Our faculty is comprised of dedicated, talented, and caring educators. Each of our Lead Teachers holds a Montessori Certification and a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree, with many holding advanced degrees. As master teachers, the Seton Montessori teaching faculty serve as mentors for student teachers, lecturers and advisors for the Seton Montessori Institute teacher certification programs.
Anna Perry serves as the Infant-Toddler Program as Coordinator. See her full bio on the administration page.
Michelle Ebels is welcomed to Seton this year as a Co-teacher in the Infant Room. She has a B.A. in Psychology and received her AMS Infant-Toddler teaching certificate at Seton Montessori Institute. She’s had previous experience teaching Montessori to the 2-3’s toddlers. She enjoys yoga, running, reading and spending time with her daughter. What she most enjoys about working with children is their curiosity for learning. “I love to see their little faces light up when they realize ‘I did it!'”
Hanya Jilani is an Assistant in the Infant room. She and her husband live in Willowbrook with their two children, 18-year-old boy and girl twins who both attend Hinsdale Central. She enjoys cooking and walking and being with her family. She has been been at Seton for the past four years.
Marzena Staron is a Co-Teacher in the Young Toddlers. She is originally from Poland and she and her husband have two children, Kasia,15, and Asia, 13. This is her 18th year working in Montessori education. She finished her Infant-Toddler and Early Childhood AMS Certifications in Montessori at Seton. Marzena loves to work and interact with children and delights when children accomplish their work and then feel good about themselves. During weekends she teaches Polish. Marzena’s hobbies include scrap-booking and working with different arts and crafts.
Georgy Monnier is Lead Teacher in the All Day 2’s and 3’s program. She has a B.A. in English from UCLA, and an M.A. in American Literature from Penn State. After years of being a “fun aunt” she started teaching art classes to toddlers at The Old Town School of Folk Music and discovered she belonged with children under the age of six. Georgy worked as an Infant-Toddler Montessori lead teacher at another Montessori school for four years before coming to Seton and has been at Seton now for five years. Georgy’s three children attend Seton, two in Lower Elementary and one in the All Day program.
Jenny Santiago joined Seton last year as a substitute classroom assistant in the Infant
Program and now works as an Assistant in the Half Day and All Day 2s and 3s classrooms. Jenny is originally from Puerto Rico. She has a seven-year-old son named Jenzen and studied business in the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. She really enjoys visiting museums, in particular the ones where she can learn about history, science and people. She likes to give back to her community and do volunteer work as part of her social responsibility. The thing that she likes most about working with children is to be able to see their achievements, and help them to reach their maximum potential.
Jolanta Dirmontiene is a native of Lithuania and serves as an after school Assistant and regular substitute in the Infant Program for the last several years, sharing her warmth and care with Seton’s youngest students. Jolanta’s daughter, Barbara, is a junior in high school. When not at Seton, Jolanta enjoys working with her hands making crafts and is an enthusiast of the cultural arts including drama and dance.
HALF DAY 3-6 PROGRAM
Jennifer Nolan serves as the Half Day 3-6 Program as Coordinator. See her full bio on the administration page.
Miriam Audino, is beginning her second year at Seton. She will continue her work as an Assistant in the Blue room morning class, and joins the Purple Room afternoon class this year. She has worked with children in many informal settings, including two years spent traveling with a youth outreach team throughout the United States, India and Nepal. She also worked as a preschool teacher in Ohio. Miriam earned her B.A in Cross Cultural Studies and Comparative Religion at Nyack College in New York. She loves all things creative, but has recently been learning to knit and sew. She and her husband have two children, and they love to hike, spend time in nature, cook elaborate meals and read books. She loves working with children and being present with them as they discover the joy and freedom that learning brings.
May Elqaq is a Co-teacher in the Purple Room, both AM and PM classes, and has been at Seton for fifteen years. May has two daughters, Farah, 24, who is a recent graduate of DePaul University, and Rund, 22, who is a senior at UIC. May has her 3-6 Montessori Certificate as well as an Associate’s Degree in Office Technology Information. May loves working with children because of their innocence. She finds it wonderful to teach them and watch them grow. She finds that children need our love, patience and sense of humor. May also enjoys cooking, spending time with family, and traveling with her daughters.
Joy Humphrey is the Lead Teacher in the Purple Room for the morning class. She began working with children at a Boys and Girls Club while in college. Shortly before graduating with a B.A. in Communication and Culture she decided she wanted to teach and was able to teach English in South Korea for a year. Upon returning home she worked at a daycare. After observing the children’s frustration with a traditional educational approach, Joy pursued her Early Childhood Montessori credential. Joy completed her Practicum at Seton as the student teacher in the Green Room and went on to teach in a 3-6 Montessori program in Chicago, returning to Seton four years ago. Joy and her husband, Bryan, have a son, Benjamin, and a daughter, Lucy. They like to travel, hike, listen to music, read, cook and eat. Joy loves learning from the children and is filled with gratitude to be able to see and experience wonder through their eyes.
