The Central Montessori family is fortunate to have a varied and diverse talent pool of administrators. Throughout the 25 years of the school’s history these colleagues have worked tirelessly to build on the reputation of the school in the community and to enrich children’s lives as they started their journey of education.
This leadership team meets bi-monthly to discuss the strategic direction of the school across its four campuses.
The story of Central Montessori Schools starts with the vision of our Co Head of School – Mrs Minoo Mohajer. Set up to serve the North York community over 25 years ago, the first group of students started in September 1995 in a converted church space. Within a few short years the school name and reputation grew to encompass another location, again in North York and before long 5 campuses were catering to children as young as 9 months old up to Grade 6 level.
Taking a tour with Mrs Mohajer around any of the 4 campuses is a privilege. As she proudly showcases the purpose built and designed Montessori spaces, greets each of her over 200 staff (many of whom have worked alongside her to build CMS into the strong traditions that are today) and to hear children recognize and greet her warmly is a testament to the leader she is; observant, kind and there to serve her community above all else.
Incredibly humble, she is dedicated to serving the needs of all her community. When parents shared with her how difficult it was to do drop off their children at 8:30am in the morning due to their work commitments, she changed the school hours to include early morning club and after school club to help accommodate them. When parents shared their interest in summer camps run at the school, she devised a whole program with her colleagues to offer interesting and engaging summer camps for the duration of the holidays. When she observed that some of the meals the children were bringing from home were not as nutritious or as filling as they should be, she set up the hot lunch and snack routines offered to every child. The parents will often write with suggestions to improve their children’s experience, she will always listen, discuss it with her team and respond accordingly.
Mrs Mohajer’s main drive remains the happy faces of the children she sees as she walks through the campuses. She also places a heavy emphasis on the enjoyment of learning through the Montessori Method. Parents have been trusting the CMS family with their children for the past two decades and never has it been more true that we belong to a family than it has been in the last year living through the pandemic.
Rising to the challenge of a blended learning approach, our students have continued to succeed with the endless support of our parents and the dedication of our committed and loyal staff.
We welcome you to our website and hope you will take a tour and experience for yourself the magic we have witnessed in the last 25 years.
Armed with a passion for Montessori Education and qualifications in Cognitive Science and teaching – Ms Neda Mohajer joined the CMS family as an elementary teacher and worked her way through the lower elementary Montessori curriculum bringing innovative changes and ideas along the way.
Embracing the Montessorian method and bringing aboard new ideas for updated teaching in the classroom, Ms Neda is an inspirational force to the CMS family. Her enthusiasm and eagerness to bring joy and positivity to each child’s school experience was evident in her classroom and more recently on the staff front. A leading voice in bringing together change to the organization she is constantly training herself to develop staff further; whether it be about Racism in schools, wellness in schools, or the power of positive thinking.
Ms Neda is a wealth of knowledge that she happily propagates and shares with colleagues and teaching staff. Her easy manner and inquisitive nature allows her to challenge the status quo, always putting the child’s experience at the forefront of every decision. that is always shared. She believes “ Education is the best weapon for peace” as Dr Montessori advocated a century ago and goes about sharing this practice in all that she does. Her dialogue with every child is as thoughtful and as caring as it is for her own three children as she believes in the essence of children’s creativity and productivity.
In this last year, as the world has dealt with a pandemic, Neda’s vision and guidance on online learning and her endless positivity on how lessons should be engaging is a direct reflection of what she observes in her own children to what she observes as a teacher on the other side of the camera. Her ability to inspire others to think outside the box has enabled the school year to still bring many a special event to the parents living room albeit over Zoom!
We hope you take a few moments to peruse our website and learn more about what we can offer your child to be a part of our warm, genuine and caring family.
Tracy Grisdale -Principal of York Mills and Thornhill Campus
416-510-1200 ext 128
Tracy Grisdale grew up loving the outdoors and enjoyed camping, hiking, backpacking, scuba diving and canoe tripping. She attended The University of Western Ontario for her undergrad and then completed her AMI Casa training. After teaching for many years, Tracy returned to school to earn her AMI Elementary diploma. After 28 years in the classroom, while being a parent of a young child, she earned her Masters of Education from Brock University. Tracy has been a Casa Montessori teacher trainer for Sheridan College as well as a teacher trainer for the Elementary level at Toronto Montessori Institute. As a board member for a large school in Ottawa she enjoyed the opportunity to work on school improvement. Tracy is also a past president of the Canadian Association of Montessori Teachers. She currently is on the accreditation team for CCMA (Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators). With a total of 38 years in education her passion for children’s learning through the Montessori Philosophy has not waned. A fantastic story teller she has had many a parent and colleague enraptured with her Great Lessons and continues to train and mentor colleagues young and old.
