Guidepost Montessori at Broadlands is set in a beautiful garden setting, with ample playgrounds and outdoor facilities, including a soccer field, a half basketball court and a nature exploration area. At the heart of our school is our belief that children thrive when given freedom and responsibility in Montessori environments prepared especially for them. Our bright, beautiful classrooms and caring staff members will nurture your child’s joy in learning. We welcome your family to our community!
Our beautiful campus and welcoming community is the perfect place for your child to explore her own potential.
Guidepost Montessori classrooms are light, airy, calming, aesthetically beautiful spaces. Each material is carefully chosen and carefully displayed — to inspire and entice your child to explore.
Children's House Classrooms
James Rice, Head of School
Mr. James Rice is a native of Northern Virginia and began his career in early childhood education shortly after graduating from Radford University. It was during his first visit to a Montessori School in 2007 that he discovered many benefits of the Montessori classroom environment--the love of learning displayed by the children, their grace towards one another and their independence to explore and learn at their own natural pace. Those first impressions helped guide James to an administrative role in his first Montessori school . Since then, Mr. James has spent many successful years as an Admissions Director and as a Head of School.
Mr. James is excited to spread Montessori awareness to all families and to share his background in leading and building vibrant school communities for students, parents and staff. In his free time, Mr. James enjoys spending time with family, making art, listening to music and following the DC sports scene.
Becca Williams, Director of Admission
Ms. Becca Williams graduated from Franklin & Marshall College and went straight into the world of education. She began at her own high school in Philadelphia working in private school admissions, teaching and coaching before making a leap and moving to Chicago to pursue collegiate admissions. After years of reading applications, she wanted to be back in a place of helping students earlier on in their education, which led her to becoming a Tutoring Director in Chicago. This brought to light her passion for helping families find the best fit for their child as well as her love of introducing families to a nurturing community.
With her years of experience as an Admissions Director at first the Herndon and now Broadlands campus, Ms. Becca is deeply committed to ensuring all families feel welcomed and taken care of at Guidepost Montessori. In her free time Ms. Becca enjoys spending time with her family, practicing yoga and cooking!
Lacie Russell, Administrative Director and Lead Toddler Guide
Lacie Russell has been a teacher in Montessori infant and toddler communities for over ten years. She attended the Center for Montessori Teacher Education after discovering the Montessori Method as an assistant at The Boyd School. Receiving a scholarship and immediate placement in the classroom as a head teacher led Lacie down a rich career path in Montessori schools; these days you can find Lacie supporting the morning toddler community at Guidepost, as well as assisting the admin team as Administrative Director in the afternoons.
Ms. Juni Canenguez, Lead Children's House Guide
Ms. Juni was born and raised in El Salvador. Before Guidepost Montessori, she worked for over ten years as a Spanish Montessori Teacher. Her passion for teaching began 25 years ago, when she started her career as an elementary teacher in El Salvador. In 1997, she moved to the United States and began working as Spanish Teacher at various schools. Her love for the Montessori method began as soon she saw the effectiveness, skills, and independence a Montessori education gave her own daughter. She obtained her Primary Montessori Certification from NVMI (Northern Virginia Montessori Institute) at Belmont Greene in 2008. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her family, sing and compose music.
Ms. Rajashree Kurl, Assistant Children's House Guide
Ms. Rajashree (Raj) was born and raised in India. She completed her Bachelors degree in Arts and also did her Post Graduation Diploma in Travel and tourism from Mumbai University. She worked for over 15 years in airlines and travel industry and as such loves traveling. Ms. Raj is also a trained classical Indian dancer! Her daughter is a student in our Upper Elementary program, and Ms. Raj is excited to be a part of the Guidepost family as both a teacher and a parent to continue implementing the Montessori philosophy to help young children learn. In her free time she loves cooking, gardening, listening to music and spending time with her family.
