Faculty and Staff
International Montessori Schools – Paoli
Laura Hoffman-Dimery, Director Paoli
Ms. Laura has been in education administration for eleven years. Ms. Laura has a Master’s degree in Elementary and Special Education from Chestnut Hill College and Bachelor’s degree in Art Education from Temple University. She holds a certificate in Distributed Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and a Pennsylvania Principal’s certificate from Immaculata University. In 2011, she served as founding principal of a new school in an under-resourced neighborhood in North Philadelphia. Ms Laura has two children who have been with IM Schools since 2015 and she joined IM Schools in 2017.
Melissa DePaula, Elementary Program Coordinator
Ms. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Art History from Rutgers University. She is certified by the New Jersey Department of Education and the Pennsylvania State Board of Private Academic Schools in Elementary Education. Ms Melissa has been a lead elementary teacher at the IM Schools Paoli location since the fall of 2010. Prior to joining IM Schools, she worked as an elementary teacher in the East Brunswick Public School District in New Jersey for six years. Ms. Melissa is married to a biomedical engineer and they have two daughters who both began their education in Montessori early childhood programs. Ms. Melissa finds working in the IM Schools community very fulfilling because its’ educators are strongly committed to developing self-confident, curious and independent learners who aspire to become capable and compassionate global citizens.
Debjani Sen, Lead Elementary Teacher
Ms. Debjani joined IM Schools in 2008. She has a Master’s Degree in Education and an American Montessori Society Certification for Elementary Education from Princeton Centre for Teacher Education. Ms. Debjani loves teaching, reading, traveling, cooking and interior decorations. She lives with her husband, an IT professional, and their 3-year old son who is currently with IM Schools.
Katherine Mary Trautz, Lead Primary Teacher
Ms. Kate has a degree from Gettysburg College where she majored in Education and Music and holds an American Montessori Society Teacher Certification for children ages 3-6 years. She has been working with children across the Delaware Valley for the past 12 years and has held positions as lead teacher, music instructor and lead after care teacher at a local Montessori school in Wayne PA. Miss Kate joined IM Schools in 2017 and in her spare time enjoys teaching piano, voice lessons, yoga and French.
Ghada Schoucair, Lead Primary Teacher
Ms. Ghada joined IM Schools in 2012 and holds a Montessori Certification for Children of ages 2-6 years from the North American Montessori Center. Prior to this Ms Ghada taught math in elementary and middle schools for 14 years in her home country of Lebanon. She also volunteered at Upper Merion Elementary school for three years. Ms. Ghada speaks three languages, Arabic, French and English and enjoys teaching French to her students in the classroom.
Abeer Shnineh, Assistant Primary Teacher
Ms. Abeer has been working with IM Schools since September 2016. She studied Fine Arts in Syria and is currently enrolled in the Early Childhood Education Associate Program at Community College of Philadelphia. She truly enjoys working with young children and particularly enjoys introducing creative activities and working with them on Montessori Materials. In her spare time, Ms. Abeer enjoys crafting, reading, swimming and traveling.
Yue Ying Chen, Assistant Primary Teacher
Ms. Yueying has been with IM Schools since 2015. She holds a Degree in Information Engineering and also holds a Certification from the CDA National Credentialing Program awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition. Ms. Yueying is a kind teacher with great knowledge in early childhood education. Ms. Yueying is a great communicator has been working with young children for over nine years where she provides the best possible learning environment to meet each student’s needs. Ms. Yeuying incorporates her Chinese heritage into the classroom by teaching Chinese to both the Pre-primary and Primary classes and she also runs the Chinese club at IM Schools, Paoli.
Aiswarya Nair, Assistant Primary Teacher
Ms. Aiswarya hold a Bachelor’s Degree of Technology (Mechanical Production Engineering) from India. Ms. Aiswarya has worked as a lecturer in an Engineering College for a year and as an Engineer in Vikram Sarabhai Space Research Center in India. She loves teaching in Montessori Schools and her 4-year old son is a student of IM Schools. Apart from teaching, Ms. Aiswarya likes to practice yoga, biking, dancing, theatre and learning new skills.
Dalia Osman, Assistant Primary Teacher
Ms. Dalia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Alexandria University and Certifications from the School of Graduate Professional Studies from Penn State Great Valley. She joined IM Schools in 2012 and is currently a student of Chestnut Hill College completing her Master’s in Early Childhood Education with Montessori Certificate.
Ms. Dalia is fluent in English, Arabic and French and teaches French in both the Elementary and Primary classes which is her special strength. Ms. Dalia especially enjoys teaching children about different cultures of the world, the importance of respecting all cultures and how to be global citizens. She has been volunteering in local Public Schools for more 10 years in her spare time.
