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Meet the Team

Dedicated & Certified

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Catherine Ceolin

Boundary Rd Directress- Toddler Program

Catherine has assisted administratively at Reach for the Stars Montessori since 2008. In 2011 Catherine moved into the toddler program. Catherine possesses her Montessori Assistant to Infancy, Infant/Toddler Education Certificate, ECE certificate, Special Needs and First Aid. Catherine is loved by her students for her caring and approachable nature. Along with her organization and creativity and leadership, she is a wonderful asset to the program. She is excited to be part of the team at Reach for the Stars Montessori.

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Nidhi Kochar

Boundary Rd Directress

Nidhi completed her Bachelor’s degree in economics followed by a Diploma in Systems Management. After her own children left for University in Canada, she pursued her interest in teaching the younger group. She did her AMI Primary Training in India from Mumbai in 2015. She worked as a lead directress in the Primary Montessori environment in a school where she felt that the child’s journey of life begins much earlier hence, she was drawn to do AMI Infant Toddler Program from Montessori Training Centre of British Columbia. She also did a course in Applied Behavior Analysis which helps her to relate to various child behavior patterns.

Nidhi holds her current ECE, Infant Toddler license and First Aid Certificate. Nidhi is honoured to be part of Reach for the Stars Montessori and looks forward to aid children in their formative years of development.

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Jessie (Yuting) Zhu

Boundary Rd Assistant- Toddler Program

Jessie joined us in 2021. She possesses her ECE license, Infant Toddler license, and First Aid Certificate. She chose to become an early childhood educator because she loves working with children and finds them endearing and adorable. She believes children’s interests are their strongest motivators, so she enjoys learning children’s interests to help them develop their skills. In her spare time, she likes to watch shows, cooking, make story props, go camping, and visit farms. Jessie is excited to be part of the Reach for the Stars Montessori team.

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Abby (ManTing) Cheng

Boundary Rd Assistant- Toddler Program

Abby is grateful to be part of the Reach for the Stars Montessori family. She holds her ECE Assistant license, First Aid Certificate, and AMI Montessori Assistant Primary Level Certificate. She has worked within the toddler and primary classrooms. By working with children she believes that every child is special and as long as you give them the right guidance they will become an even better person.

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Rani Kumar

Boundary Rd Assistant Directress

After working in different work professions, Rani understood that she needed to go back to where she came from “working with children”. After successfully completing her education she became a Licenced Early childhood educator in 2014. Working with children, witnessing their development and the different cultures they bring is the most beautiful thing that she has been experiencing since then. Rani has also worked as a librarian for a secondary school for 7 years.

Rani is really excited to be part of the Reach the Stars Montessori team.

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Sara Cepale

Boundary Rd Assistant- Toddler Program

Sara was born in Rome, Italy, where she took her Masters Degree in Contemporary Art History at the University "La Sapienza". She has over eight years experience in teaching children at the elementary school level and she is a mom of three. She holds a Montessori Birth to Three Assistants Certificate from the Montessori Training Centre of BC. Being Italian meant for her to grow with the teachings of Maria Montessori as an integral part of her own culture and education. Sara believes that children are the most powerful tool to make the world a better place and she is honored to put her time and dedication at their service, supporting them in becoming the best version of the human being they are, meant to be and always remembering that for tomorrow she can do better.

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Grace Shin

Boundary Rd Co-Guide

Grace joined Reach for the Stars Montessori in 2023 and comes with over 6 years of experience working with children from 3-12 years of age.  She holds her Bachelor of Early Childhood Education , Early Childhood Educator certificate and First Aid, and in the process of obtaining her Infant/Toddler and Special Needs licenses. Additionally, she holds an AMI 3-6 Primary Assistant certificate and is obtaining her Montessori Primary Diploma to further her studies. Grace is trilingual, being fluent in Korean and French on top of English. Her ECE philosophy pertains to having a strong image of the child, seeing them as capable citizens of the world and a firm belief that educators work together with children to co-construct curriculum through a pedagogy of listening. Grace is a dedicated educator who is eager to build long-lasting relationships with the children and their families here at Reach for the Stars Montessori.

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Wendy To

Boundary Rd Directress

Wendy joined us in 2018.  She studied in Vancouver and completed her bachelor degree in Psychology from UBC. She is passionate about the learning and natural development of the child. She holds her diploma from the Montessori Training Centre of British Columbia, as well as her Early Childhood Education certificate and First Aid. Wendy says it is such an honour to be part of the team at Reach for the Stars Montessori and she looks forward to working with all the amazing children for years to come.

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Olivia Xu

Boundary Rd Directress

Olivia Xu received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of British Columbia and obtained her AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Training Centre of BC.  She holds an Early Childhood Education Certificate and a Child Care First Aid Certificate. She enjoys working with children and has been working with children from 3-14 years of age since 2018. Olivia is excited to join Reach for the Stars.

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Julia Hogeling

Main St. Directress

Julia joined Reach for the Stars Montessori in 2007. She has twenty years experience as a preschool teacher. Julia did her AMI in Toronto and Masters in Education in Baltimore. She has a BA in Geography from UBC and her ECE license and first aid. Julia is passionate about working with children from diverse cultures. She is excited to be in the classroom to observe and discover all that children are capable of achieving. Julia likes travelling, learning the ukulele, running and yoga, and enjoying Vancouver's art scene with her husband.

