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.


Our Director & Teachers

Gertrude A. Burr


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. 

Josie Albrecht

Montessori Teacher

Josie Albrecht heads the largest classroom at The Bethesda Montessori School.  Prior to assuming the role as lead teacher two years ago, 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 her ginnea pig Max (who lives in her classroom here at school!) and spends her time at a Veterinary Clinic in the summer.

Debbie Kelsey

Montessori Teacher

Our "medium-sized" 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, who has competed and won races around the country. She also loves Key Lime Ice Cream!

Diana Silva

Montessori Teacher

Another of our classrooms is headed by Diana Silva. Mrs. Silva is a native of Sri Lanka and has over 40 years of Montessori experience in Virginia, California, and Maryland as well as in Sri Lanka. She earned her AMI Montessori Diploma at St Bridget’s Maria Montessori Institute, and her degree in Early Childhood Education/ Child Psychology from the Open University of Colombo. With a strong Montessori foundation and years of experience Mrs. Silva hopes to provide the children a warm, secure, peaceful and a rich environment in which curious young children have the opportunity to develop a favorable attitude towards learning. Mrs . Silva likes to meditate and go for nature walks. She like to have fun with the children, read stories with a good moral and teach human values to these wonderful little ones.

Our Staff

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, Sri Lanka, Trinidad, Haiti, and Jamaica.

Working in Mrs. Albrecht's classroom...

  • Mrs. Barby Jerome - Assistant & day care staff

  • Ms. Angeline Bonas - Assistant & day care staff

  • Mrs. Yanick Louis - Assistant & day care staff

Working in Mrs. Silva's classroom...

  • Ms. Barbara Pierre - Assistant & day care staff

Working in Mrs. Kelsey's classroom...

  • Mrs. Cindy McIntyre-Lerch - Assistant

  • Mrs. Kristen Mosbaek - Assistant

  • Ms. Anna Houston - Intern/Assistant 


  • Ms. LaToya Cromwell - Day Care, lunch and nap time

  • Mrs. Diane Powell - Computer and Art Instruction

  • Madame Quitterie Fialon - 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. 

© 2020 The Bethesda Montessori School Inc.    7611 Clarendon Road, Bethesda, MD   301.986.1260   admissions@bethesdamontessori.com


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