Headwater Hills Montessori School

Our Staff

"But an adult if he is to provide proper guidance, must always be calm and act slowly so that the child who is watching him can clearly see his actions in all their particulars." - Maria Montessori

Expand on the below to read about the amazing staff at Headwater Hills Montessori School.

Velisa Samaroo - Administrative Assistant

Velisa is our school's Administrative Assistant. She is quite often the first person you will talk to when you inquire about our school's programs. Velisa's son went through our Casa, Elementary and Middle School programs and so she has both an insider's as well as a parent's insight into our programs.  Velisa has moved to Binbrook, Ontario, and now works remotely ensuring the smooth behind-the-scenes functioning of our programs.

Nancy Ernst Richards - Principal and Middle School Teacher

Nancy has an Honours BSc. in Psychology from McMaster University. She completed her Montessori training at the Casa level in Ottawa, and her Lower and Upper Elementary Montessori diplomas at the Institute of Advanced Montessori Studies in Washington, D.C. She began teaching in 1996 and has taught from Casa through Middle School.

Being a part of that mysterious unfoldment of each child is deeply rewarding. More than what children can ‘produce’, or ‘show’ us, Nancy cares deeply about each child’s inner experience and sees that the environment we provide for children teaches them as much, if not more, than the actual lessons we teach. She loves to explore the juncture where best practices in education meet with the inner being of each child. One of her greatest delights has been the opportunity to witness the development of her own son, who began Montessori at the age of 13 months and graduated from our middle school program. The curiosity, confidence, compassion, and leadership skills fostered at Headwater Hills Montessori are serving him well in university and beyond now. It is, additionally, an ongoing pleasure to provide support to the school community in the leadership and administrative capacity of Principal at Headwater Hills School. 

Carrie Swail-Duke - Elementary Teacher

Carrie has been teaching in a Montessori setting for twenty years.  She completed her Montessori teaching diploma at Toronto Montessori Teacher Training Institute, her Honours Degree in Canadian Studies at Trent University and has an Outdoor Recreation Diploma from Seneca College. When she discovered the Montessori philosophy of meeting a child’s learning needs by tapping into their ability to learn independently through choice and experience she was hooked on this method of teaching. Her aim is to create a learning environment that will entice and appeal to the students. This allows her to constantly learn too!     Peace education is an important component of Maria Montessori’s vision. This means reaching the social, emotional and behavioural needs of each student in addition to their intellectual development. Carrie loves to facilitate collaborative learning opportunities and provide opportunities to help students communicate with knowledge and compassion. It is vitally important at the elementary stage to foster the development of positive and compassionate relationships.   Carrie wants to make sure that every student’s unique strengths are recognized and allowed to shine. She loves science and art and discovering new ways to explore these topics with the children.   She is blessed with a daughter and a son who are Montessori graduates. This has allowed her to see the invaluable confidence, richness and learning instilled from the perspective of a Montessori parent.   Carrie cares deeply about the planet and enjoys sharing this love with her students who innately seems to share the delight of seeing the fascinating beauty around us. This is seamless when we venture out into our own forested classroom at Headwater Hills Montessori School.

Suky Kaur - Elementary Assistant Teacher

Suky grew up in England and immigrated to Canada in 2001.  She graduated from Humber College completing her ECE with Honours.  She subsequently discovered that her passion resonated with the Montessori philosophy and she went on to receive her training and diploma through the Montessori Teachers College in Toronto.  With over 12 years of experience in education, Suky brings innovation and creativity to her teaching.  She thoroughly enjoys the challenge of educating the whole child and believes in the importance of guiding children in an engaging and inspiring learning environment.  She makes a priority of recognizing the many different learning styles of the children in her classroom, taking into account their strengths and challenges, their differences and similarities and allowing them the freedom and confidence to become part of the classroom community. 

Regan Ross - CASA Teacher

Like so many CASA teachers before me, I came to the Montessori Method later in my working life. I worked in the mining sector (assistant geologist) and the consulting engineering world (environmental analyst) before staying at home to care for my three children. A coincidence introduced me to the Montessori method and my life was changed. I loved the way the method assumed that children were already intelligent and capable and how it focused on the whole child. So many of my questions and concerns about children, our public school system and our culture were answered by Maria Montessori. I only wish that my own children could have had a Montessori experience.

Prince Edward Island is where I began my training as a CASA directress/teacher at Island Montessori Academy. I quickly became certified as a CASA Directress through the North American Montessori Center. When we moved to Ontario, I trained at the Toronto Montessori Institute and worked at a Montessori school in Brampton to become MACTE accredited. I was thrilled to be asked to join the team at Headwater Hills, the staff, the property, the children and their families work together as a wonderfully supportive Montessori community - I actually sing on my way to work.

Danielle Hampton - Casa Teacher

Danielle is a co-teacher in our Casa classroom.

Dalanda Bah - French Teacher

Since October 2012, Dalanda has been teaching French to the students from age 3and up at Headwater Hills Montessori. French is her first language and teaching it to young kids is such a joy for her. Through songs, rhymes, games and role play she makes French an enjoyable learning experience. Working with the students at Headwater Hills Montessori School makes it easy to come to the school every day because as much as she loves teaching them, she also enjoys learning from them. Dalanda appreciates the support of the administration, the faculty, and the parents at Headwater Hills Montessori School. She is here because everybody makes her feel welcome.