Lisa Banowit, Toddler English Guide
Ms. Banowit grew up as a Montessori child. She and her mother owned and operated two Montessori schools in Arlington, VA, where she was a toddler guide for 2 years. She holds an AMI primary (3-6) diploma from MISD. She also holds a B.A. in visual communication and is currently finishing her M.Ed. from Loyola University Maryland. She and her family fell in love with La Jolla while she was training at MISD and decided to move to the West and become ‘locals’. The whole family enjoys spending time outdoors in the beautiful weather.
Lilia Garcia, Toddler Spanish Guide
Ms. Garcia has been working as a Spanish speaking guide in the toddler community since 2003. She holds the AMI assistants to infancy diploma from MISD. She also has an associate teacher certificate from Southwestern College.
Asa Samoori, Toddler English Guide
Kathleen Dian, Primary I English Guide
Kathleen Dian received her AMI Primary diploma from MISD in 2010 and worked as a primary teacher at the MISD Children’s House from 2010-2013. Last year she worked in the Training Center as Assistant to the Trainer for the Primary Elementary Program. Kathleen holds a Master’s in education from the University of Aix-en-Provence (France), is a certified teacher from the French Ministry of Education, and is certified in Positive Discipline techniques. Kathleen plays the flute and loves paragliding, hiking and reading.
Adriana Prado, Primary I Spanish Guide
Ms. Prado holds the AMI primary (3-6) diploma and the assistants AMI certificate (0-6). She is originally from Mexico, although she grew up and completed her education in San Diego. Ms. Prado first joined MISD as a Spanish speaking assistant and fell in love with the Montessori pedagogy. After her first year, she decided to complete the primary training to continue to influence children’s education. She enjoys kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, swimming, and most of all traveling.
Heather Davis-Bauer, Primary II English Guide
Ms. Davis-Bauer began her work in education as a developmental researcher. She has a graduate degree from the University of Georgia in applied child development. After nearly 15 years working in public K-12 schools, she made a big life change to pursue her emerging passion for Montessori. Heather received her AMI primary diploma from MISD in 2015.
Liliana Diaz, Primary II Spanish Guide
Ms. Diaz holds the AMI primary diploma. She has worked as a Spanish speaking guide at MISD since 2007. She is a mother of two and her daughter is an MISD Children’s House alumnus. She enjoys cooking and loves spending time with her family and is in the process of completing her B.A. in preschool studies at Universidad de Querretaro.
Analaura Enriquez, Lower Elementary English Guide
Ms. Enriquez was a Montessori child in the first Montessori school in Tijuana, Mexico. After living in Turkey for a year she decided that she wanted to positively influence children’s education using Montessori pedagogy. She has a B.A. in early childhood education, the AMI primary diploma from MISD, the AMI elementary diploma from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee, and is currently finishing her master’s in Montessori education at Loyola University.
Jaime Hope, Lower Elementary Spanish Guide
Mr. Hope is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He studied law at the University of Buenos Aires. He practiced law briefly in Argentina, and then worked as a writer both for advertising and TV projects. He found his passion for Montessori Education through his wife. He graduated from MISD’s first academic year elementary training in May 2015 and joins MISD as the Spanish speaking guide in our elementary bilingual program.
Liz Piazza, Upper Elementary Guide
Liz has been an AMI Montessori Teacher for the past 16 years as well as serving as Head of Elementary and working as a Middle/High School Music Teacher. In her career as a Montessori Teacher, Liz has taught a number of years in both Lower and Upper Elementary communities. She trained to become a Montessori teacher in Bergamo, Italy and recently studied Inclusive Education at MISD.
“Hello everyone, my name is Liz Piazza and I am very excited to be part of such a wonderful school and the MISD Family. I love to travel and have been to many countries, over 30 at last count. I enjoy reading, creative writing and photography. I play some musical instruments (saxophone is my main instrument) and enjoy drawing, painting and making things. I have an Italian background and can speak basic Italian. I look forward to creating an amazing classroom with the students, hopefully with some cooking, gardening, art/building projects and maybe a creative production. There may be some occasions of a strong Australia accent and new vocabulary, but I’m sure that I’ll have plenty of help as I settle into a new country. Looking forward to meeting you all soon and get to know your wonderful children!”
Gigi Habbous, Upper Elementary Assistant Guide
Ms. Gigi Habbous completed the AMI elementary course at MISD in 2016 and was an assistant guide in the lower elementary classroom last year. She will be assisting Ms Liz and Mr Jeff in the Upper Elementary Program this year.
Jeff Major, Elementary STEM & Outdoor Education Coach
Mr. Major graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Applied Physics. He holds a teaching credential from UCSD and a Masters in Teacher Leadership from the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. He’s spent 15 year teaching physics, mathematics, engineering, and robotics at charter schools all over San Diego. Mr. Major has taught English in Japan, built perspectives on life in 24 countries, organized a cycling journey in Tuscany with 32 students, and flew threw the eye of a hurricane as a child. He enjoys programing robots to dance the Cha-Cha-Cha, hunting albino cave cicadas in the rainforest and growing devastatingly delicious tomatoes of noble birth.
Sara Cohen, School Administrator
Ms. Cohen completed her B.A. in communication at the University of California, San Diego. She then went on to earn her AMI primary training at MISD. She also holds an M.Ed. from Loyola University Maryland. Ms. Gelbart enjoys spending time with her family, playing tennis, traveling and being outdoors.
Sharon Dubovoy Fastlicht, Executive Director
Ms. Fastlicht is a Montessori child, a mother of four Montessori children and the Executive Director of The Montessori Institute of San Diego. She holds the AMI Montessori Assistants to Infancy (0-3) diploma and the Primary (3-6) diploma from MISD. She also holds a B.A. in restaurant and hotel management from Universidad Iberamericana in Mexico City and an M.Ed. from Loyola University Maryland. Ms. Fastlicht assisted her mother, Dr. Silvia Dubovoy, in opening the Children’s House in 2002 and returned in 2010 to continue her work with the school and its affiliated Montessori teacher training center.
Silvia C. Dubovoy, Ph.D., Director
Dr. Dubovoy is a teacher trainer, lecturer, consultant, and examiner for the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) worldwide. She has been involved in Montessori education since 1965 as a parent, board member and coordinator of her children’s school. Dr. Dubovoy has a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Barcelona as well as the AMI primary, special education, and assistants to infancy diplomas. She was a board member of AMI, headquartered in Amsterdam, from 1982 until 2010 and currently serves on the AMI Research Committee and as one of the AMI representatives to the United Nations. Dr. Dubovoy’s training style is heavily influenced by her work with Dr. Carl Rogers in the field of humanistic psychology. When not at work, she adores reading and discussing books with her eleven grandchildren.
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