Our Staff

  • Diana Le Sieur, Head of School

    Diana was always interested in how people learn and work together as a community so before working with children she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and African-American Studies at the University of Minnesota -- Twin Cities. Since then, she has worked as a passionate educator for more than 10 years, committed to continued learning herself. In the most recent year she has been the Head of School at Guidepost Montessori at Foothill Ranch, where she thrived in her leadership role. She led compassionately, helping her staff understand and value the transformative power of the Montessori philosophy. She had the chance to lead from personal experience, as she previously was a lead teacher in the toddler program.

    Outside of her professional life, Diana has no problem keeping herself busy. She and her husband have five children ranging from 5 years-old to young adulthood! They live in Rancho Santa Margarita, and she enjoys running, reading, and spending time with her family.

  • Allison Peterson, Assistant Head of School

    Allison received her Bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies from Azusa Pacific University, and holds Associate's degrees in both Early Childhood Education and Business Administration.  She is originally from Northern California where she opened and operated a Reggio Emilia preschool.  When family brought her down to Southern California, she was immediately drawn to all that Guidepost Montessori offers their children and families.  She has certainly found her home at this campus.  

  • Acacia Real, Lead Nido Guide

    Mrs. Real earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Child Development from the University of La Verne. She started her teaching career 15 years ago as an assistant at an early childhood center in Arcadia, CA where she quickly discovered her passion for infant care. She has worked in a variety of settings including churches, government funded programs, lab schools, and private corporate centers. She is very excited to join the Montessori community and to continue learning and growing. In her free time, Mrs. Real likes to hike, sing, swim, and spend time with her husband and baby.


     

  • Diana Silva, Assistant Nido Guide

    Ms. Diana is currently in school to earn an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education.  At a very young age, Ms. Diana dedicated herself in Assisting Teacher's by volunteering at her  local Church and enjoyed every minute of it.  She enjoys children and the opportunity of watching them grow. During her time working at a Montessori School she has realized that children are capable of teaching us as much as we can teach them. She is beyond thrilled to be part of this great School and excited to see her son grown in this environment along with the other children.

  • Venessa Martinez, Assistant Nido Guide

    Ms. Venessa earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology from California State University Fullerton. Ms. Venessa started working with children 6 years ago in a traditional school in Visalia, California but fell in love with the Montessori Method when she began working at our campus. In her free time, Ms. Venessa loves taking naps and spending time with her friends and family.

  • Alex Martinez, Lead Nido Guide

    Ms. Alex learned of her love and passion for children and education when she was pursuing a degree in Speech and Language Pathology Assistant at Santa Ana College.  After school, Ms. Alex worked as a speech language pathology assistant, but soon started working at a Montessori as their receptionist.  She became fascinated by the Montessori approach and is extremely excited for her first child to start growing and learning in Montessori.  When she isn't at school, Ms. Alex loves to lounge at home and spend time with her family.

  • Eva Blake, Lead Nido Guide

    Ms. Eva Blake attended Brigham Young University in Idaho. She was a caregiver and nanny for six plus years and was introduced to the Montessori method from the family she cared for. In her spare time, Ms. Eva enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

  • Albert Alba, Assistant Nido Guide

    Mr.  Garcia has over ten years experience working in a traditional school setting and now loves the Montessori method since becoming a father himself. His education is in Child/Infant Development.  He also has extensive experience working with children and adults with physical and mental delays.  In his free time, Mr. Garcia loves to go to farmer's markets,  the beach, and camping with his wife, son and Golden Doodle.

  • Naynara Tangeland, Lead Toddler Guide

    Ms. Naynara is originally from Brazil. After immigrating to the United States, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Studio Arts and Graphic Design from California State University Long Beach. She is a former Montessori mom and former homeschooler. She has her AMI Montessori certification and has become passionate about the method. She now considers it “a way of life.” Ms. Naynara also has a love of literacy! She teaches reading classes year-round for children in her community of Costa Mesa. When Ms. Naynara is not teaching, she is spending time reading, taking care of her two children, and practicing mindfulness.

