Kavitha Mehta is a native of Northcrest Indiana and attended Casa Montessori in the early 1980s. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University with minors in Spanish and Biology. Ms. Mehta worked in corporate finance at Procter and Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she held various forecasting and analysis positions with such brands as Iams, Vicks, and Crest. In 2008, Ms. Mehta earned her AMI Primary diploma at the Washington Montessori Institute and a Masters in Montessori Education at Loyola University Maryland. She was a Primary guide for eight years and is the founder and Head of School of Northcrest Montessori in Clarksville, Maryland. Ms. Mehta lives in Maryland with her husband Nick and her children Lara and Dilan, both of whom were Montessori students.
Grace LeeSecretary, Board of Directors
Grace Lee has been fortunate to be part of the long standing DC Montessori community. She attended Georgetown University and received a B.A. in History. She completed her Primary training at the Washington Montessori Institute and received a M.Ed at Loyola University. She has experience as a Primary Guide in both the private and public sectors. Grace also had the opportunity to serve as the Montessori Instructional Specialist in the Office of Early Childhood with the District of Columbia Public Schools. She currently serves as the Director of Admissions at Aidan Montessori School. Grace is also an AMI Primary Consultant, in the Training of Trainers Programme at the Montessori Training Center Northeast, and co-leader of the DC Montessori Coalition state advocacy group.
Grace is passionate about all things DC and is very excited to be part of a thriving city that continues to provide ever-increasing access to high quality, authentic Montessori education across all sectors.
Sailini Magapu-LohiaTreasurer, Board of Directors
Sailini founded Fiore Montessori along with her husband, Sandeep Lohia, in 2010. The school became accredited by the AMI USA (Association of Montessori Internationale) as a committed practitioner of the authentic Montessori accreditation standards. She is trained as an AMI Montessori Primary Guide and has over 8 years of experience working with children ages 3 – 6. Sailini holds a M.B.A. in Finance and B.S. in Commerce. In a previous life, Sailini worked as a Business Director for Capital One. She and her husband have two sons, ages 10 and 12, and live in Vienna, VA. She is a committed Iyengar Yoga student and enjoys playing Bridge.
Carolyn has worked for Teach for America, New Leaders for New Schools, and the DC Public Schools Central Office. She earned a National Science Foundation grant to do educational research in the Peruvian Andes and won a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English and foster inter-cultural relationships for a year in rural Vietnam. Carolyn spent a year living in an indigenous community in Ecuador and teaching in Spanish at a Montessori-inspired inclusion school for children who are normally developing and those with an array of physical and cognitive special needs. She then returned to the US for a White House internship in the Obama administration before completing AMI Montessori training at WMI, a Master’s in Education, and work as an assistant and guide in Montessori schools. Carolyn has worked at three AMI Montessori schools in the DMV area. She runs a Montessori home consulting business, Haas Montessori Consulting, while caring for her young children. Carolyn is deeply invested in a creative and thriving WMI community.
Sandeep founded Fiore Montessori along with his wife, Sailini Magapu-Lohia, in 2010. The motivation to start Fiore came from having his own children, and the need to raise them to be confident, responsible and happy adults. Upon reviewing the landscape for childcare, they concluded that the authentic Montessori method represented a tremendous opportunity for humanity. It is among the very few scientific and holistic approaches available for preschool children and a significant opportunity for elementary age to develop every child’s unique gifts, instead of attempting to mold every child according to a standardized benchmark. In 2012, Sandeep assumed the role of head of school at Fiore Montessori. The school became accredited by the AMI USA (Association of Montessori Internationale) as a committed practitioner of the authentic Montessori accreditation standards.
Sandeep is trained as an Engineer and holds an M.B.A. He believes that a strong foundation is essential to long term success and is passionate about producing a conducive environment at Fiore for every child to develop a strong foundation for success and happiness. He and his wife have two sons, ages 10 and 12, and live in Vienna, VA.
