We are privileged to have wonderful and highly qualified staff members. Lead teachers in each classroom are Montessori certified and in addition, some of our assistants are also Montessori certified teachers. Please find concise biographies of our Faculty below.
Surbhi Saini (Director) is an English Honors graduate and holds an associate degree in Fashion design. Ms. Surbhi began her teaching career in Singapore as a language arts teacher in an elementary school. Her mom retired as a principal of a Montessori School. Ms. Surbhi has two kids both of whom received attended Montessori education. While being a parent, she was enamored with the Montessori philosophy and that led her to pursue her Montessori training. Ms. Surbhi is passionate about the child centric educational approach of Maria Montessori and believes it leads children to think critically and provides a strong basis for their overall development. Ms. Surbhi is a firm believer of health and wellness. She is also a Mindfulness Educator and a motivational speaker. She hosts talks to inspire and educate people on how to practice self-awareness and live a happy life. Email Miss Surbhi
Tina Rasin (Assistant Director) holds a Master's of Education in Psychology and has over 13 years of work experience in the preschool setting. Ms. Tina loves working with children and her work at the Unitarian Montessori. Her special interests include research on development of a healthy mind, and mindfulness practice. The latter prompted Ms. Tina to become a Mindful Educator graduate of the Mindful Schools. During the year, Ms. Tina teaches Mindfulness to primary classes. Ms. Tina is also passionate about real estate and is a recipient of the NJ Realtors Circle of Excellence Sales Award. She resides in East Brunswick with her family and her favorite pastime is visiting her home country of Croatia. Email Miss Tina
Shiraz Billimoria (Toddler Class-Room 11) received an Early Childhood Certification from Montessori Centre International - UK. Having worked with toddlers at a Montessori school in Dubai, Shiraz adds an international flavor to her classroom and to UMS. Shiraz is passionate about working with this age group because she believes this is when the child strives for independence and self-mastery.
As an early childhood educator she feels it is her métier to provide an environment that meets each child's individual needs. Shiraz is married with two daughters and a son, and enjoys cooking and traveling with her family. Email Miss Shiraz
Prachi Sanghvi (Toddler Class-Room 11) holds a Bachelor's Degree in Commerce and a Post Graduate Diploma in Fitness Management. She worked in India as the Coordinator of the Fitness Department with Symbiosis Center of Health Care. The 3 years of coordinating, consulting and managing experience makes her an expert with a complete knowledge of Health and Fitness. Ms. Prachi started working with the Unitarian Montessori School in the summer of 2016 as a Substitute Teacher and past three years as a Teacher’s Assistant. She believes that basic health and fitness lies in our roots and at UMS, the child gets the knowledge of becoming an organized independent person which is the right place to start.
Manique Feldano (Primary Class-Room 13) holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education. She received the Montessori certification in 1988 from Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). She has 22 years of teaching experience, worked in Canada from 1994 – 1999 as a Head Teacher, and is currently employed at Unitarian Montessori School as a Head teacher for 19 years. Ms. Manique is married with two children and enjoys spending time with family and friends. Email Miss Manique
Maura Canonico (Step Up Class-Room 12) has a Bachelor's degree in Family and Child services with a concentration in early childhood education from Montclair State University. Ms. Maura is also a certified Montessori teacher through the Princeton Montessori school teacher training program. She has worked with children for over 9 years in various settings. Ms. Maura discovered her love for the Montessori method through her own preschool and kindergarten experience right here at UMS, which she attended for three years! She is so pleased to be back to her roots. Email Miss Maura
Joyce Lee (Step Up Class-Room 12) received her early childhood/infant and toddler certificate from Princeton Montessori Teacher's training program in year 2010. She had worked in toddler class for 2-3 years as an assistant and a co-teacher before her daughter was born. Then she became a stay-at-home mom when her daughter arrived. During her daughter's preschool years she set up a simply Montessori classroom in the house and had few children joined on a part-time basis to form a small class. Ms. Joyce loves working with young children and enjoys creating works to meet their needs. In her free time Ms. Joyce enjoys reading, cooking, gardening and hiking.
Saima Akhlaq (Primary Class-Room 13) is a certified Montessori educator from CMTE - New York with over 20 years of experience. She has worked in various Montessori schools all over New Jersey. She has been the head teacher for both toddler and primary classes in previous schools. Ms. Saima is passionate about teaching and loves to help her students learn and grow.
She is the mother of three beautiful children. She enjoys shopping and spending time with her family and friends.
Fatima Javeed (Step Up Class-Room 12) graduated from Temple University with her bachelors degree in Psychology and Neuroscience. After becoming a mother, Ms. Fatima discovered the Montessori method and started implementing the philosophy at home. During her time as a stay at home mother, she became a RYT-200 through Yoga Alliance, and began teaching yoga to women and children at interfaith events and online classes. Her long term career interests always included mental health and education, so she naturally found her values aligning with a career in Montessori education. In 2020, Ms. Fatima began her Montessori teacher training at the Princeton Center for Teacher Education (PCTE). During her free time, Ms. Fatima enjoys baking, being outdoors, practicing yoga, spending time with her husband and two daughters, and reading biographies/ personal development books.
Ayesha Chishti (Primary Class-Room13, Extended Care Program) has been in the field of education for over 15 years. She holds a graduate degree in Statistics. Ms. Ayesha has a very versatile teaching career, she has worked as a tutor as well as a lead teacher in both primary as well as toddler classrooms. Working with children brings her immense joy. She is very hard working and diligent and her flexibility makes her a very dear member of the UMS team. When Ms. Ayesha is not teaching, she is taking care of her two children. She enjoys cooking in her free time and hopes someday she would have more time to go back to her passion of creating beautiful paintings.