Support Staff


We have an amazing team of support staff;  including a counsellor and classroom assistants.  Our classroom assistants all have a solid foundation of Montessori knowledge, enabling them to assist in the Montessori environment.  

Please see our full support staff list below.



Alex Garneaux

Alex Garneaux has worked at MMA since 2014. She works as a classroom assistant in Alpha and Gamma. Miss Alex finished her community support and education assistant program at Camosun college. When she is not working at the school she is hiking or painting. Miss Alex values inclusion in the community.



Ali Paul

Ali Paul has been at Maria Montessori Academy since 2012 and her role in our community is primarily as a Classroom Assistant. In the past five years however, she has worked with all ages and continues to spend time with our preschool and kindergarteners before and after school. She pursued her Early Childhood Education, after completing an undergrad in creative writing. When she’s not at Maria Montessori Academy; she’s tediously working on her novel, taking photographs, practicing yoga and enjoying nature!


Amy Mayer

Amy Mayer has worked at MMA as a Classroom Assistant since 2014 for 3 years.  Miss Amy studied developmental services at Loyalist College in Ontario and Educational Support Worker at Georgian college Ontario.  Miss Amy is creative and loves art, musical theatre and her Dogs. Miss Amy also spends as much time as possible up the ski hill.


Breony Ayers

Breony Ayers has been at MMA since 2012. Miss Breony completed her training in Social Services, and Mental Health in 2005. Miss Breony loves spending time with children and continues to learn from them everyday. Miss Breony has worked as a classroom assistant  in Sigma, Delta, and Omega. In her free time she enjoys dancing, singing, and exploring Victoria.


Cheri Pelland

Cheri Pelland has over 40 years experience providing childcare. Miss. Cheri has worked at MMA since September 2008 in the Preschool/ Kindergarten as Casa Directress and currently as an Educational Assistant. Miss Cheri has a Early Childhood Educator Assistant certificate from Pacific Rim Institute. She has a wonderful blended family of 4 grown children and 10 amazing grandchildren. Away from school, Miss Cheri has a variety of skills and interests she enjoys. She loves spending time with her family and friends doing just about everything and especially loves to  cook and bake treats for them.


Diane Ulrich
Diane Ulrich  works with the Pre/K children in the Lavender Room. She has an Ontario Teaching Certificate, an Independent School Certificate, a Montessori Casa Certificate and an ECE.  Miss Diane has taught Kindergarten in the Ontario and B.C public school systems and has been a Montessori Directress for over 30 years.  Outside of school Miss Diane enjoys gardening, golfing and spending time with her four grandchildren.



Jin Hee (Jinhee) Lee

Jin Hee (Jinhee) Lee studied for North Korean Studies at a graduate school after got a chance to meet North Korean defectors. After moving to Victoria in 2007, Miss Jin Hee has got involved in volunteer work not only for the North Korean defectors but also for seniors and Sunday schoolers. She is volunteering as a church pianist as well. As a new member of MMA, Miss Jin Hee is so pleased that she would be able to work for the next generation. Her most favourite things are the beautiful sky, the scent of rain and green grass, hiking, photography, music, chocolate, Jasper the cat, and spending time with her family and friends.


Julia Friedmann

Julia Friedmann is a certified Montessori Elementary teacher and has been working at Maria Montessori Academy since 2014.  She loves to hear children say those genius, funny things that make you burst out laughing and then sharing the stories with her family at dinner time.  In her spare time, Miss Julia enjoys many physical activities and looking dreamily at tropical locations on the internet.


Kat Taddei

Kat Taddei has been at MMA for just over a year and a half now, where she works in both Omega and out-of-school care. When she's not at MMA enjoying a lively discussion of Lawrence Hill's writing style or the challenges of balancing chemical equations, Kat is busy in the local theatre community. She is a two-time winner of the Victoria Fringe Festival's "Favourite New Play" award for her work, and particularly enjoys projects that focus on contemporary social issues. Kat has a bachelor of Fine Arts in Writing with a minor in Journalism and Publishing from the University of Victoria, and is in the process of finishing her Montessori Classroom Assistant certification.


Kayla McBride
Kayla McBride is a Classroom Assistant/Practicum student in the Bluebell classroom. In 2010 Miss Kayla received her  ECCE certificate, the same year in which she started educating at MMA. Miss Kayla is working on her practicum to become a fully certified Early Childhood Montessori Guide. In her spare time she loves to be in the kitchen and doing arts and crafts!



Louise Goodwin

Louise Goodwin lived and worked on both sides of the Atlantic; ophthalmic/aural nursing in Britain, and later obtaining a B. Ed and a Dipl. Sped  from U.B.C. She has worked as a teacher and therapist with children with deaf-blindness, sensory needs, Learning Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder. More recently she obtained a post-graduate diploma in Mental Health and undertook the Maria Montessori Academy Classroom Assistant Course. Miss Louise tries to keep up her French and sign language and joined the MMA family in 2014; she enjoys working with and supporting children in this caring environment.  Miss Louise enjoys her  family of eight siblings, continuing to support/raise her three children and granddaughter.


Maria Butler

Maria Butler began working as the school counsellor at MMA in 2015. She meets with students from Pre-School through to Grade 12 for personal and/or academic counselling and loves getting to know each student who comes to see her.   Miss Maria received a B.A. (hons.) and then a post-graduate teaching certificate (for high school) from the UK. After moving to Canada in 2000, she completed a B.Ed. (elementary and middle school) and then an M.A. in Counselling Psychology a few years later. Miss Maria taught in the UK and in Victoria before deciding to pursue counselling – something she has always felt drawn towards.  When not at school, Miss Maria enjoys dance classes and fun family outings with her husband and two children.


Nicki Atherton

Nicki Atherton has been a part of the Sigma community at MMA for the last two years. She has an eclectic background of experiences such as working as a Army Reserve, Lighthouse Keeper, and Trek Guide in the Himalayas. She has been teaching in BC  for the past three years and looks forward to getting  her Masters in Counseling. When Miss Nicki is not thoroughly enjoying her time as Sigma’s Special Education Coordinator, she can be found hiking mountains with her new husband, cooking tasty treats, and planning her next adventures to foreign Countries.


Nikki Patterson

Nikki Patterson has been working at MMA since 2011.  Miss Nikki works as an interventionist teaching the children 'The Zones of Regulation' and 'The Turnaround Program'. Miss Nikki went to Cambridge University in England and studied inclusion of special needs within a school.  Miss Nikki loves her role within MMA and spends her weekends with her family and two dogs, she loves camping when the weather is right.


Miss Shahlyn


Suzan Faraj

Suzan Faraj grew up in Jordan and she recently moved to beautiful Victoria in 2015. Miss Suzan graduated with a BA in English Language and Literature. She has been a passionate and dedicated teacher and administrator for the past 24 years. The MMA community welcomed Miss Suzan, helped her transition become easier and the students have sparked her energy and passion. This year, she is looking forward to getting to know Sigma students better to help them reach their goals, and learn something new every day. Suzan loves the outdoors, she likes discovering Victoria’s hiking trails and enjoying her time with her family.