Meet Our Team

Montessori House for Children and Elementary School ensures that the Toddler, Early Childhood, and Elementary guides/lead teachers are trained in Montessori pedagogy under the American Montessori Society’s auspices (AMS) or Association Montessori International (AMI). The School prides itself on the quality, educational depth, and talent of its faculty. Lead guides/teachers hold Montessori credentials recognized through the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE).   MACTE is the only recognized training body of American Montessori Schools.   All trained assistants undergo specific Montessori Assistant Training both in-house and from independent trainers to achieve consistency throughout the School.

Head of School and FOUNDER

Barbara Nelson:  Head of School

Barbara discovered and fell in love with Montessori when her oldest daughter first attended a Montessori School in 1991. Barbara co-founded her first school in Sugar Land, TX, in 1997.  She became the Head of School at Montessori House for Children in 2004. Barbara holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Administration, AMS Early Childhood Montessori Credentials, and is certified as a Positive Discipline Parent Educator. Barbara is passionate about the holistic approach of Montessori education and the skills Montessori Children develop, which allows them to contribute to society in a meaningful and profound way.

Pam Nelson: Founder

Pam retired from Dow in 2001 to pursue a passion for bettering the educational options available to families. She co-founded her first school with Barbara in 1997 in Sugarland, TX.  In 2004 she co-founded Montessori House for Children with her husband of 50+ years. She is the proud mother of two daughters and a grandmother of 6 grandchildren.

Lead Guides

Maria Aguilar: Guide for Toddler 1

Ms. Maria joined MHFC in 2013; she has always loved working with children. She believes that love and patience are essential when working with children. She is devoted to her faith and spends a great amount of time during the summer months serving on mission trips.  Maria earned her AMS Montessori Teacher Certification from the Houston Montessori Center.



Yanaig Fleitas and Roseline Adekanye

Sandy Kabarwal: Guide for Early Childhood 1

Ms. Sandy joined MHFC in 2011 after many years of teaching experience both in India and the United States. She has a master’s degree in chemistry and an associate degree in microbiology. She earned her AMS Montessori Early Childhood Credential from the Houston Montessori Center. A proud mother of two, Ms. Sandy loves working with children and watching their joy as they discover and learn new things.


Ebtisam Agbaria and Jayasree (Jay)

Liyuan Jin: Guide for Early Childhood 2

Ms. Liyuan joined MHFC in 2013. She has a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Texas A&M.  She earned her AMS Montessori Early Childhood Credentials from the Houston Montessori Center. Ms. Liyuan believes strongly in the Montessori quote: “it is the child who makes the man, and no man exists who was not made by the child who once he was.”


Lima Haikal

Lakshmi Thirumalai: Guide for Early Childhood 3

Ms. Lakshmi joined MHFC in 2018 after many years of teaching experience both in India and the United States. She has a master’s degree in management and earned her AMS Montessori Early Childhood Credential from the Princeton Center for Teacher Education in New Jersey. She is also a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator and Brain Gym instructor. Her special interest is to facilitate learning for children with learning differences. She enjoys biking, fishing, and traveling with her family.

Aruna Alluri: Guide for Early Childhood 4

Ms. Aruna joined MHFC in 2014. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and earned her  AMS Montessori Early Childhood Credentials from the Houston Montessori Center. Ms. Aruna is the proud mother of two children.

Anna Rubin: Guide for Early Childhood

Ms. Anna joined MHFC in 2014. She holds an AMS Montessori Early Childhood credential from the Houston Montessori Center and has a credential in Practical Engineering in Architecture. Ms. Anna enjoys art, singing, and reading and is fluent in Russian, Ukrainian, Hebrew, and English.

Elisa: Elementary Guide

Elisa was born in India and came to the United States with her family in the late ’90s. She joined MHFC in 2018 and is married to her supportive husband, and together, they have a teenage daughter. Elisa completed high school in Oklahoma City and earned a Bachelor of Art in Educational Studies, emphasizing Interdisciplinary Studies. After many years of dedicated services in the education community, she decided to pursue her Montessori Certification. She earned her Elementary 6 – 12 AMS Credential from the Gulf Coast Montessori Teacher Education Center. Her combined experience in public and Montessori schools helped her define her passion for the Montessori philosophy and methodology.

Apart from working with children, Elisa enjoys cooking, photography, running, yoga, and spending quality time with family.

Alexandra Rohl: Elementary Guide

Maria Alexandra joined MHFC in 2016.  She was born in Caracas, Venezuela, to a multi-cultural family; one side of her family is Texan, German, and the other side is Italian Dominican. She has one daughter, and she met her loving husband working at The Coca-Cola Company. After a career in the marketing and advertising field, she moved to Texas with her family and decided to pursue teaching. She fell in love with Montessori Education after her daughter attended a Montessori school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She has been in the teaching field since 2016 and earned her Elementary 6 – 12 AMS Credential from the Gulf Coast Montessori Teacher Education Center. She loves to spend time with her family, baking and making handcrafts with her daughter, listening to music, learning about different cultures, and is passionate about Cosmic Education. “Let us give the child a vision of the whole Universe”  – Maria Montessori.

Assistants: Rosario Via  and Marla Grajeda

Support Staff

Margie El-Moussa: Dyslexia Practitioner and Finance Administrator

Margie Nelson El-Moussa, a Houston native, originally joined MHFC in 2006, working in the front office, and evolved into working in the Business Office at MEFI starting in 2016. She has a business degree, master’s in finance, Early Childhood Montessori Certification, and most recently completed the Neuhaus BLS program to become a Dyslexia Practitioner.  Margie El-Moussa believes wholeheartedly in Montessori education through adolescence and feels passionate about Montessori education as an intervention for children with Dyslexia and Dyscalculia.

Margie is a grateful mother to three beautiful children and a proud wife to her husband of twenty years.

Margie enjoys yoga, reading, baking, food, wine, traveling, and spending quality time with her friends and family.

Norma Angulo: Admin/Communications

Norma joined MHFC in 2010 after many years of working for a Maritime business company. She started at MHFC as a parent volunteer and then took a position in administration as the Parent/ Community Liaison. The mom of two Montessori children, Norma is passionate about and well acquainted with Montessori philosophy. Born in Mexico City, Norma speaks English and Spanish and loves welcoming and getting to know each MHFC child and family.

Blanca Terán-Smith: Admin/Assistant Head of School

Blanca joined MHFC in 2015 as a classroom assistant and transitioned into Administration in 2016. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a post-graduate degree in planning and managing event productions.  Blanca also runs an event planning business serving the Houston/Katy area. Blanca has two children attending university and is an advocate of Montessori Education.

Yaneth Poo: Admissions Coordinator

Yaneth joined MHFC in 2008. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Administration and a Diploma as a Medical Assistant. She started working at MHFC as an Assistant in the Toddler Community then moved to administration in 2012.

Mary Russell: Food Coordinator

Mary joined MHFC in 2006 and has worked in the food industry for over 25 years. She loves being with family, especially her grandson. She loves the outdoors… travel, camping, fishing, and swimming.