Ms. Christine Sakwa, Lead Children's House Guide
Originally from Kenya, Ms. Christine Sakwa and her son moved to the United States in the Fall of 2001. Ms. Christine completed her Montessori Teacher Certification in Nairobi, Kenya and has worked in a Montessori Classroom for over 15 years. Prior to Guidepost, Ms. Christine worked at Paint Branch Montessori School in Adelphi, Maryland before moving to Virginia. She has always been passionate about working with children as it provides direct feedback to the impact she has on the world as a whole. Outside of Guidepost, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
Ms. Rifat Hasan, Assistant Children's House Guide
Ms. Rifat is an Ashburn, Virginia native and has over 10 years of Montessori teaching experience. She is a proud mother of two grown sons. Ms. Rifat has been taking care of children for most of her life; from younger siblings, to her two sons, to her at home daycare service and then professionally in the private school setting. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, gardening and spending time with family.
Ms. Beth Burton, Lead Children's House Guide
Ms. Beth Burton was born and raised in Northern Virginia. From a very young age, she knew she wanted to work with children. She began by taking on babysitting jobs, then worked at a child care center for several years. In college, Ms. Beth worked as a nanny and substitute teacher. After graduating with a B.A. in English from George Mason University in 2010, Ms. Beth joined The Boyd School and worked for several years as an assistant teacher. It didn’t take her long to realize that she had found her calling. Witnessing the “lightbulb moment” in her students, when after trying again and again to master a work or a lesson and then finally seeing it click, was one of the best feelings in the world. She very quickly obtained her Primary Montessori Certification from NVMI (Northern VA Montessori Institute at Belmont Green) and has been a Head Teacher in the classroom since.
In her free time, Ms. Beth enjoys reading, working on crafts, traveling and spending time with her family and friends.
Ms. Marie Barrea, Assistant Children's House Guide
After several years of living in Charlotte NC and Richmond VA, Marie and her husband, Michael recently returned to Northern Virginia where she lived for twenty years prior.
Marie was first introduced to the Montessori method as a teacher’s assistant in 1999. She fell in love with the Montessori approach to learning and became a big proponent of the method.
Marie became the Assistant Director of Holly Brook Montessori School in 2001 and shares the philosophy that the primary goal of a Montessori program is to help each child reach their full potential in all areas of life and develop a life-long love of learning.
Based on her previous experiences and her love of children, Marie sought out a return to early childhood education and has been with Guidepost Montessori at Broadlands for over a year.
She is the mother of two adult children. Her daughter, Nicole is also an educator in Fairfax County.
Ms. Meyling Gallegos, Lead Children's House Guide
Ms. Meyling Gallegos always knew she was going to be a teacher, but it was not until her daughter was born that she really discovered Montessori. She fell in love with the Montessori approach to learning almost immediately! She worked as an assistant teacher in a Montessori school for three years before completing her training to be a Head Teacher. Ms. Meyling is looking forward to welcoming to families to her classroom and seeing their children blossom.
Meyling has an Elementary aged daughter, who currently attends Guidepost. In her free time she can be found cooking, spending time with family, listening to country music or hiking.
Ms. Jyothi Pudota, Assistant Children's House Guide
Ms. Jyothi was born and raised in India where she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Electronics and Communications. Ms. Jyothi has been working with children for more than three years as an Assistant Teacher, and she has also worked as a Math teacher. She has two wonderful kids and a loving husband, who have all been very supportive. During her free time, she loves spending time with her family and friends, drawing and painting.
Ms. Sesha Smallwood, Lead Children's House Guide
Ms. Sesha Smallwood is originally from the Philadelphia area. She earned her bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University in Communications. Ms. Sesha worked for National Geographic as a film-maker and sound effects editor before starting a family. As the mother of four children, she began researching preschools and fell in love with the Montessori method. Ms. Sesha began working in Montessori education as her children went through the primary programs. She earned her Montessori certification at the Montessori Institute at Belmont Greene and continues to be amazed and inspired by the Montessori method each day. In her free time, she loves writing original music with her husband, photography, hiking, exploring, running, animal rescue and her beloved Philadelphia Eagles football team.
