Butler Montessori Faculty & Staff

Our AMI-certified teachers and highly-skilled staff nurture and guide your child in the classroom and beyond.

Schedule A Tour

We have high standards! Butler Montessori is a private accredited AMI-certified Montessori school

Which means we have the highest standards of certification required for a worldwide Montessori school.

Faculty & Staff Directory

Administration
Nido / YCC
Primary
Elementary
Intermediate
Specialists & Resource Guides
Extended Day & Classroom Support
Admin Support
Camp & Equestrian

Administration

 

Natasha Soderberg ~ Head of School

[email protected]¬†

B.A., Environmental Science University of Cape Town, South Africa
Postgraduate Certificate of Education, University of Cape Town, South Africa
AMI Administrator Certificate, Whole School Leadership

I came to Butler Montessori first as a parent and felt that I had found a home for my children. Then I found ways for myself to be useful that grew into more purposeful work that matched my experience and passions. I love to come to work each day where enough stays the same that I can find ways to improve, but no day is duplicated and every day is stimulating.

Scott Chidakel ~ CFO / Business Manager

[email protected]

CPA
B.S., University of Maryland

I have worked with non-profits and schools my entire career and found my home here at Butler Montessori in 2010. I love being part of a team where every teacher and staff member is mission-driven and highly dedicated to our students and families. When not at school, I love being outside on my bicycle or doing any indoor or outdoor activity with my wife and 2 teenage boys!

Alex Goffin ~ Administrative & Admissions Coordinator

[email protected]

I am a former parent of 2 boys who went to Butler from Lower Elementary through 8th grade (2010‚Äď2019).

Hobbies: listening to podcasts from evolutionary anthropology to current events; hiking with my dog; connecting with friends and family in 3 different languages; sailing the world; traveling in general; yoga and meditation.

Amy D'Elia ~ Administrative Coordinator

[email protected]

B.A., Monmouth University, New Jersey

I have been with Butler Montessori since 2004. I like to exercise (yoga, walking, and rowing), cooking, and spending time with my family.

Amy Hughes ~ Director of Operations & LE Art Specialist

[email protected]

I joined Butler Montessori in 2018 to support the Extended Day program and was invited to join Heather Pelkey as Co-Camp Director before becoming the Camp Director in 2020. I love everything about the outdoors and having the opportunity to help children find joy in exploring nature. In my free time, I am an artist. I work in mixed media of collage, photo, and paint. I also spend a lot of time pursuing new hobbies and exploring new places with my husband Chuck.

Administration
Nido / YCC
Primary
Elementary
Intermediate
Specialists & Resource Guides
Extended Day & Classroom Support
Admin Support
Camp & Equestrian

Nido & Young Children's Community (YCC)

 

Heather Pelkey ~ Nido Guide

[email protected]

AMI Assistants to Infancy Diploma, Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies
Certified Nursing Assistant for School Health, Certified Medical Technician

I joined the Butler Community in 2011, and have served as the CMT (Certified Medication Technician), the Camp Director, and the Administrative Coordinator before becoming the YCC Guide in 2021. My 3 children Colin (2016), Meghan (2020), and Caitlyn (current student) have all attended Butler.

I love spending time with my family, crafting, sewing, handwork of all kinds, reading, floating down a river, live music (any and all of it), and listening to all things True Crime!

Amanda Schaaf ~ Nido Assistant

[email protected]

I joined Butler Montessori in 2022. I saw the joy that the school brought to my child, and to me as a parent, and felt excited to join the community as a teaching assistant and help create that magic for others!

Rhonda Sabater ~ YCC Guide & Director of Childcare Facility

[email protected]

AMI NIDO (0-3) Diploma, MEd.

I joined the Butler staff in 2015 as a Primary guide and then left to do my AMI Training of Trainers so that I could train others to be Montessori guides. While I was away, I still kept in contact, doing part-time consulting as needed. And now I am so excited to be back and getting the NIDO started so that I could help Butler fulfill its mission and provide a quality Montessori experience from birth to adulthood.