  • Susan Wilcox, Assistant Toddler Guide

    Susan attended CSU Stanislaus in California’s Central Valley. She majored in teaching and fine arts. Susan has been working in the Child Care Industry for over 20 years. She has two adult children of her own. She loves the Montessori principle of teaching children independence from infancy. Her hobbies include Oil Painting and Interior Design.

  • Amanda Carlucci, Lead Toddler Guide

    Amanda Carlucci has been working with children for over ten years. She attended San Jose State University, focusing on Studies on Child and Adolescent Development, and then expanded her education in the behavioral health field shortly after. Amanda obtained certifications through the College of Applied Human Services. She has worked as a behavior therapist for children with special needs for over four years and as a preschool teacher for over four years. Amanda fell in love with the Montessori approach while working at a small preschool in Mission Viejo and has continued her work and studies around the Montessori Philosophy. In her spare time, she enjoys running, visiting new places, and spending time with her two children.

  • Miriam Schardt, Assistant Toddler Guide

    Ms. Miriam Schardt has three adult children who each hold liberal arts degrees and have successful careers. Ms. Miriam holds a degree in Chemistry and worked for the Environmental Protection Agency for three years before starting a family. While homeschooling her children, she was in charge of several educational classes she taught. Her house was always the house that kids on the block always migrated to. She was a stay-at-home mom for 21 years and then decided to do what she loves best, which is to be with young children. She loves the Montessori way of being.

  • Randa Hamida, Assistant Guide

    Randa Hamida is a proud mother of nine children and grandmother to fifteen grandchildren. She instilled a love for education and community service in her household as all of her children have graduated college and are serving others in their careers—she has raised three teachers, a social worker, an accountant, and a lawyer. After putting her nine kids through college and supporting them in their pursuit of higher education, Randa decided to go back to school to pursue her passion for working with children. Randa earned her child development certification at Santiago Canyon College and devoted over 350 hours of training in obtaining her teaching credentials in child development. Randa put all of her training and experience into action by working as a substitute teacher at various preschools for the past five years. After working at Guidepost, Randa fell in love with Montessori’s unique teaching approach and the way it encourages children to learn independence and discover their own strengths.

  • Kanwal Ansari, Lead Children's House Guide

    Ms. Kanwal Ansari was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. After completing her degree in Education and Philosophy, she earned her certification from the American Montessori International (AMI) in 2007 with an emphasis on ages three to six years. Ms. Kanwal has a passion for watching children learn, grow, and express themselves in their own individual ways. She believes teaching is all about listening, questioning, being responsive and remembering that each child and class is different. It is not only about motivating children to learn, but also teaching them “how” to learn in a manner that is relevant, interesting, meaningful, and memorable for them. Her favorite part of working with the team here is the uplifting and friendly environment.

  • Alex Richardson, Assistant Children's House Guide

    Mr. Alex just earned his bachelor’s degree in history from UCI. He has worked with elementary age children for 2 years in Westminster before joining the team. He enjoys hiking, surfing, and practicing martial arts in his free time.

  • Gabriela Nodar, Assistant Children's House Guide

    Ms. Gaby started her teaching career 10 years ago in a non-traditional way.  Her first experience with the Montessori approach was when her first daughter began her school career 15 years ago in Santa Barbara County, Ms. Gaby loved the approach.   Due to multiple relocation from city to city and state to state, her family decided that homeschooling might provide some much needed stability for her children.  She trained in and used the Carden system that her children were attending when they were very young and discovered that she really loved teaching. Later, while living in the Lake Tahoe area, she worked as a Spanish translator and teaching assistant for the Carson School District. Ms.Gaby has three children and loves to hike, cook, do crafts with her kids, and decorate for every holiday!

  • Zahraa Alakabawy, Lead Children's House Guide

    Ms. Zahraa Alakabawy grew up in Cairo, Egypt. As a little girl, she knew in her heart that educating children was her purpose in life. In her childhood life, Ms Zahraa was a national Karate player. Ms. Zahraa earned her BS in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Upon receiving her degree, she worked in the pharmaceutical field for four years.Ms. Zahraa began her teaching career in a traditional setting but felt unfulfilled by the lack of creative freedom given to teachers and the effect this had on the students. While seeking out other approaches to education, she discovered the Montessori philosophy. A few months later, Ms Zahraa decided to move to California to complete her Association of Montessori (AMI) Primary Diploma at the Montessori Institute of San Diego. In conjunction with her diploma, she earned a Masters degree in Education through Loyola University Maryland. She gained an understanding of Dr. Montessori’s philosophy of freedom and discipline; and how to nurture and enhance the child’s quest for further independence. She also learned how to help children succeed through their own actions and choice. She is excited to put this education into place at Guidepost Montessori. Outside of teaching, Ms. Zahraa enjoys reading, traveling, shopping, and last, but not least, spending time with her daughter.