Mrs. Grisdale has been a principal at CMS for almost a decade now and relishes the challenges that each day provides.
With a passion and strong belief that children learn best when they are having fun – Ms Fariba Farsadi epitomises the Montessori Philosophy. As head of the Casa program at the York Mills Campus she brings her strong relationships with parents and her love for nurturing children to work each day. Part of the CMS family for over 15 years, Ms Fariba received her Montessori trainings at AMI and the TMI. She has worked in a variety of Montessori schools before coming home to work with like minded educators here at CMS. Armed with a love for mathematics and enjoying science and literature she has taught up to the secondary level in her native country of Iran. A member of the Math curriculum developers for gifted children with TDSB she loves to promote critical thinking and learning in young learners of all ages. She continues to enjoy taking children on a wide range of educational visits and developing learning in the outdoor environment. Consequently, these aspects of school life are very important to the fabric of CMS.
CMS enables children to succeed, to achieve and to be who they want to be.
With more than 25 years of experience in education, Marjan Giahi knows that each child is unique and would learn and thrive at their own pace. However, she believes that resilience is the key factor for the success of all students and thus advocates it whenever she gets a chance among the students by teaching them strategies to become resilient. She holds a B.A. in Translation and both an M.A. and Ph.D. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Azad University in Tehran, Iran. She began her educational career as an elementary English teacher in a private school in Tehran. She has had the opportunity to work with all K-12 age groups as an English teacher during her career. She worked at Mahdavi Educational Complex for 10 years where she had different roles such as the head of their middle school’s English department and the supervisor of their International School. She has also been a university instructor for more than ten years in Iran where she has taught different courses to B.A. and M.A. students mostly majoring in teaching. In 2008, she was awarded as the best instructor of News College in Tehran. Recently she completed a CGMS course in Overview of Montessori at the Elementary Level and got her TEFL certificate from Seneca College. She moved to Canada in 2016 with her daughter and husband and has proudly been part of CMS’ administrative team since then.
An integral part of the elementary team at York Mills Ms Marjan brings a wealth of knowledge to any educational discussion and does it with a smile and an encouraging word.
Yasmine Dannawy – Principal Maplehurst and Willowdale Campus
416-222-9207 ext 501
Growing up in Asia and Europe, Ms. Claudine sparked her passion for teaching at a young age. Prior to university, she volunteered at a daycare and worked with young children in remote areas of northern Thailand and India as part of community service projects. While pursuing her BA in Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University, she had placements at a variety of early learning settings from after-school programs, Kindergarten classrooms to Ripley’s Aquarium here in Toronto. She gained further work experience as the head ECE of infant and preschool programs at a preschool here in the city. Ms. Claudine was then immersed into the Montessori curriculum when she began at CMS three years ago as a Jr. Casa RECE. She witnessed first hand how experiential learning in a child-centered, prepared environment helped her students thrive independently and be the best they can be. Her training in the Elementary-level Montessori fundamentals also opened her eyes to endless learning possibilities in the Cosmic Curriculum. When Ms. Claudine is not busy supervising the Thornhill campus, she enjoys hiking, road trips and yoga!
Ms Parissa, as the children affectionately call her, has been with the CMS family for 17 years. She began her journey as an assistant teacher before being promoted to an administrator before becoming an academic supervisor of the Willowdale campus. A fluent French speaker, she holds a Commerce degree as well as being an Early childhood educator and is a Registered Early childhood Educator. She holds certification in the leadership and overview of the Montessori Casa program and the lower elementary program at the campus She calls CMS her second home having spent many years in the classroom before moving into management. She counts the many daily blessings the interactions she has with the toddlers, and loves to chart their journey as they grow throughout the years into the elementary program. She takes pride in celebrating each milestone with them, and admires their independence and resilience as they overcome all the pivotal developmental goals.
A friendly and kind professional, she loves interacting with all her families and is overjoyed when a middle schooler or high schooler returns to share their successes with her. She believes Dr Montessori’s vision of enabling a child to work at their own pace really provides the child with the best foundation in life.