I am a parent of five, my youngest is a sophomore in high school. I love reading, cooking, singing, and talking to folks about Montessori as an aid to life.

Zahra Javaheri ~ Young Children's Community (YCC) Assistant

[email protected]

B.A., University of Science and Culture, Tehran, Iran
AMI Trained Primary Assistant at WMI
AMI Assistants to Infancy Diploma

I joined Butler Montessori in 2019. I love watching documentaries, listening to music, and doing activities with my daughter.

Administration
Nido / YCC
Primary
Elementary
Intermediate
Specialists & Resource Guides
Extended Day & Classroom Support
Admin Support
Camp & Equestrian

Primary

 

Kelly Beall ~ Primary Guide

[email protected]

B.A., Salisbury University, Maryland
AMI Montessori Primary Diploma
M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland

I joined Butler in 2017 and began as a guide after I completed my Primary Montessori training in 2019. In my spare time, I like to garden and go bird-watching. I love to sit by the campfire with my husband and family!

Meagan Garrison ~ Primary Guide

[email protected]

B.S., Towson University, Maryland
AMI Montessori Primary Diploma
M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland

I joined Butler Montessori as a Guide in 2020, however, I was a student here as well (many years ago!). Butler feels like my second home and I feel honored to be a part of this unique and special team on this gorgeous campus. Outside of my passion for Montessori, some of my other interests include singing and playing folk music, all things outdoors, my dog Woody, and airplanes.

Yijun Zheng ~ Primary Guide

[email protected]

M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland
AMI Montessori Primary Diploma

My name is Yijun Zheng. I am from China and lived in Nagano, Japan with my parents for 4 years. I joined Butler Montessori as a Guide in 2021. Aside from my passion for Montessori, I love arts and crafts like watercolor painting, crochet, and embroidery. I also love music from learning piano since I was 6 years old and self-learning ukulele and guitar for 2 years. Now I live in Bethesda with my husband Yuchong, our two cats, Soybean and Sesame, and a bearded dragon, Ruby.

Maria Kamezawa ~ Primary Assistant

[email protected]

B.A., Instituto Tecnológico de Oaxaca, México
AMI Introduction to Assistants to Infancy Certificate, AMI Introduction to Assistants Certificate

I joined Butler Montessori as a Young Children’s Community Assistant in 2014 when the program started. However, I have been part of the Butler community since 2010 when my daughter began first grade. My son Ken completed 8th grade in 2022. 

In my spare time, I like playing the piano, gardening, taking walks with my family, and traveling. I love to interact with people of different cultures.

 

Shaye Merriam ~ Primary Assistant

[email protected]

B.S from Towson University
 
I am a Butler Montessori graduate of 2013. I attended Butler from the Primary through 8th grade. Butler has become my second home where I have grown my roots and spread my wings. It is so amazing watching the children blossom into their own unique individual personalities and finding love for nature and animals like I once did at that age here at Butler.
 
In my spare time, I love riding horses, spending time with my family and boyfriend, going to the beach, and walking my French Bulldog, Olive. 

Sureeporn Sudjada ~ Primary Assistant

[email protected]

I joined Butler Montessori in August of 2021. I love the rich nature Butler has to offer. I love hiking and camping with my family and vacationing at the beach or in the mountains. I enjoy cooking and doing yoga as well. My son is a student at the Primary level.

 

Administration
Nido / YCC
Primary
Elementary
Intermediate
Specialists & Resource Guides
Extended Care & Classroom Support
Admin Support
Camp & Equestrian

Elementary

 

Rainy Blomgren ~ Lower Elementary Guide

[email protected]

B.A., Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
AMI Montessori Elementary Diploma
M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland

I joined Butler Montessori as a Lower Elementary Guide in 2016 after spending two years teaching English as a foreign language in Guatemala. I love swimming and reading, spending time out in nature, and learning to crochet.

