Agenda | Next 7 Days

June 25, 2018
June 26, 2018
June 27, 2018
June 28, 2018
June 29, 2018

Faculty | Primary

Meet the Primary teachers

Meet the Primary Teachers

Ayla Sen

Program Coordinator

Ayla Sen joined Princeton Montessori School in 1991, is a conference teacher, and currently the Program Coordinator for the Primary program.

Ayla loves children and feels that each child is unique and precious. She believes that children can teach us so much through their natural sense of wonder, open-heartedness, and curiosity.  Ayla brings that enthusiasm, appreciation, and years of experience to the classroom and to the relationships she forms with parents.

When not in the classroom, Ayla loves to travel and enjoys reading about biographies, history and world cultures, all of which enrich her life.

Ayla received a BS in Philosophy and Pedagogy from the University of Ankara, Turkey. She holds an American Montessori Society Early Childhood credential through Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE).  Ayla is an instructor for PCTE, a teacher training field consultant, and teaches Montessori education, internationally.

Missy Bowman-Leonard

Missy Bowman-Leonard joined Princeton Montessori School in 1999 and is a conference teacher.

Missy loves the Primary children’s enthusiasm for learning and is constantly inspired by the way the children’s eyes light up when they learn to read. She enjoys watching children learn something new every day and, in turn, learning from them.

When not at school, Missy likes to exercise and take long walks with her dog, cook healthful meals, and try new things. She also likes to spend time with her two children, now both in college.

Missy received a BA in Health Education and Athletic Training from Marshall University, WV and holds an American Montessori Society Early Childhood credential through the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE). She is also a field consultant for PCTE.

Ursula Connors

Ursula Connors joined Princeton Montessori School in 2001 and is a lead Primary teacher and fitness instructor. 

Ursula enjoys getting to know each child’s individual personality and sense of humor. She shares her creativity and artistic talents with the children in the development of materials and is know by her colleagues as a calm, nurturing teacher. She enjoys collaborating with her peers in the Primary program. 

When not at school, Ursula enjoys cooking, gardening, and yoga. She also spends time working with her husband at the restaurant they own in their hometown of Lambertville.

Ursula received a BFA in Illustration from the Parsons School of Design, NY, and studied at the American University in Paris.  She holds an American Montessori Early Childhood credential through the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE), NJ.  She serves as an instructor for all levels in fitness education for PCTE.  Ursula has experience at Princeton Montessori School in all programs as an educational support and has led Sports Club for Elementary students as well as Faculty Fitness programs.

Ursula is a certified Yoga teacher through Yoga Alliance.

Amy Gerstacker

Amy Gerstacker joined Princeton Montessori School in 2006 and is a conference teacher.

Amy loves working in the primary program because she enjoys closely observing and guiding children as they explore and discover in the classroom.  She also brings her interest and knowledge of American Sign Language into finger plays and songs during circle time.

Outside of the classroom, Amy enjoys spending time with her family and running. She has two boys, both of whom had the opportunity to develop their foundation in Montessori environments.

Amy received a BA in Psychology from Rutgers University, NJ and a Master of Arts in Teaching through The College of New Jersey, and holds an American Montessori Early Childhood credential through the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE), NJ.  She is also a field consultant for PCTE.

Anjum Khan

Anjum Khan joined Princeton Montessori School in 2012 and is a conference teacher.

Anjum feels privileged to share her deep love for reading, mathematics, and the natural world with her students.  She is delighted by the children’s enthusiasm and awed by their curiosity. After working for over a decade in the finance industry, she is here because she is passionate about Montessori education and eager to share her own experiences with her students and their parents.

Anjum has three sons, and despite her busy family life, she makes time for her passions: reading, cooking and gardening.  She also enjoys yoga, hiking and playing squash with her family. Travel and experiencing different cultures and cuisines are also favorites!

Anjum received a MBA from the University of Michigan and a BA from the University of Bombay, India, and holds an American Montessori Society Early Childhood credential through the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE), NJ.

Seyedeh Mousavian

Seyedeh Mousavian joined Princeton Montessori School in 2017 and is a classroom assistant.

Seyedeh loves working with children, especially primary-age children. She appreciates this time in their development as it is when they form much of their personality.  She believes teachers can have an important role in nurturing self-directed learners, instilling a love of learning, and teaching a great sense of independence, responsibility, order, and inner discipline.

When not at school, Seyedeh enjoys outdoor activities such as walking, running, hiking, and yoga. She loves to cook, listen to music, read and spend time with her family and friends. She has a son who currently lives in California attending college.

Seyedeh received her Master of Arts in Teaching Early Childhood at The College of New Jersey in 2016 and holds a Child Development Associate CDA certificate through Mercer Community College. She also holds an American Montessori Society AMS Early Childhood credential through the Princeton Center for Teacher Training (PCTE).

Marina Pocino

Marina joined Princeton Montessori School first from 1989 to 1993 and returned in 2013. She is a conference teacher in the Primary program.

Marina finds working with primary-aged children energizing and exciting. She enjoys nurturing their innate desire to learn and helping them navigate through their day on their way to becoming confident, happy and independent people. Marina is passionate about creating a beautiful learning environment that sets the foundation for their successful academic growth and meets their emotional and social needs.

When not at school, Marina enjoys spending time with her two grown children, both living in Tennessee, and traveling around the globe to visit family and friends. She is also an avid gardener, loves to hike and bike, play golf, enjoys reading, and is most happy when her house is full of family and friends.

Marina holds a BA in Social Science at University College Dublin. She received her AMI Montessori Certification from Sion Hill college in Dublin, Ireland, and has several years experience at both primary and elementary levels and has enjoyed teaching in Ireland, Singapore and Princeton.

Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson joined Princeton Montessori School in 2009 and is a classroom assistant.

Mary loves to share her knowledge of nature with young children and to cultivate their own love of the natural world. A trained artist, she also strives to encourage children to develop their artistic skills and creative thinking. She especially enjoys working with children who are learning English as a second language, having previously taught ESL.

Outside of the classroom, Mary enjoys taking birding trips, playing guitar, and kayaking. She also spends time printmaking in her art studio and doing freelance graphic design and illustration with her husband. She enjoys nature and completed training for the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist program.

Mary received an Associates Degree in Fine Arts from Keystone College, PA and an Associates Degree in Early Childhood from Surry Community College, NC, and is working towards her American Montessori Society Early Childhood credential through the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE), NJ.

Xiaoxi Zhang

Xiaoxi Zhang joined Princeton Montessori School in 2014 and is a conference teacher in the Primary program.

Xiaoxi loves working with primary aged children because of their excitement, earnestness, and capability to explore and learn about their surroundings. She brings her calmness, optimism, and bilingual talents to the community, and is appreciated for her assistance both in the Primary and Elementary After School programs.

When Xiaoxi is not teaching, she likes to spend time with family and friends. She enjoys reading in the library, hiking, and traveling.

Xiaoxi received a BA in Language Arts from Northwestern University, Xi’an, China, and a Masters of Science in Education from State University of New York (SUNY), majoring in Educational Administration and Policy Studies. She holds an American Montessori Society Early Childhood credential through the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE), NJ.

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The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood.

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