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STAFF

Bergen-Lafayette Montessori School is a small and vibrant early childhood community. Our well-qualified and supportive staff respectfully, appreciate the unfolding of each child's development. We embrace Maria Montessori's goal to recreate the world into a more peaceful, compassionate, and purposeful place by focusing on both the nature and development of each child.

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MYANI LAWSON

Executive Director / Head of School

Ms. Lawson graduated from Lincoln University, cum laude, with a B.A. in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. She also holds an M.Ed. in Reading Education from Howard University. Ms. Lawson received her formal introduction to The Montessori Method at Princeton Center for Teacher Education. She has worked in the field of education for over 20 years. During her career she has held the positions of classroom teacher, academic enrichment program director, elementary instructional coach, adult education instructor, university adjunct instructor, educational consultant, and curriculum coordinator. Ms. Lawson is a passionate and dedicated educator whose varied background and hands-on approach ensure Bergen-Lafayette Montessori School's offerings exceed the standards.

“The greatest sign of success for a teacher…is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.'"

-Maria Montessori

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VANEEN ANDERSON

Assistant Head of School

Ms. Anderson has been in the field of early learning for over 30 years. She has received her CDA credentials, Directors Certificate, and has completed numerous child development courses throughout the years. During her career she has served as Director and Owner of an Early Learning Childcare Program (Baby Steps to Success), a daycare consultant, early childhood teacher and Client Services  Manager. Ms. Anderson is currently in the process of obtaining her Infant & Toddler credential from West Side Montessori School in New York and believes that all children deserve to have a safe educational environment in which to learn and grow. Ms. Anderson is the proud mother of 3 adult children and grandmother of eight! When not working, Ms. Anderson enjoys spending her free time with her family.

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NWANDI LAWSON

Development Director

Ms. Lawson earned an MBA from the Emory University Goizueta School of Business, and she is a magna cum laude graduate of Howard University where she studied journalism and French. Ms. Lawson’s broad professional experience includes teaching middle school in an economically challenged California community, becoming an Emmy Award winning television producer for CNN and other broadcasters, and founding both a media production company and business consulting firm. As a current member of the Bahá'i Continental Board of Counsellors for the Americas, Ms. Lawson has the opportunity to work on educational initiatives in North, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean.

Ms. Lawson is the mother of two daughters who benefitted from Montessori education from age three through middle school. She brings this experience along with her continuing interest in developing educational opportunities for children of all backgrounds to receive a sound education that recognizes their individual nobility and builds their capacity to contribute to a better world.

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QUEENIE YU

Business Manager

Ms. Yu is a cum laude graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and Management Information Systems. 

Ms. Yu has over 10 years of experience as a Management Consultant for many Fortune 500 companies to develop and implement improvement plans to increase productivity, reduce costs and enable efficiencies to drive an increase in revenue and profit.  Driven by a desire for small businesses to have a stronger financial understanding, Ms. Yu has more recently worked with local small businesses to gain financial strength and stability by developing financial models and operational budgets for her clients.  She is happy to use her time and talents to further the mission of Bergen-Lafayette Montessori School.

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ANTHONETH SEPULVEDA

Head Infant Teacher

Ms. Sepulveda graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in Childhood Education/English. During her years in Brooklyn College, she grew to admire the philosophy of Maria Montessori. She has worked in an Infant Toddler program for 4 years and is now pursuing her Montessori Teacher Certification at the Westside Montessori School Teacher Education Program. One of her favorite quotes by Maria Montessori is “We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.”

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VASHNI DAYAL

Lead Infant Teaching Assistant

Ms. Dayal is currently pursuing her Child Development Associate certification. She is the proud mother of three children, twin girls and a son. She recently moved to the United States from Guyana and has been working with infants, toddlers, and preschool children. Ms. Dayal is excited to share her love of education with the youngest students at BLMS. She believes that Montessori education is a wonderful way for a child to begin learning, as it addresses both their academic and emotional needs. 

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BRITTANY SCHUDDEKOPF

Infant Teaching Assistant

Ms. Schuddekopf is currently pursuing her A.A. in Special Education. She has been in the field of early childhood education for over 9 years and began working at Bergen-Lafayette Montessori School in 2021. She has a passion for working with children in a kind-hearted, patient, motivational way. Ms. Schuddekopf is also the mother to an amazing little boy, and she excitedly utilizes her Montessori learning with her son as well as her students. 

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ZYKIERRAH RICHARDSON

Infant Teaching Assistant

Ms. Richardson is currently pursuing her early childhood education dream. She was born and raised in Jersey City and is the proud mother of a lovely little girl. She has been working with infants, toddlers, and preschool children for the past several years and is excited to share her love and experience with the youngest students at BLMS.

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ASHLEY MONTANEZ

Infant Teaching Assistant

Ms. Montanez has always had a love for children. She has 5 years of experience in the infant and toddler field. Ms. Montanez has an Associate's degree and Child Development Associate certificate. From a young age she knew she wanted to be an educator to young minds. Ms. Montanez is also the proud mother of a baby boy and she is excited to be working in the Infant classroom and to learn more about Montessori education. 

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ALEISHA WEST

Toddler Head Teacher

Ms. West holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Hunter College and is in her 7th year as an educator. As a Montessori Teacher, Ms. West feels that connecting the environment with the children is her role and she strives to inspire, lead, and develop a learning community that meets children’s needs. Ms. West has held the positions of Teacher’s Assistant for Pre-K in the NY Department of Education and Teacher’s Assistant for a Montessori Environment in Brooklyn, NY, settling into the Toddler Community. From there, she moved into her position as a Co-Lead Toddler Teacher at her school in Brooklyn and now Head Toddler Teacher at Bergen-Lafayette Montessori School. Along with Ms. West’s passion for serving the students and families of the community, she also enjoys traveling, exploring various foods, and spending time with her family. Ms. West is grateful to have made a landing at BLMS and thankful to be part of this growing family. 