Sonia Stracchi, Assistant Primary Teacher
Ms. Sonia has more than 15 years of experience working as administrative assistant and executive assistant in an International Company in Italy. Ms. Sonia moved to the United States with her family in 2015 and is fluent in three languages: English, French and Italian. She loves teaching in Montessori schools where she is able to observe children work with the Montessori materials in a peaceful environment. Her daughter is a student of IM schools and Ms. Sonia joined IM schools as Assistant Teacher in 2017. In her spare time, she likes reading, hiking, practicing yoga, traveling and learning about different cultures.
Laura Sears, Assistant Primary Teacher
Ms. Laura joined IMSchools in March 2018 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Conservation with minors in Entomology and Spanish from the University of Delaware. She has been involved in Environmental Education for the past 5 years, and she loves sharing her love of nature with others. It was through a former position that she learned about Montessori, and is excited to become part of this wonderful community. She is enrolled in the Montessori Teacher Training program, MITE, located in Wilmington, Delaware. In her spare time, Laura loves to read, listen to music, dance and enjoys meandering along a wooded trail looking for signs of wildlife.
Nina Dardashti, Assistant Primary Teacher
Nina Dardashti joined the International Montessori School (IMS) in summer 2018. Nina developed an appreciation for inter-generational education through her deep relationship with her grandparents. She first learned about Montessori through Dementia programming and inter-generational Montessori daycare. She enjoys teaching children the importance of differentiation of emotions and nonverbal communication skills. Nina holds a Masters degree in Social Work Crisis Management and Trauma Studies from Tel Aviv University and a Bachelors degree in Tourism and Hospitality from Florida International University. In her spare time, Nina enjoys meditation and yoga, learning about other cultures, and spending time with her friends and family. She loves the gift of being apart of the diverse community of students, families, and staff of the Montessori schools.
Miss Ivy joined International Montessori Schools in the Summer of 2018. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Engineering from China and worked in the Human Resource Department of an international company for 10 years.
Miss Ivy regards education as her lifelong pursuit and is an active member of the International Chinese Reading Association where she is involved in organizing many activities for the Chinese community. Miss Ivy loves working with children and values the Montessori method of teaching – whilst in Shanghai she worked with elementary students for around 3 years and ran the Children’s English story club and Career club.
In her free time, Miss Ivy dedicates her free time to Shanghai healing home, a non-profit foster home assisting the local Chinese Children‘s Welfare Institutes by providing pre and post-surgical care to abandoned Chinese orphan babies born with surgically correctable deformities.
Miss Ivy has a daughter, who is a Montessori student, and both love doing Montessori work together.
Senem Uyanik Sacin, Lead Pre-Primary Teacher
Ms. Senem Uyanik Sacin joined IM Schools in 2010 and holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Archaeological Restoration and Conservation from the University of Ege, Turkey. Ms. Senem has worked for archaeological excavations, museums and private collectors for ten years. She holds an American Montessori Society credential in Infant /Toddler through the Montessori Institute for Teacher Education (MITE).
Ms. Senem is a dedicated Pre-Primary teacher who is passionate about Montessori philosophy. She decided to pursue the Infant/Toddler Montessori Program as in the first three years, brain development is more rapid than at any other period in life. She believes in providing appropriate support and education in a safe environment during this period which promotes a life-long learning capacity.
In her spare time, Ms. Senem researches how children’s museums curate their exhibits and hopes to contribute to, and improve upon, the experience that the museums provide to their youngest visitors. She also enjoys designing jewelry, visiting museums, parks, doing jigsaw puzzles, working with a private art collector, spending time with her family and reading about Montessori Education.
Kaye Dirks, Assistant Pre-Primary Teacher
Miss Kaye has more than 10 years’ experience working with young children and is currently completing her Montessori Certification. She enjoys working with our younger children and creates positive relationships through her nurturing demeanor. Prior to her teaching experience, she worked in Banking for 20 years in S Africa. Ms. Kaye joined IM schools in July 2016 and her hobbies include hiking, cooking, reading, travelling and embracing different cultures.
Ms. Basak Dolapci, Assistant Pre-Primary Teacher
Ms. Basak Dolapci holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Selcuk, Turkey. Ms. Basak has 4 years of experience working with children and joined International Montessori Schools in Summer 2018.
Ms. Basak is married and has a daughter who is currently a student at IMSchools. She has a passion for teaching young children and has a particular interest in Montessori teaching techniques and communicating with her students in a positive manner.
In her spare time, Ms Basak loves cooking different recipes, traveling with her family and reading, especially Montessori method books.
Lisa Ridley Hunter, Yoga Instructor
Ms. Lisa joined IM Schools in 2007 and has worked as both a yoga teacher and as an assistant teacher at three IM Schools location. She is originally from the United Kingdom, but has lived in the US for many years. Prior to moving to the USA, Ms. Lisa lived in Saudi Arabia where she taught in an Embassy school. Ms. Lisa holds her Montessori Certification from the North American Montessori Center and currently teaches Yoga at the Paoli, Great Valley and Malvern locations.