Owner and Head of School
Dayani Nawagamuwa is the owner and Head of School at Hill Point Montessori. She received her Montessori teaching diploma in 1987 in Colombo, Sri Lanka before moving to the United States in 1991. She has over 30 years experience in Montessori education, starting her first Montessori school in 1998 and then owning two other Montessori schools in the following years. Her Montessori parents were amazed at what their preschool age children were accomplishing and wanted to continue educating their children in a Montessori environment. In response, Dayani opened Hill Point Montessori Preparatory School in 2011 to give students the opportunity to be educated in a school that offered a Montessori elementary curriculum so they could continue their amazing progress. Dayani is an extremely hands on owner with considerable expertise in the Montessori field. Her devotion to educating children and raising them to be great citizens of the world is her top priority and is what makes Hill Point Montessori such a special and unique school.
Anishka Nawagamuwa is the co-administrator at Hill Point Montessori. She previously was the director and administrator at another Montessori school for 10 years before joining Hill Point last year. She obtained her Early Childhood (3-6) International Teaching Diploma from the North American Montessori Center in 2008 and has been working in Montessori schools starting as a teacher’s assistant since 2003. Having attended a Montessori school herself as a young child, and grown up with a family that owned Montessori schools, she has a unique full-circle perspective and a great deal of experience working with young children.
Lead Upper Elementary Guide
Keya Bromberg is the Lead Upper Elementary guide at Hill Point Montessori. She began her educational career at the University of Southern California majoring in Aerospace Engineering, and after realizing that she enjoyed teaching and working with her peers more than the intricacies of differential equations, she switched her major to History with an emphasis in education. She was recruited by a local Montessori school to launch its middle school program, and traveled to Ohio to receive her training with the North American Montessori Teaching Association. After an intensive training of developing a two-year curriculum and being the youngest in her group of 75 educators from around the world, she received her adolescent studies certification and began teaching sixth through eighth grade English, history, mathematics, and science. Her student-centered approach combined with modeling and the Socratic Method have been successful for the past five years she has been in the classroom.
Lead Lower Elementary guide
Alyssa Schwartz is the Lead Lower Elementary guide at Hill Point Montessori. She was born in Santa Monica, California and grew up in Simi Valley. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from San Francisco State University. She began her teaching career as a language teacher in rural Japan in 2007. After teaching in Japan, she spent time volunteering as an English teacher in Rajasthan, India. Upon returning to the United States she pursued her Montessori certification in Lower Elementary (ages 6-9) from SMCC in Chandler, Arizona. She has been working in Lower Elementary Montessori classrooms since 2009. She joined Hill Point Montessori in 2014 when she relocated back to her hometown with her husband and son. She is deeply passionate about helping children develop independence, responsibility, and compassion.
Lead Primary Teacher
Marcia Paiotti has been a Lead Primary Teacher at Hill Point Montessori Preparatory School since 2013. She received her Montessori Certification from the Center for Guided Montessori Studies (IMC Montessori Early Childhood Certification – MACTE accredited) in 2013. She also received her Montessori Classroom Leadership training in 2012. Earlier, she attended Moorpark College where she pursued a career in Child Development. Ms. Marcia also received an Associate Degree in Arts from the Santa Cecilia University in Brazil in 1996. Her love for teaching and her classroom experience go back many years. She initially worked as an Elementary and High School Arts Teacher in Brazil for several years. Prior to joining Hill Point Montessori, she was an assistant Montessori Teacher for 5 years in Westlake Village, California. While growing up, she attended a Montessori School during her entire primary and elementary education. Ms. Marcia has always been fascinated with the Montessori Method, which helps children develop their curiosity, creativity, intelligence, and social/emotional skills. That is why she decided to learn, master and bring forth the Montessori Method to the children in a very passionate way. Ms. Marcia feels blessed for the privilege of being part of her student’s lives and making a difference in their lifelong education.
Lead Primary Guide
Barbara Ellis has been a Lead Primary guide at Hill Point Montessori for the past 4 years. She received her Bachelor of Arts form UC Santa Barbara and completed her AMI Montessori training at the the Teacher Training Center of Northern California. Barbara has over 25 years of teaching experience and has a great love for Montessori education.
Lead Primary Guide
Shelby Ferns is the Lead Pre-Primary Guide at Hill Point Montessori. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Child and Adolescent Development with a minor in Family Studies from California State University, Northridge (CSUN). She has been working in preschool settings ever since. She joined Hill Point Montessori in December 2014 and received her Early Childhood (3-6) International Teaching Diploma from the North American Montessori Center in 2015. Shelby fell in love with the Montessori method as it motivates, inspires, and challenges children to grow and develop in their own way and at their own pace. In Spring of 2017, she returned to CSUN to pursue a Master of Arts in Education, Educational Psychology (Early Childhood Education).
Co-Teacher Lower Elementary
Carrie Cabatbat is the co-teacher in our Lower Elementary classroom. She was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii and she graduated with a BA in Elementary Education from the University of Hawaii, Manoa. She has a great deal of experience teaching in a traditional classroom for twenty years, and has been working in a Montessori classroom at Hill Point Montessori for the past three years.