Anastasia Jantz ~ Lower Elementary Guide

[email protected]

B.F.A., Savannah College of Art & Design, Georgia
M. Ed in Elementary Education, University of Hartford, Hartford CT
AMI Montessori Elementary Diploma

This year (2023–24) is my fourth year working as a guide, though I’ve been supporting Butler for 7 years now. I am a passionate Montessorian, artist, and birdwatcher. I love to play the ukulele and sing with the children. I love the incredibly supportive community, the amazing campus, and being with the children.

Grace Rind ~ Upper Elementary Guide

[email protected]

B.S. Loyola University Maryland; English Literature and Global Studies: Conflict Resolution
AMI Montessori Elementary Diploma
M.Ed., Loyola University Maryland

2023-2024 is my 7th school year as a Montessori Elementary Guide. I’m grateful to be able to work with such a terrific team on such a beautiful campus. I’m inspired and motivated each day by the kindness, inquisitiveness, and joyfulness of the children (and adults!) in our community. 

Kelly Truong (formerly Nguyen) ~ Lower School Director of Education & Upper Elementary Guide

[email protected]

B.A., University of North Carolina at Charlotte
AMI Elementary Diploma, Washington Montessori Institute
AMI Assistants to Infancy Diploma, Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies
AMI Primary Diploma, Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies
M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland

I joined Butler Montessori as an Elementary Guide in 2014. I love traveling, learning about different cultures, and trying new foods. When I am not working, I enjoy collecting hobbies. A few I've collected include rock climbing, crocheting, and playing the ukulele.

Erin Bajada ~ Associate Upper Elementary Guide

[email protected]

B.A., SUNY, Fredonia, NY

I joined Butler Montessori as an Associate Guide and parent in 2023. I am currently finishing my M.ED., at Shepard University, WV, as well as doing my AMI Elementary training. Before starting my Montessori journey I was an organic farmer and artist. I love gardening, painting, hiking, traveling, and learning new things.

Shailaja Maru ~ Associate Upper Elementary Guide

[email protected]

B.S., Michigan State University
M.A., Michigan State University
AMI Montessori Primary Diploma
M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland

I have been a parent at Butler Montessori since 2014 when my daughter joined the YCC.  In my spare time, I enjoy dancing, hiking, and journaling.

Brenda Lacayo ~ Upper Elementary Assistant

 [email protected]

I joined Butler Montessori in August 2022 as an Upper Elementary Assistant.  I worked in Montessori for four years in Charlotte, North Carolina before moving back to my home state of Maryland.  In my free time, I enjoy the outdoors and creating art such as paintings, ceramics, and photography.

Adrienne Smith ~ Lower Elementary Assistant

[email protected]

Certificate: Montessori Orientation, Montessori Training Center

I joined Butler Montessori in 2019. When I am not at school I enjoy spending time outdoors, knitting, and playing guitar with my blues band.

Christy Mullins ~ Lower Elementary Assistant

[email protected]

I joined Butler Montessori in 2020. I enjoy movies, music, anything outside, working out, and spending time with my kids.

Administration
Nido / YCC
Primary
Elementary
Intermediate
Specialists & Resource Guides
Extended Day & Classroom Support
Admin Support
Camp & Equestrian

Intermediate 

 

Emma Rodwin ~ Upper School Director of Education/
Intermediate Program Director

[email protected]

B.A., Dickinson College, Pennsylvania
AMI Montessori Certificate of Adolescent Studies
AMI Montessori Elementary Diploma
M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland

I joined Butler Montessori in 2014. I love horseback riding and being at the barn. I am also an avid reader, knitter, and enjoy spending time in nature.

Bertha Castillo ~ Intermediate Guide & UE/Int Spanish Specialist

[email protected]

B.A., Metropolitana University, Puerto Rico
M.Ed., Metropolitana University, Puerto Rico
AMI-NAMTA Adolescent Certification
Certification in Bilingual Teaching, Cervantes Institute, Canada

I joined Butler Montessori in 2009. I love teaching, being in nature, and spending time with my grandchildren. In my free time, I enjoy reading, listening to music, and doing crafts.

