Akriti Rastogi

Assistant Teacher—Tulip

AkritiMs. Akriti joined the IMS community in the fall of 2018, as an assistant teacher in Sprouts and Cottage. This fall she moved to the Tulip classroom. We appreciate her background in psychology, she holds an undergraduate degree in psychology, and a Masters degree in clinical psychology.

Ms. Akriti lives in Issaquah with her husband and young son (a student at IMS). When she’s not at school Ms. Akriti enjoys traveling, both within the states and internationally. She also enjoys spending time with family.

Ms. Akriti was drawn to Montessori because it was new to her and she wanted to learn more about the philosophy. She appreciates that Montessori philosophy focuses on the whole child, not just academics. She loves the curriculum, the organization, the way its designed specifically for the child, down to the smallest detail. The aspect of independence is also important to her. And about IMS specifically, she loves the community events and community building.

Aurélie​ Tanvez

Co-Teacher— Rainier

AurelieThis is Ms. Aurélie’s tenth year on the staff or as a parent at IMS. She discovered Montessori education when her family moved to the area and she looked for a preschool for her oldest child. Montessori philosophy fit really well with her family’s philosophy of education and it has become part of their way of living.

Ms. Aurélie has a Master’s degree in biology and a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Paris. She recently completed an Early Childhood credential at the Montessori Center for Teacher Education in Bellevue, Washington. She lives in Issaquah with her two children and husband, dog and cat. When not at school Ms. Aurélie likes to cook and bake and do outdoor activities.

And about Montessori education: “When entering a Montessori classroom, I am always impressed by its serene and peaceful atmosphere. It is amazing to witness how independent and respectful the children are.”



Cina Patten


CinaThis is Ms. Cina’s second year at IMS. She discovered Montessori while working as an after-care teacher at Three Tree Montessori; she was impressed with the beauty of the classrooms and the academic ability of very young children. Ms. Cina appreciate the way the Montessori philosophy and method respects the child’s development.

Ms. Cina holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Washington, a MA in Education from Antioch University as well as a Washington State K-8 teaching certificate. She completed an Early Childhood credential at the Montessori Center for Teacher Education in 2009. She’s on the board of the Pacific Northwest Montessori Association, active in Montessori advocacy

Ms. Cina and her husband live in Auburn with two little dogs, two cats, two geckos and two bearded dragons. When not at school Ms. Cina likes to crochet blankets, read, hike and work out. She appreciates the welcoming and friendly staff and families at IMS.



Divya Annamreddy

Assistant Teacher—Maple

Ms. Divya joined the IMS community in the fall of 2018, as an assistant teacher in the toddler classroom. This year she’s an assistant teacher in the Rainier classroom. Ms. Divya earned a Bachelor of Technology degree in Computer Science and Engineering in India.

Ms. Divya lives in Sammamish with her husband and two young daughters. When she’s not at work she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, traveling, dancing and watching movies.

She was drawn to Montessori by the practical life aspect. After a year of experience, she’s learned how each child is valued as a unique individual. At IMS specifically, she appreciates how the staff treats one another with respect and the way they support each other.


Gayathri Devi Dhanakotti

Assistant Teacher—Orca


Ms. Gayathri joined the IMS community this fall as an assistant teacher in Orca and the after-school program. She holds an undergraduate degree in economics.

She lives in Issaquah with her husband and two teen-age daughters. When not at school Ms. Gayathri enjoys yoga, painting, swimming, baking, playing cards and spending time with family.

Ms. Gayathri’s oldest daughter was a Montessori student when she was young. The individualized learning appeals to Ms. Gayathri, so much so that she is making Montessori education her next career. She appreciates the friendliness of the IMS community.

Lauren Thomson

Assistant Teacher— Tulip


Ms. Lauren has been part of the Issaquah Montessori community since 2013, when she started as an aftercare assistant. Since then she’s assisted in Loft, and continued in aftercare, and this year she’s assisting in Tulip in the afternoon. While working at IMS she earned an AA degree at Bellevue College, and is working toward a BA in psychology at the University of Washington, Bothell.

Ms. Lauren shares her cat (Waffle) and dog (Odin) with her boyfriend, Jon. She lives near her parents, Elaine and Gary. For fun, she goes glamping (trailer camping), spending time with her dog, using her Cricut creatively and going to the gym.

Ms. Lauren spent the first eight years of her educational career in Montessori classrooms. In the role of teacher she appreciates the confidence and independence of the children. She finds it interesting to observe the children working through the Montessori curriculum, learning in a non-traditional way.
And about IMS—Ms. Lauren appreciates the support of the community and the friendships with families created over time. She says, “I laugh a lot and always feel the joy.”

Leena Mane

Assistant Teacher—Maple

LeenaMs. Leena joined the IMS community in the fall of 2017. She holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in electronics, and an MBA from the Indira Institute of Management.

She lives in Sammamish with her husband and two nearly-grown-up children. While not at school or spending time with her family, Leena enjoys reading, traveling and interior design.

Ms. Leena appreciated the highly supportive and encouraging leadership and atmosphere that is shown from the staff at IMS. Coming from a non-Montessori background this experience has opened her eyes to a new approach to learning and education.


