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Montessori casa international preschool

Executive Director

Inspired by Dr. Maria Montessori’s philosophy, Punum Bhatia, PhD has dedicated her life to Montessori education as a parent, teacher, teacher educator, coach, administrator and consultant for over thirty years. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature; earned Masters’ degrees in English Literature and Education from the University of Calcutta; and completed a certificate diploma in Montessori Pedagogy. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Colorado Denver in 2012 for her work on the Self-Efficacy of Montessori teachers. In her efforts to understand children and the environments necessary for them to grow and flourish, Punum focuses on Maria Montessori’s original philosophy and techniques. After teaching the Montessori Philosophy and Methodology to cohorts all around the world, she takes great pride in running a Montessori school that is authentic and pure and makes a true difference in the lives of children.(Download C.V.)

Primary Lead Guide | Assistant Director

Zenebech Gebeychu has worked at MCI since 2016 in various roles starting as an intern, then as an Assistant Teacher in the Primary classroom, Lead Guide in PrePrimary and most recently as the Lead Guide in Primary. She has completed her Primary Montessori training at MCI, an AMS refresher course in Infant Toddler Montessori and is also Director Qualified. She shows a deep understanding of Montessori principles as she continues to learn from the children. Originally from Ethiopia, Zizi has made Colorado her home and enjoys spending time with her young son.

Mandarin Primary Guide

Weiyu Foster (Sophy) was born in Northern China and is a native Mandarin speaker. She graduated from the Language Education Department of Chifeng University and completed her Postgraduate Course of Human Resources Management from Hong Kong International Business College. She also holds a secondary school teacher qualification certificate and has been teaching Mandarin to students of all ages for the past 20 years. She has a deep understanding of the language and of the best methods for teaching it to students, teaching not only with her mind but also with her heart.
student. Most recently Sophy has been teaching in a Montessori school in Austin, TX and is excited to join the MCI team. She loves outdoor activities, likes hiking, biking, snowshoeing, fishing and camping.

Primary Assistant

Olga Castillo was born in Jalisco, Mexico and has been living in the US for the past ten years. Throughout the years she has had the opportunity to do multiple jobs that have challenged her and helped her grow. While living in Mexico she started out teaching at an elementary school in her hometown. That’s when she discovered one of her passions: working with children and caring for them to help them thrive in any given environment. She loves to learn and has been a valuable team player at MCI since January 2021.

PrePrimary Lead Guide

Nazia Begum is originally from Bangalore, India which is also known as the Silicon Valley of India for its advancement in Information Technology. She earned her bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Bangalore University. After moving to Denver, Nazia was introduced to Montessori through her children and that led her to pursue her dream of becoming a Montessori educator. She completed her Montessori Diploma from Montessori Casa International and worked at the school for two years before moving back to India. Her family has returned to Denver, and she has eagerly rejoined the MCI school community. She has a passion to learn and observe the development of children through which she can help their foundational learning, shaping them to become not only independent individuals but also good human beings.


PrePrimary Assistant

Mariange Charles-Antonio is originally from New Jersey, and has recently made the beautiful, cross country move to Colorado. Inspired by the beautiful natural scenery, she decided to extend her passion and drive for working with children all the way to the West, thus landing here at Montessori Casa International. Mariange is studying to receive a Masters in Sociology, and has worked closely with children for two and a half years at two different preschools. She loves working with children simply because of the joy it gives her to watch their young minds become enriched and developed right before her eyes. When you cannot find her in the classroom, Mariange is volunteering and working closely with non profit organizations to help the homeless community here in Denver. You can also find her playing with her two kittens, Dudley and Philomena, practicing yoga, crocheting, and cooking.


School Nurse

Carrie Albi, BSN, RN completed her first degree in Health Sciences with an emphasis in Cardiac Rehabilitation from the University of Wyoming;  she later received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing with honors from Southern Illinois University. 

Carrie began her nursing career in the hospital setting then moved to home health, where she enjoyed the more personal interactions with patients.   Carrie is a married mother with three children and enjoys coaching soccer in her spare time; she currently works for Renewal Surgery Center and has been consulting and teaching CPR and First Aid for over five years.