Baer earned his Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) with St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN, his Bachelor of Liberal Sciences (BLS) in Human Development at Arizona State University, and further undergraduate studies in world history at the University of Durham, United Kingdom. Baer has his AMS Early Childhood certification with Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE), Princeton, NJ, and Montessori Applied To Children at Risk (MACAR-I) from the Shelton School in Dallas, TX. Although Baer began teaching while in college, he moved into the business sector post-undergraduate where he remained for many years before returning to education, teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to private banking clients in Zürich, Switzerland. Baer completed the circle back into early childhood education choosing Montessori, a reflection of his own childhood and family’s values. Baer joined the HPMS family in 2011.
Benjamin earned his BA in Modern Literary Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and his Early Childhood Education Teacher Certification from City College of San Francisco, and is currently working towards his Masters in Bilingual Education at Hunter College. He also trained in Teachers College of Columbia University’s Writing Workshop and thoroughly enjoys helping his students grow as expressive, enthusiastic and confident young writers. He spent a year teaching English in Paris, eight years in the kindergarten classroom at the French-American International School in San Francisco and six months at a non-profit school in Varanasi, India. He is a certified yoga teacher and loves bringing mindfulness practice and movement activities into the classroom. Benjamin is now very excited to be returning for his sixth year in the Green Room!
Garima has a BA she earned while living in India. She completed her CDA (Child Development Associate) certification in HCC Bridgeport, Connecticut. She worked for over five years at a preschool in Westport, Connecticut. When she lived in McLean, Virginia, she worked for seven years at the Brooksfield Montessori School, first as a substitute and then as an assistant teacher. This is Garima’s second year at HPMS. She is very proud of her two daughters– the eldest has graduated from New York University and the younger is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania. Garima loves yoga, mindful breathing, hiking, cooking and gardening.
Hala earned her Montessori Teaching Certificate from PCTE. She has 16 years of experience working in Montessori schools, though her Montessori experience extended even further back. Hala was first introduced to Montessori through her parents who opened a school in their home when she was four years old, and she credits growing up in a Montessori environment surrounded by happy, busy children as her inspiration to follow in her parents’ footsteps. She is entering her tenth year at HPMS and has had the pleasure of developing close bonds with many families over the years and is so excited to be part of a growing school community.
Hansang has two AMS certifications in both Early Childhood (3-6 years) and Lower Elementary (6-9 years). He has a M.Ed in Montessori Education from Xavier University, and he later added the New York State Teaching certification. Hansang also has a B.Eng from the college he attended in Korea. He has taught for the past 18 years at the early childhood and elementary level. This is his eighth year teaching in the Yellow Room at Hamilton Park Montessori School.
Jaclyn has a BA in Justice Studies from Montclair State University and a MA in Criminal Justice from New Jersey City University. In 2014, she began her training at Princeton Center for Teacher Education to earn her early childhood AMS credential. Previously, she worked with a young boy with special needs, where she learned alternative methods of teaching. She has also assisted a program where she helped teach Montessori students how to solve the Rubik’s Cube, strengthening cognitive skills for problem solving, as well as encouraging creative and critical thinking. She is celebrating five full years at HPMS. Jaclyn is also a HPMS parent and looks forward to her son joining the Wee program!
Justine has a BS in Education from Bucknell University, where she focused on Elementary and Early Childhood. Justine has also studied ESL. She joined HPMS in 2010, and after a year of being an assistant, she decided to pursue her American Montessori Society certification through a training program at the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE). She is now entering her seventh year at HPMS and is delighted to join the Blue Room this year.
Lala, Director of Early Childhood, has her AMS Early Childhood teaching credential through West Side Montessori School and a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education through New York University. She has 12 years of teaching experience in two Montessori schools and has been supervising student teachers for West Side Montessori School-Teacher Education Program (WSMS-TEP) for four years. She also trained in Writers Workshop at Teachers College at Columbia University and is very glad to participate in the Writers Workshop teaching in HPMS. LaLa is from Taiwan and very excited to share Taiwanese culture with the HPMS community!
Mara has over 16 years experience in early childhood settings and has worked as a Montessori teacher for over 13 years. Mara has an AMS Early Childhood Teaching Credential from CMTE and a BS in Early Childhood Education from CCNY. Mara is also certified as a Holistic Health Counselor from IIN and loves helping children establish eating and lifestyle habits that set a healthy foundation for life. She does this by introducing children to local, organic and fresh foods through hands on activities. Some of Mara’s most popular activities are: making a rainbow out of fruits, and juicing carrots, apples, and spinach to make fresh and delicious green juice.