Mamatha Mallareddy

Assistant Teacher—Rainier


Ms. Mamu joined the IMS community in the fall of 2018 as an assistant in the Loft (now Rainier) classroom. She holds an undergraduate degree in Engineering and Computer Science from Pragati Engineering College and a Masters degree in Human Resources and Marketing from Gitam University.

Ms. Mamu lives in Sammamish with her husband Ganesh and their two daughters, Parnika (an IMS student) and Thaswika. When not at school, she enjoys gardening.

She appreciates the Montessori method of teaching, especially the individuality of way the children do their work. Ms. Mamu likes the respect children show towards their work and that they learn practical life skills.
Ms. Mamu appreciates the work culture at Issaquah Montessori, the staff, and the support from other teachers.

Manuela Negroiu


Manuela​Ms. Manuela joined our community as an assistant in the toddler classroom in the spring of 2015, and moved on to early childhood over the summer.

She grew up in Romania, earning a Scientific Degree of Bachelor of Arts in Theology: Letters (English Language and Literature) from the University of Bucharest. She lives in Issaquah with her husband and two boys who keep her busy. When not at school or on the sidelines of a soccer match she enjoys baking, reading, going to the movies and crocheting.

Ms. Manuela met children who had come from Montessori environments and was impressed with their self-motivation and sense of responsibility. She decided to learn more about the Montessori Method. Ms. Manuela completed​ the early childhood education program at the Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest. Ms. Manuela is excited to use what she’s learned about child development and Montessori philosophy. She loves to see the children grow, the changes that take place and how they develop.



Maria Suja

Assistant Teacher—Nest

MariaMs. Maria is in her fourth year at Issaquah Montessori School. She earned an undergraduate degree in physics from Kamaraj University and a graduate degree in math and chemistry from Madurai University. Ms. Maria is currently pursuing an Early Childhood credential at the Montessori Center for Teacher Education in Bellevue.

Ms. Maria lives in Sammamish with her husband, son and dog. She enjoys walking with her dog, spending time at the gym and traveling with her family.


Mariam Sami


MariamThis is Ms. Mariam’s first year at IMS. Her family is full of Montessorians; her mother’s Montessori credential is signed by Mario Montessori and her children are students at Arbor Montessori school. She rediscovered her Montessori roots watching her children go through the process of Montessori education in their own classrooms. She especially appreciated their independence, empathy and love of learning.
Ms. Mariam earned a BA in English Language and Literature, with a minor in education from Benedictine University in Chicago. She taught grades 6, 7, and 8 for three years before moving to Washington. She has worked as an assistant teacher in lower elementary at Arbor Montessori Schools, as well as an assistant teacher in early childhood here at Issaquah Montessori. Ms. Mariam is completed her Montessori Early Childhood Credential from the Montessori Center for Teacher Education in Bellevue in 2018.
She lives in Sammamish with her husband and three young children. When not at school Ms. Mariam likes to read, experiment in the kitchen, redesign and remodel her home and enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest with her family. And about Issaquah Montessori: “I am so grateful to be part of such a generous and supportive community of dedicated individuals.”

Nichole O’Hare

Assistant Teacher—Rainier

NicoleMs. Nicole is in her fourth year as part of the IMS teaching community. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a major in psychology and a minor in English. Ms. Nicole lives in Issaquah with her husband and two elementary-school age children. As a family they enjoy camping, hiking and bike riding. Baking is Ms. Nicole’s indoor hobby—and she makes an excellent key lime pie.

Ms. Nicole attended Montessori school as a child. She came upon IMS while looking for an alternative preschool option for her youngest child. As she toured the school she was thrilled to see the materials she remembered using. While going through the classrooms she was impressed with how hard the children were working, the variety of activities, that there was something for everyone. She loves the philosophy and the self-direction as well as the opportunity for each child to follow their own interests.

Ms. Nicole appreciates the level of education, dedication, different background and passion that’s evident in the staff at IMS. She likes the small community, the ability to work together with parents and getting to know them on a level that enables her to work with their children more effectively.


Shradha Takalkhede

Assistant Teacher — Maple





Shweta Bindal


​Ms. Shweta joined the staff at Issaquah MonteShwetassori School in 2012. She was born and brought up in India. Her family moved to the Issaquah area 13 years ago for her husband’s work. She obtained both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in English Literature in India, and earned an American Montessori Society Early Childhood credential from The Montessori Center for Teacher Education in Bellevue, Washington.

The main thing that attracts Ms. Shweta most in the Montessori philosophy is the respect for children. She is looking forward to learning and growing along with the children.

Ms. Shweta lives in Sammamish with her husband and two young daughters.



Vinita Varma

Co- Teacher— Rainier

VinitaMs. Vinita has been at Issaquah Montessori School since 2008. She earned Bachelor’s degree in business manaegement and a Master’s degree in commerce with specialization in finance. ​​Vinita is completing the Early Childhood credential from the Montessori Center for Teacher Education in Bellevue, Washington.

Ms. Vinita lives in Issaquah with her husband and two sons, one who also attends IMS in the toddler program. For fun, she plays tennis, reads, travels, knits and cooks.

She believes that a child grows socially and academically when he or she is in a positive and well-organized environment that follows the Montessori philosophy. Montessori makes learning fun and interesting, and grooms children so they are polite, logical and confident. Ms. ​Vinita appreciates the beautifully set-up classrooms and the wonderful staff at IMS.