSNV since 1993. She earned a Bachelor's degree from Whitman College in Washington and a Master of Education in Special Education from the University of Oregon. She taught special education in public school before she received her Primary Montessori training through Southwestern Texas Montessori Training Institute. Jean developed and taught a state-accredited Montessori kindergarten program, developed and taught enrichment programs for students in kindergarten through grade 3 and has taught at the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins. Jean has six children and six grandchildren.
Rachel Romano - Primary Teacher
Rachel has worked at MSNV since 1993 in many different capacities including that of teacher in extended day and summer camp. She completed her Montessori training at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies at the Barrie School in Wheaton, Maryland in 2000. Rachel’s daughter attended MSNV. Rachel loves children and art.
Sara Grossman - Lower Elementary Teacher
Sara Grossman joins us this year at MSNV. Her Montessori career has brought her the opportunity to teach at all levels through Upper Elementary. She received her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Maryland, College Park in Physical Education, Recreation, and Health and her Masters of Education from the American University. Sara completed her Montessori Preprimary Credential from the National Center for Montessori Education. She is certified at the Elementary 1 & 2 levels by the American Montessori Society and was trained at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Silver Spring, MD. She currently works as a teacher trainer and consultant for that institution. Both of Sara's children, now grown, attended Montessori School.
Lindsay Williams – Elementary Assistant
A graduate of Annandale High School, Lindsay holds a Bachelor of Music in clarinet performance from the Eastman School of Music and a Master of Arts in Performing Arts Administration from New York University. She has also studied flute, piano, guitar, and voice, and is self-taught on the saxophone. Lindsay has been teaching clarinet and saxophone privately and running woodwind sectionals in northern Virginia high schools since November 2005. She has also had experience as a teaching artist in elementary schools, introducing orchestral instruments to elementary students and supervising them trying the instruments. She has extensive music performing experience and is active as a freelance clarinetist and woodwind doubler, playing in symphonies and theatre pit orchestras in northern Virginia and Washington, DC. She has also recently studied acting and acted in several plays. Lindsay has been substituting for several MSNV teachers since spring 2012. She is thrilled to be working with Ms. Sara and to be a part of the MSNV family and community.
Amanda Glithero - Elementary Teacher
Amanda has a Bachelor’s degree in Montessori Education from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio and is certified in both upper and lower elementary education. She came to MSNV in 2008 after interning at two different schools near Cincinnati in their lower elementary programs.
Catharina Jacknow - Elementary Teacher
Catharina has worked in MSNV's elementary program for seven years, first as an assistant and then as a classroom teacher. She received her 6-12 Elementary Montessori training at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Maryland in 2007, and in 1994, graduated magna cum laude from George Mason University with a BA in English and Studio Art. Her first experience in Montessori education began as a child, when she attended Montessori schools from the age of 18 months to 7 years. Her youngest son is a student in MSNV's upper elementary class; her older son graduated from MSNV in 2010. Before joining MSNV, she worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a writer, editor, and website designer.
Elizabeth Kyvig – Elementary Teacher
Elizabeth received her Montessori training and Master’s degree in education at the Center for Contemporary Montessori Programs at St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul, MN. She comes to MSNV after teaching Lower Elementary at a Montessori charter school in Minnesota since the school opened in 2005. Elizabeth is certified in primary, lower and upper elementary Montessori education.
Jackie Savage - Elementary Level Coordinator, Upper Elementary Teacher
Jackie attended Randolph Macon Women’s College, earning her BA in History in 2006. After spending a year as the Lower Elementary assistant at MSNV, she decided to pursue her elementary Montessori training. She attended the Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola University located in Columbia, Maryland and earned her AMI diploma in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Education in 2008.
Joanna Gibson – Elementary Assistant
Joanna is joining MSNV this year after serving as the lead teacher at a mixed-age homeschooling cooperative in central Virginia. She earned her BA in Psychology from St Mary's College of Maryland, with minors in Biology and Environmental Studies. She earned her MAT in Elementary Education from Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC. She is thrilled to be learning more about Montessori through hands-on experience.