Ms. Nausheen Rahman, Assistant Children's House Guide
Ms. Nausheen was born and raised in Bangladesh. In addition to English, she speaks Bengali and understands Hindi and Urdu. She earned her Master’s degree in Economics from Dhaka University in 1995. She moved to Virginia in 2004 and began teaching in the Montessori classroom as a Substitute Teacher in 2010. In February 2011, she joined the school as an Assistant Teacher for the Primary classroom. She has two daughters with Montessori backgrounds as well. Ms. Nausheen loves children; she respects them and treats them as her own. She is very calm, patient, and caring, which is why children are very fond of her! She likes to play the role of a mother, teacher and a friend inside and outside the classroom. Besides spending time with her family Ms. Nausheen enjoys designing patterns, traveling the world, and cooking cuisine from different cultures. She is a proud member of the Guidepost family.
Ms. Soo Chan, Lead Children's House Guide
Ms. Soo Chan has been working in Montessori classrooms since 2006. Her introduction to the Montessori Philosophy began when she was looking for a high-quality education for her daughter. She was immediately fascinated by the Montessori Method and witnessed the results in her own child. After having the opportunity to be an Assistant Teacher in Montessori classrooms for several years, she earned her Early Childhood Montessori Teacher Certification in 2011. Ms. Soo is a passionate, loving and responsible teacher who truly enjoys working with children. She brings her extensive Montessori experience as a guide and a parent into the classroom every day. She lives in Leesburg, Virginia with her husband and loving daughter who attended Montessori school for seven years from age three through Elementary. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, drawing, playing piano, listening to music, and spending time with her family.
Ms. Margaret Chrost, Assistant Children's House Guide
Ms. Margaret was born and raised in Poland where she attended Wilanow College and studied business. After moving to the United States and starting her family, she quickly discovered that her passion was to work with children. Ms. Margaret has over 20 years experience teaching in various capacities. She first began working at a local elementary school and Sunday school. Eleven years ago she joined the Montessori world and completed the Early Childhood Course at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies. Ms. Margaret speaks fluent Polish and enjoys traveling, cooking, gardening, interior design and listening to music. She is married to a wonderful husband and has two grown children that she loves to spend time with.
Ms. Cara Low, Lead Children's House Guide
Ms. Cara has been working with children for over 15 years. Her Montessori journey began when she was searching for a preschool for her son and immediately fell in love with the Montessori philosophy. She started volunteering in the classroom at her son's Montessori school as a Mandarin Teacher. After three years of volunteering, she decided to pursue her education at the Northern Virginia Montessori Institute. Ms. Cara has a degree in Actuarial Science and, prior to her Montessori journey, she also owned her own businesses. Ms. Cara has two children who are currently attending Guidepost. During her free time, she enjoys music and dance, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Ms. Genevieve Roesch, Lead Toddler Guide
Ms. Genevieve Roesch has aspired to work with children for as long as she can remember. So much so, that immediately after graduating from high school, she traveled abroad to work as an Au Pair for a family in Switzerland. It was an amazing experience and led her to pursue psychology and early childhood development in her undergraduate studies. Ms. Genevieve heard about Montessori's pedagogy in her university course work, but did not truly discover it until a special needs child she cared for enrolled in a local Montessori toddler program. She was so impressed by not only the caring and nurturing environment, but by the philosophy of the program and the independence it fostered, that she soon began working as a toddler classroom assistant at The Boyd School. Ms. Genevieve had the pleasure of working as an assistant teacher in a Montessori infant and toddler environment for several years before beginning her Montessori Infant/Toddler training. She received her Montessori certification for ages 0-3 at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in North Carolina. She also became a trained Doula and childbirth educator through DONA with additional training in lactation education, and expectant mother and baby nutrition. She's excited to share her passion for Montessori with our families!
