Our Team

ToTH Faculty and Administration

At ToTH Montessori, we pride ourselves on our commitment to the quality, enthusiasm, and talent of our teachers. ToTH teachers can only bring that famous Montessori joy and patience to the classroom every day if they feel rested, valued and fulfilled in their role. ToTH offers competitive compensation, health and short term disability insurance coverage, employer-matched retirement accounts, and ongoing professional development to all of our teachers. ToTH’s Head of School works closely with each teaching team, and with ToTH’s co-founders, who actively participate in the visioning, planning and sustainability of the school.

Our faculty and administration can be reached by calling our office at (202) 748-5930 or emailing us at info@toddlersonthehill.org.

Natalie Baginski, M.Ed., Head of School

Natalie earned her Montessori Credential through the MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education)-accredited Center for Guided Montessori Studies and has spent over a decade in toddler, primary and upper elementary Montessori classrooms.  Natalie, who joined ToTH in 2015, is a frequent contributor to Montessorium.com and has presented at the Montessori Foundation/International Montessori Council’s annual International Conference. She holds holds two Master’s Degrees, including in Curriculum and Instruction (K-6). She is a former Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa.

Javacia Finney, M. Ed., MACTE certified teacher, toddler part-day classroom

Javacia received her Master’s Degree in Montessori Education at Loyola University Maryland and completed her Bachelor’s Degree from York College in Sociology. She received her Association Montessori Internationale Diploma for Primary (3-6 yo) from the MACTE-accredited Washington Montessori Institute and guided in Montessori environments for seven years before joining ToTH in 2018. Javacia is currently pursuing a full Infant/Toddler Montessori teaching certification through CGMS. Javacia also taught at the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center for five years before joining ToTH.

Renata Faccioli, MACTE-certified Teacher, Primary classroom

Renata joined ToTH full time in 2019 after having been a consultant and collaborator since 2018. Renata received her Primary 3-6 certification from the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. Renata has taught fitness and wellness based programs for over ten years to adolescent, elementary, family and senior populations. She is passionate about learning and sharing wellness practices, as she feels this is at the core of furthering the Montessori way of life! Prior to joining ToTH, Renata was the owner-operator of a licensed Montessori home care program for Infants, Toddler and Primary aged children in Nevada.

Sasha Sargent,Teacher, Primary Classroom

Sasha is a graduate of Trinity Washington University, where she studied Human Relations and Early Childhood Education. It was during her time at Trinity that Sasha discovered and researched Maria Montessori’s teaching philosophy and methods, and that experience sparked her desire to do an internship with another local Montessori school where she saw the method in action and was hooked. After joining ToTH in 2018, Sasha completed her Montessori fundamentals training with the MACTE-accredited Center for Guided Montessori Studies. She is currently pursuing her Montessori 3-6 certification. Sasha was born in Memphis, TN and raised in the Bronx, in New York City.

Tierra Barnett, Teacher, Part Day Toddler Classroom

Tierra joined ToTH in 2018 and is teacher in the part day toddler program. At an early age Tierra was taught to love to learn and that knowledge was power! Tierra received her BA in sociology and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Social Work, with hopes to pursue her PhD in Child Psychology. While spending a year working in the DCPS school system, Tierra learned about Montessori and wanted to apply her passions to an educational approach that helped children reach their full potential. Her strong passion for learning, engaging with others, and exploring the world, makes Montessori a natural fit for Tierra.

Zharray Johnson, Teacher, Full-day Toddler Classroom

Zharray joined ToTH in 2018 and is currently a teacher in the full day toddler classroom. She has taught in childhood education for more than seven years. After joining ToTH she completed her Montessori fundamentals training with the MACTE-accredited Center for Guided Montessori Studies. Zharray is currently pursuing a full Infant/Toddler Montessori teaching certification through CGMS.
Zharray received her B.S. in Psychology from Morgan State University. Zharray is brings creativity, art, drama, and music to ToTH and enjoys creating themes and activities that center around seasons, holidays, cultural celebrations, geography, and artists. A singer and musician, Zharray is also a trained Music Together instructor.