Aaron Pierce – Elementary Assistant
Aaron earned a BA in Philosophy with a minor in Music from Washington College, in Chestertown, MD. He first came to MSNV as a parent in the spring of 2006, and by 2008 had begun work in the Extended Day program. He is currently enjoying his first year as an assistant teacher in the MSNV Elementary program, while also pursuing his Montessori certification through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. He is the father of two girls, and plays a pretty good bass.
VALLEYBROOK EDUCATIONAL FACULTY
Claudia Wright - Pre Primary Teacher
Claudia has been with MSNV since 2002. She completed her Associates degree in Teacher Education as well as her Montessori training for infant/toddler certification. She is attending Liberty University to receive her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has a sister who works at MSNV and an 14year old brother. She is fluent in both Spanish and English.
Rachyl Chaney - Pre Primary Assistant
Rachyl graduated in 2009 from Appalachian State University with degrees in Psychology and Spanish. She spent some time in Ecuador teaching English to young children before moving to Northern Virginia. Rachyl is currently pursuing her M.A. in psychology at George Mason University.
Janine Labak - Primary Level Coordinator, Primary Teacher
Janine earned her undergraduate degree and her Masters in Social Work in California. She completed her Montessori Certificate at the New England Montessori Education Center in Boston. Before moving to Virginia, she taught at two different Montessori schools in Connecticut and then began working at MSNV in 1998 - first as Admissions Director; substitute teacher and summer camp teacher before returning to teaching. She has two children, both who attended Montessori through grade school.
Tatianna Yeh – Assistant Class Directress / Program Leader
Tatianna received her B.A. in French Language and Literature with a minor in Psychology from the University of Virginia. She spent two years working at an International school where she taught children ages 2-6 in a French and Spanish immersion setting. Afterward, she worked as an assistant at a Montessori school in McLean. Currently, she is working toward earning her Montessori certification from the Northern Virginia Montessori Institute. Tatianna loves working with children. She spends her spare time with family, being outdoors and staying active.
Ingrid Fol - Primary Teacher
Ingrid grew up in Belgium where she spent most of her teenage years working with ponies and children. Ingrid obtained a college degree in Topography, working in that field for a number of years before moving to Argentina. There she lived with her Argentinean husband for 7 years until 2002 when Ingrid and her family moved to the US. Ingrid joined the MSNV faculty in 2006 as the school’s Spanish teacher. She then went on to receive her Primary Montessori Certificate from the Northern Virginia Montessori Institute in the summer of 2011 and is very excited to be working with children each and every day. Ingrid loves spending time in the outdoors with her husband and her 3 children who are all MSNV alumni. She enjoys speaking different languages, fluent in Dutch, Spanish, English and French.
Deepti Jain - Primary Teacher
Deepti completed her Primary Montessori training certification from the Northern Virginia Montessori Institute. This is her third year teaching at MSNV. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Graphics and Marketing from George Mason University, as well as a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from Bombay University. She is married with two children, including a daughter who is currently enrolled in the Primary program at MSNV. She enjoys cooking, traveling, and arts and crafts, and is fluent in Hindi.
Tracy Rigo - Primary Teacher
Starting as a Marine Biology major, Tracy has a background in management and customer service. Tracy began her work with MSNV in the All Day Montessori Program in the fall of 2005 and now is a teacher in the Primary class. Tracy completed her Montessori training course at the Northeast Montessori Institute in Ashburn and is in the process of earning her degree in early childhood education. Tracy has two children: a daughter who is in the last year of the Upper Elementary program at MSNV and a son who attended MSNV until 2011.
