Faculty | Primary

Meet the Primary teachers
Program Coordinator

Amy Gerstacker

Amy Gerstacker joined Princeton Montessori School in 2006 and is a conference teacher and also serves as the educational coordinator for the Primary program.

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 fingerplays 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 an instructor and a field consultant for PCTE.

Conference Teacher

Jennifer Aguilar

Jennifer Aguilar joined Princeton Montessori School in 2019 and is a conference teacher in the Primary Program.

Jennifer enjoys watching students gain confidence, independence, and achieve both academic and social successes as they learn to explore their Montessori classrooms. She brings creativity, strong organizational skills, and a patient and nurturing disposition to the community.

Outside of the classroom, Jennifer likes spending time with her husband and two Montessori-educated young adult daughters. They enjoy baking, bicycling, and traveling the world together; Jennifer’s independent interests include reading, walking, and DIY projects.

Jennifer received a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Bucknell University. She has years of business experience in both the pharmaceutical and not for profit industries and has served as an Assistant Teacher in a Montessori School in PA. She completed her American Montessori Early Childhood training at the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE).

Conference Teacher

Ursula Connors

Ursula Connors joined Princeton Montessori School in 2001 and is a conference teacher in the Primary Program.

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 known 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.

Classroom Assistant

Carla Dupont

Carla Dupont joined Princeton Montessori School in 2022 and is an assistant in the classroom.

Carla is passionate about early childhood education. She is a Mother of two and enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and discovering new cultures.

She holds an AMI Montessori Diploma(3-6yrs) from the institute de formation Maria Montessori in Geneva, Switzerland.

Primary Teacher

Lori Evans

Lori Evans joined Princeton Montessori School in 2022 and is a conference teacher.

Lori brings vast Montessori experience as a lead teacher in both Toddler and Primary classrooms. She treasures working with children during their early years of life to witness and support their tremendous growth and development. Lori is also passionate about supporting and collaborating with adults who are on their own Montessori journey.

In her free time, Lori enjoys reading and learning and loves to travel. She and her partner have two children who attend universities in New England and two furry friends who keep them company at home! Lori spends a considerable amount of time continuing her own learning on a variety of subjects whether it be through reading, course work, documentaries, travel, and so on. Learning is for life!

Before becoming a teacher, Lori worked in the corporate world and holds a Bachelor's degree in Accounting and Human Resources from King's College. She holds both I/T and EC Montessori Credentials from PCTE, where she currently serves as a Field Consultant and Instructor. In addition, Lori recently completed a course that focused on teaching music to preschoolers using the Orff-Schulwerk Method within a Montessori "hands-on" environment.

Conference Teacher

Alexis Ewart

Alexis Ewart joined Princeton Montessori School in 2021 and is an conference teacher in the Primary Program.

Alexis finds immense joy working with the children in the primary program. She loves to witness each child’s individual transformation as they explore the world around them. Her nurturing spirit guides her focus and energy on keeping the children comfortable, safe, and cared for.

Outside the classroom, Alexis enjoys being active; hiking, running, snowboarding, and spending time with her two children.

Alexis has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rider University and a PCTE Early Childhood certification.

Assistant Teacher

Mira Khila

Mira Khila joined Princeton Montessori School in 2022 and is an assistant teacher.

Mira has very good problem solving resolution skills which helps to creativity help students maintain interest in the lessons.

In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and friends, and also traveling, cooking, exercising, and outdoor activities.

Mira holsa a Bachelors degree in Arts & Education from Tanta University, Egypt. She Attended Collins workshop for best practices of teaching Math, reading and writing inside the classroom as well as 2016 Cambridge Global Learner conducted by Cambridge International Examinations.

Conference Teacher

Teresa Hartmann

Teresa Hartmann joined Princeton Montessori School in 2008 and is a conference teacher.

Teresa enjoys supporting the Primary children in their role of learning and their pursuit of self-discovery. Because she is dyslexic and became a proficient reader at a later age, she is in tune with the internal process of learning to read. From her extensive background in psychological studies and research, she brings a unique perspective and deep appreciation of child development to the Primary program.

When not at school, Teresa spends much of her time volunteering at a local ballet studio and cheering for her two daughters at either gymnastics meets or ballet performances.

Teresa received a BA in Psychology and Communications from Rutgers University, NJ; an MA in Psychology from the New School for Social Research, NY; and holds an American Montessori Society Early Childhood credential through the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE), NJ. She is an instructor for PCTE.

Assistant Teacher, After School Lead

Alyssa Monforte

Alyssa Monforte joined Princeton Montessori School in 2021 and is an assistant teacher and leads the After School program.

