Munawar Ahmed

Munawar started at Mariposa Montessori as a classroom assistant in 2003, in 2004 she received her AMI certification from Montessori Teacher Training Center of Norther California, Mountain View.  She earned her Bachelor's degree in Biological sciences from India in 1982 and Early Childhood Education certificate from UCSC extension in 2003.

She has taught in the 5 day AM class for three years and was the lead teacher for the 5 day extended class for the past seven years.  She and her husband Basheer have two daughters, Sana who is 30 and Fareeha who is 22.  She also has a son, Salman who is 28 and two grandchildren Naila and Isa.

Year after year, she enjoys all of the children, their work, their individual expression and the way they grow and change. She also enjoys the unique blend of working with children and families, and being part of Mariposa community as it grows throughout each school year.  She also enjoys the unique blend of working with children and their families, and being a part of the Mariposa community as it grows throughout each school year.  It is a joy for her to watch children as they develop their confidence and skills as well as a love for the educational process in the Montessori environment. This year again she is looking forward to continue seeking the great in the child and helping it blossom. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, eating exotic Indian food, walking and spending time with her family and friends.

A personal statement from Munawar: "I enjoy teaching with the Montessori philosophy because the Montessori Method integrates a deep respect for the child's innate desire to learn in a calm prepared environment, having beautiful Montessori materials and a holistic approach to the child's development.  It is such a joy and privilege for me to assist the children as they work to create their own personalities, develop their own abilities and follow their own interests.  I love the Montessori system because it encourages independence and children become competent, confident and lifelong learners."

Christilla Leon

Christilla Léon was born in Antibes, on the French Riviera in 1971.  She holds a BS in Psychology and worked towards a Master in Psychology of the Young Child in Nice, France in 1994. In 1996 she became a preschool/elementary teacher for the French Public System and taught 1st grade for one year before moving the US in 1997 with her husband.

She obtained her AMI diploma from the Montessori Training center of Northern California (Mountain View) in 1998, and worked for 4 years as a Primary Montessori teacher in Palo Alto. She served for another year as a Resource Specialist and Program Coordinator for the same school.

She has worked at Mariposa from 2003 to 2006 as 2day/3day teacher and then as 5day AM teacher and assistant of direction.

She took a few years off to be with her family but came back to Mariposa in recent years to serve as a Montessori teacher in the 5 day class, or as a consultant on the Montessori Method as well as a substitute.  Even when not teaching at our school she has stayed committed to deepen her Montessori education/understanding, attending conferences, workshops and earning her diploma for the Lower Elementary Montessori Method (North American Montessori Center, 2009) and is always eager to share its magic and truthfulness with her students and the parent community.


Grishma Dave'

Grishma has more than 23 years of professional work experience including 18 years of teaching experience, with 15 of those years in a Montessori Classroom. This is her 13th year of teaching at Mariposa Montessori School. Grishma’s respect and fascination for the Montessori philosophy/methods and its ability to help children become independent and learn to their fullest potential continues to grow with each year of her teaching experience. Grishma has really enjoyed being part of the Mariposa team as well as Mariposa community.

Grishma started her professional career as a Product Designer, but has always had a passion for teaching young children. This passion drove her to get her Masters degree in Montessori Education from the Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland in 1999.Grishma also has a BS in Industrial and Product Design from the National Institute of Design (NID), India. After working for 2 years for a design firm, she had founded her own design consulting firm in India and ran it for about 3 years.

Grishma then came to the US in 1987 and while raising two children, she joined Loyola College for the Masters program in Education. After completing her Masters degree in one year, she and her family moved to CA in 1999.

 When she is not working or taking care of her family Grishma enjoys travelling, reading, cooking, listening to music, and watching cricket, baseball and basketball.

Junko Khabir

 Junko Khabir was born and raised in Japan. After obtaining an A.A. degree in English Literature, she worked for a semiconductor company as an administrator for 8 years until she started her new life with her husband in the U.S. in 1998.

This is Junko’s fourteenth year in Mariposa Montessori School. She received her Certificate of Achievement on Child Development at De Anza College in 2001 and finished Montessori training at North American Montessori Center in 2012. Junko earned an A.S. degree in Early Child Education and her Certificate of Achievement on Early Child Education and on Communication and the Arts Specialization at West Valley College in May 2016. She is continuing her education to gain more insight of the latest child studies.

 She feels it is such an honor and a great blessing working with children, their families, and the staff here as a part of Mariposa family. She really enjoys spending her time with children, observing their growth and development enhancing their capabilities, and helping build their creative minds in their unique ways.

Junko loves singing which gives her joy and offers peace to her soul. She has been in choir at her church for 17 years. She has also taught in Sunday school for 10 years.  Junko also enjoys cooking, baking, and hiking.

Junko is looking forward to getting to know each one of children and is very grateful for having such a wonderful opportunity to work with them

Irma Ortiz

Irma Ortiz began her scholarly career and finished with a Bachelors Degree in Interior Design in Mexico City. She began working with a firm and enjoyed her work until she began her married life which led her to establish a new beginning in San Jose, California. After being fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mother of two, Ms Irma found a new passion which was to guide and nurture young children. It was then Ms. Irma embarked on a new scholarly journey. She has acquired her Early Childhood Education studies and finished her Montessori training in 2015. Ms. Irma had been an asset to Mariposa through a professional staffing agency since 2005 and was welcomed officially into the Mariposa family in 2010. She has continued to enjoy such an honor and opportunity since then.

Dawn Jarvis

This is Dawn's second year teaching here at Mariposa Monessori with Ms. Junko in our 2/day and 3/day classroom.  She received her Certificate of Achievement in Early Childhood Education from Gavilan College in May of 2013.  She loves working with children and has over 6 years of experience working in a Montessori classroom.

Dawn's been married for 22 years and has identical twin boys who are juniors in college.  In her spare time, Dawn loves to read, bake, shop and going to the movies with her family.

Sandhya Singh

Sandhya's  Montessori journey started about five years ago when her  son started going to a Montessori school. Watching him grow and mature in an environment that gave him not only knowledge but a strong value system  got Sandhya curious to know more about Maria Montessori and her teaching  philosophy. This curiosity soon pushed her to take the 2-year training, which she completed in 2016.
Sandhya comes with a lot of enthusiasm and a belief structure that all children come with their own uniqueness and she look forward to guiding them to find their own individuality. In the classroom Sandhya also enjoy the circle time and singing songs with her kids. 
Sandhya was born in India and has been in US since 2005. Sandhya holds a Masters in Japanese language.

Naheed Khan

Naheed Khan, has been in the  United States for last 26 years. She was born on 5th January.  Naheed has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, and then did her studies in Early Child Education.  Naheed is happily married and has three beautiful children, two sons ages  25 and 23, and one daughter who is 15.  Naheed loves sports especially Cricket and Soccer, and likes to travel to explore different cultures. She love to work with children, and is very happy to be at Mariposa Montessori School.


Maria Nugent, Sr. Office Assistant

Maria started at Mariposa Montessori in the summer of 2015.  She came to us from another preschool. Maria has over 28 years of office experience. She has also received her Early Childhood Education Units from West Valley and UCSC Extension and loves being around children and their families.  She has taught in preschool in the past, and enjoys both the teaching and office atmosphere.  Maria enjoys spending time with her family and friends, trying new foods and traveling.

Executive Director

Rekha Claytor - Executive Director