Kimberly Jackson – Primary Teacher
Kimberly began her career as a Montessorian in 1988, when she was hired by MSNV to work as a primary assistant. She spent 6 years assisting at MSNV while she attended George Mason University and The Advanced Institute for Montessori Studies. In 1994, she completed her studies with a BA in English and a Primary Montessori Certification. She spent her first years as a Montessorian in the San Francisco Bay area, followed by two years in Herndon, VA. She spent her latter years running her own small Montessori school in Harpers Ferry, WV serving approximately 20-30 children. In 2008, she completed her 6-9 training from NAMC to meet the needs of her school and the local community. She is now excited to be returning to MSNV, because she says, "It is truly one of the best Montessori communities that I have experienced from the East to the West coast!"
MSNV ENRICHMENT FACULTY
Kofi Dennis - Primary Drama Teacher
Kofi is an early childhood education specialist who studied creative dramatics at the School of Performing Arts at the University of Ghana, and brings interactive storytelling, drama and creative movement to MSNV. As a master artist with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts, Kofi trains new Institute teaching artists and offers workshops and professional development to child-care providers and pre-school teachers around the country. Kofi has been part of the duo, Anansegromma of Ghana, which has shared West African culture in area venues since 1995. Kofi has three daughters, all of whom attended MSNV.
Maria Delgado - Spanish Teacher
Maria received her B.A degree in Education in Quito Ecuador, her country of origin. She has taught elementary education in several schools in Ecuador. Maria then earned her Master’s degree in Computer Science. Fluent in her native Spanish, Maria has taught Spanish to staff members from several embassies and international organizations in the Washington metropolitan area. Maria has lived in USA for the past 25 years, she is a parent of three boys, each of whom attended MSNV. Maria speaks Italian in addition to English and Spanish.
Mati Beisso – Spanish Teacher
Mati is very happy to have joined the MSNV team this year as the Preprimary Spanish teacher. She is a recent graduate of George Mason University, where she received her B.A. in Global Affairs with a concentration in Community Development. Mati grew up traveling the world. She is originally from Uruguay, where she was born and raised for 13 years, and also lived in Ethiopia and Kenya before coming to Arlington. Before coming to MSNV she taught Spanish to children as well as adults, and also worked with young children as a teacher assistant. She is passionate about teaching, psychology, cooking, traveling and art.
Iyona Blake - Music Teacher
Iyona received a vocal performance diploma from Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Washington, DC. Later, she attended Shenandoah Conservatory at Shenandoah University (SU) graduating with a Bachelor of Music in Performance Degree. Iyona Blake has taught vocal and general music in the Arlington and Fairfax County School Systems to students from preschool to the high school grade levels, including children with special needs and disabilities. In addition, she has attended George Mason University receiving training in Orff Schulwerk. Iyona continues to incorporate the Orff teaching method to her music teaching style. Iyona is a trained professional singer and actress, voice instructor in the Musical Theatre department at Howard University and private vocal coach. Iyona is the wife of Billy O. Blake. Together, they are the proud parents of two children.
Suzy Scollon - Art Teacher
Suzy received her Master's degree in Studio Art from Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University where she studied Art Education and Piano Performance. She also received a Certificate of Sculpture from the Corcoran College of Art and Design. Suzy taught art at elementary, middle and junior high schools in D.C., Alexandria, and Arlington Public Schools. She also taught children’s art classes at the Corcoran. While living in Japan she studied Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging), which she continues to study and teach. Suzy creates relief tile installations and figurative sculpture. Suzy’s three boys attend MSNV.
Kristin Nilson and Camilla Roberts - PE Teachers
Kristin has been working at our Valleybrook campus since its opening in November 2010. She has earned two Associate’s degrees from Northern Virginia Community College. The first is an Associate of Liberal Arts with a specialization in Psychology. The second is an Associate degree in Science for American Sign Language to English Interpretation. She has worked as a sign language interpreter and keeps involved in the deaf community but is now focusing on her first love, educating children.
Other MSNV staff includes Extended Day teachers and assistants, and a bus driver.