Alyssa enjoy using her creativity and imagination while working with children of all ages on projects, education activities and extra curricular activities.

Outside of the classroom she enjoys crafting and riding and caring for horses at a horse farm close to her home.

Alyssa has an associates degree in education and has a PCTE Early Childhood certification.

After School

Iain Muhiudeen

Iain Muhiudeen joined Princeton Montessori School in 2022 and is an assistant teacher in the After School program.

Iain enjoys teaching children of all ages and brings a worldly perspective into the classroom from living in both California and Australia. Iain comes from a multicultural family and has traveled extensively through Asia and Oceania.

In his free time he is an avid tennis player and also enjoys playing most recreational sports. He also enjoys scuba diving and snorkeling and grew up sailing in the San Francisco Bay.

Iain graduated from Piedmont High School in Piedmont, CA. He also attended Sonoma State University.

Conference Teacher

Anila Parmar

Anila Parmar joined Princeton Montessori School in 2022 and is a conference teacher.

Anila enjoys observing the innocence and inquisitiveness of young children and supporting them in their development of confidence and independence. She is organized, creative, patient and nurturing by nature.

Outside the classroom Anila enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, getting together with friends and traveling. She also enjoys cooking, crafting and meditation.

Anila holds a Bachelors Degree in Fine ART from Staffordshire University, England and an American Montessori Early Childhood credential through Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE) NJ.

Conference Teacher

Shazah Sabuhi

Shazah Sabuhi joined Princeton Montessori School in 2012 and is a conference teacher in the Primary program.

Shazah loves to connect with children by observing how each individual child flourishes, whether through reading, creative writing, cultural studies, or science. She is an avid linguist who speaks multiple languages; she teaches French Club for elementary students. Shazah also has a passion for singing and story-telling, which she partakes in regularly with students.

Outside of the classroom, Shazah enjoys spending time with her family — especially her young son who also attends Princeton Montessori School. She loves music, enjoys reading and traveling, and has written and edited for various publications over the last 20 years.

Shazah received a BA in Psychology, with a concentration in Community Psychology, from Syracuse University. Prior to joining Princeton Montessori School, Shazah worked with an organization that conducted federal policy research to advocate for students with learning differences. She holds an American Montessori Society Early Childhood credential through Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE).


Christina Sappington

Christina Sappington joined Princeton Montessori School in 2020 and is an intern in the Primary Program.

Christina is a Princeton Montessori School alum; she attended the toddler through elementary programs. She loves the Montessori philosophy and is excited to be back working in the same community, which inspired her love of learning.

Christina has experience working with children ranging from kindergarten through 9th grade. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, running, playing tennis, and swimming.

Christina holds a Bachelors in American Studies from Manhattanville College and a Masters in Early Childhood, Special Education.


Areeba Tariq

Areeba Tariq joined Princeton Montessori School in 2022 and is an intern in the Primary Program.

Areeba is passionate about children and loves connecting with them. She believes all children are unique in their own ways and by observing and building strong connections with the child you can help them craft their skills. Areeba is a creative person and brings creativity, calmness and togetherness to the classroom. She feels pure joy seeing the happiness on a child's face after accomplishing a task, and the confidence and freedom they experience at such early age.

Areeba loves spending time with her husband and twin sons. She likes to travel and explore, cook, enjoy good music and spend time with friends.

She earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, and Marketing, and an AMI orientation course certificate (3-6).

Primary Teacher

Xiaoxi Zhang

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

Xiaoxi loves working with primary aged children because of their excitement, earnestness, and their capacity to explore and learn about their surroundings. She brings her calmness, optimism, and bilingual talents to the community.

Xiaoxi is the mother of two young children, and when not teaching, she likes to spend time with her 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.



What Parents Are Saying

Our child previously attended a reputable public elementary school. During that time, she often complained that she was bored at school. I was concerned that the school's 'one-size-fits-all' education model was gradually dimming her thirst for knowledge. I wanted the flames of her engagement and curiosity to be fanned, not extinguished. She is now back at Princeton Montessori and I am happy to report that she is no longer bored. In fact, her inner flame has never been stronger!

Our Primary student is learning remotely this year due to the pandemic. He is really is enjoying all the works that come home to him. He tells me things like 'I love my Montessori works' and 'my works are beautiful.' My husband and I see him growing and learning so much even amidst our virtual constraints. Having tailored materials for him to work with makes all the difference in the world and we're grateful for the thought and care you put into curating them.

The other day I came downstairs and my 4-year-old son was listening to 'Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart' on Alexa. He told me that Mozart's dad was named Leopold and his sister was Nannerl (it took him a second to remember her name and it sounded made up, so my husband and I googled it. Sure enough he was right). We asked what else he had been learning and he rattled off Antonio Lucio Vivaldi’s full name and referenced The Four Seasons. I think my jaw is still on the floor. It turns out that the Primary children have been learning about composers this fall and listening to their music. What incredible exposure for these young children!

