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TMA Information

In Progress - Our New Playground!

Upcoming Events

  • Jan 16: Teacher Service Day (MLK). No School.
  • Feb 20: President’s Day. No School.
  • Mar 16-17: AMS Conference. No School.
  • Apr 3-7: Spring Break. No School.

Calendars

We are hiring

Faculty & Staff

View Quick Links

Quick Links

In Progress - Our New Playground!

Upcoming Events

  • Jan 16: Teacher Service Day (MLK). No School.
  • Feb 20: President’s Day. No School.
  • Mar 16-17: AMS Conference. No School.
  • Apr 3-7: Spring Break. No School.

Calendars

We are hiring

Faculty & Staff

Puja-TMA

Ms. Puja

Head of School

Ms. Puja is the Head Directress at Triangle Montessori Academy. She has an extensive background in child education and a passion for the Montessori style of teaching. Puja and her family have been in the RTP area for the past four years. She is a proud mother of two wonderful children and that guides her enthusiasm for the very best education for our children.

Ms. Puja was born in California and raised in Florida. She has a Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education and Business Administration and an IMC Montessori Certification for School Leadership and Level 3 NC Early Childhood Administration Credential.

Ms. Joanna

Ms. Joanna

Primary Montessori Directress

Ms. Joanna is the Lead Directress for the Maple Room and has 15 wonderful years of experience as a head teacher to children ages 18-months to 6 years old. She was born and raised in the Philippines in Asia and brings a fantastic international perspective to TMA. She discovered that her true passion in education during her college years where she offered tutorials to children in the public schools.

She graduated with honors from the University of the Philippines with a Bachelor of Science in Tourism and began teaching preschool children. She has never looked back and has enjoyed teaching young children since her career began.

A Montessori child herself, Joanna was encouraged to train in the Montessori Philosophy after by her first Montessori teacher. She completed a Montessori Certification for early childhood from the San Francisco Montessori Training Center in 1999.

Joanna’s passion for education has flourished over her teaching career and she has continued to take early childhood workshops and attend Montessori conferences. Some of Joanna’s wide-range of interests include painting, walking, swimming, scuba diving, watching movies and spending time with her husband and son.

Favorite Maria Montessori quote:
“The school must permit the free, natural manifestations of the child if in the school scientific pedagogy is to be born. This is the essential reform.”

Raquel TMA

Ms. Racquel

Assistant Montessori Directress

Racquel moved to the United States in 2004. Her original career focus was in the Hospitality Industry, and she holds a college degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Philippines Women’s University. Miss Racquel became familiar with Montessori teaching methods when her son attended TMA for over 3 years.

Ms. Racquel is excited to join TMA again, and fulfill her dream of working in the classroom.

In her spare time, Miss Racquel enjoys spending time with her family, arts and crafts, gardening, cooking, and attending exercise classes.

Ms. Rita

Ms. Rita

Toddler Montessori Directress

Ms. Rita is a the Lead Directress for the Oak Room. She is drawn to the Montessori method of learning and is excited to have the opportunity to work with toddler age children in the Montessori setting. She completed the Montessori infant/toddler teacher training in May, 2013 at Center of Montessori Teacher Education, North Carolina. Rita has been part of the wonderful TMA community since October 2010.

Rita moved to the United States in 2009 from Hungary where she graduated from the Faculty of Child and Adult Education from the University of Debrecen. She has a bachelor degree in social education and has worked in child, family and elderly care as well and organized summer camps for over 10 years.

Some of her favorite things to do in her spare time are: traveling, hiking, doing craft and spending time with her family.

Favorite Maria Montessori quotes:
“Our care of the child should be governed, not by the desire to make him learn things, but by the endeavor always to keep burning within him that light which is called intelligence.”

“The child has a mind able to absorb knowledge. He has the power to teach himself.”

Ms. Kristy

Ms. Kristy

Lead Lower/Upper Elementary Directress

Ms. Kristy had four incredible years of experience in a Montessori Lower Elementary Classroom. She discovered Montessori while researching education options for her own children. She fell in love with the freedom of movement, freedom of choice, and the beautiful prepared environment.  This was one of the first steps on her path to becoming a Montessori educator. The very first step was Kristy’s love for children. Their wonder, curiosity, unexpectedness, and thoughtfulness energizes her.

Kristy graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in Computer Science. She completed her certification for Lower Elementary from Seacoast Training Center. She is very excited to be part of this next step for Triangle Montessori Academy and looks forward to working with you and your children.

In her free time, Kristy enjoys spending time with her family. She revels in time with nature which includes hiking, running, backpacking, paddle boarding, rock climbing, scuba diving, and gardening.

Ms. Nicole

Ms. Nicole

Assistant Montessori Directress 

Ms. Nicole is originally from New York and studied Early Childhood Education in High School and then later on at Suny Orange Community College. She moved to North Carolina with her husband & son in 2015.

