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Karen Graziano

Director, MCS

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 Director and then for 3 years at Loudoun County Public schools. She returned to the MCS family as the Director in August 2017.

Karen lives in Lovettsville with her fiance Greg. She has 2 sons, 3 soon to be step daughters and 3 step grandchildren. In  her free time she likes to relax with a good book and be by the water.

Mariza Akkawi

Lead Montessori Teacher

Mrs. Akkawi grew up in Beirut, Lebanon and later moved to Greece during the civil war in Lebanon. She studied Sociology at the American University of Greece in Athens. She moved to Viriginia in 1992 and pursued a Montessori degree. She received her AMI Primary and Elementary diplomas at the Washington Montessori Institute. She also received a Masters in Education at Loyola college in Baltimore. 
Mrs. Akkawi has worked with upper elementary, lower elementary and primary aged children, but her preferred age group is the 3 to 6 year old children. She was privileged to be trained under Mrs. Hildegard who was trained under Mario Montessori, the son of Maria Montessori.
Mrs. Akkawi has lived in different countries including Lebanon, Egypt, Dubai, Morocco and Greece which has helped her understand different cultures. She can also speak 5 languages - Arabic,English, French, German and Greek and is an avid traveler. Her hobbies include traveling , cooking, listening to music, reading, hiking and  swimming . Her goal is to help every child reach his/her full potential.

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.

Dottie Wilson

Teacher Assistant

Mrs. Wilson has been teaching young children at MCS for the past 40 years. This year she is working with the Primary class. She finds working with young children both rewarding and exciting , especially when a child says "I can do it myself!"

Linda Weiner

Toddler Teacher and Assistant Director

Linda grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, moving to Connecticut at the height of the Lebanese Civil War. She received her BA in Philosophy from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Linda’s love of Montessori education began as a high school student volunteering in a Montessori classroom. She was impressed with how curious and eager the children were about exploring and learning. She vowed that her own children one day would go to Montessori schools, and they did! Linda has two grown children who attended Montessori schools from Pre-school through the 8th grade. Linda was a parent volunteer in her own children’s Montessori schools in Northern California and Florida; but, her passion for Montessori deepened when she was offered an Assistant Teaching job at Summit-Questa Montessori in Davie, FL where she worked for 6 years. Linda has since moved to Virginia with her husband, and is thrilled to be back in the Montessori classroom. Linda is also both a certified Peace Educator since 2005, teaching children of all ages about the dynamics of conflict, raising awareness around self and others, and empowering children with non-violent problem solving skills, and a certified Parenting Coach since 2009, sharing parenting skill-building strategies with families seeking more peace and cooperation at home. A favorite quote of hers from Mohandas Gandhi is, “If we are to teach real peace in this world… we shall have to begin with the children.” Linda’s hobbies include cooking, reading, traveling, learning, and most of all time with family.

Madame Sihem

French Teacher & Teacher Assistant

Madame Sihem was born and raised in Algiers, Algeria. She did all her studies in French and graduated from Algiers University as a pharmacist in 2010. She grew up speaking French since her Mother was a French teacher. She started her journey of teaching kids between 2 to 12 years old in Algeria for 7 years before moving to the US in 2012. Madame Sihem joined MCS in 2013, where she taught French for 3 years and left the school for 2 years to become a licensed Pharmacist. She is very excited to be back and share her love to the French language with the children at MCS. Madame Sihem speaks 4 languages - Arabic, French, English and Berber. Her hobbies include traveling, reading and cooking. She lives in Leesburg with her husband and her 5 year old son.

Bridget Olson

Music Teacher & Aftercare Lead

Bridget Olson teaches music in Fairfax and Loudoun counties through The Music Loft, LLC and now at MCS! She studied Music Education at Shenandoah Conservatory and maintains an active studio of  viola, violin, and piano students. She believes all children possess an innate musical ability, and it is her responsibility to foster that natural ability. Her classroom is a welcoming, safe space where all students are free to explore and discover a lifelong love for music. 
Ms. Olson comes from Falls Church where she worked in preschool-aged classrooms for 7 years. She currently lives in Berryville, VA with her boyfriend and their house plants. When she finds spare time, she enjoys reading comics, eating ice cream, and exploring outdoors. 


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© 2019 by Montessori Country School.

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