Ms. Nosheen Nafees, Assistant Toddler Guide
Ms. Nosheen Nafees is an Assistant Guide in the Toddler classroom. Through her seven years of experience working with children, she has gained an appreciation for the Montessori style. She loves that children can teach adults just as much as adults teach children! Ms. Nosheen believes that Guidepost Montessori is a wonderful place for your child to gain their education both academically as well as emotionally. She loves working with in the Montessori classrooms, and is very proud to be a part of such a great group of teachers.
Ms. Mahlet Beyene, Assistant Toddler Guide
Ms. Mahlet Beyene was born and raised in Ethiopia. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Educational Planning and Management and her Master's in Developmental Psychology from Addis Ababa University and spent many years working in child care and education in Ethiopia before moving to Northern Virginia. She served as a Principal as well as a Guidance Counselor in Ethiopia, and eventually opened her own daycare center. Ms. Mahlet moved to Northern Virginia in late 2014 and began working at the Broadlands campus soon after. Ms. Mahlet is a mother of two young children who greatly enjoys spending time with her family.
Ms. Gizela Austin, Lead Elementary Guide
Ms. Gizela Austin's Montessori journey started in 2008 as a Primary Lead Teacher after completing her Primary practicum at NVMI (Northern VA Montessori Institute). After spending several years as a Primary Head Teacher, Ms. Austin broadened her teaching expertise by pursuing her Lower & Upper Elementary Montessori training. In addition to her impressive Montessori background, Ms. Austin holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics, and previously taught High School mathematics and science for four years. She has held various managerial and operational roles in the hotel industry and has also completed essential MBA coursework from University of Nebraska & Cornell University. Outside of school and in her free time, Ms. Austin enjoys spending time with family and friends. She loves traveling, reading, dancing, and watching her youngest daughter play soccer.
Ms. Laura McGraw, Assistant Elementary Guide
Ms. Laura earned a bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies from James Madison University. She also holds a master's degree in Elementary Education from James Madison University and a Teaching License for the state of Virginia. Ms. Laura started her teaching career after completing her master's degree in 2016 as a third grade public school teacher. She also has experience working for a tutoring company called Huntington Learning Center where she worked her way up from a tutor to the assistant director. Ms. Laura discovered and fell in love with the Montessori method in her search for a new system of teaching outside of the traditional public school classroom. She is very excited to be a part of the Broadlands team as an assistant guide in her journey towards becoming a lead guide herself. In her free time, Ms. Laura loves reading, swimming, and spending time with friends and family.
Ms. Siri Serngadichaivit, Lead Elementary Guide
Ms. Siri Serngadichaivit is originally from Thailand where she earned her Bachelor’s and later Master’s degree in Business Administration. After coming to the United States, she was inspired to work with children after watching how her children thrived in their Montessori classroom. She especially appreciates how Montessori develops the whole child and empowers them to respect themselves and work collaboratively with others. Ms. Siri's passion for working with children led her to pursue her Montessori training in Lower and Upper elementary at the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. Outside the classroom she enjoys music, traveling and spending time with her family and friends.
Ms. Nikki Thompson, Assistant Elementary Guide
Ms. Nikki has always enjoyed working with children, and known that working in education was what she wanted to do. She earned her undergraduate in History from Elon University, where she also minored in Math and Computer Information Systems. She then went on to earn her MSEd from Shenandoah University. After several years working in traditional education, she joined The Boyd School in 2013 with the intention of learning all she could about the Montessori method. Over the years, Ms. Nikki has developed a particular interest in guiding nontraditional learners and in 2017 completed a five week course in Supporting Students with Special Needs through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. She believes in being a lifelong learner and looks forward to continuing to evolve and grow with Guidepost.
Ms. Erica Hill, Assistant Guide
Ms. Erica earned her B.A. in English Literature from George Mason University. Prior to Guidepost, she worked in the field of employment law, providing guidance and education to corporate leaders on employee related matters. Ms. Erica was drawn to Maria Montessori's child-centered educational approach to teaching after witnessing the positive learning experience of her own children. She has a son in Upper Elementary and a daughter in Lower Elementary at Guidepost. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Erica enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, attending live theater productions, and reading.
