Hello! My name is Wafaa Al-kachak, I am 54 years old and I was born in Homs, Syria. In 1990, I got my Bachelor’s Degree of the Arts in Arabic Literature from the Beirut Arab University in Lebanon. My mother was a teacher, as was her mother, and so I always planned on becoming a teacher as well. In 1993, I got married and moved to the United States, settling down in Diamond Bar. I had my first daughter, Amni in 1994 and my second, Dina in 1996. While my girls were very young, I stayed at home taking care of them and worked part time as an aid at Evergreen Elementary school. Having kids made me realize how much I love working with children. In 2000, I started attending classes at Mt. San Antonio College to get my teaching certificate and at the same time I began working full time at a Montessori School in Yorba Linda. The Director of the school trained me as Montessori teacher which is how I first became familiar with all the specifics of the Montessori environment. After the training, I was placed in charge of my own classroom where I worked for 7 years before deciding to leave in 2007. Since 2007, I have been working here at Discovery World Montessori. It has been 11 wonderful years now – opening the school in the morning, participating in every event and activity and helping and enriching little minds of the children. My two daughters are 23 and 21 years old – Amni is living in New York while she is attending Grad School at Mount Sinai New York to get her PhD in Neuroscience while Dina just finished her undergrad studies and is working part time at an Attorney’s office and working on her law school applications.
Toni Espino – Director
Greetings! I have been in the Montessori teaching profession for 14 years and 8 years of which is here at Discovery World Montessori. Together with the Director, I have developed the curriculum for our preschool and Kindergarten. I coordinate, direct and organize school activities and oversees school operations. I have been assisting the Director for 5 years. I am currently the Director of the School.
I graduated 3rd honors with the Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Management at Assumption College Philippines. I earned my Montessori Certificate for 2 ½ – 6 years old at Montessori Teacher Preparation of Washington. I also took Education and Director Certificate for Child Care Centers in Pomona, CA.
I have gained business management competencies from the two talent search companies I co-founded and managed in the Philippines before I migrated in the United States and devoted my passion to teaching.
I greatly believe in providing the best education for the children and upholding it to its highest standard. It is my joy and pride seeing children everyday and molding their young minds and be the best that they can be.
My education and work experience has provided me with a sound combination with knowledge both for the educational needs of the child and background needed to provide such education.
Suzen Tang – Teacher (Room 2)
My name is Suzen Tang. I am 39 years old, I finished my Associates of the Arts Degree at Collin County Community College in Texas. I made the decision to pursue Education and took Montessori Training at Capital Education Institute. During my internship, I have experienced giving Montessori lessons to children and have first-hand experience being with them.
After graduating from Capital Education Institute, I started as a Lead Montessori teacher for ages 2-4 years old. I worked here at Discovery World for almost 2 years with the 2-3 year old class. I enjoy working with the little ones and make them feel safe and loved.
Regina White – Teacher (Room 1 B)
I have been working as a teacher in child care center for 19 years. I started at Discovery World in 2010. I worked 12 years with the infants and 7 years with the toddlers. I received my Early Childhood Units at Mt. San Antonio College.
Nermeen Ghanem – Teacher (Room 4)
I am Nermeen Ghanem. I am a mother of 2 children. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering. My career started as an importing manager for a medical equipment company. I have always loved working with children. When I was in College, I used to coach synchronized swimming to young girls ages 6-9. My love for teaching was sparked when I started volunteering at my children’s school. The teachers at my children’s school encouraged me to take the Montessori training as they have seen my passion towards teaching and how I loved interacting with the children. I decided to take the Montessori training and found my passion in life. Right after I finished my Montessori training, I started working as a teacher at Discovery World Montessori and I am on my 5th year. Teaching for me is not just a job, it is something that I really enjoy doing. Being a part of positively shaping up a child’s character or personality is something that is truly rewarding. I love to help children explore and discover knowledge and assist them in reaching their full potential. I believe that education is the most important aspect of building a thriving community.
Marie Lucero – Elementary
I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education and the Montessori Training in the Philippines. I have been in the teaching world for twenty years. I have had a Montessori teaching experience in the Upper Elementary and High School in the Philippines before i was given an opportunity to work here in the US. Being in Discovery World for seven years, I am privileged to help and guide each child reach his/her full potential though the Montessori method and principle.
Katherine Martinez – Teacher (Room 2)
I am Katherine Martinez. I am a preschool teacher for almost 11 years, 6 years if which is in the 2 year old class. I have Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and has 12 units in Early Childhood Education. Working with kids give me joy and contentment espeacially when i see them enjoying while learning.
Jeanie Lee – Teacher (Room 3)
I am Jeanie Lee. I was born in Detroit, Michigan and was raised in California for most of my life. I have a passion for early childhood development and the creative arts. I love being around young children and nurturing their individual talents. I believe children learn differently and it is our job as educators to guide them and inspire them to reach their full potential.
I graduated from Cal State University in Long Beach and received my B.A. in Electronic Media. I continued my education in Child Development at Mt. San Antonio College where I am certified in Early Childhood Education.
I have extensive parent training with ABA therapists, OT, and speech therapists with regards to children on the Autism Spectrum under the age of 5 years old. I have worked as a Kindergarten Aide at Quail summit Elementary located here in Diamond Bar. I recently joined Discovery World Montessori and enjoying cultivating the minds of the children.
Gina Fontanilla – Teacher (Room 6)
My name is Gina Marie Fontanilla, Lead Kindergarten Teacher at Discovery World Montessori. I have been a teacher for ten years. This year marks my sixth year teaching at Discovery World Montessori. Prior to coming here, I taught in different levels including toddler and elementary. I was a Montessori student as a child and loved the method so much that I also enrolled my daughter at a Montessori School. My 13 year old daughter, Gia Marie graduated in Montessori until her 5th grade and continued middle school at Our Lady of Guadalupe. She recently graduated 8th grade with honors. She is presently enrolled at Troy Tech High School in Fullerton for Freshman.
I am originally from the Philippines. I graduated at Philippine Women’s University with the Bachelor’s Degree of the Arts Major in Interior Design. I started working as a designer at a construction firm and in a restaurant for 2 years. I worked at a manufacturing company as a graphic designer and Logistic Planner for 10 years until I migrated to the United States in 2002.
When my daughter started going to school, I decided to start my career in teaching and took Early Childhood Education at Laguna Technical College at Pomona in 2008.
My ten years of Montessori Teaching experience have helped me develop a set of beliefs about how I can best help students learn and grow. Being in my second year as a Head Kindergarten Teacher at Discovery World it is a challenge but fulfilling and fun working experience. I plan to learn more along the way as I continue my teaching career as a Montessori Teacher.
Carmina Perez – Teacher (Room 1 A)
I am Carmina Perez. I am a mother of 2 children. My daughter is also a Preschool Teacher and my son is currently in College. I have been teaching and working in Discovery World for the past 16 years with the Infant- Toddler Class. I took my Early Childhood Education at Hacienda La Puente Adult Education. I have always loved children. I want to ensure them that they are always safe and loved.