Our Team

ToTH Faculty and Administration

At ToTH Montessori, we pride ourselves on our commitment to the quality, enthusiasm, and talent of our teachers. ToTH teachers can only bring that famous Montessori joy and patience to the classroom every day if they feel rested, valued and fulfilled in their role. ToTH offers competitive compensation, health and short term disability insurance coverage, employer-matched retirement accounts, and ongoing professional development to all of our teachers. ToTH’s Head of School works closely with each teaching team, and with ToTH’s co-founders, who actively participate in the visioning, planning and sustainability of the school.

Our faculty and administration can be reached by calling our office at (202) 748-5930 or emailing us at info@toddlersonthehill.org.

Natalie Baginski, M.Ed., Head of School

Natalie earned her Montessori Credential through the MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education)-accredited Center for Guided Montessori Studies and has spent over a decade in toddler, primary and upper elementary Montessori classrooms.  Natalie is a frequent contributor to Montessorium.com and has presented at the Montessori Foundation/International Montessori Council’s annual International Conference. She holds holds two Master’s Degrees, including in Curriculum and Instruction (K-6). She is a former Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa.

Javacia Finney, M. Ed., MACTE certified teacher, toddler part-day classroom

Javacia (jah-VAY-see-ah) received her Master’s Degree in Montessori Education at Loyola University Maryland and completed her Bachelor’s Degree from York College in Sociology. She received her Association Montessori Internationale Diploma for Primary (3-6 yo) from the MACTE-accredited Washington Montessori Institute and has guided in Montessori environments for seven years. Javacia is currently pursuing a full Infant/Toddler Monterssori teaching certification through CGMS. Javacia  also taught at the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center for five years before joining ToTH.

 

 

Renata Faccioli, MACTE-certified Teacher, Primary classroom

Renata joined ToTH full time in 2019 after having been a consultant and collaborator since 2018. Renata received her Primary 3-6 certification from the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. Renata has taught fitness and wellness based programs for over ten years to adolescent, elementary, family and senior populations. She is passionate about learning and sharing wellness practices, as she feels this is at the core of furthering the Montessori way of life! Prior to joining ToTH, Renata was the owner-operator of a licensed Montessori home care program for Infants, Toddler and Primary aged children in Nevada.

Sasha Sargent,Teacher, Primary Classroom

Sasha is a graduate of Trinity Washington University, where she studied Human Relations and Early Childhood Education. It was during her time at Trinity that Sasha discovered and researched Maria Montessori’s teaching philosophy and methods, and that experience sparked her desire to do an internship with another local Montessori school where she saw the method in action and was hooked. Sasha completed her Montessori fundamentals training with the MACTE-accredited Center for Guided Montessori Studies in 2018, and plans to pursue a Montessori 3-6 certification. Sasha was born in Memphis, TN and raised in the Bronx, in New York City.

Tierra Barnett, Teacher, Part Day Toddler Classroom

At an early age Tierra was taught to love to learn and that knowledge was power! Tierra received her BA in sociology and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Social Work, with hopes to pursue her PhD in Child Psychology. She is now studying Montessori Fundamentals with the MACTE-accredited Center for Guided Montessori Studies. Tierra worked a year in DCPS and learned about Montessori and wanted to apply her passions to an educational approach that helped children reach their full potential. Her strong passion for learning, engaging with others, and exploring the world, makes Montessori a natural fit for Tierra.

 

Zharray Johnson, Teacher, Full-day Toddler Classroom

Zharray has taught in childhood education for more than six years. Zharray received her B.S. in Psychology from Morgan State University, and completed her Montessori fundamentals training with the MACTE-accredited Center for Guided Montessori Studies. Zharray is currently pursuing a full Infant/Toddler Monterssori teaching certification through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. Zharray is brings creativity, art, drama, and music to ToTH and enjoys creating themes and activities that center around seasons, holidays, cultural celebrations, geography, and artists. A singer and musician, Zharray is also a trained Music Together instructor.

Morgan Brown, Teacher, Primary Classroom

Morgan enjoys anything that allows her to be creative, expressive, and artistic. She was searching for something where she could bring that to an early childhood setting, and feels ToTH’s Primary program is a fantastic fit for her. Morgan completed her Montessori Fundamentals certificate with the MACTE-accredited Center for Guided Montessori Studies. She is excited to work in an early childhood setting where she can exercise patience and observe children, instead of manage and instruct them, as her personality lends itself to freedom, understanding, and connection. Morgan received her B.A. in Arts Management from the University of Wisconsin.

 

Gladys Mariscal, Spanish Teacher, Primary and Part Day Toddler Classrooms

 

Karen Solache, Teacher, Full Day Toddler Classroom

 

Ila Furman, Admissions  and Enrollment Director

Ila joined ToTH in 2015. She manages admissions and enrollment for ToTH and is usually the first person that all prospective families interact with. As a mother of two young boys and a resident of Navy Yard, Ila has been actively involved in local early childhood programs. She holds an M.A. in art history, and previously procured art and managed exhibitions in several museums and galleries in Washington, DC.

 

Stephanie Sarvana, Administrative Director

Stephanie joined the ToTH administrative team in 2019. She manages daily operations, human resources, and licensing requirements for ToTH. She is an Arizona native with a BA and MA in English Literature from Arizona State University. After working in higher education at the Corcoran College of Art + Design and the George Washington University, Stephanie became a mom to ToTH student Leli. In her spare time she plays the violin in the Capital City Symphony.

 

Anya Landau French, Co-founder and Director of Finance

After helping to found ToTH in 2012, Anya served as its Executive Director until 2016. She currently serves as Finance Director and  provides advice and assistance for special projects throughout the year.  Anya holds an M.A. in Education and Human Development, and previously taught English as a Second Language for five years. Anya is also a public policy professional specializing in U.S. – Cuban affairs.

 

Sara Agarwal, Co-Founder & Board Member

As a young toddler, Sara’s son, Aniket, seemed to need more stimulus than his nanny could provide. Sara looked for a high-quality part-time Montessori program on Capitol Hill, but couldn’t find one, so she decided to build one from scratch.  After finding several like-minded Capitol Hill parents and months of effort, ToTH was born in October 2012. Sara continues to serve as a member of the board or directors and works on non-linear growth strategies. Sara is a former Peace Corps volunteer, and specializes in supporting the use of technology in economic development worldwide.

 

Joy Wilder, Co-Founder and Board Member

Joy has always been passionate about building community, so when the opportunity arose to help start ToTH for the Capitol Hill community, she rolled up her sleeves. Integral to its launch, Joy continues to support ToTH by managing its licensing and financial aid programs. Joy and her husband moved to Alexandria, Virginia to serve as Location Pastors for Capital City Church. She has since shared her passion for Montessori with her community by creating Montesshare, an in-home, Spanish bilingual, Montessori preschool.

 

ToTH teachers and staff gather together for our annual year-end holiday party!

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