Administration

Kathryn MillerKathryn Miller
Curriculum Coordinator

Kathryn Miller is a happily married, mother of four successful adult Montessori children. She became a Montessori mother, assistant, and ultimately an American Montessori Society MACTE accredited teacher. Kathryn has taught at Montessori schools for over 30 years, her longest heartfelt tenure with School of the Woods Montessori School. All four of her children attended School of the Woods through middle school, with the fourth child completing high school there.

Kathryn is an instructor at the Houston Montessori Center for Teachers and The Institute of Montessori Education focusing on Early Childhood Montessori education. She is a frequent continuing education workshop presenter both locally and nationally for the American Montessori Society. She is a well known, respected leader in the local Montessori community as a mentor, field consultant, and teacher trainer. Kathryn has a passion and a knack for helping the unenlightened ‘get it’ in regards to developmentally appropriate parenting and teaching.

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Early Childhood Lead Faculty and Support Staff

Montessori teachers are referred to as “guides” to highlight their unique role in relation to the child. As guides, they seek to direct the interests and tendencies of the child, serving as facilitators to the child’s own development. Each of our MACTE accredited, certified Montessori teachers are responsible for directing the class in accordance with the Montessori philosophy, the guidelines of AMS and The Institute of Montessori Education as well as the the general policies of The Innovative School. Our teachers establish daily plans and long-term goals for each child and the class as a whole. They continually strive to develop an on-going communication with the parents of their students.



Kathryn MillerKathryn Miller
Lead Guide

Mrs. Kathryn obtained her American Montessori Society (AMS) MACTE accredited certification from the Houston Montessori Center for Teachers in 1983. Kathryn joined Innovative after retiring from School of the Woods in 2008. She has over 30 years of Montessori teaching and parent education experience. Please read her detailed profile above.

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Razia ShivjiRazia Shivji
Lead Guide

Mrs. Razia Shivji received her diploma in Montessori education from the AMI (Association Montessori International) institute in Tanzania, Africa in 1971. She was trained by Maria Montessori's family! When Razia moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, she worked at the La Pepiniere Montessori as a teacher from 1977 to 1980. It took her only one year to be awarded with the "Excellent Montessori Teacher" title. In addition to her classroom responsibilities, she was promoted to Head of School. After marrying she moved to Houston, Texas and opened her own school, Sunrise Montessori. Two years later she opened a second school The Montessori Academy - House of Children. In 1987 she decided to step down to devote time to her family and two children.

Razia is the creator and founder of Learning Center for Parents and Children (LCPC). Today there are nine centers across the United States including LCPC's in Chicago, Atlanta, Austin, the greater Dallas area, and the greater Houston area. The program has also been institutionalized with proper management structures and training facilities.

Razia is a CDA (Child Development Associate) instructor for San Jacinto Community College and an AMI Montessori teacher trainer internationally. She has devoted her life to education. Her work has been recognized worldwide including Fort-Bend Independent School District, Aga Khan Foundation, San Jacinto Community College, The East African School System, and various communities in the developing-world in Asia and Africa.

Bailey BonuraBailey Bonura
Lead Guide

Ms. Bailey’s love of Montessori began as a lower elementary student attending School of the Woods. Finding a passion for photography in high school, Bailey graduated in 2005 applying to school to be a photographer. Bailey attended Portland State University in Portland Oregon graduating with Liberal Studies major and Bachelors of Art. Through college Bailey nannied twin 4 year olds who were Montessori children. She became very connected to the Early Childhood Montessori practice keeping a close relationship with the children's school Puddle Town Montessori. After college she knew that she wanted to become a teacher and missed being around the 3-6 age group. Being a Montessori child she always knew that if she taught the only pedagogy for her was Montessori. She attend Houston Montessori Center for Montessori teacher training where she was reunited with Kathryn Miller who’s youngest son grew up with Bailey at School of the Woods, and she was a student when Kathryn taught there. She did her internship at United Orthodox Synagogue Goldberg Montessori School in Bellaire.

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Sara KellySara Kelly
Lead Guide

Mrs. Sara has always loved working with children starting from her experience in 2003 as an assistant at Bright Start Academy. When she experienced the Montessori method at West Montessori School in Cypress, she immediately realized her calling. Her love and dedication for Montessori grew working as an assistant teacher at Esprit International School in the Woodlands. Sara discovered the power of allowing children to explore and be independent in their daily routine. In summer of 2010, Sara pursued Montessori Early Childhood teacher training at the Houston Montessori Center. Sara's love of Montessori combined with her detail-oriented, self-motivated, work ethic makes her the ideal teacher for The Innovative School. Her three year old daughter is a student at Innovative.