Virginia McHugh is the Executive Director Emeritus of the Association Montessori International/USA. In this national position she had the opportunity to work with the Montessori family, travel extensively nationally and internationally and reach out to like-minded organizations, neuroscientists, researchers and future thinkers. She is an advocate of Montessori for all children in the private and public sectors. She initiated Montessori in the Rochester City School District and continues to support Montessori in the public school at every opportunity. Virginia received her AMI training from the Maria Montessori Institute in London, England, was a primary teacher and head of school at the Montessori School of Rochester. She is an AMI consultant, coach and workshop presenter. She received training in Emotional Intelligence from Yale University. She served as the AMI, NGO representative to the United Nations, a board member of the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE), the Council for American Private Education (CAPE) and the Selection Board for the Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong National Museum of Play. She received the Wisdom of the Elders Award granted by MACTE in recognition of leadership throughout the Montessori community as an educator. She currently is a Montessori pedagogical coach for the Cambridge Wildflower Montessori Schools and a Wildflower Partner.
Virginia’s background has allowed her to experience the joys and challenges of each position and to develop expertise in areas such as board governance, coaching, management, authentic Montessori and parenting. Her hope is to share her background and experiences to guide WMI as it pursues it’s future for broadening access to Montessori education for all children in the Washington, D.C. area and beyond.
Dr. Ayize Sabater is a dynamic social entrepreneur, author and twenty-year veteran educator based in Maryland, USA where he is a Managing Partner at Nsoroma Montessori Consulting. He has co-founded several non-profits, including: a White House awarded After-School Program, and a Wash., D.C. Montessori Public Charter School. Ayize graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Morehouse College with his Bachelors of Arts in History and later earned a Masters of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary. Ayize is a doctoral graduate of Morgan State University in Urban Educational Leadership where his research interests include: emancipatory educational practices, for both out-of-school and in-school programming, parent organizing, culturally relevant pedagogy, and Montessori education for people of color. Ayize is a board member for three educational organizations. He is a co-founding board member of M.O.M.I.E (Mentors of Minorities in Education) for over ten years. Additionally, he joined the Montessori for Social Justice (MSJ) Board to help advance liberatory educational practices within the Montessori world in 2016. Most recently, Ayize joined the WMI (Washington Montessori Institute) efforts to re-envision and re-establish itself within the District of Columbia, by a host of educational leaders. Every day-ordinary people who achieve the extraordinary when faced with unjust life-challenges inspire Dr. Sabater, and he is committed to helping people achieve the extraordinary!
Don has extensive experience in commercial banking, financial analysis, business consulting, and management. Since 1973, Mr. Steward’s professional responsibilities have focused on providing financial analysis and consulting, implementing policies and procedures and managing businesses. He was Vice President and Group Credit Officer at Bankers Trust Company in New York City where he was responsible for credit approval, credit analysis and credit quality in the International Private Client Group. Earlier he hired, trained and managed the French staff of the Credit Analyst Department in the Paris branch of Bankers Trust. In 1986, Mr. Steward joined Far West Savings and Loan as Vice President and Head of Corporate Bond Research for both private and publicly traded High Yield Fixed Income securities. For six years, he ran his home-building company, Wedgwood Builders, as well as consulted with medium sized manufacturing and service companies providing strategic financial analysis, market research, accounting procedures and systems. In 1995, he joined one of his clients, Colorado Data Mail, as its Controller re-organizing its billing and collections, cash management, accounting and statement preparation, budgeting, personnel policies and payroll, workers compensation/risk management and staff training in an integrated business management system. From December 2000 to the end of 2013, he originated mortgage loans for Uptown Mortgage. Also, he was employed part time at the Wings over the Rockies Museum in Denver as Assistant Controller from April 2011 to September 2012
Don holds a Certificate in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver (1992); an M.B.A. NYU’s Sterns Graduate School of Business Administration (1982); and a B.A., Magna Cum Laude in Economics, Political Science & History from Wesleyan University (1973).