Ms. Michelle Bojorquez, Assistant Guide
Ms. Michelle Bojorquez was born in Los Angeles and grew up between the southwestern United States and Guadalajara, Mexico. She is fluent in English and Spanish. Ms. Michelle is the middle child in a family of three children and has loved being around infants and toddlers since her own little brother joined their family. She grew up babysitting, both in the US and in Mexico, and served as a nanny to the same family for six years. Ms. Michelle looks forward to watching the excitement and joy shown by the children she works with each day: especially the toddlers with whom she feels most at home. She hopes to eventually become a teacher and is eager to develop her knowledge of Montessori theory and practice through her work at Guidepost Montessori. Outside of school, Ms. Michelle enjoys baking and travel.
Ms. Fabienne Bully, Assistant Guide
Ms. Fabienne Bully was born in Brooklyn, New York. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and Philosophy at First for Women Wesleyan College. Ms. Fabienne has over five years experience with children ranging from six weeks to nine years old. To enhance her knowledge, she is currently pursuing an associates degree in early childhood education at NOVA community college. In addition, she is furthering her education by obtaining her Masters Degree in Divinity at Liberty University. She loves education, and is drawn to the Montessori doctrine. Most of all, Ms. Fabienne enjoys reading and watching movies with her family.
Ms. Rajnika Soni, Assistant Guide
Ms. Rajnika Soni was born and raised in India and is fluent in Gujarati, Hindi, and English. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Gujarati. She worked in retail previously before taking time off from work to raise her children. She started working at the Broadlands campus shortly after her children started attending college. Ms. Rajnika loves working with young children and is very excited to work with other teachers at the Guidepost Montessori. Ms. Rajnika loves spending her time with her two children, her husband, and her friends. Her personal interests include shopping and cooking.
Ms. Jennifer Cruz, Assistant Guide
Ms. Jennifer Cruz was born in the Philippines and moved to the U.S. when she was 17 years old. She graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor in Art and Visual Technology and was an optician and a professional photographer prior to pursuing teaching. Mrs. Jennifer is creative and passionate about art and education. She has a caring and nurturing personality and a love for children. Mrs. Jennifer has a daughter and son with her husband Danny and in her free time enjoys photography, cooking, and traveling.
Mr. Chuck Garlock, Assistant Guide
Mr. Charles (Mr. Chuck) was born in New York but spent the majority of his life in Northern Virginia, calling Fairfax his hometown. Upon graduating from Radford University Chuck managed a small family run business until it was time to raise a family of his own. Chuck went to work in a Martial Arts based after school program and fell in love with the energy and eagerness of children's natural tendencies towards activity. Chuck is excited to be a part of the Guidepost team to engage with children of all ages in an active role as an after-school activities coordinator. In his free time Chuck enjoys movies, spending time with his family, beach vacations, and amusement park roller coasters; which are a favorite for him and his two sons.
Ms. Alessandra Ponto, Assistant Guide
Ms. Alessandra was born and raised in Long Island, New York. She spent summers with relatives in Ecuador, so is bilingual in English and Spanish. She developed a passion for working with young children through volunteer opportunities in high school and went on to earn her Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Alessandra volunteered and worked as a Teacher’s Assistant in various early childhood programs before discovering Montessori and coming to the Broadlands campus. She loves biking, soccer, reading and enjoying her community pool during the summer. Ms. Alessandra is the proud aunt and godmother to her niece and she takes very seriously the obligations that go along with her role.
Ms. Kim Thornley, Assistant Guide
Ms. Kim Thornley has been working in Montessori school environments for several years, and embraces their philosophy for educating young children. She has held the position of administrative assistant, assistant teacher, and drama teacher. She brings a passion for the creative arts to our students, who enjoy her interactive storytelling and benefit from her work on our Spring and Winter performances. Outside of Guidepost, she serves as a dance and drama instructor at several studios.