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Toddler Guides and Support Staff

Sonya DonalsonMichelle Battistone
Lead Guide

Ms. Michelle Battistone is a nationally recognized expert in Montessori education for infants and toddlers. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from Southwestern Adventist University and a MACTE accredited Infant and Toddler American Montessori Society (AMS) teaching credential from North Harris College. A field consultant for Montessori Education Center of the Rockies (a Montessori Infant/Toddler teacher training school), Michelle also is part of the site inspection and evaluation team for Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (an autonomous accrediting association for teacher education). Co-Founder of Montessori Mentors, she has spent over fifteen years teaching infants, toddlers, and the adults who work with them. Michelle presents workshops annually at national Montessori conferences as well as, serves as Coordinator for The Institute of Montessori Education's (TIME) Infant and Toddler education program. Before joining The Innovative School, Michelle served as Head of School at Oaks Adventist Christian School in Houston, TX.

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Leslie DeyzelLeslie Deyzel
Support Guide

Leslie Ann Deyzel attended York College of Pennsylvania where she graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Psychology. After college, she returned to New Jersey where she began to work with families involved with the Department of Youth and Family Services as a Family Preservation Counselor. During this time she taught positive parenting skills and other life skills to help these families succeed and prevent placement. After being promoted to a Crisis Intervention Specialist with Children's Mobile Response & Stabilization Services, she began responding directly to families in crisis with the goal of de-escalating the crisis and linking families with appropriate resources. In 2011 she relocated to Houston, Texas. Her ongoing Montessori assistant training is through The Institute of Montessori Education. Leslie loves working with children different capacity here at The Innovative School.

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Patricia NavarroPatricia Navarro
Lead Guide

Patricia Navarro received her American Montessori Society (AMS) Infant & Toddler Montessori credential in 2001 from the MACTE accredited Infant & Toddler Montessori Teacher Education Program at North Harris Lonestar College. She has an Associate of Applied Science and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and Early Childhood Education. In addition to teaching in the Infant/Toddler model classroom at the Child Development Lab School at Lonestar College, she served as an adjunct faculty member in the Early Education Department.

Currently, Patricia is an Instructor and Lecturer in the Infant & Toddler Education program at the Houston Montessori Center for Teachers. Her areas of expertise are Montessori philosophy and application, infant and toddler development, and parent education. She has served infants and toddlers as teacher for over 10 years, and she is a frequent speaker and consultant for The Institute of Montessori Education.

Patricia is a proud Montessori mother to her toddler aged son, Ivan, who is a student here at Innovative in Ms. Sonya's classroom. Patricia loves learning from her colleagues and looks forward to adopting the culture at The Innovative School.

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Rebecca MillerRebecca Miller
Support Guide

At the age of seventeen, Rebecca Miller earned a 4.0 GPA in twelve units of Early Childhood Education at Butte College. She then went on to acquire her first position as a preschool teacher at the Peanut Butter Palace in Chico, California. Rebecca then moved to Los Angeles, where she accepted a lead teacher position working with two and three year olds at The Learning Place Pre School in Burbank, California. Deciding to continue her own education full time, Rebecca trained in lesson planning and art education for credits at Glendale Community College. In 2011, Rebecca moved from California to Houston to be closer to her mother. She is excited to be given the opportunity to be a support guide in our toddler community. Her future plans and goals include completing the required course work to become a lead Montessori toddler guide.

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Montessori Teacher Assistants

Assistants, who are trained by and work with the Montessori teachers, help to develop and maintain the classroom environments. Through their interactions with the children, they mirror the Montessori principles by respecting each child and nurturing independence. Our assistants are required to take the Montessori Teacher Assistant course offered by The Institute of Montessori Education. Our assistants also receive ongoing training in Montessori philosophy and child development, which ensures that the Montessori philosophy is carried on through in our extended day and after school programs.

Mariam JiwaniMrs. Mariam Jiwani
Assistant

Ms. Mariam took her AMI – Association Montessori Internationale training in 1971. She has been with the school since 2003.





 

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