Ms. Susan, Co-Head of School & Lower Elementary Guide
(6-9 year olds)
Degrees and Certifications
Susan Book has an Interdisciplinary degree in Montessori Education, art therapy, and psychology. Her thesis was on Montessori and art therapy with special needs children. She also graduated with an AMI (Association Montessori International) Primary Teacher training certificate from the Montessori Institute Northwest. She added certification for Lower Elementary in 2015.
Miss Susan has sixteen years of classroom teaching as a fully trained and certified AMI Montessori Guide. Thirteen of those years are as a Guide on Saipan. She also holds an ashtanga yoga, and maya yoga teacher training certificates.
Susan taught Primary (ages 3-6) at Countryside Montessori, Northbrook, Illinois from 2002 - 2005, and at Brilliant Star, Saipan from 2005 – 2015 as a primary guide, substitute, and lower elementary guide. Since 2015 she has been teaching in Lower Elementary (ages 6-9).
Her Educational Journey
Susan began her studies at the University of Iowa as an English Education major, and pursued graphic design and art degrees, as well. Art school prompted a move to Portland, Oregon where Susan attended Marylhurst University. It was while in Oregon that she expanded her interests into art therapy.
While studying psychology she discovered Maria Montessori’s approach to education and how it fits a child’s natural developmental learning style. She also discovered that Montessori worked with many of the leaders in developing art therapy and those who influenced modern day psychology.
It was to her delight that the Montessori Institute Northwest hosted an information night on Montessori education. She was hooked and even more excited to find that MINW had a cooperative teacher training program with Marylhurst University.
Born to Teach: Dedicated to Saipan
Susan came from a family of teachers who devoted their time to educating and sharing their culture with others and making sure that their children were global citizens.
Saipan has been her home for 13 years. She has two children age 5 and 7, born in Saipan, and lives in the village of upper Santa Lourdes. She feels strongly that her children, and all the children of Saipan should be surrounded by, and enriched with, the culture of their island as a daily practice. She is also an advocate for children with special needs, as her own daughter faces those challenges.
Committed to Community
Susan’s commitment to children extends beyond the classroom. She actively supports after school activities and involvement in community events.
In the fall of 2018 Susan will extend her desire to share the Montessori education across cultural boundaries.
Susan says, “It is with great joy that I will join the Isla Montessori School team for the school year of 2018/2019 as a lower elementary teacher.”
Photo courtesy of Diana Silveira
Photo courtesy Lauren Benson Photography
Ms. Diana, Co-Head of School & Children's House Guide
(2-1/2-6 year olds)
Degrees and Certifications
Diana Silveira has eight years of Montessori teaching experience. She did her training at Seton Montessori Institute in Clarendon Hills, Illinois and received her certification from the American Montessori Society (AMS). She also holds a B.S. in Psychology from Loyola University, Chicago
During her internship year at Montessori Children’s House of North Barrington (a lab school of the Institute), Diana was responsible for creating, designing and implementing different garden spaces, which were used as outdoor classrooms.
From this project and experience, she became responsible for creating storyboards and a slideshow on outdoor classrooms for both of the Institute’s lab schools, which were shared during one of AMS’s annual conferences in Chicago.
Diana worked for six years as a co-teacher at Cardinal Bernardin Early Childhood Center in Chicago. While there, she redesigned the school website using her photos to tell its story. She also collaborated with colleagues to revive the Parent Education Sessions, which were quite successful and continue to be practiced.
In 2016, she joined Brilliant Star Montessori as the Lead Primary teacher. While there, she donated her time and talent towards the redesign of the school’s website, contributing her own images to tell its story. She also created a fundraising opportunity for the school by donating her time and photographic talent to take the children’s school photos.
Committed to Saipan Community
Isla Montessori’s Mission resonates with Diana in special ways. First, she loves that Isla’s mission is to offer a quality education to many families on Saipan who might not otherwise be able to afford one. Diana believes this is important, since Montessori began serving children in Italy who did not have educational opportunities. Isla also plans to play a role in reviving and nurturing the Island’s native cultures, the Chamorros and the Carolinians. This will give many opportunities for the children, staff and local people from a wide variety of backgrounds to interact with one another.