Ms. Nicole has over 14 years experience working with children in Early Childhood. She has worked both as an Assistant & Lead Teacher throughout her time in the classroom. Ms. Nicole is passionate about fostering a love of learning in children. She is excited to join the Aspen Room.

In her spare time, Ms. Nicole enjoys spending quality time with family & friends, visiting the beach, cooking, reading, gardening & hanging out in nature.

Ms. Sami

Ms. Sami

Lower Elementary Montessori Directress 

Ms. Sami received a Bachelor’s in Mathematics and Chemistry and a Bachelor’s degree in Education. Sami has over 30 years of experience in a Montessori school setting. Sami has experience teaching Kindergarteners and first-graders. Sami earned the American Montessori Society Early Childhood and Elementary Credentials at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education of San Francisco, California.

Ms. Oliva

Ms. Oliva

Primary Montessori Directress 

Ms.Oliva was born in New York but raised in North Carolina by Mexican immigrant parents. Ms.Oliva has been in the TMA community for 3 years as the Maple’s room assistant and one of the aftercare teachers. She is also the Spanish teacher for the Elementary classroom. Ms.Oliva has been working with children for about 7 years in a Montessori environment. She recently finished her Montessori Certification to become a Montessori Primary Lead Teacher. She’s a mom of two children, Luis and Izel who both attend TMA. She enjoys her spare time with her family. 
 
Favorite Montessori Quote:
“The greatest gifts we can give our children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”
Staff-placeholder

Ms. Hannah

Toddler Montessori Directress

Ms. Hannah is a true Raleigh native. Born in Guatemala she was adopted at five months and grew up in the North Raleigh area. Hannah first found her love of teaching children in high school while helping to teach art to elementary age children. Her junior and senior year she worked part time in a Raleigh elementary school.

Ms. Hannah first found Montessori while completing her Associates degree in Early Childhood Education. She has worked both in traditional and Montessori classrooms for over 15 years. She loves working with all children but found her heart lies with our youngest members of our community. She is currently completing her Infant Toddler Montessori certification through Center for Guided Montessori Studies.

Ms. Hannah loves keeping up with the latest movies, learning about science and history. She also likes to bake. Ms. Hannah currently lives in Cary with her husband and two beagles, her 4 legged children, Paisley and Elliemay. 

Favorite Montessori quote:
“An adult who does not understand that a child needs to use his hands and does not recognize this as a first manifestation of an instinct for work can be an obstacle to the child’s development.”

Ms. Kitty

Ms. Kitty

Primary Montessori Directress

Ms. Kitty found the wonderful method of Montessori while being a substitute teacher in college. She was immediately drawn to the independence of the child, the safe and caring learning environment, the teacher being seen as a guide for the child and their interests, and the peaceful ambiance. She now has three years of experience in a Montessori Primary Classroom.

Ms. Kitty graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Early Childhood Education. She then completed her Montessori Certification in Early Childhood (3-6) with Sandhills Montessori Institute. She is so excited to teach at TMA!

Ms. Kitty grew up in Spartanburg, SC, and after spending almost 9 years in Columbia, is very thrilled to be moving to the Raleigh area with her fiancé and their dog. She enjoys music, dancing, yoga, antique shopping, and meditation.

Favorite Maria Montessori quote:
“An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking. It involves the spiritual development of man, the enhancement of his value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live.”

Ms. Julia

Ms. Julia

Assistant Montessori Directress

Ms. Julia discovered the Montessori Method when her daughter attended a local Montessori school. This is when she fell in love with the approach. Ms. Julia is originally from Russia. She moved to North Carolina from Chicago almost 12 years ago and has been a resident of Cary ever since.

Ms. Julia is originally from Russia and holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Elementary Education. She has always enjoyed working with younger children. She has 9 years experience of working at a public school, a church preschool and Montessori schools locally. Last summer, Ms. Julia received the AMI Montessori 3-6 certificate from Montessori Center of Minnesota.

She has a 12 year old daughter and 9 year old son. Ms. Julia loves to travel with her children and explore in nature of our beautiful state. Her family loves to spend time outdoors, going to the beach and mountains. Most recently, they have enjoyed camping at Falls Lake.

In her spare time, she enjoys trying new things, making crafts, cooking and playing board games. Ms. Julia is excited to be a part of our community at TMA!

Ms. Amber

Ms. Amber

Assistant Montessori Directress

Ms. Amber discovered and fell in love with the Montessori method during a study abroad program in Germany while in college. Then, as well as now, she finds herself consistently in awe at what young children are capable of accomplishing when given the appropriate environment and opportunity.

In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and running with her husband, baking, and trying new restaurants in the Triangle. Ms. Amber is excited to be joining TMA!

Ms. Karen

Ms. Karen

Assistant Montessori Directress

Ms.Karen is the Assistant Primary Directress for Aspen Room, she was born and raised in Raleigh North Carolina, by a Single Mexican Immigrant Mother. During high school she studied childhood development classes and hoped to have a career in the field. Ms.Karen has six years working in customer service and enjoys meeting new people and families. She is ecstatic to focus on her dream of becoming a teacher. 

