FOUNDERS & HEADS OF SCHOOL
Founder & Business Coordinator: Pam Nelson
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 Sugar Land, TX. In 2004, she co-founded Montessori House for Children with her husband of 50+ years. She is the proud mother of two daughters, grandmother of 6 grandchildren, and great-grandmother of five great grandchildren.
Head of School: Barbara Nelson
Barbara discovered and fell in love with the Montessori program 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. She loves the skills Montessori Children develop which allows them to contribute to society in a meaningful and profound way.
Assistant Head of School: Blanca Terán-Smith
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 postgraduate 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.
Tuition & Finance Coordinator: Yaneth Poo
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.
Advancement & Communications: Norma Angulo
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, children, and families at MHFC.
Admissions Coordinator: Jessica Diaz-Barrantes
Jessica Diaz-Barrantes was born in Costa Rica and moved to the United States in 2004. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education in Costa Rica from Latina University, and later earned a master’s degree in Psychology with an emphasis in General Psychology, from Grand Canyon University. Jessica is passionate about the Montessori philosophy, as well as helping and learning from others. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outside with her husband and daughter.
Food Service Coordinator: Ryan Caridad
Ryan Caridad was born to Uruguayan parents in Houston, Texas. He has lived in Uruguay for 5 years. Ryan attended the University of Houston majoring in hotel and restaurant management with an emphasis in Food and Beverage. He has been in the food and beverage industry for 20 years holding various positions from a waiter, busboy, cook, dishwashing all the way to Food and Beverage Director. Ryan enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 children, traveling, eating out, and going to events with his children.
Finance Administrator: Margie El-Moussa
Margie Nelson El-Moussa, a Houston native, originally joined MHFC in 2006. She has a business degree, master’s in finance, and Early Childhood Montessori Certification. Margie El-Moussa believes wholeheartedly in holistic education and feels passionate about Montessori education.
LEAD MONTESSORI CREDENTIALED TEACHERS AND ASSISTANT GUIDES
Toddler 1: Glenda Fuentes
Glenda has a bachelor’s degree in Anesthesiology, earned while in her home country of El Salvador. In 2013, Glenda joined the MHFC Montessori Teachers team to begin her second career as a Montessori Toddler Guide. She loves working with toddler-aged children and finds their capabilities and level of independence intriguing. In June 2021, after having eight years of experience as an Assistant Guide, Glenda began working towards her AMS Montessori Infant-Toddler Credential from the Houston Montessori Center.
Assistant: Yanaig Fleitas
Toddler 2: Maria Aguilar
Ms. Maria joined the Montessori Teachers team at 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.
Assistants: Roseline Adekanye, Angela Blanco, & Jennifer Cortes
Early Childhood 1: Heena Onay
Heena was born in Chicago and moved to Houston at 10 years old. She graduated with a B.S. Psychology and Sociology in 2005, and then obtained her Master’s in Education in 2013. Her career choice began with wanting to work with at-risk children, but she soon realized preventing risk was more important than fixing it, and that’s when she found Montessori. Heena joined the Montessori Teachers team at MHFC in 2021. Heena lives with her husband, who is now a true Montessori dad, and her daughter. In her spare time, she loves discovering new recipes and spending the day with her family.
Assistant and Montessori Intern: Rita Basu
Early Childhood 2: Liyuan Jin
Ms. Liyuan joined the Montessori Teachers team at 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.”
Assistants: Lima Haikal and Aroona Ejaz
Early Childhood 3: Lakshmi Thirumalai
Ms. Lakshmi joined the Montessori Teachers team at MHFC in 2018 after many years of teaching experience both in India and the US. 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 a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator and Brain Gym instructor. Her special interest is to facilitate learning for children with learning differences.
Assistants: Anna Rubin and Karla Tarazona
Early Childhood 4: Aruna Alluri
Ms. Aruna joined the Montessori Teachers team at 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.
Assistants: Ebtisam Agbaria and Farah Saulat
Alexandra Rohl: Elementary Guide
Alexandra joined the Montessori Teachers team at 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 earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Modern Languages. 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.
Assistant: Rosario Via
Lead Montessori Intern: Yadira Hernandez
Upper Elementary: Elisa Jiwani
Elisa was born in India and came to the United States with her family in the late ’90s. She joined the Montessori Teachers Team at 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 Teachers Credential. 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.
Assistant: Marla Grajeda