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’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.
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.
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.
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.
Saideh Eftekhari is a multi-instrumentalist (violin, setar, voice), teaching artist based in San Francisco. Her work is inspired by the years she spent studying and living in Latin America, the Middle East and Europe. She is trained in classical violin as well as the Persian setar and is fluent in Farsi, Spanish, French and English. Saideh is an experienced music teacher, with many years of experience teaching Montessori students, and enjoys bringing her love of language into her music classes.
In 2015, she was awarded a 1Beat Fellowship, where she joined musicians from 17 different countries in both a residency and West Coast tour, creating collaborative, original music as a form of cultural diplomacy and educational outreach. She is currently a 2017 Caldera Artist in Residence and is excited to share her passion for music and language with children at Mission Montessori.