When Ms.Karen discovered Montessori, she became obsessed with Maria Montessori philosophy and her studies. Maria Montessori’s approach on teaching children all about independence and raising self-esteem in schools and at such a young age was something Ms.Karen had never experienced before. Ms.Karen believes kids are our future and would love to be a part of guiding children to grow to be confident, independent, leaders of the world. 

Ms.Karen is also an older sister to four children and enjoys spending time with them and her family. Other interests of hers are reading, going on walks or biking, listening to music, and crafting! She is fluent in both English and Spanish and is currently learning Sign Language. She is excited to join the TMA family and can’t wait to meet all our Montessori members. 

Favorite Maria Montessori quote:
“Clearly, we have a social duty towards this future man, this man who exists as a silhouette around the child, a duty towards this man of tomorrow. Perhaps a great future leader or a great genius is with us and his power will come from the power of the child he is today. This is the vision which we must have.”

Ms Young Mi

Ms. Young Mi

Assistant Montessori Directress

“Hello! My name is Young Mi Jung. I am the assistant teacher in Willow room. I’m an outgoing, friendly and sociable person. I have been delighted to help through creative activities and communication with people since I was young.”

Miss Young Mi studied Art in college after going to an Art focused high school and she learned the joy of education by teaching art to children during her studies. After graduation, she studied to become an early childhood teacher. While studying, she learned that children show a great amount of growth and development from birth to age 6. She found that Montessori education helps the children discover various abilities of infants and toddlers, by providing them with a significant concentration of scientific and hands-on activities at their most critical time of development. Therefore, she studied for a Montessori AMI certificate in Korea.

Miss Young Mi has 15 years of experience as a directress of Montessori. She also worked to develop Montessori programs incorporating Reggio Emilia, projects, and creative art.

In 2016, her husband’s company moved to the United States. Miss Young Mi lives in Chapel Hill with her husband and 7th grade daughter. She likes to travel with her family and always loves going to Art museums.

Favorite Maria Montessori quote:
“The children are curious about everything, incredibly focused, and ready to absorb everything like a sponge absorbs water.”

Ms. Carolina

Ms. Carolina

Primary Montessori Directress

“My name is Carolina Contreras. I am from Colombia. I moved seven years ago from Collegeville, PA., my home for 11 years. I am a mother of two beautiful kids. Outside of teaching, I enjoy spending time my husband and them.”

Ms. Carolina has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Accounting. In 2019 she received her Fundamental Montessori Certificate, and Montessori Early Childhood Education Certificate.

Ms. Carolina has worked with children between the ages of 3 months to five years for almost 15 years. She started working in a primary classroom as a Spanish Language teacher in a Montessori School, and has been teaching Montessori philosophy since then. Ms. Carolina is very excited to be part of TMA as a Primary Directresses.

Ms. Carolina is passionate about Montessori’s philosophy of following children and helping them work independently and respectfully. She believes in allowing for the joy of learning, while fostering and enhancing each child’s natural wonder.

Favorite Maria Montessori quote:
“Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.”

Mars

Teacher Mars

French Teacher/Floater

Teacher Mars has lived in North Carolina for practically their entire life and grew up with their mom, dad, and older sister. Teacher Mars holds a Bachelor’s degree in French Language and Literature from UNC Asheville as of May 2021. They’ve always had an intense passion for education, and fell in love with the Montessori method in university. Mars spent almost the entire last year in Annecy, France as an assistant English teacher in a middle school setting, but loves working with all ages. They’re working hard to develop a French curriculum for TMA!

In their free time, they love walking and hiking, cooking, playing video games, solving puzzles, wearing funky earrings, traveling, and drawing. They have also played the alto saxophone for over a decade! Mars is an animal-lover at heart, they’ve never lived a single moment without dogs, cats, and even rats in their family. Mars is so excited to be a part of the TMA community, and looks forward to helping children become independent, compassionate, and well-rounded.

Ms. Ana

Ms. Ana

Floater

Ms. Ana was born and raised in Honduras. She has been living in the United States since 2012 with her husband and twin girls. Ms. Ana was an Elementary school teacher in Honduras for 10 years and has spent the last several years as a preschool teacher here in Cary, NC. 

In her free time she likes to travel with her family. Ms. Ana is very excited to learn more about Maria Montessori and her philosophy about education.

Jackie-TMA

Ms. Jackie

Assistant Head of School

Ms. Jackie has her Montessori Early Childhood 3-6 certification and comes to TMA with 15 years of classroom experience. She is excited for her new role as Assistant Head of School and very happy to be a part of the TMA family. 

Favorite Maria Montessori quote: 
“As we observe children, we see the vitality of their spirit, the maximum effort put forth in all they do, the intuition, attention and focus they bring to all life’s events, and the sheer joy they experience in living.”