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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, and teacher educator for nearly 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 Method to cohorts all around the world, she is proud to open her very own bilingual preschool.(Download C.V.)

Pre - Primary Lead Guide

For nearly 18 years, Zahida Ruiz-Fowkes has dedicated herself to Montessori education. She has earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Clinical Psychology; a Master’s degree in Education; and an Infant/Toddler Montessori certification from the Association Montessori Internationale. Fluent in English and Spanish, Zahida co-owned and operated La Hacienda Montessori in Tijuana, Mexico before moving to Colorado. Zahida also enjoys being with her family, cooking, gardening, and finding peace with yoga and in nature.

PrePrimary Educational Researcher

Zhanzhan Huang grew up in Shanghai, China. She transferred to the University of Colorado Boulder in her junior year and completed her B.A. in Economics. After giving private piano lessons for 2 years in China, she was eager to experience more about teaching and becoming a Montessori teacher. She loves children and enjoys being their Chinese teacher and friend.She has completed her Montessori training at MCI.

Assistant Teacher For Pre Primary

Monica moved to Colorado from Mexico in 1997 and was awarded the distinction of the Mexican-American student of the year 1999 by the Mexican consulate in Denver. Since then, she has volunteered with the Consulate General of Mexico in many community events and worked temporarily in the documentation department. She also worked with diplomatic families during their stay in Denver and for over 20 years, Monica has worked as a child care provider in the Denver metro area for families who liked to see their children learn Spanish as a second language and loving the natural way Monica has to interact with children.

Educational Researcher

Xue Fei (Anna) Zhang was born in WuHan, HuBei, China. At the age of 17 years, she moved to Boise, Idaho as a High School International student. Continuing her education in America, she pursued an economics degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Upon graduation she worked with the Africa Community Center, helping refugees from all over the world. During this time she discovered a passion for working with children, and is very excited to be able to share her love for the Chinese language and culture with the children of MCI. She has completed her Montessori training at MCI.


Shari Zeitler has lived in Colorado for the past 18 years. She received her Bachelors degree from Union College in Upstate New York. After finishing college she spent some time discovering exactly what she wanted to do with her life. She has completed the MCI teacher training program, while working as an assistant in the Primary classroom. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Union College in Upstate New York and her Master’s degree from University of Colorado.


Zenebech Gebeychu has has completed her Primary Montessori training at MCI and is also Director Qualified. She is eager to continue learn all she can in order to become a good Montessori teacher and hopes to be able to thoroughly implement her studies into the classroom with the children. Originally from Ethiopia, Zizi has made Colorado her home and enjoys spending time with her young son.


Bertha is originally from Mexico. She has a masters degree in Education from Framingham State College. She has been teaching Spanish and Elementary Education in Mexico, Texas and Denver for the past 20+ years. She discovered the Montessori philosophy of education while teaching and fell in love with it. She completed her ECE/ Montessori Primary Training at MCI and feels very fortunate for the opportunity to apply her Montessori studies with her internship and as a Montessori guide with the MCI community. She enjoys time with reading, yoga, listening to music and spending time with family, friends, pets, and nature.

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.