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Jackie Wilson

Kitsilano Directress

Jacqueline has over fourteen years of experience guiding and caring for young children. She graduated from the Montessori Training Centre of BC with a diploma to teach three to six year old children. Jacqueline also holds a current ECE and First Aid certificate. She completed the ECE Special Needs Program as well as the Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders.

Jacqueline continually strives to provide the highest quality care and education to each child in her program. She believes that every child is born with unlimited potential and is driven to discover each child's unique interests and gifts.

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Sandra Dominguez

Main St. Directress

Sandra was born and raised in Mexico. In 2003, Sandra obtained a Bachelor Degree in Preschool Education at Escuela de Educadoras Laura Arce in Monterrey, Mexico. She has over ten years of experience both in Mexico and Canada working with children, teaching preschool and kindergarten. She also taught English to young children while in Mexico.

Looking for new opportunities, Sandra moved to Vancouver in 2005, where she encountered the Montessori Method. She both volunteered and then worked as an Assistant in a Montessori preschool in Vancouver. It was then that she decided to pursue her education and career further through the Montessori Approach. She graduated from the Montessori Training Centre of BC with an assistant diploma to teach three to six year old children. Sandra also holds a current ECE and First Aid Certificate. As an educator Sandra enjoys the satisfaction of being an integral role in the development of children and she truly feels the rewards of her career. Sandra lives with her husband and four year old son. She loves reading, cycling and cooking. She is happy to be part of the Reach for the Stars Montessori family.

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Fiona Black

Kitsilano Co-Directress

Fiona attended Montessori preschool herself as a child and has always been passionate about the pedagogy. Her three children all attended Montessori preschools and she knows the importance of the philosophy for the early years.

Fiona received her bachelor’s degree from Simon Fraser University and received her AMI Montessori primary diploma from the Montessori Training Centre of B.C in 2000. She holds both her ECE certificate and her independent teaching certificate through the Ministry of Education. 

In her spare time, Fiona loves to travel and spend time with her family. She has many years experience working with young children and loves her time in the classroom. She looks forward to joining the staff at the Kitsilano location in September.

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Booshi Nagalingam

Kitsilano Directress

Booshi has been a qualified/certified Montessori directress for the past 30 years. Her Montessori experience began in Sri Lanka, where she did her two-year AMI Montessori training to teach three to-six-year-old children. She also holds a current ECE and First aid certificate.

Booshi loves watching each child reach their full potential and succeed in their endeavors.

She spends her time reading, cake decorating, enjoying the beautiful city she lives in, and travelling with her family.

She looks forward to joining the fantastic staff at the Kitsilano location as a co-directress in 2022.

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Jung Kyu Na

Boundary Rd Assistant

Jung has over a decade of experience as a middle school teacher in Korea. She is very passionate about teaching. She did her Master's in English Education at San Francisco State University. Currently, she also holds her ECE Assistant certificate, Food Safety and First Aid. She believes that children are competent and capable, thus she wants to make sure that the children at our center feel safe and secure so they can be open to learning new things and taking more chances. She is very excited and happy to be part of the Reach for the Stars Montessori team.

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Dr. Pooja Kaigala

Nanaimo St. Directress

In 2022, Dr. Pooja Kaigala relocated to Vancouver with her family. She has 9+ years of experience working the Montessori environments with leading groups and also assisted at the training centres. She holds her A.M.I Casa certificate from London, an A.M.I 0-3 Infant and Toddler assistant certificate from Zurich and a BC First aid training. She is a trained dentist from India and appreciates the new career opportunities she explored. She is passionate about working with children from diverse cultures. She understands and believes that each child has their own unique personality and guiding them allows them to truly shine. At leisure she loves to read and travel. She looks forward to working with the children at Reach for the Stars Montessori.

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Angela Katelouzos

Nanaimo St. Directress

Angela joined Reach for the Stars Montessori in 2010. She has an extensive background working with preschool aged children as well as many years of teaching the Montessori method. She holds her A.M.I Casa Certificate, E.C.E License and First Aid Certificate. Children are drawn to Angela's enthusiastic, patient and compassionate personality. Her passion in guiding children to succeed and reach their fullest potential gives her great joy and gratification.

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Ilenia Cambise

Nanaimo St. Co-Directress

Ilenia joined Reach for the Stars Montessori in 2018.  She moved to Vancouver in 2012 where she started her journey working with children. After many years of looking after them, she realized her strong interest in education and decided to follow the path of the Montessori Approach.  She has her Assistant AMI Montessori Assistant Diploma and ECE through the Montessori training centre of BC, as well as her First Aid certificate. Ilenia is very passionate about cooking, and loves art and crafting and being immersed in nature.

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Helena Diogo

Founder and Principal

Director of Administration

Helena holds a degree in Business Administration and certificate in Management Science and Liberal Arts, with a background in Communications. 

Helena became intrigued with education for children prior to the birth of her first daughter.  She quickly concluded that children have the potential to reach amazing heights if given the opportunity.  In the last 18 years, Helena has had 3 children and has opened 6 reputable and well recognized schools in Vancouver and Burnaby, with an AMI certified teaching staff. Helena is responsible for managing all facets of the organization.   

Helena aspires to make a real difference in each child’s educational experience.  She accredits the success of the school to the support she has received from her family, the students and their families, the cooperation from the Montessori Training Centre of BC and of course the dedicated and hardworking teachers at Reach for the Stars Montessori. 

Helena continues to be passionate about improving educational opportunities for children and she looks forward to serving the children of the community in providing enriched programs. 

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