Aurora Gutierrez is a student teacher in the Purple Room morning class. She started her Early Childhood Education at Elgin Community College and is now happy to be completing her Early Childhood certification at Seton Montessori Institute. She is married and has a daughter Gio, 16, who is a junior at St. Edward High School. Aurora has being working with children in different schools as an employee and as a volunteer. She loves to be around children because she likes to serve others, and her best learning is from the children. She enjoys family time, cooking and spending time together.
Jon Dumpys is joining us for his first year at Seton. He got the “Montessori bug” after taking the Paraprofessional course at Seton in September 2014. Since then he has worked part-time as a 3-6 assistant at two local Montessori schools. This school year Jon will “float” between the 3-6 year old classrooms, providing extra support to the classrooms as needed. He strongly believes in the Montessori method as a way to help children learn, and loves being a male role model for the them! His three-year-old daughter, Liv (Lee-vuh) is a student in the Green Room, and his wife Stacey Jutila is a chaplain at Advocate Children’s Hospital. He and his family live in Naperville and they love to hike and play outdoors together as much as possible. He looks forward to getting to know the Seton community better, and could not be happier to be part of such a healthy, vibrant and caring school.
ALL DAY 3-6 PROGRAM
Sue Buntrock is the Head Teacher of the Green Room and is the Program Coordinator of the All Day Early Childhood Program. She has been at Seton for 39 years. Previously Sue taught special needs children, and she holds a B.S. in Applied Behavioral Science, and a 3-6 Montessori Certificate. Sue is married and has one daughter, Ashley, who is Seton’s Elementary Program Coordinator and Lower Elementary teacher. Sue loves to read and enjoys attending the theater with her husband. The spontaneous joy children have in all that they see and discover is what she likes best about working with children.
Claire Willis is an Associate Teacher in the Green Room. She holds a B.A in Anthropology, Art and Education from Hampshire College. Claire earned her 3-6 certification at Seton Montessori Institute last year, and worked in the the Half Day program for the past four years. She and her partner Jake have a six-year-old son who just moved up into the Seton Elementary Program. Claire enjoys music, dance, yoga, observing animals, being in nature and working with clay. Working with the children is her reminder that life is fundamentally beautiful, joyful and exciting.
Hilda Manzanares is an Assistant Teacher in the Green Room, and has worked at Seton since 1985. She is married to José Manzanares and has four children between the ages of 20 and 30, and four grandchildren. She attended the Paraprofessional Course here at Seton. Hilda loves to take walks with José, and she most enjoys seeing the smiles on her student’s faces each day.
Melissa Mulvaney is the Lead Teacher in the Yellow Room. Melissa taught dance, acting and directed children’s theater to students of all ages for over ten years, and continues to share her talents here at Seton. Working with children in the arts deepened her new love of teaching and motivated her to seek out the Montessori method. Melissa and her husband, Chris have a six-year-old daughter. Melissa enjoys sharing the joy of discovery and accomplishment with the children.
Aida Quiles Rodriguez is beginning her third year as an Assistant Teacher in the Yellow Room. She completed the Paraprofessional course at Seton and previously worked with youth at her church. Aida got her introduction to Montessori through a friend who operated a Montessori program in her home. In her free time, Aida is actively involved in youth ministry and recently completed her degree in ministry.
Jamie Wellhausen is joining us as a Student Teacher in the Yellow Room. She attended the College of Dupage and is excited to be part of the Early Childhood Cohort at Seton Montessori Institute. Previously she worked on an organic farm in Browntown, WI. Her love of children inspired her to work as a nanny for many years before finally deciding to become a teacher. She loves enabling children to do things for themselves and the freedom and excitement learning new things brings them. She lives in Warrenville with her dog, Sammy, and she dreams of one day living in Colorado where she can snowboard and live in the mountains.
Molly Banerjee is an Assistant in the All Day Program and is starting her second year at Seton. Prior to coming to Seton she was a full time mother and homemaker, raising two children successfully into adulthood. She also worked teaching Math and Reading at Kumon. She loves painting, sketching, gardening, and decorating. Being with children reminds her of the many wonderful things about life.
Mary Carol Kobler is an afternoon Aide in the Green Room, and has been working at Seton since 2001. She completed her teacher training in Suzuki Method for Piano Book 1 in Summer 1999, and wrote a book, “The Importance of Nature and Animals in a Montessori Environment and at Home,” for the children of Seton Montessori. Mary Carol holds a B.A. in American Studies with a concentration in Cultural History & Literature from DePaul University. Mary Carol is a cantor at her church every weekend and also enjoys singing in DuPage Chorale at COD. She has traveled throughout Europe doing choral festivals and tours. She loves spending quality time with her husband David, her family, and her three-year-old cockatiel, Charlie.
Iram Jilani is an Aide in the All Day Program. She has three children, her oldest daughter is 18 and a senior at Hinsdale Cental, her son 16, is a sophomore also at Hinsdale Central, and her youngest daughter is seven and attends Holmes school. Iram enjoys cooking, walking, and sewing. She is originally from Pakistan. She and her husband live in Willowbrook.
