“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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Sonja Shivpuri

Sonja Shivpuri

Titles: Lower Elementary Head Teacher
Degrees: B.A. in International Service, American University
M.A. in International Education Policy, George Washington University
6-12 AMS Elementary Certification
Departments: Elementary
Email:
Biography:

Sonja moved to Pennsylvania from Connecticut in September of 2017. Her children have been in Montessori schools since they were 2 years old and she wanted them to continue their Montessori elementary education here in Pennsylvania. Sonja and her husband found Gladwyne Montessori through the AMS website and have been thrilled with both the community and the school since they arrived. In her free time, Sonja enjoys reading, watching movies, cooking and baking, spending time with friends, and traveling.


Dan Sides

Dan Sides

Titles: Facilities Manager
Degrees: B.A. in Sociology, Shippensburg University
Departments: Maintenance
Email:
Biography:

While his 13 year experience in a corporate environment provided Dan with a diverse background, the rewards he sought after could not be found in that industry. He believes making a daily impact can occur in the right environment, and Gladwyne Montessori has allowed him that very opportunity, while learning new trades and continuing to grow. Dan spends his free time with his wife, Kelly and their children Becca, Erin and Scott. You will probably find them camping, fishing or boating if they're not at home planning their next outdoor adventure.

Andrew Siegele

Andrew Siegele

Titles: Upper Elementary Teaching Assistant
Degrees: B.S. in Physics, University of Maryland
Departments: Elementary
Email:
Biography:

Andrew has always loved to learn and help others learn new things. When he and his wife first visited Gladwyne Montessori School, they saw this same passion for learning and helping others learn permeating the school; it felt like home. They have enjoyed seeing their children, Marley and Xavier, develop, create, socialize and get excited about school and the learning process.

Andrew has been teaching yoga for almost a decade, and teaching science for several years. No matter the subject, he believes all learning follows a similar process: within loving structure and collaboratively created boundaries, freedom and independence are what allow us to find our unique voice, self-expression, creative power, and joy in process. In his free time, Andrew enjoys hiking, camping, dancing, singing, biking, playing sports, reading, and writing. He also enjoys simply being: getting absorbed in nature while taking in the sights and sounds, practicing yoga and meditation, being with his wife, kids, family and friends. It is a joy to be and to do. What a life to explore!

Corrie Stango

Corrie Stango

Titles: Communications Assistant
Degrees: B.S.Ed. in English, West Chester University
M.Ed., Immaculata University
Departments: Administration
Email:
Biography:

Teaching high school English in a public setting has, in turn, taught Corrie a great deal about both using language and educating young minds. She maintains excitement to have a continuous relationship with the written word as she uses it to help reach a community that surrounds growing learners. Corrie spends her time finding new adventures with her husband, son, and golden retriever; visiting independent and locally owned restaurants; practicing yoga; reading; repurposing home decor; gardening; and staying connected with friends.

Dan Stearne

Dan Stearne

Titles: Lower Elementary Teaching Assistant
Degrees: B.A., Rowan University
Emergency Medical Technician
Departments: Elementary
Email:
Biography:
Dan joined Gladwyne Montessori in 1995 and worked as an assistant to Maggie Dougherty until 1998. After student teaching in the fall of 1999, Dan transitioned to long term substituting in the Upper Elementary classroom until June of 2000. After several years working in the Camden School District, Dan returned to Gladwyne Montessori in 2004. Because of his love for working in this environment with the students and families as well as colleagues, Dan has been here ever since. In his spare time, Dan loves to spend time outdoors with his family at the beach. He likes surfing, playing various sports including softball and basketball. He is a Philadelphia sports enthusiast and Eagles season ticket holder. He also enjoys photography.
Taahirah Stith

Taahirah Stith

Titles: Toddler Teaching Assistant
Degrees: B.S. with Honors in Marketing, Morgan State University
Health Coaching Certification, Dr. Sears Wellness Institute
Departments: Toddler
Email:
Biography:

Before joining Gladwyne as an Assistant Teacher in the toddler department, Taahirah was a Lead Teacher for The Culinary Literacy Center at the Free Library of Philadelphia where she helped to foster lifelong learning, advancement of literacy, and a commitment to health through cooking classes. She taught a diverse group of pre-K through high school students in private, parochial, and public schools across Philadelphia (both regular and special education). As a certified health coach, she works with families and children on holistic health and food. Taahirah completed the Montessori Toddler Assistant Teacher Training at Princeton Center for Teacher Education and looks forward to growing and learning with the children and families of Gladwyne Montessori. In her free time she loves teaching health and wellness, cooking, exercising, spreading the love of all things plant-based, camping, caring for her cats and singing in the car with her sister.

Melissa Sugzdinis

Melissa Sugzdinis

Titles: Makerspace & Coding Teacher
Degrees: B.A. in English, Ohio State University
M.Ed. in Elementary Education, Wilmington University
Elementary II Certification, American Montessori Society
Departments: Arts and Enrichment
Email:
Biography:

Melissa has been a Montessori teacher since 2001. She was a lead Upper Elementary teacher for 17 years in both private and charter Montessori schools. After reading about Makerspaces, she became inspired to meld the worlds of Maker and Montessori. Both of her boys grew up as Montessori kids, and she feels passionately that Montessori is for everyone! In her spare time, Melissa enjoys cooking, reading, taking long hikes in the woods with her family, and playing with her two cats, Snickers and Sparky.

Matthew Sullivan

Matthew Sullivan

Titles: Primary Head Teacher
Degrees: B.A. in Spanish, University of Colorado at Denver
M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Colorado at Denver
American Montessori Society Early Childhood Credential, Montessori Education Center of the Rockies
Pennsylvania Professional Teaching Certificate, Pennsylvania Department of Education
Departments: Primary
Email:
Biography:
Matthew joined Gladwyne Montessori in 2015 after working as a Lead Teacher at Clementine Montessori in Philadelphia, where he also taught music and Spanish. From 1999-2011, Matthew worked in Denver teaching elementary bilingual education and at a dual-language Montessori school. Matthew enjoys myriad activities outside in the natural world, playing and listening to music, reading, cooking, carpentry, gardening, landscaping, playing and coaching sports, and traveling.
Jennifer Turner

Jennifer Turner

Titles: La Casa Assistant
Degrees: B.A. in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences with a concentration in Communication Disorders/Speech Pathology, North Carolina State University
Departments: Arts and Enrichment
Email:
Biography:

Jenn was introduced to Gladwyne Montessori as a parent—and decided she didn't want to leave as she has always loved the school. Her special interests are running, hiking, and anything outdoors; she also loves to spend time with her family and dogs.

Coleen VanOsten

Email:
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