416-222-9207
416-222-9207

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.

Mrs Minoo Mohajer Founder and Head of School    

mmohajer@cmschool.net

Bio

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.

Ms Neda Mohajer – Co Head of School

nmohajer@cmschool.net

Bio

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.

York Mills Campus

Tracy Grisdale -Principal of York Mills and Thornhill Campus

tgrisdale@cmschool.net

416-510-1200 ext 128

Bio

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.

Ayesha Ahmed – Vice Principal

aahmed@cmschool.net

416-510-1200 ext 001

Bio

A Montessori Teacher for the past 25 years, Ayesha Ahmed loves CMS considering it her second home. For the past 17 years she has served in some capacity as the Head of the Casa program, the Infant and Toddler program and for the past 10 years as Vice Principal of the York Mills Campus. She traces back her educational journey to her training in Child Psychology specialising in the area of children with learning differences and special needs – specifically autism spectrum disorders. Having sent her own children to a Montessori school and embracing the philosophy so fully she decided to embark on the AMI Certified Montessori teacher course and recalls the feeling of having found her purpose. She went on to further certify with the TMI. For Ms Ahmed she will tell you first hand what a privilege it is to work at CMS. She truly believes CMS models an inclusive school where all children can learn appreciating the diversity of religion, race and identity of this wonderful country. Together with her team they are able to be innovative, imaginative and courageous enabling the youngest members of our community to have a rich experience where they can thrive and achieve their full potential.

Fariba Farsadi – Head of Academics – Casa dept

ffarsadi@cmschool.net

416-510-1200 ext

Bio

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.

Marjan Giahi – Administrator Elementary school

mgiahi@cmschool.net

416-510-1200 ext 128

Bio

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.

Maplehurst Campus

Yasmine Dannawy – Principal Maplehurst and Willowdale Campus

yasmined@cmschool.net

416-222-9207 ext 501

Bio

A third culture kid born and raised in the UK and living across 3 continents throughout her life, Yasmine has called home for her elementary- Undergrad years. Growing up in Newfoundland on the East Coast conjures many happy memories of Girl Guide camps, summers spent outdoors and winters on the ski slopes. Graduating from Memorial University with a BA and a BED in 1997 she left to seek her fortunes in the UK and then later on the United Arab Emirates where she taught for most of the 25 years in the profession. Her beloved English Literature subjects, her ability to speak French has always given her an opportunity to be in front of a class teaching children as young 8 years old to as old as 19 years old. Her love for education enabled her to continue studying whilst working in the Uk gaining a Masters in Education from Cambridge university and an MBA from University of Hull. Further training led to the completion of the National Professional Qualification of Headship that has been instrumental in her role as a Principal/ Head of School in her last three schools. Coming into the CMS family after a return to Canada in 2020 has been an eye opening experience. Further training, this time in the world of Montessori education in the elementary programs has provided her with opportunities to bring the rich world of a Montessori education to the forefront of all she now does. She has witnessed first hand the rapid growth and development of her own two sons through the Toddler and Casa program and speaks highly of their experiences to everyone she now meets. Counting Mother Theresa, Margaret Thatcher, Michelle Obama and of course Jane Austen as her influences in life she has embraced life in Toronto and its cold weather after years of much warmer weather living in the Middle East. She cites Maria Montessori’s famous quote as a daily inspiration: in every child is the seed that will mature into an adult.