Cristina Perry is a Seton alumnus and is the Art Specialist on campus. Cristina holds her Infant-Toddler AMS credential and received her Early Childhood credential from Xavier University as a part of her Master’s Degree in Education. Cristina has inspired young artists throughout her years in the classroom and works with children at all program levels. She opened the Summer Camp Art Studio in 2013, a summer camp favorite, and is assisting in the development of the outdoor Atelier. In her free time, Cristina enjoys doing origami and spending time with her dogs, Nicky and Rita.
Ashley Buntrock is Elementary Coordinator and Co-teacher of the Lower Elementary classroom. Ashley has been a teacher at Seton for eight years. A Seton graduate herself, Ashley holds a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Xavier University, and her 3-6 and 6-12 Montessori credentials. Ashley is the daughter of Sue Buntrock, Head teacher in the Green Room. Teaching in the Seton Elementary Program since its inception, Ashley loves the children’s joy of learning and that every day is new. In her free time she loves the opportunity to read a good book.
Rumya Rao is an Assistant in the “upper” Lower Elementary classroom. With a degree in Mathematics, Rumya was a coordinator of clinical trials in a hospital prior to joining Seton. She says a combination of perfect timing and a lifelong desire to teach are what drew her to Montessori education. Rumya and her husband Sri, welcomed their first child, Rohini, last January. Rumya enjoys singing, gardening and cooking in her free time. She feels she learns even more than the children every day as she witnesses their social interaction and connects with them in the classroom.
Divina Cruz is a Lead Teacher in the newly opened second Lower Elementary classroom. After earning her B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy she went to law school and decided it was best to follow her passion: working with children. Upon leaving law school, Divina came to Seton to learn more about Montessori, where she completed her 0-3, 3-6 and 6-9 Montessori certifications. Divina was a Lead Teacher in a 3-6 classroom for many years. She is married with two children, one who began junior high this year and the other who is a student in Seton’s Elementary Program. Divina also serves at the Practicum Coordinator for the Seton Montessori Institute. Divina says the best part about working with the children is watching their joy when they learn something new.
David Chorney is an Assistant Teacher in the “lower” Lower Elementary classroom. He found Seton after being urged to become a certified Montessori teacher by the faculty of Denali Montessori in Alaska where he was an aide and substitute for seven years. Previous to that, David graduated with a B.A. in English and Sociology from Augustana College. David and his wife enjoy time with their German Shepherd Husky mix dog. In his spare time, David likes to fish, hike, bike, mountain climb and climb trees. David loves seeing the growth in the children from the first day to the end of the year. He loves witnessing each child’s individual strengths and loves helping find solutions to any weaknesses.
Gwen Carr is the Lead Teacher of the Upper Elementary Classroom. After teaching Montessori Early Childhood for ten years and assisting/interning in Elementary in the afternoons for three, she was excited about the new experience of working with Elementary students full-time. Gwen has been called the “Curator of the Living Lab” as her work has been fundamental in creating and maintaining the laboratory. Along with her 3-6 and 6-12 Montessori Certificates, she holds a B.A. in Humanities. Previously, Gwen provided individualized instruction for a one-room schoolhouse of 6-12 year olds and home-schooled her own children and others for nine years. Gwen enjoys gardening, interacting with animals, reading, writing, cooking and preserving food. Gwen is married to “Harry the Sheep Farmer” and has two children, Raya, 23, and Jonathan, 25. She enjoys working with children because of the wonder in their eyes and the love in their hearts, both so willingly shared.
Mary Linville works in Upper Elementary as an afternoon Assistant. She joined Seton in December of 2013 as the morning Receptionist, having previously worked as a park district Teacher Assistant. She joining Seton she has been increasingly drawn back into the classroom and was excited to begin working with the children at Seton this year. She has completed the Paraprofessional Course at Seton Montessori Institute. Prior to joining Seton, she worked for ten years as a Teacher Assistant at the Oakbrook Terrace Park District Preschool. She and her husband, Howie, have four children and two grandchild. Mary enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, doing photography and is also an avid scrapbooker.
Linda Davis joins the Seton staff this year as Curriculum Coordinator, with a primary focus on Elementary, but working wherever her input and efforts are needed. Linda Davis completed her first Montessori Teacher Training in 1971. Since then she has worked in Montessori environments with students ages 3 to 6, 6 to 9, 9 to 12, and 12 to 15. Brief encounters with groups of children from birth to three and young people older than 15 have been intriguing, but so far she has preferred one-to-one interactions with those age groups. Experiences with other work outside the world Montessori have been brief and left her convinced she has the best job in the world. Linda grew up in downstate Illinois, has lived in the Chicago area twice; spent one year in Washington, D.C.; and has lived on the West Coast twice. She is happy to have returned to the “third coast” where she can spend time with a multitude of family, friends, and former students.
Heather Madden is our Student Resource Specialist. Prior to joining Seton, Heather was Manager of Professional Learning for the Office of Early Childhood in the Chicago Public Schools. Attending Montessori herself as a child, and working five years as an Early Childhood inclusion teacher, Heather has a rich background in assisting children and coaching teachers on working with children with learning differences. Heather will be working with children in all program levels. In her spare time, Heather loves volunteering, sewing, and exploring Chicago with her dogs, Lola and Foster.