Faculty

Martyna Baginska-Varol

Head of School

 

Martyna founded South Florida Montessori Academy in 2011 after receiving her AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego, CA. Later, she received her AMI Assistants to Infancy diploma from The Montessori Institute in Denver and completed the AMI/NAMTA Adolescent training in Chicago. Born and raised in Poland, Martyna is fluent in Polish and Spanish. She has lived in sunny Florida since 1996 and in her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities such as biking, running, kayaking, hiking, etc. Martyna holds M.Ed. degree in Montessori education from the University of Hartford and M.S. degree in leadership from Nova Southeastern University. She is currently enrolled in the AMI Elementary teacher training program at the Montessori Training Center of St. Louis. 

Ana Rouco-Gasparotti

Administrative Director

 

Ana is a Miami native with Cuban roots. She spent 10 years working in the public school system as a school counselor, but fell in love with Montessori philosophy and began a new chapter in Montessori education. Ana holds a M.S. degree in Counselor Education and B.A in English from Florida International University. She is a graduate of the AMI School Administrators course in Houston, TX. Ana is a Montessori mom of 2 beautiful girls and loves to spend time with her family traveling and enjoying the simple things in life. Her hobbies include writing, reading, and planning the next trip. Ana is involved in all aspects of daily school operations and should be your first point of contact.

Karem Amaya

Upper Elementary Lead Teacher (ages 9-12 years)

 

Karem is originally from Colombia and moved to the US in 1993. While living in Chicago, she received her degree in fashion design from the College of DuPage, but after becoming a mother of two wonderful children, she fell in love with Montessori education. She holds an AMI Elementary diploma from the Montessori Center of Minnesota in St. Paul, MN as well as an AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego, CA. Karem has been a Montessori guide at South Florida Montessori Academy since 2011. She adores animals, nature, mountains, and the beach. She is a fitness enthusiast, loves traveling and dancing.  

Daniel De Berry

Lower Elementary Lead Teacher (ages 6-9 years)

 

Danny was born and raised in New Jersey and later moved to Boston to study developmental psychology. He acquired over ten years of experience within the Montessori community wearing numerous hats at different Montessori schools where he worked. Danny received his AMI Primary diploma in 2012 from the Montessori Institute of San Diego and led a primary classroom for over 5 years. He attended the AMI Elementary teacher training program at the Montessori Training Center of St. Louis and he's currently leading our lower elementary classroom. In his free time, Danny enjoys spending time with his friends and family, reading, and photography. 

 

Jenna Neitzel

Elementary Program Assistant Teacher & Going Out Specialist

 

Jenna is the going out specialist for both lower and upper elementary classrooms. She grew up in Orlando and recently moved to South Florida. Jenna has a degree in Elementary Education from Rollins College and has worked in the Orange County Public Schools as an elementary teacher for a few years. Not satisfied with the traditional public school system, Jenna began to look for other opportunities within education and encountered Montessori. She’s a yoga enthusiast, enjoys cooking, and loves animals, especially her dog.

Keven Berman

Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher (ages 6-9 years) and P.E. Instructor

 

Keven is the lower elementary assistant and our school P.E. teacher. He assists lower elementary students in the classroom and implements P.E. curriculum at elementary and primary levels. Keven received an AMI Montessori Elementary Assistant certificate from the Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola in Maryland. He is a Florida native and brings with him 7 years of experience working with children, including summer camp and coaching basketball. Keven is a nationally certified personal trainer and enjoys music, sports, and his two cats. 

 

Ashley Van Sickle

Elementary Spanish Teacher and Aftercare Coordinator

 

Ashley was born and raised in Guatemala and has been living in Florida since 2012. She completed the AMI Elementary Assistant course at the Montessori Training Center Northeast in Hartford, CT and holds a B.S. degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Florida International University. Ashley is fully bilingual in Spanish and English. She implements rigorous Spanish curriculum in our elementary classrooms on a daily basis. She loves music and has been singing since she was 3 years old. As a member of a high school chorus, she won several singing trophies. Ashkey loves to spend her free time drawing, painting, going to the beach, and volunteering helping those in need.

Lina Rubiano

Primary 1 Lead Teacher (ages 3-6 years)

 

Lina was born and raised in Colombia and joined our school in 2016. She speaks English and Spanish. Lina received an AMI Montessori Primary Assistant certificate from the Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola in Maryland. A few years later, she graduated from the Houston Montessori Institute in Texas with an AMI Montessori Primary diploma. Lina is a Montessori mom and in her free time enjoys going to the beach with her family, reading books and admiring art.

Ximena Gonzalez

Primary 1 Assistant Teacher (ages 3-6 years)

 

Ximena was born and raised in Bolivia. She is bilingual in English and Spanish and has been working with children for over 8 years. Ximena received her AMI Primary assistant teacher certificate at the Montessori Center of Minnesota. One of her favorite hobbies is coloring mandalas and spending time with her teenage son. 

Mariale Bravo

Primary 2 Lead Teacher (ages 3-6 years)

 

Mariale was born in Venezuela and graduated with a law degree from the Universidad Rafael Belloso Chacin in Maracaibo. She moved to Florida with her husband and decided to pursue her dream career as a Montessori educator working with children. Mariale received her AMI Primary Assistant certificate from the Montessori Training Center Northeast in Hartford, CT and later attended the AMI Primary teacher training program at the Montessori Institute of North Texas in Dallas. She is bilingual in Spanish and English. In her free time, Mariale enjoys yoga, biking, cooking, and spending time with her family. She loves to read and travel.   

Nina Payton

Primary 2 Assistant Teacher (ages 3-6 years)

 

Nina was born and raised in Italy. She is fluent in Italian, Spanish and English. Nina received her AMI Primary assistant teacher certificate at the Montessori Institute of North Texas in Dallas. She loves cooking and spending time outdoors with her husband and a teenage daughter.   

Andrea Cheval

Toddler Lead Teacher (ages 16 months - 3 years)

 

Andrea was born in Colombia, lived in England and France for many years, but finally decided to settle in beautiful South Florida. She received her AMI Assistant-to-Infancy diploma from the Montessori Institute of North Texas in Dallas. Andrea is a Montessori mom of 3 amazing children. Her hobbies include reading, cooking, and spending time with her family.   

Adriana Sobenes

Toddler Assistant Teacher (ages 16 months - 3 years)

 

Adriana was born and raised in Nicaragua, where she graduated from Universidad Centroamericana with a degree in psychology. She is fluent in English and Spanish. Adriana is a Montessori mom and has worked with young children since 2014, both in New York and Florida. She loves coffee and collects coffee mugs.  

Agota Teiter

Floater Teacher and Aftercare Coordinator

 

Agota was born and raised in Hungary where she graduated from Eotvos Lorand University with a degree in special needs education. Before moving to Florida, she lived in the Netherlands. Agota has over 20 years of experience working with special needs children. She is a Montessori mom of 2 wonderful children and her hobbies include painting and making jewelry.

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