Roshi Ansari – VP/ Head of Casa across CMS

ransari@cmschool.net

416-222-9207 ext 221

Bio

The tour de force and pillar of the CMS Maplehurst campus is the Vice Principal and overall Head of all CMS Casa programs – Ms Roshi Ansari. Incredibly humble and self –effacing there is nothing that stops the creative genius that has seen the school grow into a French Immersion campus alongside many of the Charity initiatives that have put CMS on the map. Born and raised in a family with generations of diplomats from her father’s side and teachers from her mother’s side, Roshi traveled and lived in many countries as a child and young adult, finally settling in Toronto in 1995. A teacher at heart, she began teaching piano after receiving the affiliate teacher certificate from the Conservatoire de Paris. After graduating from the University of Tehran with a Bachelor of French Language and Literature and a Masters of French Translation, she was employed as a part-time university teaching assistant for 4 years. In the early days of living in Canada she began her partnership with the Royal Conservatory of Music as an affiliate piano teacher and landed a part time job at Central Montessori School as a Casa French and Music teacher. Working at CMS and getting to know the Montessori philosophy was a revelation for her. Under direct supervision of the Head of school, a Montessori teacher herself, she started her CMS Journey, that still continues today. She completed her Montessori Foundation Course in 1997 and started teaching in a Casa class at CMS Florence Campus. Roshi has held many roles at CMS from Music and French teacher, Casa teaching assistant, Casa Montessori Teacher, Casa Head Teacher, Head of education for the Casa department for 10 years and finally the Vice Principal of her beloved Maplehurst Campus. Over the past 26 years, she has guided and mentored many teachers at CMS and has initiated several programs, but she has never forgotten her passion for teaching and has maintained a close relationship with students and their families. CMS is her second home and will forever hold a place in her heart.

Pravita Lakhani –Supervisor

plakhani@cmschool.net

416-222-9207

Bio

Pravita joined the CMS family in 1997 starting as a teacher and moving on to become a supervisor a decade later. Successfully running the Sheppard Campus she has brought many of the families who began with her across the road to the Maplehurst campus this year. Originally raised in Tanzania and armed with a Commerce degree from University in India she pursued her love of children by training in the Montessori program. Studying and certifying as an AMI Montessori educator in India she has brought her humility and kind nature to the classroom guiding children to explore their passions in the natural way Dr Montessori has so advocated. Pravita strives to impart the crucial elements of a Montessori education: good values and a peaceful world for children to grow up in all that she does. With a wonderful sense of humor and a twinkle her eye, she is often found quietly observing the workings of a Montessori classroom before offering some advice on how to further nurture a child. She truly embodies what a Montessori teacher and administrator is with her humility and Dr Montessori’s obersvations: The child has a mind able to absorb knowledge. He has the power to teach himself.
Thornhill Campus

Lucy Mazza – Vice Principal Thornhill Campus

lantonelli@cmschool.net

905-889-0012

Bio

As one of the founding members of the Central Montessori Schools, Lucy Lantonelli (Mazza) now takes charge of the Thornhill campus. A first generation Italian Canadian she loves to bring her energy and enthusiasm to a team of professionals she also is lucky to call her second home. As a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE) and Montessori teacher Lucy loves to highlight the importance of the Montessori philosophy with the endless opportunities a child has to learn at their own pace and with hands on materials. A graduate of Seneca College here in Toronto she recalls being recruited by Mrs Mohajer and being one of the first teachers of the CMS family. As the schools have grown and flourished she continues to spread the message of the Montessori philosophy through the rich experiences the children in the Infant, Toddler and Casa programmes are offered at the Thornhill campus. She credits Mrs Mohajer’s guidance and mentorship in the Montessori way to her further studies as a Montessori Casa teacher. She is very proud to be a part of CMS and to have seen it grow and flourish over the past 25 years. She considers CMS her family and is always bringing new ideas to the table on how we could further enrich the children’s experiences in these formative years.

Claudine Torres – Educational Supervisor

claudine@cmschool.net

905-889-0012

Bio

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!

Willowdale Campus

Parissa Lagahee – Supervisor and Campus Administrator

plaghaee@cmschool.net

416-250-1022

Bio

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.

Head Office

Maha Morsy, BA – Director of Human Resources

mmorsy@cmschool.net

 

Naghmeh Elahi, CMA/CPA – Chief Financial Officer/Controller

nelahi@cmschool.net

 

Jamshid Mortazavi, BEng, MBA – Director of IT Systems/Facility Systems

jmortazavi@cmschool.net