Mr. Matt Demski, Assistant Guide
Mr. Matt Demski joined the Broadlands community with nine years experience in Early Childhood Education. Mr. Matt moved to Virginia in 2007 from South Carolina and has developed his own teaching style through his experience working with teachers with a variety of teaching styles. With this experience, he is confident that he leads a classroom with empathy, compassion, understanding, and a desire to stay curious with the children under his care.
In his free time, Matt enjoys reading, playing guitar, skydiving, scuba diving, and doing pretty much anything outside!
Ms. Jenny Rakshys, Assistant Guide
Ms. Jenny Rakshys was born and raised in Gainesville, Virginia. She earned her Bachelor of the Arts degree from Christopher Newport University majoring in Communications and minoring in Sociology, and Dance. During college Ms. Jenny enjoyed giving back to her community through mentoring various age groups. She has always had a love and joy of working with children since a young age. She was drawn to Montessori Education because it allows children to use their creative minds. In her free time Ms. Jenny enjoys yoga, dancing, painting, photography, hiking, and spending time with family, friends, and her dog. She is excited to grow within the Montessori environment and use her creative mindset on a daily basis!
Children are compelling in every way. They are fascinating, intriguing, charming, heartwarming creatures with infinite variation in personalities, tendencies, and interests.
The unique joy and sacred responsibility of a child's caretakers is to learn about her — to discover and fall in love with her as she grows, to let careful observation and observant care guide her development, and to get to know her well enough to help her shape herself. A child's teachers and parents are collaborators in this process that is at once scientific discovery and heartfelt nurturing.
To that end, our school is designed to further connect you with your child, to bring you into a community of valuable resources and education-minded people, and to make it as easy as possible for you to understand and support your child as she grows.
Insights into Your Child
The Montessori approach emphasizes careful, theory-informed, individualized observation of each child's development. We don't want to keep what we see to ourselves! The impact of these observations is greatest when shared with a child's parents.
At Guidepost, parents receive regular, detailed updates about their children. Classroom guides are available outside of class hours by phone, email, or for scheduled in-person meetings. Your child’s guide will also meet with you for regularly-scheduled conferences about your child's learning and growth.
We see these conversations, both periodic conferences and frequent exchanges, as critical for both giving and receiving information. They allow teachers to hear from the people most expert and most observant about a child: his parents.
Parents will also receive written progress reports two to three times per year, each a summary of a teacher's observations of the child over the course of the previous months. Meanwhile, day-to-day and week-to-week, parents receive regular updates from the teacher, in the form of photographs and written anecdotes about their child.
And finally, parents are able to directly access Transparent Classroom, the web-based system we use for careful record keeping and observations about your child. Transparent Classroom offers you an on-demand window into the lessons and classroom life of your child.
A great school offers the incredible resource of a trusted partner for parents in the education of their child. The simplest way to amplify that resource is to offer more of it: to offer it at flexible hours so that you can access a trusted, caring partner during days and times when you need us the most.
At Guidepost, we offer an extended school day program, where children thrive in the Montessori approach all day long. Early morning and late afternoon times offer children the downtime and free time they need in order to assimilate all that they have learned during the school day. Each child can find time to develop interests outside the classroom with expert guidance, and to explore an environment rich with opportunities.
To ensure that parents can rely upon a consistent social and recreational experience in a warm and expert school setting, our extended day schedule is offered inclusively with the cost of our programs: there is no extra charge for morning and afternoon extended day hours.
In addition, extracurricular programs are offered during the afternoon extended day, after class time is over. Parents and children can choose from a wide variety of optional activities designed to spark your child’s passion in some way.
Guidepost Montessori runs year-round. We know that we need to be available as a support for your family, so we minimize school closure days as much as we can. For enrolled families, a full calendar will be available on our Parent Portal.
Our typical school day runs from about 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM, depending on the program. However, because we believe so strongly in supporting a partnership between home and school for families needing greater accessibility, our all-inclusive tuition price includes the option to utilize our extended day program. This means that your family can drop off as early as 7:00 AM and pick up as late as 6:00 PM.