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MCS STAFF

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KAREN GRAZIANO

Director, MCS - director@mcsherndon.com

Ms. Graziano has been in the education field for over 20 years, having started as a preschool teacher.  She taught at a top private preschool in Lowe's Island for 4 years and then moved onto another preschool to start their part time program. She grew the program from one class with 15 kids to 3 distinct classes with 15 each. She worked at MCS for 7 years as Director of Admissions and Assistant Head of School and then for 3 years at Loudoun County Public schools. She returned to the MCS family as the Director of Operations and Head of School in August 2017. Karen lives in Lovettsville with her fiance Greg. She has 2 sons, 1 granddaughter, 3 step daughters and 3 step grandchildren. In her free time she likes to relax with a good book and be by the water.

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RUBY AKBAR

Lead Toddler Teacher and Aftercare Supervisor

Ms. Ruby Akbar was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. She has a bachelors degree in Family Relationship and Child Development. She completed her Primary class training from Association Montessori Internationale Institute in Karachi, Pakistan. 

Ms Ruby moved to the United States in 1994 and worked as a lead guide in several Montessori schools in Arizona and Virginia for almost twenty six years. In 2002 she had the opportunity to work at MCS as a Toddler Teacher for two years and later taught the Primary class for the next ten years. 

She shared that “It is my responsibility to prepare an environment that fosters growth and provides each child with the possibility to reach their potential.”

Ms. Ruby is a believer that we must “Educate for peace, which begins with the child”.  

She loves being with children because they teach us so much; children are instinctively accepting of you the way you are, and they do not judge people. Ms. Ruby feels that she learns something from the children every day! She feels blessed to be a member of MCS family. 

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MARIZA AKKAWI

Lead Montessori Teacher

Ms. Akkawi was born in Lebanon and lived there till she was 19. She then moved to Greece because of war in her country. In Greece, she studied Sociology at the American University of Greece. She was inspired to explore the Montessori system of teaching after seeing how much her niece loved her Montessori school in Athens. She worked with little children as a tutor, an ESOL teacher, volunteer in private and public schools in KG - 6th grade and always knew she wanted to be a teacher.
She moved to Virginia in 1992 after she got married. She earned both  her Primary(3 to 6 ) and Elementary Montessori (6-12)  diplomas from the Washington Montessori Institute and a Masters in Education from Loyola College in Baltimore. Since then she has taught upper elementary, lower elementary and primary classes.
Ms. Akkawi loves teaching young children and her goal is to reach every child and bring out the best in them. She wants to see every child reach his/her potential as a whole child, academically, socially and emotionally. As a parent, she believes the best decision was to send her own two daughters to a Montessori school. She can see the benefits of their early education till now. Her goal is to help other children achieve the most in their three year cycle of education in our Montessori classroom.
Her hobbies are traveling , cooking, listening to music, reading, hiking and  swimming.

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REHANA KASHIF

Lead Montessori Teacher

Mrs. Kashif grew up in Karachi, Pakistan and received her Master’s degree in Political Science from the University Of Karachi in 2001. In 2004, she attended the Association Montessori Internationale Institute where she received her AMI Diploma. She has 12 years of experience in education all together which includes 2 years of teaching abroad, 10 years of teaching young preschoolers at Montessori Country School. Mrs. Kashif is currently the lead Montessori teacher in the primary class at Montessori Country School. Her teaching Philosophy is to follow the child, providing a prepared environment while encouraging independence, freedom within limits, and a sense of order. She currently resides in  Herndon with her husband.  In her spare time, she likes to spend time with close friends and family.

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NORMI BROWN

Primary Teacher Assistant

Ms. Normi grew up in the Philippines where she received her Bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering. She worked for a large multi national company that provided her the opportunity to travel to different countries and form a deep understanding of many cultures. A key part of her job was to develop standards and training employees and suppliers. While living in Japan for 7 years, Ms. Normi was able to combine her teaching experience and love for kids by becoming a Sunday School teacher. Ms. Normi believes in the Montessori's philosophy that the goal of early education should be to activate the child's own natural desire to learn. If we can nurture this as teachers, then we are setting our children up for success. Ms. Normi and her husband are blessed with one child. She enjoys reading parenting books, connecting with friends, traveling, and most of all being with her family.

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PAMELA ALARCON

Toddler Teacher Assistant & Aftercare

Ms.Pamela grew up right here in Herndon, Virginia. She went to Herndon High School where she later joined the Teachers For Tomorrow program in collaboration with The University of Shenandoah and was able to work with children in all age groups. Ms. Pamela has wanted to be an educator since she was younger due to her having many younger siblings, and teaching was something she was always doing in her own home. Ms.Pamela loves the Montessori philosophy as she uses it at home with her younger siblings. She wants to give them the confidence of being independent at a young age. 

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SHAHANNA SINGH

Toddler Teacher Assistant 

Mrs. Singh is from Brooklyn, NY; she recently moved to Virginia. Mrs.Singh is the second oldest of Six Siblings; being a mother figure to her siblings gave her a love of caring for others. She worked at a daycare center as a teaching assistant and director’s assistant for five years, where her love and passion for teaching children continued to grow. She continued her education and received her bachelor’s degree in science, and later on worked for the New York State Department of Education as a Special Education teaching assistant for seven years. 

Mrs. Singh is a mother of two energetic little girls. One of which currently attends Montessori Country School. She loves spending quality time with her family, doing Pilates, cooking,  and attending family-friendly events.  Mrs.Singh believes if you make learning fun and creative, it will naturally motivate any student to learn.

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ANAHI PEREZ ZABALETA

Spanish and Aftercare Lead Teacher

Ms. Anahi Perez Zabaleta has dedicated her life to the education and care of children. With a solid background in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from Universidad Mayor de San Simón

in her native country, Bolivia, Anahi began her career as a nutritionist fused with her passion for children led her to work in pediatric and maternity hospitals, social projects, and schools.

In addition to her work, Anahi enjoys spending time with her family, learning every day, and cherishing moments in nature. She grew up in a home where education was an innate passion, and the love for language was essential.

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