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JERRELL SABLAN

Toddler Teaching Assistant

Ms. Sablan was introduced to Bergen-Lafayette Montessori School as a parent, and she immediately developed a strong connection to Montessori education’s potential to help develop the next generation of young people. She has enjoyed working with Infant, Toddler, and Primary children during her time at Bergen-Lafayette Montessori School. She has a passion for both teaching and learning and is currently pursuing her Associate degree. Ms. Sablan was raised in the Pacific Northwest and now lives in Jersey City with her husband and son. She believes that the best educational foundations are built through connection between the child, the parent, the teacher, and the community.

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ELDALIZ FIGUEROA

Toddler Teaching Assistant

Ms. Figueroa attended trade school to learn medical assisting. After having her own children, she determined that she was very much interested in the field of early childhood education and has been working in early learning for the last four years, with infants and toddlers.  Ms. Figueroa enjoys working with young children because of the opportunity she has to understand them and help them grow into beautiful, independent beings. Ms. Figueroa discovered the Montessori Method in 2021, when applying to BLMS. She has found the philosophy to be amazing and looks forward to continuing her journey as a Montessorian for many years to come.

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STEPHANIE BRADY

Head Primary Teacher

Ms. Brady began her Montessori journey at BLMS in 2015 as a Teaching Assistant. She admired the mission of BLMS and fell in love with the Montessori philosophy. She decided to become a Montessori certified teacher and obtained her AMS Early Childhood Montessori teaching certification at The Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New York. Her goal is for every child to have an enjoyable experience at school.  She is committed to providing children with an authentic Montessori education through fun, hands-on experiences and is most passionate about developing a love of reading.  Ms. Brady actively seeks professional development opportunities to improve her practice and started pursuing her master's degree in Early Childhood Education-Special Education.  She is the proud mother of a bubbly baby girl, who happily attends BLMS, and follows the Montessori method at home with her.  She is grateful to be part of the BLMS community in both capacities.

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SANDRA VALENCIA

Primary Teaching Assistant

Ms. Valencia graduated with a degree in Visual Arts from the Universidad Nacional in her home country of Colombia. Her ability to speak both Spanish and English motivated her to study ESL (English as a Second Language) and work in bilingual schools in Colombia, teaching visual arts to elementary children learning in bilingual environments. She recently relocated to the United States and is happy to bring her knowledge of bilingual education to the Primary students at BLMS.

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PAULINA DARASZ

Primary Teaching Assistant

Ms. Darasz graduated from Kean University in 2020 with her B.A. in Psychology. She has worked with toddler and preschool-aged children for over 5 years.  In addition to serving as a Teaching Assistant in the Primary classroom at BLMS, she also leads the After-School Enrichment program and is excited to plan engaging and hands-on activities centered around Music, Art, Cooking, Physical Education, and STEM. Ms. Darasz is a passionate educator who is dedicated to fostering a safe and inclusive environment for the children of BLMS. 

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ROSA ALVANEZ

Floater

Ms. Alvanez earned her A.A. in Early Childhood Education from Hudson County Community College and her B.A. in Spanish from New Jersey City University. She feels that children are the most important treasure we have, and we have to embrace them in order for them to reach their potential in life. Ms. Alvanez has over ten years of experience working with children professionally. She is the proud mother of three beautiful and amazing children and her passion for teaching children began when she became a mother for the first time. The Montessori Method of learning appeals to Ms. Alvanez because she believes each child has their own unique ways of learning.

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CHRISMAILY PICHARDO

Substitute

Ms. Pichardo graduated with a BA in Spanish, magna cum laude from Lehman College; she also holds an Associate in Applied Science in Early Childhood Education from Hostos Community College and a CDA from Bronx Community College. She has worked with children for the last 5 years and is also the mother of a beautiful daughter. She feels very strongly that each child is unique and wonderful and has their own learning pace. Ms. Pichardo has a great passion for education and teaching and she believes when we teach with love we leave marks on the heart.

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GEHAN BESHAY

Substitute

Ms. Beshay earned her CDA (Child Development Associate) in 2018. She is currently studying early childhood education at Hudson County Community College. Ms. Beshay was born in Egypt and is proud to speak both English and Arabic. She currently lives in Bayonne with her husband and three children. She is happy to be part of the school and loves her work with children, especially helping them learn to be independent and increasing their knowledge the world. Ms. Beshay’s hope is that all children in the world are happy, smiling, and enjoying their childhood.

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VICTOR BENITO

Substitute

Mr. Benitor is a Brooklyn born, NJ native whose genuine passion is helping young people find their full potential and succeed. He is a music historian, visual artist and emcee who enjoys incorporating the arts into his work. As a northeast Philadelphia ITT Technical Institute graduate, he further connected his love for the arts and has later on evolved as a podcaster. He excitedly brings his expertise and passion for education into the BLMS school community to impact young lives.

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CHARLES ADEGITE

Information Technology Specialist

Charles is a native New Yorker and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology. He loves to spend time with family, watch sports while also volunteering his time mentoring high school students and empowering young leaders in our world today to be successful. Charles is our IT Specialist at Bergen-Lafayette Montessori School leading the way towards new IT infrastructure and key technologies for staff and students. He's truly passionate about IT and thankful he is able to contribute to the mission of the BLMS community. 

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© 2022 by Bergen-Lafayette Montessori School. All Rights Reserved.


324 Communipaw Ave 
Jersey City, NJ 07304

info@bergenlafayettemontessori.com 
Phone: (201) 706-3403

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