Lisa Daly ~ Intermediate Guide,  IT Specialist

[email protected]

B.A., Virginia Tech, Virginia
M.A., Hood College, Maryland
AMI-NAMTA Adolescent Certification

I joined Butler Montessori as a part-time math guide in the adolescent program in 2004. I have worn many hats over the years and cant imagine working anywhere else. My daughter was a student at Butler for 12 years. I love all things beach and warm, reading, ballet, and pilates.

Sam Jones ~ Intermediate Guide

[email protected]

B.A., University of Maryland College Park
AMI Montessori Certificate of Adolescent Studies

I first joined Butler as a camp counselor in 2018 and then became a Lower Elementary Assistant in 2021. He discovered that he enjoyed working with the older students, so he completed his AMI Montessori Certificate of Adolescent Studies and is now a valued member of the Intermediate team.

Administration
Nido / YCC
Primary
Elementary
Intermediate
Specialists & Resource Guides
Extended Day & Classroom Support
Admin Support
Camp & Equestrian

Specialists & Resource Guides

 

Claire Jones ~ Performing Arts Specialist

[email protected]

I came to know of Butler when Natasha approached me about joining the team at my dance studio in Poolesville. I have been teaching dance and other forms of the performing arts to students aged 3‚Äď18 for 15+ years, and am always in awe of how the arts influence children and enhance their view of the world. I am excited to work in an environment that values the life skills that are inherent in learning and practicing the arts, while also placing value in communal education and providing individual student autonomy. It is an honor to work with this incredibly talented and supportive team of staff members, and I can't wait to see how Montessori learning facilitates a well-rounded and contributing member of society.¬†

Laura Manack ~ Montessori Resource Guide

[email protected]

B.S., Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science
AMI Montessori Primary Diploma
AMI Montessori Elementary Diploma
M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland

I enjoy spending time with my family and walking my dog Winston, a rescued Shih-poo. In the past few years, I began taking golf lessons and can sometimes be found on late Sunday afternoons playing twilight golf with my husband.

Steve Mejia-Menendez ~ Montessori Resource Guide & LE Spanish Specialist

[email protected]

B.A., Oberlin College
AMI Montessori Primary Diploma
AMI Birth to Three Assistants Course Certificate
AMS Montessori Lower Elementary Diploma
 
I joined Butler Montessori both as a staff member and parent for SY 2023‚Äď24. During my personal time, I enjoy reading, gardening, playing soccer, and time spent with my family.¬†

Lorena Emilia Molina Cecchetti ~ Montessori Resource Guide

[email protected]

B.A., Wellesley College, Massachusetts
AMI Montessori Primary Diploma
AMS Elementary I Certification
AMS Elementary II Certification
M.Ed., Loyola University, Maryland

My experience has allowed me to appreciate the beauty of the Montessori world, so when Butler Montessori School called, I was thrilled to join an institutional legacy that is passionate about child-centered learning and holistic development. I am a proud library mouse, who enjoys museum hopping, and going to the beach.

Eriq Powers ~ Outdoor Specialist

[email protected]

I began working at Butler in 1998 as a ropes course facilitator on the challenge course and joined the Butler team In 2001 as an outdoor activities guide. I love teaching, running my outdoor adventure company, and making things with my hands.

Katie Rattigan ~ UE /Int Art Specialist

[email protected]

B.A., Hood College

I joined Butler as the Lower Elementary Art Teacher in the winter of 2018. Now I teach Upper Elementary and Intermediate Art as well as Creative Expressions. On days when I'm not at Butler, you can find me making pots for Wild Thing Pottery or making up characters with Oh Crit! The D&D Improv Show.

