Meet our Faculty!
(available photos and bios are below this list)
Beginners: Miss Erika, Miss Maria, and Miss Teresa
Children’s House A: Miss Nataly and Miss Myriam
Children’s House B: Miss Shah and Miss Thashika
Children’s House C: Miss Cherish and Miss Jillian
Advanced Primary (AP): Miss Linda
Lower Elementary: Miss Natalie and Miss Lyndie
Upper Elementary: Miss Iumi
Middle School: Miss Robin
Administration: Miss Debbie and Mr. Rick
Debbie Evans Warkentien – Head of School
Her love for children and passion for the Montessori method of education inspired her to start the Rancho Viejo Montessori School in 1996. Miss Debbie received her Montessori Certification in early childhood from UCI and her elementary training through North American Montessori Training Center. She has raised two sons in the Montessori education and lifestyle. Miss Debbie believes it is her Mission to serve children and their families through Montessori. It is her delight to watch her students succeed throughout their academic career and now into adulthood.
Mr. Rick joined his wife Debbie at the Rancho Viejo Montessori School in 2000. They have two wonderful sons, Hunter 27, and Cole 25. In addition to his administrative duties, Mr. Rick enjoys sports and spending time with the elementary and middle school students. “What I enjoy most is working with the children and seeing their smiling faces as they enter the door each morning.”
Robin Cheney – Teacher, Middle School
Miss Robin joined Rancho Viejo Montessori School in January 1998, teaching first the lower elementary, upper elementary, and then middle school. Montessori’s emphasis on real work and experiential learning attracted her to the philosophy. Miss Robin has a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a minor in Art History, from Cal Poly Pomona. She received her Montessori Certificate of Adolescent Studies in 2002 from NAMTA, studying at the Hershey Farm School in Ohio. Miss Robin has traveled to 30 countries and speaks 4 languages.
Iumi Urrego – Teacher, Lower Elementary
Miss Iumi’s children led her to discover Montessori. She never imagined that choosing a Montessori Education for her own children would lead her to fulfill her personal desire to work with children. “What I love most about Montessori is that it serves the needs of every child.” Miss Iumi holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Cal State LA and received her AMS Montessori Elementary Teaching Credential in 2005. Miss Iumi has been a part of Rancho Viejo Montessori School for over 14 years and looks forward to continuing her journey for a long time..
Linda Van Kampen, Teacher, Pre Elementary AP
Miss Linda received her BA from BIOLA University’s School of Education and holds a California Teaching Credential. After teaching in public and private traditional classrooms, Miss Linda discovered the Montessori Method of teaching in the mid 1990’s. In 2000, Miss Linda earned her Montessori Certification from the National Center for Montessori Education here in Orange County and has enjoyed a rewarding career at Broderick Montessori and now Rancho Viejo Montessori for the past 23 years. Miss Linda has found that “The wonderful foundation children build upon from this environment and it’s materials is by far the best education available”...
Shah Adhami – Teacher, Children’s House
Miss Shah grew up in France and graduated from the University of Paris with a Bachelor Degree in Child Development and International Relations. She began teaching in a Montessori school in Paris in 1980. Miss Shah moved to the United States in 1990 and continued teaching in Montessori, always enriching her classrooms with lessons in French. Miss Shah appreciates the order and structure of Montessori. She has been with our school for 12 years and loves working in such a peaceful and productive environment.
Thashika Perera – Assistant Teacher, Children’s house
Miss Thashika was born and raised in Sri Lanka and attended a Montessori School as a child. She has lived in California since 1993, receiving her Early Childhood Education at Los Angeles Mission College. Miss Thashika has nearly 30 years of experience in Montessori education as lead teacher and assistant teacher at many levels. She has been with Rancho Viejo for 12 years. She attributes her passion for Montessori to the wonderful teachers she had growing up. Both her children attended Rancho Viejo Montessori School.
Ericka Kiss – Teacher, Beginner’s Class
As a child, Miss Erika attended a Montessori School in San Juan Capistrano. Experiencing Montessori education first hand gave her the desire to help young children reach their full potential. Miss Erika received her Bachelor of Science in Child Development from Cal State Fullerton in 2000 and her Montessori Infant Toddler Certificate from UCI in 2004. She has been a kind and loving teacher in our Beginner’s Class for over 16 years.