Morgan Brown, Teacher, Primary Classroom

Morgan joined ToTH in 2018 and has worked in in our toddler and Primary programs. Since 2019 she has been working full time in the Primary classroom and enjoys bringing her love of art and creative expression into the classroom.
Morgan’s favorite part about being a Montessori teacher is watching the children grow and knowing that she was able to contribute to their growth. Being a Montessori teacher has also challenged her creatively and has allowed her to explore new strengths within herself. Morgan has a Bachelor’s in Arts Management from the University of Wisconsin and completed her Montessori Fundamentals certificate with the MACTE-accredited Center for Guided Montessori Studies.

Gladys Mariscal, Primary Teacher

Gladys joined ToTH in January 2020 to provide Spanish instruction in the Primary and Toddler classrooms. This fall she joined Renata as a co-teacher in the Primary classroom. Gladys was raised in Maryland and Panama and is a fluent Spanish speaker. She experienced Montessori in her first teaching job seven years ago and has recently returned to the method, taking many professional development courses that have supported her learning. Gladys is completing her A.A. in Spanish Teaching in Secondary Education and she enjoys bringing the botany curriculum to life in the classroom.

Karen Solache, Teacher, Full Day Toddler Classroom

Karen joined ToTH as a classroom assistant in 2020 and now co-leads the Full Day Classroom. Karen is native Spanish speaker and grew up in Mexico. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Development from the Instituto Technologico de Morelia and has over seven years of experience working directly with young children. Karen is currently pursuing her Infant/Toddler Montessori teacher certification at the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.

Ila Furman, Admissions  and Enrollment Director

Ila joined ToTH in 2015. She manages admissions and enrollment for ToTH and is usually the first person that all prospective families interact with. As a mother of two young boys and a resident of Navy Yard, Ila has been actively involved in local early childhood programs. She holds an M.A. in art history, and previously procured art and managed exhibitions in several museums and galleries in Washington, DC.

Stephanie Sarvana, Administrative Director

Stephanie joined the ToTH administrative team in 2019. She manages daily operations, human resources, and licensing requirements for ToTH. She is an Arizona native with a BA and MA in English Literature from Arizona State University. After working in higher education at the Corcoran College of Art + Design and the George Washington University, Stephanie became a mom to ToTH student Leli. In her spare time she plays the violin in the Capital City Symphony.

Anya Landau French, Co-founder and Director of Finance

After helping to found ToTH in 2012, Anya served as its Executive Director until 2016. She currently serves as Finance Director and  provides advice and assistance for special projects throughout the year.  Anya holds an M.A. in Education and Human Development, and previously taught English as a Second Language for five years. Anya is also a public policy professional specializing in U.S. – Cuban affairs.

Sara Agarwal, Co-Founder and Board Member

As a young toddler, Sara’s son, Aniket, seemed to need more stimulus than his nanny could provide. Sara looked for a high-quality part-time Montessori program on Capitol Hill, but couldn’t find one, so she decided to build one from scratch.  After finding several like-minded Capitol Hill parents and months of effort, ToTH was born in October 2012. Sara continues to serve as a member of the board or directors and works on non-linear growth strategies. Sara is a former Peace Corps volunteer, and specializes in supporting the use of technology in economic development worldwide.

Joy Wilder, Co-Founder and Board Member

Joy has always been passionate about building community, so when the opportunity arose to help start ToTH for the Capitol Hill community, she rolled up her sleeves. Integral to its launch, Joy continues to support ToTH through her active participation on ToTH’s Board. Joy and her husband moved to Alexandria, Virginia to serve as Location Pastors for Capital City Church. She has since shared her passion for Montessori with her community by creating Montesshare, an in-home, Spanish bilingual, Montessori preschool.

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