Our Team

Natalie Baginski, Head of School and Lead Guide, afternoon Toddler classroom

Natalie with blocks and kids

Natalie is an IMC-certified Montessori Primary Teacher through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies, and a member of the International Montessori Council.

Aside from her Montessori Credential Natalie holds two Master’s Degrees, including in Curriculum and Instruction (K-6) as well as a certification for teaching the Transcendental Meditation technique. She is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer with a strong commitment to community. When she’s not at ToTH, she’s in Del Ray with her sweetie and her cat.

Contact Natalie at: natalie@toddlersonthehill.org

Nathaly Stansbury-Trujillo, Lead Guide, morning Toddler classroom / Spanish specialist, Primary classroom

Nathaly bio pic to edit

Nathaly is a NAMC-certified Montessori Infant/Toddler Teacher and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. As a native Spanish speaker from Columbia, Nathaly (Nah-tah-LEE) enjoys the dynamic environment of a bi-lingual classroom.

Nathaly’s interest as a Spanish teacher goes beyond just teaching language structures. For her, the learning process is attached to emotions and cultural touchstones. For this reason, Nathaly is committed to transfer the passion and love she has for her culture by introducing songs, children’s rhymes, and games she grew up with back in Colombia.

Contact Nathaly at: Nathaly@toddlersonthehill.org

 

Anja Figura, Co-Teacher, morning and afternoon Toddler classroom

Anja hoAnja with studentslds a Master’s degree in Education and a Bachelor’s in Educational and Social sciences, with a focus on early childhood learning methods.

Since she was a young girl growing up in Germany, Anja always knew she wanted to work with children.  Her early years were influenced by Montessori education, since she went to a Montessori kindergarten herself.

Gwendolyn Hines, Lead Guide, Primary classroom

Gwen photoGwendolyn Hines is an AMS-trained master educator with 17 years in Montessori education, having led programs in Montessori toddler, primary and elementary classrooms. She is an experienced teacher trainer, who continues to serve as a field consultant to the Advanced Institute for Montessori Studies. Gwen is not only excited to be ToTH’s lead Primary guide; she is also excited to contribute to the larger ToTH community, including our parent ed sessions, monthly newsletters, and community meetings.

Gwen is grateful for her wonderful 11 year-old son, a former Montessorian who is the apple of her eye, and for her amazing partner.

Contact Gwen at:  Gwen@toddlersonthehill.org

Jennifer Valentine, Assistant Guide, Primary classroom

Jenn and familyJennifer is an experienced Reggio Emilia teaching assistant. She is also an IMC trained Montessori assistant for children ages 3-6.

While raising four kids on Capitol Hill, Jenn has volunteered in many local school and community-based activities. Jenn’s passion is art and she loves exploring and creating art with young children.

 

Ila Furman, Admissions Director

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Ila is a mother of two young boys and a resident of Capitol Hill. She holds an MA in art history, and before having her children, she procured art and managed exhibitions in several museums and galleries in Washington, DC. She has since been involved in various early childhood programs in the area and feels strongly in the benefits that they can provide.

Contact Ila at: ila@toddlersonthehill.org

 

Anya Landau French, Co-founder and Director of Finance


Having worked with every other age learner except toddlers, nothing could have prepared Anya for the joy and awe of volunteering in the ToTH classroom alongside her own children for three years and learning how to apply the Montessori method at home. After helping to found ToTH in 2012, Anya served as its Executive Director until 2016. Anya is convinced that early childhood education can and should begin well before the pre-Kindergarten years and she is committed to broadening ToTH’s base in our community so that many more families can reap its benefits. In addition to helping to grow ToTH and make it accessible to more members of the Capitol Hill community and beyond, Anya is a public policy professional specializing in U.S.-Cuban affairs. She is also a former English as a Second Language teacher.

Contact Anya at: anya@toddlersonthehill.org

Sara Agarwal, Co-Founder and Director of Human Resources and Strategic Planning

Sara Agarwal credits the inspiration for Toddlers on the Hill to her son Aniket, now five years of age. From about 6 months, Aniket was bouncing off the walls of their Capitol Hill home. He needed a lot of stimulus to make it through the day, and at some point she felt that their nanny just wasn’t sufficient any more to meet all his needs. After analyzing the existing options for very young children in Capitol Hill, Sara wasn’t satisfied. She wanted a place that was part time, and focused on early stage skills-building with a Montessori focus. To get it, she decided to build it from scratch.  After finding several like-minded parents on the Hill and months of effort, ToTH was born in October 2012. With the help of a dedicated team of 2013-14 parents, Sara worked to establish a scholarship program for local lower income families to join TOTH. Sara is a former Peace Corps volunteer, and specializes in supporting the use of technology in economic development worldwide.

Contact Sara at: sara@toddlersonthehill.org

Joy Wilder, Co-Founder, Director of Licensing and Compliance, and Scholarship Chair

Joy has always been passionate about building community. As a Capitol Hill mom, she organized playgroups, babysitting co-ops, trunk shows and more. So when the opportunity to help start up an early learning program for the Capitol Hill community, she rolled up her sleeves and got to work. Joy and her family recently moved to Kingstowne, VA, where, as Campus Director, she has helped build up the Capital City Church community there. Joy’s oldest daughter was among ToTH’s first students. Integral to ToTH’s launch, she continues to support the program’s growth, and is currently chairing efforts to raise funds for a scholarship for a lower-income family to send their child to ToTH free of charge. Joy holds a B.A. in Marketing and Sociology from The College of William and Mary. She’s a gym nut, a Settlers addict, and, most importantly, mom to three beautiful daughters.

Contact Joy at: joy@toddlersonthehill.org