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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

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.

Assistant Teacher

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.

Conference Teacher

Alexis Ewart

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

Alexis find immense joy working with the children in the Primary program. Her nurturing, lighthearted personality guide her focus and energy educating the children and helping them feel at home in the classroom. Alexis loves to witness each child’s individual transformation as they explore and learn about the world around them. She loves reading to the children, singing songs and learning about each child’s family values and individual interests.

Outside the classroom, Alexis enjoys being active; snowboarding, hiking and taking various workout classes. She has two children who are involved in gymnastics and hockey. She also enjoys volunteering at her local church, caring for the babies in the nursery.

Alexis holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Rider University and an Early Childhood Credential from PCTE.

Assistant Teacher

Mira Khila

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

Mira is a full-time classroom assistant with over seven years of experience in the education field. She has a true passion for working with young learners, and she works to create an inspiring and engaging learning environment in which children feel safe and secure, providing what students need in order to become lifelong learners.

In her free time she enjoy reading, cooking, music, relaxing at the beach, and spending time with friends and family.

Mira received a BA in Arts and Education from Egypt and holds a Collins workshop certification for best practices of teaching Math, reading and writing inside the classroom. In 2016 she completed the Cambridge Global Learner training conducted by Cambridge International Examination.

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 volunteers for a NJ ballet foundation that she co-founded. She also enjoys creating ballet costumes and reading.

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 also holds an American Montessori Society Early Childhood Reading credential and is an instructor for PCTE.


Prisca Lee

Prisca Lee joined Princeton Montessori School in 2022 and is an intern in the Primary Program.

Prisca taught art for 7 years and has enjoyed seeing the growth in children, appreciating their differences and bringing their individuality in the form of artwork. Each child is unique in his or her creative thinking.

In her free time she enjoys painting, cooking and baking, swimming and hiking. Prisca loves to travel with her family, She volunteers at church where she has served at a Soup Kitchen, harvested crops in a farm for homeless, taught refugees art, and joined many functions where she can spread love.

Prisca graduated from University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) with a Masters of Accounting and Honorary Bachelor of Arts/Chartered Accountancy degrees.

Conference Teacher

Alyssa Monforte

Alyssa Monforte joined Princeton Montessori School in 2021 and is a conference teacher.

Alyssa enjoys the primary program because she loves to observe the children discover their interests, develop their own style of creativity and explore the Montessori environment.

Outside the classroom Alyssa rides horses at a farm close to her home, enjoys spending time with her family and painting with watercolors.

Alyssa holds an American Montessori Early Childhood Certification from PCTE. She received a degree in education and is furthering her studies in child learning and development

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).

Assistant Teacher, After School Lead

Christina Sappington

Christina Sappington joined Princeton Montessori School in 2020 and is the After School Lead

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.

After School Teacher

Ms. Sidom

Ms. Sidom joined Princeton Montessori School in 2023 and works in the Primary After School program.

Ms. Sidom believes in nurturing the young minds of tomorrow and watching them bloom with curiosity and creativity.

Outside of school, she enjoys reading, yoga, and power walking in nature. She also plays ultimate frisbee with her church group.

Ms. Sidom received a B.A from Rutgers University in Middle Eastern Languages and Literature and completed the SPARK Teacher Training Program at NYU.

Assistant Teacher

Areeba Tariq

Areeba Tariq joined Princeton Montessori School in 2022 and is an Assistant Teacher.

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). Areeba holds an American Montessori Early Childhood credential through the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE).

Assistant Teacher

Anvee Vahia

Anvee Vahia joined Princeton Montessori School in 2018 and is a classroom assistant in the Toddler and Primary program.

Montessori has come full circle for Anvee who studied in a Montessori school as a child, received training, and now has two children in a Montessori environment. She has worked in different countries and has witnessed how seamlessly the Montessori method transcends cultures.
Working with children is a pure joy and she loves to be part of their journey as they explore the world around them.

Outside the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Cooking together, traveling, exploring the outdoors, and sharing her passion and training in Indian music with her children are some of the things she loves doing in her spare time.

Anvee received her BA in Philosophy from The University of Mumbai. She has a diploma in Early Childhood Care and received her Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) certification from RTI Mumbai.

Conference Teacher

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 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 three 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

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.

This is our first year at Princeton Montessori and my daughter is in the toddler program. It’s been nothing short of amazing. Teachers are phenomenal and my daughter has learned so much already!

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.

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.

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!

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 daughter has been in the infant center for only six months, but we believe it has been the most transformative and influential time of her life. The Infant Center teachers planted a little seed in our daughter’s heart, and it has grown and blossomed into a beautiful, resilient flower with their warm love and care. ...We have observed her world expanding astronomically, filled with beautiful memories of her teachers and friends. We have been thoroughly impressed and constantly reassured by the quality of education and care the teachers provide.

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.

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

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