  • Petra Perez, Assistant Children's House Guide

    Ms. Petra Perez has experience in providing supervision and guidance to children from newborn to eight years of age since 2003. Recently, Ms. Petra became aware of the Montessori Method to aid children in enhancing their development and future. As a result, Ms. Petra studied early childhood education and developmentally appropriate curriculum while applying the learning methods in a child care environment, with noticeable success observed by the parents of the children under her care. In addition, Ms. Petra is engaged in continuing her education to excel as a child care provider. Ms. Petra enjoys spending time with her husband and her three children.

  • Corrie Cisneros, Assistant Guide

    Since the first grade, Ms. Corrie Cisneros has wanted to work with children. A Southern California native, Ms. Corrie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, going to the beach, doing yoga, hiking and swimming. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies/Elementary Education from California State University, Fullerton. She looks forward to her experience in the Montessori environment.

  • Fatima Dadabhoy, Assistant Guide

    Ms. Fatima wanted to be a Montessori teacher since she was in elementary school. She completed her diploma in Montessori education from Association Montessori Internationale. She worked in a traditional preschool for more than 5 years as an Assistant preschool teacher. She acquired Associate of Science Degree in early childhood education from Santa Monica College. Her interests include baking and learning new skills related to arts and crafts. She also likes to travel to meet family, explore new cities and make friends.

  • Kris Biniek, Lead Elementary Guide

    Dr. Kris Biniek earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Western Ontario and was an instructor at the undergraduate level for six years. She taught history of philosophy, with a focus on ancient philosophy, and ethics in small discussion sections, upper level seminars, and large lecture classes. Prior to graduate school, Kris worked as a technical writer and spent some time living in Japan teaching English and Spanish. During graduate school, Kris discovered Maria Montessori’s methods, and her interests in primary education and a whole child approach to education deepened as she began teaching. She noticed that many undergraduates struggled with basic academic, social, and executive skills, from writing a coherent paragraph to approaching a professor to ask for help to knowing how to approach large projects and wished she could have guided and supported these students when they were younger. Shortly after her son joined a Montessori toddler program, Kris began working at a Montessori school. She spent a few years working in administration at a Montessori school and teaching middle school before joining Guidepost Montessori. She completed her AMI Elementary certification at Montessori Northwest

  • Libby Broom, Lead Elementary Guide

    Mrs. Libby Broom began her career as an educator soon after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Developmental Psychology at the University of Oregon. Keen to travel and study, she received a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education in high school-level Mathematics, Accountancy and Life Orientation (Health) from Rhodes University in South Africa, graduating with honors. Continuing her journey abroad, Libby taught high school mathematics, mathematical literacy, natural science, technology and life orientation in South Africa at Victoria Girls’ High School, where she also had the opportunity to share her extra-curricular passions of dance, tennis, and fitness. Increasingly interested in holistic education, she trained at Montessori Northwest in Portland, OR and obtained her M.Ed. in Montessori Education at the Elementary level (ages six through twelve) at Loyola University Maryland and her AMI Elementary certification. Before joining Guidepost Montessori at Foothill Ranch, Libby served as a Lower Elementary Guide at in Cape Town, South Africa and in Southern California. In her spare time, Libby enjoys being in nature, exploring various art mediums, reading and expanding her knowledge of child development.

  • Katherine Braymer, Assistant Elementary Guide

    Ms. Braymer has earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Development as well as her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Fullerton. Upon seeing the vast differences between public school and Montessori classrooms, she has decided to pursue her Montessori training and dedicate her professional career to teaching the Montessori Method. In her free time, Ms. Braymer rescues and raises foster kittens with the help of her loving husband.

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