Crestwood Montessori School: Staff Bios
Professional Preschool and Elementary School education including Yoga,Music, Art and SpanishMrs. Mooney
Mrs. Mooney attended Ohio State University where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education. She received an American Montessori Diploma and Master’s Degree in Education and Psychology from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. She also taught traditional elementary school before joining the Cincinnati Country Day School as a Montessori primary teacher. Mrs. Mooney spent a year in Bergamo, Italy training for the Association Montessori Internationale Advanced Course Certification for the Montessori Elementary. After that, she returned to the states to help establish a Montessori middle school program in a private Montessori school. For the past eleven years her work has been in charter schools, having expanded a pubic Montessori school from elementary to middle school and added the Kindergarten program. She was founding director of another Montessori charter school and principal of a new charter school in New York City for the past two years. She has come here to add her experience to Crestwood Montessori’s expansion into the elementary program. Mrs. Mooney has two sons who attended Montessori schools and live in the metropolitan area.
Primary Head Teacher and Owner
Mrs. Hotung attended Georgetown University in Washington, DC where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree. She received an International Montessori Diploma from Wimbledon Montessori College in London, England in 2002. She then did additional training and field work here in New Jersey through the Princeton Center for Teacher Education after which she earned her certification as an Early Childhood Education Teacher (ages 3 to 6 years old) by the American Montessori Society (AMS). Mrs. Hotung taught at the Primary level at Princeton Montessori School from 2006 to 2009. As she is also a Certified YogaKidsTM Associate, part of Crestwood Montessori School's curriculum will include the YogaKidsTM approach to enhance the children's health, creativity, education and overall well-being. The Yoga poses are stepping stones for math, reading, ecology, anatomy, and music which create even more avenues for learning. All of the elements of YogaKidsTM and Montessori integrate exercise and physical learning with intellectual growth to spark curiosity and the love of learning in each child. To further promote the Montessori philosophy of the interconnectedness of all living things, we will also be including environmental education in our nursery school curriculum.
Mrs. Dalagar received her Bachelor of Arts degree in India at the Woman’s College at Bangalore University. She earned her early childhood credential through the Montessori Teacher Training Institute of Mercer County College. She has her American Montessori Society teacher’s certification from the Montessori Teacher Training Institute of New Jersey. This is her third year of teaching in a Montessori environment including her internship at Montessori Corner in Plainsboro, New Jersey. As a Montessori teacher, Mrs. Dalagar is committed to continuing to develop her skills in the early childhood education field.
Toddler Head Teacher
Ms. Phelan is a Montessori Certified Teacher for the Infant/Toddler Program. She attended the Montessori Institute for Teachers Education (MITE), in Hockessin, DE, as well as North American Montessori Center (NAMC), in Ontario Canada.
Ms. Phelan has been involved in Montessori education for over 20 years, first as a parent. Subsequently she was an Assistant in Primary, Head Teacher of a Primary class and is now the Lead Teacher of the Toddler program.
Ms. Phelan has three daughters, all of whom began their learning journey through a Montessori program. Her two oldest daughters attended an elementary program through 6th grade. Her experiences with their elementary education confirmed her as an enthusiastic proponent of the Montessori school.
Prior to moving to New Jersey three years ago, Ms. Phelan taught at Hockessin Montessori School in Hockessin, DE and also at Middletown Montessori School in Media, PA, where she started the toddler program. At Hockessin, Ms. Phelan was president of the Family and Home Association and led the fundraising program for the school.
Primary Assistant Teacher
Mrs. Chandanani has a Bachelor’s Degree in commerce from Rajasthan University in India. She has been an active volunteer in her daughter’s school. She has volunteered in a Hindi school for the past three years, which is run by hindiusa.org, a registered educational nonprofit organization. She did her Montessori training at Montessori Teacher Training Institute of Mercer County College. She will be completing her internship this year, at the end of which she will be awarded her certification.
Primary Assistant Teacher
Mrs. Phatak is an AMS (American Montessori Society) Certified Teacher for the Primary age group (3 to 6 years). She has a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Sciences. She has over five years of experience teaching children in a Montessori environment and has attended many workshops and seminars relating to Early Childhood Education. Prior to joining Crestwood, Mrs. Phatak taught the Primary Level at Pennington Montessori School. She has two high school age children of her own. Over the years, she has been actively involved in her children’s school PTA/PTSA, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and has conducted programs for children at the Plainsboro Preserve.
Toddler Assistant Teacher
Aziza Shehata has been at Crestwood Montessori School for over 2 ½ years as an Assistant Teacher in the Toddler Class. Ms. Shehata is also one of the After Care Enrichment teachers. She has both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from Rutgers University. In addition to her experience here at Crestwood, Ms. Shehata has an additional 5 years of experience working with Toddlers. Ms. Shehata is an asset to Crestwood Montessori School for taking on many other administrative tasks including managing the Face Book page and photograph archives. In her “spare” time, Ms. Shehata is working on her Master’s Degree in Montessori.
Toddler Assistant Teacher and Before & After Care Enrichment
Mrs. Zaheer earned her Bachelor Degree of Education and Master’s Degree of Education from Allama Iqbal International University Islamabad. She supports three programs at Crestwood spending long days with the children. Currently, she is enrolled in the Montessori Infant Toddler Certification course at North American Montessori Center in Canada. She will receive her certification in December. She plans to teach for many years and wants parents to know that she takes great care of their children.
After School Teacher
Assistant Teacher in After CareEnrichment
Mrs. Danielereturns for her third year at Crestwood Montessori School as an assistantteacher in aftercare and a substitute in all other classes when the needarises. She graduated from the Universityof Vermont with an AS degree in Radiologic Technology and spent her earlycareer as a staff technologist at Yale-New Haven Hospital. This is where she received her first teachingexperience, being responsible for the instruction of student technologists intheir practical applications. In theyears since, Mrs. Daniele has retired from radiography, raised a family, taughtCCD classes and kickboxing classes, and became cantor and choir member at herchurch where she has sung for 16 years. She has also discovered many artistic talents which she delightedlybrings to the Crestwood family which include needle arts such as sewing, crossstitch, needlepoint, crewel, crochet and knitting. She also loves stained glass, decorativefloor painting, baking and making macaroni, gardening and just about anythingone can do with her hands. Mrs. Danielelooks forward to inspiring our young friends with her enthusiasm, creativityand genuine love for children.