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Meet Our Staff

Kelly McFarland, M.Ed.
Kelly McFarland, M.Ed.
Director
Kelly McFarland attended Santa Cruz Montessori School from toddler through Kindergarten. After graduating from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, she worked in a traditional preschool. After seeing an ad for a Montessori assistant teacher, she fondly remembered her own learning experience and taught at the Chinese American International School in San Francisco for several years. Read more
Kristin Edwards, M.Ed
Kristin Edwards, M.Ed
Co-Founder
Kristin Edwards, M.Ed, is the Director & Co-Founder of Lifetime Montessori School and Co-Founder of La Jolla Montessori School. Her mission is to provide a quality Montessori environment for children to help prepare them to become Joyful learners and problem solvers. Kristin wants your child to love everything about school, no matter their age. Kristin Co-Founded Lifetime Montessori school in 2007. She and her team have built this San Diego school from scratch into a 180 student toddler-thru-elementary school powerhouse during this time. Read more
Ms. Hannah Welch
Ms. Hannah Welch
Administrative Assistant
Ms. Hannah Welch is from Albany, NY, and recently moved to San Diego to pursue her dream living in California by the beach. She loves helping others and making everyone’s job easier so she has always thrived in administrative work. Read more
Ms. Mara Smith
Ms. Mara Smith
Primary English Teacher
Ms. Mara Smith holds an AA in Child Development, a BA in Liberal Arts, a public-school teaching credential, and an AMI Primary degree. When she started her educational journey, she fell in love with working with children. Her journey started when she took her first course in child development and decided that was where she wanted to focus her future. Mara worked in a traditional elementary classroom for two years. After that, she worked as a Montessori teacher for eight years. Read More
Ms. Natasha Garcia
Ms. Natasha Garcia
Primary English Teacher
Natasha Garcia is a native San Franciscan who relocated to San Diego to pursue who Montessori training. Natasha graduated from San Francisco State University where she earned her B.A. in Early Childhood Education. Read more
Ms. Adriana G. Prado
Ms. Adriana G. Prado
Primary Spanish Teacher
Ms. Adri is a native Spanish speaker, born in Mexico and raised in San Diego since she was a child. After completing her education in Child Development, she was first introduced to Montessori in 2011, while working as a Spanish assistant teacher in a Primary classroom. During that year, Ms. Adri became passionate about the Montessori philosophy and decided to become a trained AMI Primary Guide at The Montessori Institute of San Diego (MISD) in 2012. Read more
Ms. Lilia Garcia
Ms. Lilia Garcia
Toddler Spanish Teacher
Ms. Lilia Garcia received her Associated Degree in Early Education from Southwestern College in 2006 and then her AMI Assistants to Infancy and Primary Diploma for children ages 0-6 years old from The Montessori institute of San Diego (MISD). Ms. Lilia worked as a Spanish Toddler guide at MISD’s Children’s House for the past 14 years. Read more
Ms. Asa Samoori
Ms. Asa Samoori
Toddler English Teacher
Ms. Asa received her AMI Montessori Diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego in 2018, followed by completing her master’s degree in Montessori Education from Loyola University, Maryland in 2019. She has worked in AMI Montessori schools since 2016. Ms. Asa is grateful that through her career, she gets an opportunity to serve the children. Read more
Ms. Melissa Vazquez
Ms. Melissa Vazquez
Toddler Assistant Teacher / EDP Assistant
Ms. Melissa Vazquez graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, Arts and Sciences in 2017. After completing her B.A., she continued her preparation in the field of Child Development while working in elementary school computer science programs as a coding teacher at ThoughtStem LLC. In early 2020, Ms. Melissa pursued an infant/toddler teacher position at KinderCare Learning Centers where she developed her instructive practices. Read more
Ms. Andrea Zapata
Ms. Andrea Zapata
Toddler English Teacher
Ms. Andrea Zapata moved a year ago to San Diego from Cancun, Mexico. Having grown up with a really big family on her mom's side, she knew she always liked being around children. She would even create her own daycare with her cousin’s children. She recently graduated from MISD where she took the Montessori training. Andrea worked in a traditional preschool in Mexico for two years prior to moving to San Diego. Read more
Ms. Carmen Gaxiola
Ms. Carmen Gaxiola
Toddler Spanish Teacher
Ms. Carmen Gaxiola was born in Torreon Coahuila, Mexico. She has been an AMI Montessori Guide for 21 years. Ms. Carmen studied English at St. Louis University in St. Louis Missouri and earned a degree in Education Administration from Anahuac University in Mexico City. She studied Montessori in 1999 at the Montessori Institute of San Diego (MISD).     As part of her commitment to children from a Montessori perspective, in 1996 she and her sister started a Community Montessori project In Tijuana Mexico. They founded the Centro Comunitario Esperanza, AC in 2000 to provide quality Montessori education to children from 3 to 6 years old. Read more
Ms. Radhiya Mohammed
Ms. Radhiya Mohammed
Breaker/EDP Assistant Teacher
Ms. Radhiya Mohammed is originally from Iraq and came to San Diego 11 years ago. She is a junior in college and is still continuing her education. About two years ago, she started working as a substitute teacher in preschool. After substituting at La Jolla Montessori school, she discovered Read more
Ms. Kathleen Soussou
Ms. Kathleen Soussou
Primary English Teacher
Born in a family of educators, Kathleen Dian Soussou is a native from the South of France, where she received a Master’s degree in English and American Literature/Civilization from the University of Provence. She then earned a teaching degree and got certified as an English teacher by the French Ministry of Education. For nine years, Kathleen was a teacher of English as a foreign language, teaching at the high school, middle school, and university levels, during which time, she had the honor of serving as part of the jury for the French Baccalaureate twice. Read more
Ms. Angela Leyva
Ms. Angela Leyva
Toddler Spanish Teacher
Angela Leyva has been teaching in Montessori environments for over 10 years. She graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development. Afterward, Angela took the opportunity to study abroad in Avila, Spain for 6 months. Upon her return, she attended The Montessori Institute of San Diego where she trained as an ‘assistant to infancy’ (0-3 years). She is so happy to be one of the Toddler Spanish Teachers at La Jolla Montessori School. Read more
Ms. Michele Richardson
Ms. Michele Richardson
Toddler English Teacher
Ms. Michele Richardson has worked as a Montessori teacher for over 20 years. Michele has a Bachelor of Arts from San Diego State University; a Diploma in Montessori teaching from St. Nicholas in Dublin, Ireland; a Musikgarten certification from Toronto, Canada; and a Diploma in Fashion from The Royal Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Australia.Read more
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