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Pari Schacht

Founder & head of school

Pari is a parent, entrepreneur, and educator with a passion for Montessori. She spent the last decade building Nurturing Wisdom Tutoring, a company with more than 200 tutors in Chicago and San Francisco. In both cities, Nurturing Wisdom helped students from the top schools to supplement their education and meet their goals. In addition, Pari played a key role in opening two private schools, one in Chicago and one in San Francisco. She is also an investor in multiple schools and advisor to educational companies. She has two sons in Montessori pre-school and opened Mission Montessori to bring a world-class Montessori elementary education to families in San Francisco.

Zeda Suswal

founding Teacher

Zeda’s love of teaching began in 2002 when she traveled to China to teach English. While there she realized that the energy and potential of children stirred a passion in her unlike any other. With this excitement, she went on to teach abroad in Venezuela and Italy. Zeda learned that a global perspective only enhances our empathy and understanding of the world, and she loves to bring this into the classroom to share with her students.

After her experiences teaching abroad, Zeda decided to make teaching her full-time career. She moved to Chicago and earned a master's degree in education with a specialization in Special Education. She taught in public schools for five years until she had the opportunity to teach in a public Montessori program, where she first discovered the wonder of this beautiful method. The experience of seeing and feeling a Montessori classroom environment stuck with her, so Zeda went on to earn her AMI Elementary Certification. She has been teaching in Montessori elementary classrooms for the last four years, at Near North Montessori in Chicago and most recently at the Renaissance School in Oakland. 

Zeda could not be more excited to be the founding teacher at Mission Montessori. She brings with her a passion for Montessori philosophy, travel, nature, and building community among parents, students, and school staff.

Juan Diego Salinas Juárez

Spanish immersion lead teacher

Diego was born and raised in Michoacán, Mexico. After moving to California, he later earned his bachelor's in Political Economy at the University of California, Berkeley. Diego’s love of teaching began as a college student at UC Berkeley where he tutored and mentored elementary aged children in a bilingual program.

After graduating, he knew he wanted to continue working in education and joined Teach For America. He completed his training in Los Angeles where he taught 7th grade English. Diego then started working at a Montessori School in Oakland as a Spanish teacher. At the same time, he worked as a 5th and 6th grade math teacher at a traditional elementary public school in Richmond, California. Experiencing the differences between a Montessori environment and a traditional environment, he fell in love with the Montessori pedagogy. So, he went on to earn his AMI Elementary Certification in San Diego. He has been teaching at a Montessori elementary classroom in Spanish for the last five years where he also had the opportunity to work with Zeda. They are excited to work together again.

Diego is currently completing his master’s in Elementary Education with a Montessori Concentration from Hartford University. He is very happy to be joining the Mission Montessori team and is excited to be able to share his love for Montessori education, Spanish, culture, and sports.

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Paula Luman

assistant to the teacher and spanish educational design

Paula has been teaching and designing curriculum in diverse educational environments around the world for over eight years. Her passion for education, language and cultural immersion began at home in Toronto, Canada. With a Peruvian mother and Uruguayan father she also spent a large part of her childhood in South America. In addition to being a native Spanish speaker, she attended a Canadian French immersion school. 

Paula's love of teaching began in high school, when she worked part-time as a youth dance instructor. Paula has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from York University, where she also completed a Masters of Education with a specialization in Literacy and Language, making her uniquely qualified to design the Spanish program for Mission Montessori. 

She is very excited to be a founding member of an authentic Montessori school and looks forward to bringing her passion for culture, music (she plays the ukulele!), food and travel to the classroom.

Maria Gali Cabana

Assistant to the teacher - spanish immersion

Maria was born in Barcelona, Spain, where she studied Primary Education and Education Psychology. She comes from a family of teachers and pedagogues involved in the progressive education movement. Her great grandfather, Alexandre Galí, worked with Maria Montessori while she lived in Barcelona and promoted the creation of active and innovative schools around Catalonia. Maria went to a school based on Alexandre Galí and Maria Montessori’s principles and wanted to become a teacher since she was young. 

She was a Teacher Assistant in a Spanish Immersion School in Minneapolis before working for seven years in Barcelona. Maria has been teaching children from 5 to 11 years old and has created programs and projects, taking into account both the challenges of today's society and children’s individual needs. 

Maria is looking forward to being part of the Mission Montessori team and helping us grow our quality education while using her diverse passions.

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Dwiveck Custodio

Assistant Head of School

Dwiveck is a native Spanish speaker originally from Puerto Rico where she grew up going to Montessori school and later, an English immersion school. These experiences, along with her grandmother's storytelling, inspired her ever-growing love of language learning and writing.

Dwiveck attended Syracuse University in New York where she earned a B.S. in Magazine with a minor in Italian. After studying abroad in Italy, she decided to earn a master's degree in Romance Languages at the University of Georgia, with a focus on Spanish and Italian literature. During her time at the University of Georgia, Dwiveck taught college-level courses in Italian language. For the past few years, Dwiveck has been teaching abroad, working with students of different ages and backgrounds. She is wrapping up her most recent roles as head of primary and lead first-grade teacher at an international school in Tokyo, Japan. In these leadership roles, she has truly enjoyed planning activities that enable children to learn while also helping to bring the school's whole community together. She is looking forward to working with the team at Mission Montessori to help us expand our school and our after-school programming while continuing to prioritize the quality of our students' education.

