“Education is a natural process carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words, but by experiences in the environment.”
Maria Montessori

Faculty & Staff Directory

Our entire staff focuses on your child as a person. Montessori teachers are facilitators, mentors, and coaches who nurture a student’s potential and encourage him or her to explore, investigate, and discover. We are proud to have some of the region’s top educators guiding our students through their journey toward a lifelong love of learning. Our teachers are highly qualified, fully credentialed, and dedicated to the success of each individual student.

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Donna Arronson

Donna Arronson

Titles: Floating Assistant
Degrees: B.S. in Psychology and Education, Mount Saint Mary's College
Departments: Primary, Toddler, Arts and Enrichment, Elementary
Email:
Biography:

Donna was first introduced to Gladwyne Montessori as a parent. All four of her children attended the school over the span of 14 years. Donna began working at Gladwyne Montessori in 2008 and has served in the Primary, Toddler, and After Care programs. In addition to these years of experience, Donna completed an assistant training program in the summer of 2018 at the Princeton Montessori Training Center. When Donna is not in the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beach in Margate, New Jersey for the summer, traveling, cooking, reading, and sports.

Maria Atayab

Maria Atayab

Titles: Primary Assistant
Degrees: B.S. in Electrical Engineering, NED University Pakistan
AMS Early Childhood Certification, Montessori Teacher Training of Philadelphia
Departments: Primary
Email:
Biography:

Maria has a passion to teach children, as she believes it is a great opportunity to serve the community by nurturing values in children such as patience, empathy, and respect. She joined Gladwyne Montessori as a substitute teacher, and during this time she experienced it as a great place to work. She realized that this is the school where her teaching skills can grow and develop. In her free time, Maria enjoys spending time with her family, playing sports, board games, watching family movies, and reading children's literature.

Christopher Atkins

Christopher Atkins

Titles: Toddler Assistant
Departments: Toddler, Arts and Enrichment
Email:
Biography:

Chris came to Gladwyne Montessori with hopes to continue educating children in an environment with a strong focus on student socio/emotional growth and anti-bias education. He quickly realized Gladwyne Montessori was the perfect fit.

Susan Ballas

Susan Ballas

Titles: Nurse
Degrees: B.S.N. in Nursing, Villanova University
M.S.N. in Nursing, University of Pennsylvania
School Nurse Certification, Eastern University
Departments: Administration
Email:
Biography:

With 31 years experience as a nurse, Susan went through local schools, obtaining a BSN from Villanova University, a MSN from the University or Pennsylvania, and a School Nurse Certification from Eastern University. She previously worked as a manager and Director of Nursing for 14 years and as a clinical instructor at Penn for 15. The opportunity for providing improved nursing and medical support to the Gladwyne Montessori community brought her here, coupled with the fact that her children attended the school. Outside of nursing, Susan needle points, plays Canasta, and enjoys time with her 4 children.

Eleonora Barbieri

Eleonora Barbieri

Titles: Administrator
Departments: Arts and Enrichment, Administration
Email:
Biography:

Eleonora's love for the Montessori philosophy began when her twin girls were born at a premature age – she was in search of a philosophy that would help the healthy development of her children from birth-on, and to help her own children to overcome the challenges they potentially faced. Eleonora believes in the Montessori tenet of emphasizing the independence of the child and in trusting the child's ability to guide his/her learning journey. When she entered Gladwyne Montessori for the first time, she was mesmerized by the magical atmosphere and by the excitement students had for learning. Before coming to Gladwyne, she worked in early childcare and was the owner of a Maternity Concierge Company. Eleonora's unique background in language, business, entrepreneurship, and early education lends itself perfectly to her duties at Gladwyne Montessori. In her spare time, Eleonora loves cooking, exploring the city, and Latin dancing.

Aileen Best

Aileen Best

Titles: Primary Teacher
Degrees: B.S. in Applied Economics, De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines
AMI Primary Diploma, Navadisha Montessori Institute, Chennai, India
Montessori Teacher Certificate, United Montessori Education
Education Program Certification, Eastern University
PA Pre-K-4 Instructional I Teaching Certification, PA Board of Education
Departments: Primary
Email:
Biography:

Aileen lived in China for five years teaching English in international kindergarten schools, and there, she realized that teaching little children would be her lifelong career. It was on a bus to work where she discovered Dr. Maria Montessori as she read an autobiography about her. She then moved to India to complete her Montessori Education training. When she moved to the U.S., Aileen worked in several Montessori schools in between having children before finding Gladwyne Montessori. Aileen previously lived in five countries and traveled extensively before moving to the United States; now that she is married with two children, she travels with her family in her free time. She also likes to watch movies, read books, and organize travel plans.

Emily Bittner

Emily Bittner

Titles: Primary Teacher
Degrees: B.A. in Psychology and Sociology, Western State Colorado University
M.A. in Sociology, University of Arizona
M.A. in Education, Loyola University
AMI Primary Diploma, Washington Montessori Institute
Departments: Primary
Email:
Biography:

Emily was a Montessori child herself in her primary years, and attended one year of Montessori elementary in the school her mother opened in British Columbia, Canada. Since graduating from college, Emily has had many life-enriching experiences, including living in a rural village in Zambia for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer, studying the relationship between wilderness and spirituality in graduate school, and working with Philadelphia’s homeless population at Project HOME. Her mission has always been to help people, and she found her way back to her Montessori roots after picking up a copy of Maria Montessori’s book, “The Secret of Childhood”. It was love-at-first read, and she hasn’t questioned her path since! In her free time, Emily loves spending time with her family. They are all nature enthusiasts and spend as much time as they can in the fresh air. She enjoys reading books, relaxing in hammocks, visiting friends, and creating art.

Ainsley Boynton

Ainsley Boynton

Titles: Primary Assistant
Degrees: B.A. in Anthropology, Washington College
M.A. in Early Childhood Education with Special Education Emphasis, University of Colorado Denver
Departments: Primary
Email:
Biography:

Ainsley joined Gladwyne Montessori to continue her passion of working with children near her hometown of Bryn Mawr. She really values a hands-on approach that focuses on the individual child's strengths and curiosities that is fostered in a Montessori education. In her free time, Ainsley enjoys hiking with her dogs, painting landscapes, and traveling. She loves to see new places and learn from cultures different from her own.

Subhi Brenner

Subhi Brenner

Titles: Primary Assistant
Degrees: B.A. in Child Development & Global Business, University of the West of Scotland
MBA in Masters of Business Administration, University of Sunderland
Departments: Primary
Email:
Biography:

Subhi was drawn to Gladwyne Montessori because of its reputation for excellence and professionalism and looks forward to working closely with the students daily. In her free time, Subhi enjoys traveling with her family, spending time with her two cats, and meditating.

Eunice Chung

Eunice Chung

Titles: Primary Teacher
Degrees: B.A. in Psychology, Cornell University
M.A. in Early Childhood Education with Montessori Certification, Chestnut Hill College
Departments: Primary
Email:
Biography:

Eunice worked in private equity before becoming a parent of three Gladwyne Montessori children. She fell in love with the Montessori philosophy, which led her to earn a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education with Montessori Certification. She believes that Montessori philosophy encourages love for a lifetime of learning, while also allowing children to develop and trust their inner voice and appreciate their individuality. "I love the way the Montessori classroom naturally celebrates each child's differences and promotes peace and acceptance. I also love the way all different subjects of geography, language, math, art, and music unfold organically everyday." In her free time, she enjoys reading, playing board games, and photography.

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