Princeton Montessori is the very epitome of the principles of Maria Montessori. The School offers a nurturing, creative, academic, and well-rounded development for each child. As a parent, we cannot offer our daughter a more valuable first gift.

The faculty are, bar none, the absolute best. The teachers are very knowledge both about the Montessori philosophy and the best ways to work with children. I ask for their advice and insight for any issues we’re having at home, quite often. They’re also incredibly warm and nurturing with the children in a way I have not seen at any other school.

I’m struck by how much better the Montessori toddlers are at playing and working peacefully with their peers than toddlers in other nursery school programs. I credit the gifted PMonts teachers, and the Princeton Montessori educational approach, for how confident, happy, and collaborative toddlers in the PMonts program seem.

Our son is so proud of being a third-year Primary. He has attended this incredible school since he was one year old. He had absolutely wonderful Toddler teachers and flourished under their care. Now, he is a third-year Primary and we know he will be more than ready for Lower Elementary. Thank you to all the Teachers & Staff!

The school runs with one philosophy and so every faculty member and admin personnel share the same vision for the child. This consistency is unique in our area to Princeton Montessori. Combined with the integration of the teacher training program, we can proudly say that the spirit of Dr. Montessori’s principles permeates every aspect of our school. That’s what I value the most about our school!

Education is both a gift and a right. I feel the teachers at PMonts help our children to appreciate the value of their education. Understanding the value involves looking beyond school and appreciating how education is a tool that will allow them to explore challenging goals, to grow as individuals and most importantly, chase their dreams.

I will never cease to be amazed at the capabilities of the young child. In the Montessori environment, the very youngest students show incredible independence and competence. At Princeton Montessori School the teachers truly help the children to “help me do it myself”.

When I think about my personal philosophy on education I can check all the boxes with regards to the education my daughter is receiving at Princeton Montessori. I feel the teachers motivate the students by focusing on appreciating the value of education and the diversities of peoples around the world while stressing and leveraging the power of the uniqueness in each individual student. Ultimately, the role of an educator is to shape a new generation that will create a safer and better world for the future.

Princeton Montessori School is a school that exceeds any expectations imaginable. The school follows each and every child on an individual basis and nourishes each child’s academic, social, and emotional needs. It is a school where teachers appreciate all unique qualities each child brings.

Princeton Montessori School turned out to be the best investment ever. We made some sacrifices in our lifestyle in order to be able to afford sending both children all the way through 8th grade, but now we are proud to note that we have two capable, confident, well-mannered young adults who are a pleasure to be around and who continue to love to work hard in their studies.

EXCEPTIONAL is the carefully chosen word to describe Princeton Montessori School. Our family has been part of the PMonts community from elementary through middle school. If I could give every child a gift that gift would be for them to experience the joy of learning every single day at PMonts. The multi-age classes provide the advantage of older students leading younger students and younger students watching the wonderful examples of the older children. The children recognize the strengths of others as being positive and not competitive. Princeton Montessori is much more than academic college prep - it is life prep!

Thanks for a wonderful school year thus far and for doing such a wonderful job for our children during such a challenging year. Princeton Montessori has simply been the gold standard for pandemic education, in my mind.

We love the fact that your guidelines have been clear and appropriate, and impressing upon families how their role is critical in keeping the wider school community safe. Thanks also for sourcing materials and providing seminars on parenting during this particular time. The fact that the school has remained open all this time is a huge testament to you all.

Our daughter loves being at school. She confidently reported that she was happy with the safety measures in place, and that she felt “safe” at school. This was HUGE.

We have always been thrilled with our PMonts experience, and this fall term has sent us through the roof. We are in awe of the tireless work of the faculty and administration, who have made possible such an inspiring in-person program. I have always been broadly grateful for the PMonts education my children have been so lucky to receive; this summer and fall, I felt grateful each and every day.

Princeton Montessori has done an exemplary job in keeping their classrooms open to children and young people during this challenging year. They are simply the gold standard for safely educating our children during the national pandemic.

As a parent (and faculty member), Molly and I are beyond grateful for PMonts. Our children are SO happy here. I am more of a believer than ever before. Miles was fine at his public school but the difference is really clear - here, he is not just fine - he is totally thriving and so happy! I'm amazed.

"Princeton Montessori School students are open to diverse backgrounds, curious to learn new things, strong in their leadership and presentation skills, and confident. Thank you for providing an educational environment that encourages a child's total development. We know it is an incredible gift." -Middle School Parent