Dr. Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator who lived from 1870 to 1952. She had such a profound influence upon the lives of children that her ideas and principles have continued to spread throughout the world.
It has been proven that small children have a desire to learn and are capable of acquiring a great deal of knowledge. The Montessori attitude toward education stresses the sensitive periods. These are times when children are interested in acquiring a particular skill or gaining knowledge in a certain area. The teacher or "directress" directs their learning and provides the needed stimulation for the children to work with the manipulative materials provided for them. They may use them freely, work at their own pace and repeat the activity for as long as they wish.
The carefully prepared environment provides a stimulus for children to make new self-discoveries, and gain confidence, independence and a sense of order in a noncompetitive atmosphere. These are qualities that we hope will grow with the children and remain with them as they enter adulthood.
Gertrude A. Burr
Director & Montessori Teacher
The Bethesda Montessori School is under the direction of Gertrude A. Burr, who founded the school in 1983. She has been a certified teacher in the Montessori System since 1978 and holds a diploma from the Association Montessori Internationale, which she received at the Washington Montessori Institute. In addition to her dedication to teaching in the Montessori field, Mrs. Burr obtained a bachelor of music degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where she pursued graduate studies. She taught vocal music for several years in public and private schools in the Washington area. Mrs. Burr has been teaching at the Bethesda Montessori School since 1983.
Josie Albrecht heads a class of 19 students at The Bethesda Montessori School. Prior to assuming the role as lead teacher, she spent five years as a co-teacher and kindergarten teacher with Mrs. Burr.
Ms. Albrecht graduated from Flagler College with a degree in elementary education, and completed her AMI training at the Washington Montessori Institute in 2013. She is the proud parent of her adorable dog Olive and spends her time at a Veterinary Clinic in the summer!
Our third classroom is headed by Debbie Kelsey. Mrs. Kelsey is a Bethesda native. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology and sociology from Hillsdale College, in Michigan, and returned to Maryland to attend the Washington Montessori Institute. Mrs. Kelsey received her diploma from the Association Montessori Internationale in 1973 and been teaching primary Montessori classes in the Washington area since then. She began teaching at The Bethesda Montessori School in 1994. Mrs. Kelsey is an avid triathlete, competing and winning races around the country.
We are extremely fortunate to employ a staff of dedicated, caring professionals who have diverse cultural backgrounds. The following countries of origin are currnetly represented among the staff: USA, UK, France, India, Trinidad, Haiti, Liberia, and Jamaica.
Working in Mrs. Burr's classroom...
Mrs. Tanuja Jha - Montessori Teacher/Kindergarten Assistant
Ms. Angeline Bonas - Montessori Assistant & day care staff
Mrs. Yanick Louis - Assistant & day care staff
Working in Ms. Albrecht's classroom...
Ms. Barbara Pierre - Assistant & day care staff
Ms. Cornelia Franklin - Assistant
Working in Mrs. Kelsey's classroom...
Mrs. Archana Shukla - Assistant
Ms. Barby Jerome - Assistant & day care staff
Mrs. Agnes Nelson - Day Care Supervisor, lunch and nap time
Mrs. Diane Powell - Computer and Art Instruction
Madame Alexandra Le Cannu - French Instruction
Mrs. Kristie Galic
in addition to having an international staff, the children and their families come to us from many different countries and continents. In 2018 we had over 36 countries represented among our student bodies. Over 60% of our children speak at least two languages. Parents are associated with the various embassies, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank, the National Institutes of Health and several international corporations. We always welcome our friends and neighbors from around the world.