Triangle Montessori Academy - Cary

919.463.7770 | 550 E. Chatham Street, Cary, NC 27511

Faculty & Staff

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.

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Ms. Lynda

Head of School, Cary

Ms. Lynda is the Head Directress at Triangle Montessori Academy in Cary. She has a degree in Elementary Education, and studied at Plattsburgh State University in New York! Ms. Lynda has worked in the Child Development field for many years. She loves partnering with families in creating a strong foundation for their child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical development. She appreciates the uniqueness of the Montessori Method and is excited to introduce families to the wonders of Montessori learning!

Ms. Lynda been lucky enough to live in many different parts of the country and moved to Raleigh in 2019. When not working, she enjoys exploring the beaches and mountains of North Carolina as well as spending time with her husband, children, grandchildren and grand pups. Ms. Lynda looks forward to one day traveling to Europe and exploring different cultures!

Favorite Maria Montessori quote:
“The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one’s self.”

Ms. Racquel

Ms. Racquel

Pre Primary Co-Teacher

Ms. 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. Ms. 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. Nicole

Ms. Nicole

Pre Primary Co-Teacher

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/Spanish Teacher

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 Maria Montessori Quote:
“The greatest gifts we can give our children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”
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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 Maria 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 Support and Resource Coordinator

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. Amber

Ms. Amber

Assistant Toddler 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 Primary Montessori Directress/Spanish Teacher

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. She completed her AMS Montessori Assistant Training in 2022. 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 Toddler Montessori Directress

“Hello! My name is Ms. Young Mi. 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.”

Ms. 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.

Ms. 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/Spanish Teacher

“My name is Ms. Carolina. 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.”

Ms. Ana

Ms. Ana

Community Support Staff/Spanish Teacher

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.

Ms. Bernadett

Ms. Bernadett 

Primary Montessori Directress

Ms. Bernadett born in Pecs, Hungary. She graduated from the University of Pecs with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education in 2009 and she worked as an Elementary teacher in her country.

She moved to the United States in 2014 and got introduced to Montessori method in 2017 while working as an assistant teacher and she fell in love with the Montessori environment and materials. Bernadett completed her Montessori Early Childhood training at CMTE/NC in 2022.

She has a daughter, Lizzy, who also attends at TMA and two orange cat boys Mushu and Gus.

In her spare time Ms. Bernadett enjoys spending time with her family, travelling, going to movie theaters, reading, baking and teaching Hungarian.

Favorite quote:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” – Albert Einstein

Favorite Maria Montessori quote:
“The greatest gifts we can give our children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”

Ms. Amy

Ms. Amy 

Primary Montessori Directress

Ms. Amy excitedly joins the Triangle Montessori community as a skilled educator with over twenty years of experience in the early childhood classroom.

Having attended Montessori school as a young child, Amy remained influenced by her Montessori teacher and author, Sheila Moore. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in English from Elon University, Amy worked for a publishing house in New York City before deciding to pursue a career in education. Sheila suggested she look into Montessori. After reading one of Maria Montessori’s books, she knew this was the path to follow.

Amy completed her Early Childhood certification at the Barrie Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Maryland. She is a NC state certified teacher, holds a Masters in Elementary Education, and is trained in Positive Discipline. Amy loves the curiosity and creativity that comes with exploring the Montessori environment alongside the children, and seeing them grow in their abilities.

Amy lives in Cary with her wonderful husband and three amazing children. Her favorite activities are cheering on her boys at a baseball game, dancing and baking with her daughter, and family movie nights.

Favorite Maria Montessori Quote:
“These words reveal a child’s inner needs: ‘Help me do it myself.’ ”

Ms. Yang

Ms. Yang

Community Support Staff

Ms. Yang is originally from China and got her bachelor’s degree in Chinese Language and Literature. She also holds a Chinese Teacher Certificate and became an English Teacher of 3 to 6 years-old.

Ms. Yang came to the U.S. in 2011 pursuing her Master’s Degree of Accounting and has been working in accounting and research administration for years. However, she never gave up her passion of working with children. To pursue her passion, she took several volunteer opportunities in early childhood and child counseling field. She has a heart of empathy for children’s needs. She enjoys observing children become independent leaders in their communities. She has fallen in love with the Montessori method and has started her Montessori Assistant Teacher training. 

Ms. Debbie

Ms. Debbie

Toddler Montessori Directress

Ms. Debbie is the Lead Directress for the Willow Room. She is excited to be part of our community at TMA!

Ms. Debbie has over 15 years of experience working with children in USA. She has been a Spanish Teacher, Child Care Provider and a Montessori Guide.

Ms. Debbie is certified with the NC Early Child Development Credential by Wake Tech Community College. She obtained the Montessori Pre-Primary certificate by KHT Montessori LLC. She is also certified as an Infant-Toddler Montessori Guide by the North America Montessori Center (NAMC).