Don Vogel ~Environmental Education Specialist

[email protected]

I’m joining my son at Butler, hoping to contribute to the community that has provided so much to him. I love exploring the natural world on foot, bike, and boat and the inner world through books. 

 

Administration
Nido / YCC
Primary
Elementary
Intermediate
Specialists & Resource Guides
Extended Day & Classroom Support
Admin Support
Camp & Equestrian

Extended Care & Classroom Support

 

Ariana Adamson ~ Extended Day 

[email protected]

I joined Butler Montessori in 2021 as a Butler Camp counselor and started working during the school year in the fall of 2022. I grew up locally, in Germantown, MD, and am currently attending Montgomery College. In my free time, I enjoy writing novels, singing, and hiking.

Sidanny Adamson ~ YCC Classroom Support 

[email protected]

At Butler Montessori School, we foster an inclusive community that genuinely cares for each member. The well-organized atmosphere is a delight to observe, and the professionalism of the staff is admirable. Witnessing the independence of the YCC children is consistently awe-inspiring. I am grateful to be part of such a commendable community.

Jessica Benavides¬†~¬†Nido ‚Äď Primary Classroom Support

[email protected]

 I have been a camp counselor at Butler Camp in the summers since 2017 and started full-time at Butler Montessori in the fall of 2022. I live on a farm and can be found feeding the goats, chickens, pheasants, and cats every day before and after school.

 

Jagruti Dave ~ Elementary Classroom Support

[email protected]

I have been working at Butler Montessori since 2000 when my youngest child started in Primary, joining his older sister who was in Elementary. Being around the children and watching them grow and mature has been a delight. Each day at school is an adventure with a mix of indoor and outdoor activities. On the personal side, I greatly enjoy cooking and taking long walks with my dog.

 

Sarah Derby ~ Classroom Support & Extended Day

[email protected]

B.A., Brigham Young University, Idaho

In university I studied child development, so it was my goal to work in an environment that embraced and nurtured children’s natural development. Happily I’ve found Butler Montessori. When not teaching and learning from children, I enjoy reading, sitting in nature, and almost every activity if it’s with my family.

Gezel McMillan ~ Classroom Support & Extended Day 

[email protected]

A.A., Montgomery College, Maryland

I joined Butler in the summer of 2023. I love the Montessori Method of teaching which is why I joined the school. I enjoy being outside and going for walks on the beach and spending time with my family. I'm excited to be a part of the school and to continue to grow and learn.

Laura Normoyle ~ Extended Day Support & School Photographer

[email protected]

I joined Butler Montessori in 2004 as a Primary Assistant and have stayed ever since. I now have 4 children, 3 of whom are graduates of, or currently in Butler. I enjoy traveling with my family and hiking with our dog.

 

Abby Patterson ~ Extended Day

[email protected]

I joined Butler Montessori in January 2023. I find working with children very rewarding. It's wonderful to watch them grow into their interests. I, myself, have many interests, including studying marine biology, kayaking, hiking, cooking, and painting.

 

Colin Pelkey ~ Extended Day

[email protected]

I graduated from Butler Montessori in 2016 and started working at Butler Camp that summer. I have worked as a Facilities Assistant and Extended Day staff since 2021. I like being at Butler Montessori because of the friendly community. When not at school I enjoy playing sports and video games.

Akoma Sabater ~ Extended Day 

[email protected]

I graduated from Butler Montessori in 2020 and am currently finishing my senior year at Springbrook High School. I worked as a camp counselor at Butler Camp this past Summer and had a great experience! I really love how caring and connected the Butler community is and treasure all of the relationships I’ve made. In my free time I like to read, play piano, create art, and listen to music.

Laura Steinberg ~ Extended Day

[email protected]

B.A. in Communication, James Madison University, Virginia
 
I joined Butler Montessori in February of 2023. I love that the children here get so excited when they hear "spring peepers" or spot butterflies in the bushes. Growing up in California, I would camp with my family in the desert, explore the tide pools at the beach, and go for picnics up in the mountains. Nature is an incredible teacher, and Butler offers so much to discover.

