Erin Higginbottom
Principal

Erin has been passionately involved in Montessori education for over ten years. She got her start as a Casa classroom assistant, followed by teaching in both Lower and Upper Elementary classrooms, and has sat on the board of The Montessori Society of Canada for six years. In addition to a B.A. in English Literature and her A.M.I. Elementary Teaching Diploma, Erin was recently certified as an Orton-Gillingham Therapeutic Tutor. Erin enjoys spending time with her family in the great outdoors of Squamish, where she, her husband, two young boys and one old dog have called home for eight years.

 

Christine Cooper
Head-Guide, Sitka

Born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, Christine taught at the elementary level for several years before migrating to Vancouver. After working as a nanny and gaining her citizenship, she completed her AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) training in June 1989, with an ECE certification in the following year. Chris started at Family Montessori in 1995. She really enjoys seeing the complete family cycle with siblings registering for the program as well as the visits from ex-pupils.

 

Mahrukh Irani
Co-Guide, Sitka

Mahrukh is originally from Bombay, India, where she received her Casa Training in 1992, and ECE certification in 2001. She has worked as a Co-guide in Vancouver for the past three years. She also works as an Orton-Gillingham tutor, working with students with learning disabilities. During her free time she loves going for long walks and exploring the beautiful city of Vancouver. Mahrukh is looking forward to returning to Family Montessori as a full-time staff member.

 

Rocio Montenegro
Co-Guide, Jericho

Rocio was born and raised in Mexico. In 2003, Rocio obtained a Bachelor of Psychology. During her studies she realized that children and education were her main passions. In search of an opportunity to integrate the two, she began volunteering to help children with various disabilities. Following graduation, Rocio worked for two years as an Early Stimulation teacher, working with visually-impaired and hearing-impaired children. In 2006, Rocio completed a Masters of Education. The following year, she decided to move to Canada to begin a new adventure. Rocio encountered the Montessori Method in 2008, and was excited to find a coherent, structured and effective way of giving children the tools they need to live – something she had been looking for since her days as a psychology student. It was this discovery that led her to study at the Montessori Training Centre of BC, where she obtained her AMI diploma and her Early Childhood Educator Diploma in 2009. Rocio worked as an English co-Guide in Mexico for a year and as a Montessori Guide in Vancouver for four years. Rocio believes that applying the Montessori Method in two different countries has deepened her understanding of the philosophy. Most recently, Rocio earned her Independent School Teacher Certificate.

 

Jean Wong
Co-Guide, Jericho

Jean grew up knowing that she wanted to be a teacher. As a child she loved sharing new discoveries and information with others. Jean began her teaching career as a high school mathematics teacher in Hong Kong. Jean became interested in the teachings of Maria Montessori after seeing the development of her daughters as they progressed through the three-year Primary program. She was amazed at the confidence and independence they exuded as young children. Jean earned her AMI Primary Montessori Teaching Diploma and Early Childhood Education Certification in 2004. Jean has also earned her Independent School Teacher Certificate, allowing her to deliver the provincial curriculum to kindergarten students in the extended-day program. Jean has over ten years of experience as a co-Guide. In the future, Jean hopes to expand her education through studies on childhood brain development.

 

Beverly Dobrinsky
Music Teacher

Beverly has been teaching Kodaly music classes for Family Montessori since 1988. Beverly has a Bachelor’s of Music from UBC, and she has completed coursework in Kodaly pedagogy and theory from the University of Victoria and the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Ms. Beverly is active in the field of music – she conducts three community choirs, she is the Musical Director of the women’s musical ensemble ZEELLIA, and was hired by the Vancouver Parks Board to be the Artist in Residence at the Carnegie Centre for 2009.

 

Agi MacLeod
French Teacher

Agi is a native Vancouverite and a UBC graduate with a double major in French and Spanish. As a young adult, Agi spent 2 years in Europe (France and Spain) perfecting her foreign language skills. She is fluent in four languages including Hungarian. She believes that when you are raised bilingually, your ability to learn more languages comes naturally. She is also fascinated by how easily young children are able to absorb a second language.

 

Kim Gagliano
Jericho Lunch Supervisor

Kim grew up in the Okanagan Valley.  After completing training on Vancouver Island as a Teaching Assistant she joined the Nanaimo School District as a Special Needs Assistant.  Kim was an active parent at her sons’ school; she was a member of the PAC, coached cross-country and track teams, and helped organize special events and field trips.  In 2002, Kim completed the Level B Coaching Certification with the Canadian Coaching Association and started coaching long-distance runners and triathletes.  She also implemented a Learn-To-Run 5 km Program in two Nanaimo Secondary Schools.  Kim enjoys running, hiking, travelling and spending time with family and friends.

 

Sharon Thompson
Sitka Lunch Supervisor 

Sharon grew up in Vancouver and has two daughters who both attended False Creek Elementary School so she knows the area well. She enjoys a variety of outdoor activities such as skiing, biking, hiking and is an avid walker. She volunteers with the SPCA as a dog walker and will soon be a coordinator there. Sharon also loves to travel and spend time with her family. Sharon has been with FMSS since 2003 supervising the kindergarten children, a.k.a. The Lunch Bunch. In the classroom, Sharon helps organize and participate in the special lunches and activities that the children so earnestly enjoy. In the neighbourhood, Sharon takes them on outings and participates in such events as The Festival of Trees and Keep Vancouver Spectacular.

 

Rebecca Anderson
Office Administrator 

Rebecca moved to Vancouver at the age of five, and grew up in the Point Grey area. She took an Administration Diploma course shortly after high school, and has worked in administration for over 20 years. With two children of her own at Queen Mary Elementary School, Rebecca spends a great deal of volunteer time as a member of the PAC, on the Emergency Preparedness Committee and helping with the Hot Lunch program. She loves to be around children, so working at Family Montessori was a natural choice. After family and friends, her main hobby is scrapbooking. She loves walking and feels lucky to be able to live, work and play all within walking distance of each other in lovely Point Grey!