Our Montessori Team
Sharon Thomason-Sekyi (Founder)
Sharon is the founder of Northeast Stars Montessori Preschools. Sharon was a manager in DC law firms for many years and lived on Capitol Hill for decades! She created NES after having her first child. She also worked at Aquinas Montessori School for over six years, and her children attended Aidan Montessori and Aquinas Montessori schools. She credits Aquinas Montessori school for being the inspiration for building NES. Sharon works with parents on a personal basis when dealing with personal challenges and issues like physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, nutritionists, behavioral therapy and other medical services. She also is available personally for any/all parent comments and questions while attending NES.
Our DC Staff
Medina Shepherd (District of Columbia Campus Director)
Hello! I am Medina Shepherd. I studied Early Childhood Education/Special Education at Howard Community College. I am currently enrolled in the NAMC program (Montessori certification program) and at Prince George’s Community College for Early Childhood Education/Special Education. I have two years experiences as a Montessori Assistant. I also have 6 years of experience working with children with learning disabilities. I started as an Assistant Teacher at NES and have moved into the Lead Teacher/Co-Director position at the DC location. I’ve been told that I have a natural teaching talent! Ms. Shepherd is CPR/FA certified and Medication Administration Training (MAT - VA) certified.
Kym Coder- Joyce
My name is Kym Coder-Joyce. I graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Communications. I became interested in Montessori when my nephew (who is now 13) started at a Montessori school in Maryland. I would volunteer in his classroom with my sister whenever I had the chance. The Director took notice and offered me a position as an assistant in the other Primary classroom. I fell in love with the method and never looked backed. I am the lead teacher for the Daisy Room at the DC campus. I like to read books, travel internationally, and spend time with my husband and 6 year old daughter. Mrs. Coder-Joyce is CPR/FA certified and Medication Administration Training (MAT - VA) certified.
My name is Monica Shepherd. I attended Howard Community College before working for the federal government. I am the Assistant Teacher for the aftercare program at the DC campus. I was born and raised in Howard County, MD. I am currently a Management Analyst for the Dept. of Commerce, and worked for the Federal Government for thirty two years. I enjoy bringing the arts and crafts program to the DC aftercare program. I enjoy working with young children at the end of my “regular” job - they brighten my day! I have two biological daughters, and an adopted son who I brought from Liberia to raise as my own. Mrs. Shepherd is CPR/FA certified and Medication Administration Training (MAT - VA) certified.
Kari Kilcullen holds an Early Childhood Certification from AMS or American Montessori Society. She left teaching a few years ago to broaden her experience as a Montessorian and share her knowledge with others. She has been consulting with schools and teachers in the greater Washington D.C. area providing training and guidance. In addition, Kari has established herself in the art world as a Gallery Director and Curator. Her passion for the visual arts directly benefits the staff and children with whom she works.
Our Alexandria Staff
Tiffany Booker: (Alexandria Campus Co-Director)
Hello! I have worked for Sharon for over 6 years, I helped open the Arlington School. I opened the Alexandria school as an assistant, became a lead teacher then a director. I am Montessori certified with CPR/FA and Medical Assistance training. I have completed 100's of hours or early childhood certifications. I am glad to be back at NES and working with the children.
Chynna Jenkins: (Alexandria Campus Co-Director)
My name is Chynna Jenkins. I have over four years of experience as a Montessori assistant teacher at Northeast Stars. I was also a co-teacher for years at another private Montessori school before joining NES. I am now the co-director/lead teacher at the Alexandria campus and have a Montessori certification from North American Montessori Center (NAMC) plus over 46 credit hours in Criminal Justice from Montgomery College. Ms. Jenkins is loved by the children for her quiet, imaginative nature. Ms. Jenkins is CPR/FA certified and Medication Administration Training (MAT - VA) certified.
Hello my name is Aisha Watte. I've been working in Montessori for a year now. Before working in Montessori, I was a nanny for many years and I was also in the Army for a short time. I went to school to become a Certified Medical Administrative Medical Assistant as well as an EKG Tech. I've always had a passion to work with and help children grow educationally and individually. I really enjoy being around children. In my spare time I enjoy writing poetry, listening to music, and spending time with family. I'm eager to see how each child grows and look forward to this new school year. Ms. Watte is CPR/FA certified and Medication Administration Training (MAT - VA) certified.
My name is Mrs. Pat Laane. I’ve been a substitute staff member at the Northeast Stars Alexandria campus for the past year and am happy to return for the upcoming school year. I have an undergraduate degree in engineering from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina. My first career in Environmental and Health Policies culminated with 20 years at the Environmental Protection Agency. I am the mother of four children who are currently teens and young adults and chose to stay home with my teenagers as a full time parent. As a life-long learner I takes seminars and classes that address the special needs of populations spanning from early childhood to senior citizens. I have been an active parent in both boy and girl scouting and am currently a Venturing Scout Crew Assistant Advisor. I enjoy the outdoors, animals, taking classes, and projects related to environmental protection.
Mrs. Karima Badawi
My name is Mrs. Karima Badawi. I am French. I have a Master of Science in Business Administration and Project Management from France. I am CPR/FA certified. I worked as a Business Analyst and Training Manager at the European headquarters of American Express in England. I am the mother to a 4 year old girl and an almost 2 year old boy. We are a trilingual family so I am particularly aware and very interested in exposing children to languages. After having children the love for them naturally enticed me to pursue a career that would allow me to work with young kids to offer them my experience and my native language. I love traveling, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and going to the gym.
Hello I am Suzanne Worth. I am delighted to be part of the NES family as a teaching assistant in the bilingual program working with children again. I was a substitute teacher, grades K-5, soon after graduating from college and since then have worked for PBS of South Florida and US Consulate in Spain. During my 8 years abroad I tutored students ages two to eighty six in English and was a teaching assistant in a kindergarten classroom at a private English speaking preparatory school in Barcelona. My son, now in college, was born in Spain and speaks English, Spanish, and Catalan. I'm an avid traveler and have visited three dozen countries.
Hi my name is Trina Champion. Before working in Montessori I was working at Teddybear Daycare and preschool where I was a lead teacher. I have been working with children for 5 years. I also worked for Arlington Public Schools doing before and aftercare. I am CPR/First Aid Certified. I am really excited about working with the kids this school year.