 

Hannah Tolker ~ Extended Day, Lunch & Recess

[email protected]

I joined Butler in 2021, but before coming here I worked for almost 10 years as an Instructional Assistant to students with developmental disabilities. I very much have a passion to see education and growth from students of all walks of life!

In my spare time, I enjoy the outdoors, cooking foods from other countries, embroidery, and spending time with pets: my cat Lugosi and my tarantula Betty.

 

Jackie Wantz ~ Extended Day, Lunch & Recess 

[email protected]

B.A., Shepard University, West Virginia

I joined Butler Montessori in February of 2022. I have my BA in History with a minor in Education from Shepherd University. I really enjoy working with young people and I am very excited to be joining the team. In my spare time, I enjoy baking, swimming, and listening to podcasts.

Administration
Nido / YCC
Primary
Elementary
Intermediate
Specialists & Resource Guides
Extended Day & Classroom Support
Admin Support
Camp & Equestrian

Admin Support

 

Sam Sincevich ~ Facilities Manager

[email protected]

I joined Butler Montessori in the Fall of 2021. I am excited to be working here and tackling the many tasks required to keep the classrooms and school running efficiently and effectively.

In my free time, I am out on the trails with my dog or playing board games with friends.

Jessica Warburton ~ Delegating Nurse

[email protected]

B.A., Connecticut College
B.S.N., University of Maryland

I have been part of the Butler Montessori Family since 2015 as a parent and became the Supervisory Nurse in 2018. Before working at Butler, I worked as an emergency department nurse, in both adult and pediatric departments. Currently, in addition to working at Butler, I am also working as a labor and delivery nurse. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family, horseback riding on our beautiful campus, and reading.

Aubrey Bursch ~ Director of Marketing & Development

[email protected]

I feel blessed to be able to combine my passion for marketing and development with my love of Butler Montessori. This school is unique, from the Intermediate student-run farm to the caring administration - it's a fantastic community housed on a beautiful nature-filled campus. I've worked with independent schools for more than 20 years and Butler is still one of my favorites.

In my spare time, when I'm not strategizing about fundraising and marketing, you'll find me sipping green smoothies on my deck, hiking trails, and playing soccer with my children.

Miki Boulin ~ Community Outreach Coordinator

[email protected]

Digital Media Design certificate, FCC

I was originally at Butler from 1987–2000 as the Equestrian Director (and the mother of two Butler Alumni). I returned to Butler in 2014 as the Communication Coordinator. I love teaching riding, SCUBA diving, spending time with my family (I am now the grandmother of 3!), and learning new things!

Administration
Nido / YCC
Primary
Elementary
Intermediate
Specialists & Resource Guides
Extended Day & Classroom Support
Admin Support
Camp & Equestrian

Camp & Equestrian

 

Connor Haughey ~ Camp Director

[email protected]

I have recently moved to the Maryland area, coming from the Gulf Coast of Florida. I began working with youth camps 11 years ago at the YMCA as a counselor. I then went on to become the program director, and eventually, I oversaw all recreational programs for our organization. I have coached soccer, basketball, and football for over a decade now and love mentoring new kids.

In my spare time, I am playing/watching sports, listening to music, reading, or trying to learn a new skill. I am very excited to join the Butler community.

 

Emily Lahaie ~ Equestrian Director

[email protected]

B.A., International Studies, University of San Francisco
M.A., International Development, Gallaudet University

I joined Butler Montessori in 2019 as staff in the Equestrian Program. While my degrees are not related to my current career path, I believe that I ended up where I am meant to be! I enjoy spending time with my husband, dogs, and my pony Zulu!

To learn more about Emily and the rest of the Equestrian staff visit www.butlerequestrian.org

Paige Dunn ~ Equestrian Instructor

[email protected]

Learn more about Paige and the Butler Equestrian Program @ www.ButlerEquestrian.org