She is originally from Mexico where she earned a Bachelor Degree in Tourist Services Management. Ms. Debbie arrived to USA in 2001. She lived in Rochester MN before calling North Carolina home in 2013.

Ms. Debbie believes that a prepared environment gives the children the opportunity to grow and be independent. Ms.Debbie enjoys spending time with her family, walking, listening to music and reading.

Favorite Maria Montessori Quotes:
“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”
“The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, “The children are now working as if I did not exist.”

Ms. Erali

Ms. Erali

Assistant Primary Directress/Gardening and Sustainability Coordinator

Ms. Erali is originally from Texas, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Geography with an environmental concentration from Sam Houston State University. After graduation, she worked as a Kindergarten / Early Elementary Lead Science Teacher. 

In 2021, she moved to North Carolina to pursue her Master of Arts degree in Geography at Appalachian State University with her thesis focusing on Farm to School programming. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with various organizations that promote equitable education and food access.

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.”

Mr. Mike

Mr. Mike

Montessori Lower and Upper Elementary Director

Mr. Mike has been an elementary educator for nearly a decade and is thrilled to join the community at TMA! Born in Frankfurt, Germany, he started his academic journey as a Montessori student before moving to the US. He graduated from the University of Colorado Denver (BA 2013) Urban Community Teacher Education program and soon after relocated to California where he gained certification in cross-cultural development and English language acquisition. After starting a family, he moved to North Carolina.

Mike’s daughter has been a student at TMA in both the Toddler and Primary programs, and he is proud to say that the Montessori method is truly a way of life. A holistic, community-based approach to learning and development has always been at the core of his educational philosophy, and he’s excited to bring his skills and enthusiasm to the Elementary program.

His other interests include playing guitar, songwriting, writing children’s books, and designing video games.

Favorite Maria Montessori Quote:
“Do not erase the designs the child makes in the soft wax of [their] inner life.”

Favorite Nelson Henderson Quote:
“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

Ms. Sonia

Ms. Sonia

Assistant Toddler Montessori Directress

A native of Mexico City, Ms. Sonia brings a unique blend of cultural experiences and professional expertise to her teaching role. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Administrative Information Technology and a passion for music. She moved to the United States 10 years ago, alongside her loving husband and children. A few years later she discovered the Montessori Method, which ignited a newfound passion for teaching, and inspired her to share her native language in a fun and engaging way.

Beyond the classroom, she cherishes moments spent with her family and friends and always welcomes opportunities to connect with new people. She enjoys traveling back to her hometown in Mexico to reconnect with her extended family. Each time she returns, she comes with a renewed sense of appreciation for her roots and the diverse experiences that have shaped her life.

Ms. Surabhi

Ms. Surabhi

Primary Montessori Directress

Ms. Surabhi’s journey into the world of Montessori education began in 1999 when her son was enrolled in a Montessori school. Witnessing firsthand the transformative impact of the Montessori method, Ms. Surabhi was captivated by its emphasis on fostering independence, providing a safe and nurturing environment, and nurturing the child’s natural interests under the guidance of a supportive teacher. This experience ignited her passion for Montessori education, leading her to pursue a career in this field.

Ms. Surabhi holds a Bachelor of Commerce from SNDT University in India. She furthered her expertise by completing her Montessori Certification in Early Childhood (ages 3-6) with CMTE/NC in 2007, equipping her with the knowledge and skills to effectively implement the Montessori philosophy in her classroom.

With 17 years of experience teaching in a Montessori primary classroom, Ms. Surabhi is eager to bring her expertise and enthusiasm to Triangle Montessori Academy. She is thrilled to embark on this new chapter in her teaching career and looks forward to making a positive impact in the lives of her students at TMA.

In her spare time, Ms. Surabhi enjoys listening to Bollywood music, crocheting, reading, playing with her four- legged fur baby Cooper, and spending time with her family.

Favorite Maria Montessori Quote:
“We must respect the child and he must understand that he is respected. He needs to be prepared for everything that is going to be done for him.”

Jackie-TMA

Ms. Jackie

Assistant Head of School

Miss Jackie comes to TMA with over 15 years in a Montessori environment. She has her Early Childhood Certification, her 3-6 NAMC Certification, her AMS Assistant Teacher certification and years of ongoing professional development certificates including: Positive Discipline, Eco Art, Autism Awareness, Diversity Training and Multi-Sensory/Inclusion Integration.

This is Miss Jackie’s 3rd year at TMA. She enjoys her role in Administration as it allows her to be a part of everything she loves about working in a school: the opportunity to work closely with our dedicated staff, to interact daily with our supportive families, but mostly, to spend time with our amazing and beautiful TMA children.

Favorite Maria Montessori quote:
“We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected to each other to form one whole unity.”