Samantha Nagy-Chow

Director of admissions and communications

Samantha's love for learning and education began with her own Montessori education in Sacramento, where she was home-schooled after a brief time in public school. Dance, especially classical ballet, became her main passion, and she was honored to have the opportunity to study and eventually perform with San Francisco Ballet. 

After earning her B.S. in Ballet Performance, Samantha joined the Cincinnati Ballet, where she danced as a full-time professional ballet dancer and taught at the Cincinnati Ballet Academy. Inspired by her experiences teaching, Samantha decided to leave professional dancing to focus on education. She went on to earn her master's in education at Harvard University where she also worked in admissions.

Samantha looks forward to bringing her experiences in education and her passion for life-long learning to Mission Montessori as a founding member of the team.

 

Helen Greenwood

Academic advisor

Hailing from Australia, Helen has been a teacher for 20 years. Through her experience as a music teacher, she discovered Montessori and taught both lower elementary and upper elementary Montessori in Australia. She became a learning specialist at her Montessori school -  helping students with learning differences from dyslexia to ADD.

In her most recent role, Helen supported Montessori elementary teachers at numerous schools across the country, advising them and creating curriculum. We're fortunate to have her expertise as an advisor and parent educator.

 

Nancy Baker

primary teacher and consultant

Nancy received her Montessori primary training and began teaching in 1971 in Washington, DC. She moved to Chicago in 1978, where she  raised her family and taught at The Ancona School and Flossmoor Montessori School. For the past 13 years, she has taught and tutored students at Santa Cruz Montessori, where she has also spent her summers developing a “Get Ready, Get Set, Go!” program for children moving up from primary to elementary level.

Nancy travels each week between Santa Cruz and San Francisco, where she loves spending time with her family. Her grand-daughter will be attending Mission Montessori this year. Nancy is as excited as her granddaughter to join everyone at Mission Montessori two days each week. She is committed to helping establish a strong bridge for the newest, youngest students entering Mission Montessori’s elementary classes. She is also honored to contribute to Maria Montessori’s lifelong work to create world peace and understanding through education.

Emily Shisko

Music teacher - in harmony 

Emily Shisko is a Bay Area composer, performer and educator with over twenty years of teaching experience who began writing music at the family piano when she was five years old. She has since learned a lot of exciting things about music and continues to explore, play, and learn! Emily holds degrees in music composition from CSULB (B.M) and the Boston Conservatory (M.M). Recent work includes residencies at Montalvo Arts Center and San Francisco’s Exploratorium, commissions for the San Francisco Boys Chorus, Resound Ensemble, Siroko Duo and Nomad Sessions, and multimedia installation/performances at museums and public spaces throughout the Bay Area.

Her experiences as a teaching artist include work with the SF Opera and Opera Guild education departments, directing children's choirs and musical theater, and teaching early childhood music and movement classes. She is excited about giving Mission Montessori students the opportunity to explore their natural musicality with joy and play.

Christian Daog

physical education teacher

Christian was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii. He moved to the Bay Area to attend Menlo College on an athletic scholarship as a dual sport athlete playing football and soccer. While at Menlo College, Christian interned and coached for the Hi-Five Sports Silicon Valley location and developed a passion for youth sports development.  

After graduating in 2015 with a B.S. degree in Sports Management, Christian began his career with Hi-Five Sports, where his love grew for mentoring and coaching young children. In 2016, Christian was promoted to the General Manager position at the Hi-Five Sports Zone in San Francisco. Today, he manages the day-to-day operations at the Hi-Five Indoor Sports Facility in San Francisco's Richmond District and teaches our students important skills every week. We're all excited that he will be using his passion to enrich our students' lives.

Jenny Rosen

Improv teacher

Jenny's an improviser, actor, and writer who has taught improv for 19 years  She regularly performs long and short form improvisational theater as a company member of BATS Improv at Fort Mason Center.

Jenny has performed in Aspen, Improv Olympic (LA), The MET Theater (NYC), The Moth and at the SF Fringe Festival.  Six of her original children’s musicals have been produced at Cathedral School for Boys. She has worked as an artistic mentor at ILM and corporate trainer for Oracle and Google.

As a teacher and coach, Jenny has worked with all ages. Among others, she has taught for StageWrite, Live Oak, Haight Ashbury Cooperative Nursery School, Millenium Middle School. She enjoys using theater games to inspire collaboration, positivity, and creativity in and out of the classroom. 

Lindsey Boullt

Guitar Teacher

Lindsey has devoted his entire career to building excellence and community in the music world. He has taught thousands of students of all ages, some of whom have been accepted to top music schools including Berklee College of Music in Boston, University of North Texas, Musician's Institute in Los Angeles, and New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.

Lindsey has played a strong role in the advancement of the arts in San Francisco, producing musical, artistic shows around the Bay Area since 1998, including the “Musicians Showcase" and ChaoticArtCircus, highly respected forums for up-and-coming performers, future-signed bands, and world famous guest musicians.

Soon after receiving a music business degree at the University of Texas in Arlington, Lindsey graduated with honors from the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, where he went on to work as a guitar instructor.  A Billboard magazine-recognized artist who is also endorsed by Gibson Guitars, Lindsey has maintained strong involvement in promoting the arts in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is excited and honored to a part of the Mission Montessori team.