Maria Josefina “Jing” Perez-Garza has a BA in Communication Arts from Maryknoll College and earned her Certification in Professional Education from the University of the Philippines. She completed her Montessori training and began her teaching career at the Operation Brotherhood Montessori Center in Manila, Philippines. Jing has been a Montessori teacher for 19 years, beginning at the elementary level of Franciscan Montessori Earth School in Portland, Oregon before she moved to Plainsboro, New Jersey, where she focused on teaching at the early childhood level in 2002. Jing has been with HPMS since 2010, when she launched the Purple Room. She also has experience in the private sector, having worked as a Public Relations Officer in Advertising and Marketing for Doyle, Dane, and Bernbach.
Melissa J. has studies at the San Fernando Technical Institute and worked in the Accounting and Business Management field in her home country before traveling to the United States where she worked as a Council Aide to Mayor Steven Fulop in Jersey City. Melissa was born and raised in the beautiful island of Trinidad where she grew up visiting the neighborhood islands and other countries having a love for nature and natural resources. Melissa has chosen to pursue a career in teaching as she sees the importance of each child’s needs and wants to truly facilitate the learning process for every child. Melissa is also entering her 5th year at HPMS and is excited to continue in the Green Room. This year she is completing her Montessori teaching credential.
Michele S., Director of Early Childhood, has an AMS Early Childhood teaching credential through Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE) and a BA in Literature through Rutgers University. Michele has over 20 years of experience in education across both public charter and private Montessori settings. She has been a supervising teacher for interns from both PCTE and WSMS-TEP, is in her sixth year as a Field Consultant, and has also worked as a teacher trainer, focusing on the Sensorial curriculum. Michele attended the Teachers College Writing Project at Columbia University, where she was trained in Lucy Calkins’ Writing Program, and she is excited to continue developing HPMS as a community of active, articulate and enthusiastic writers. She also enjoys collaborating with the upper school staff in developing HPMS’ health curriculum and ecology/garden curriculum. Michele opened the Red Room at HPMS in the fall of 2007, and she has been thrilled to grow with the HPMS community ever since.
Michelle T. has a BS in Sociology and Elementary Education from Muhlenberg College. During college, she studied abroad at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where she had the opportunity to develop a writing program for children living in poverty. Michelle has worked in public schools in a special education class, an inclusion pre-k class, and as a first grade teacher. In her free time, she loves to volunteer, particularly at Comfort Zone, a camp where she mentors children who have lost a parent. Michelle decided to pursue a career in Montessori education because the philosophy aligns with her teaching philosophy. She has her AMS credential through the Princeton Center for Teacher Education. She is extremely excited to begin her third year in the Blue Room.
Minal has an AMS Early Childhood teaching credential from West Side Montessori School (New York) and a MA and BS in Accounting and Taxation from Mithibai College (Mumbai, India). She believes imparting knowledge through education is a privelege and is glad to be a part of this profession. She has been teaching with HPMS since 2010 and is thrilled to grow with the school ever since. She is an HPMS teacher and also an HPMS mom. She is very excited for her son to continue the Early Childhood Program this year!
Neepa has her MA in Early Childhood Education, specializing in Montessori, from St. Catherine’s College (St. Paul, Minnesota), her Early Childhood Montessori Teaching Credential from the West Side Montessori Teacher Education Program (New York, NY), and her BA in Accounting from Jai Hind College (Mumbai, India). Before joining HPMS in 2010, Neepa worked for four years in New York City and was a teacher in India for two years. Neepa is also a proud mother of two children. Neepa’s son is an HPMS Early Childhood student and her daughter is in the HPMS Bridge Program.
Puja studied English and Language Arts at Hunter College, City University of New York and received her Infant/Toddler training from the Center for Montessori Education at New Rochelle, NY. She has worked with young children since 2000 and has experience working with different age groups and implementing various pedagogies through several states. She is excited to become a part of the HPMS community along with her daughter who is also in the Early Childhood program at HPMS. Puja also enjoys photography, cooking, traveling, and literature.
Rachelle has an AMS Early Childhood teaching credential through PCTE and a MA in Early Childhood Education from the City College of New York. She has been teaching for more than 20 years in Montessori environments. She enjoys being with children which makes her feel very young at heart.
Roopa has a BA in Economics & Commerce from Mumbai University (India) and also an Early Childhood Teaching Credential from St. Xavier’s College (India). Roopa has also earned an AMS Early Childhood Teacher Credential from the West Side Montessori School-TEP (New York). She has worked in child development for almost twelve years; she has been teaching at HPMS since March 2007 and has grown with the school community ever since. She firmly believes that teaching is an incredibly important profession and is glad to be a part of it. Roopa is also a proud mother of 2 daughters who are HPMS students.
Sasha has a MA in Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and a BA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina- Wilmington. Sasha also has AMS Early Childhood credentials from the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE) and the Montessori Applied to Children at Risk (MACAR-I) from the Shelton School in Dallas, TX. Sasha is now completing a Board Certified Behavior Analysis Certificate Program through Florida Institute of Technology.