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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.)

Primary Lead Guide

Caroline Alsmeyer moved to Denver, CO from the Washington D.C. Area to continue her education and begin her journey in the Montessori community. She received her undergraduate degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Central Florida; her International Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy from Montessori Casa International; and has received her Early Childhood Education Director’s Certification. Caroline is honored to have worked as an Assistant Teacher, Intern and Primary Lead Guide at MCI, and she looks forward to continuing to build her relationships within the MCI family! Caroline’s interests include: animals, skiing, nature, fitness, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

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.

Chinese Educational Interpreter - Intern

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 and now embarks on her internship.

Mandarin Toddler Teacher

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. Zhanzhan is excited to embark on her Montessori training at MCI this year.


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. 


Zenebech Gebeychu has completed her Primary Montessori training at MCI. 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.


Hannah Philip was brought up in London, received her MA in Modern and Medieval Languages from the University of Cambridge, and her Teaching Degree from Middlesex University. She is passionate about bilingual education and has worked as a French, German and Italian teacher in London, and as an English and ESL teacher at the International Schools of Boston and Denver. She did her Montessori training at MCI and is looking forward to implementing the Montessori philosophy at home with her daughter Giovanna. In her free time, Hannah loves to sing in choirs and take dance lessons, as well as go hiking and skiing with her outdoors-loving husband. 

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.