Mara Castro, Head of School

Mara Castro is an Arizona Native.  She was born and raised in Douglas Arizona, border town to Agua Prieta Sonora, Mexico.  Mara attended schools on both the USA and Mexico.  She is fluent in both English and Spanish and has learned to appreciate the beauty of different cultures and traditions.

A graduate of the University of Arizona with a Bachelor's of Science in Microbiology and Immunology, Mara started her college career as a premed student with goals of becoming a Pediatrician.  Her love of science and children seemed to be a good fit.  She worked in Academic Research as well as in Private sector in the biomedical field.  However, she discovered her true calling of working with children in the education field after discovering Maria Montessori's method.

Mara and Francisco married right after college and began their family.  After the birth of their first child, Mara became a home maker and home school teacher to her son and four other children.  When their son began Montessori school at the age of three, Mara was intrigued and amazed at the Montessori method.  Her science background and its importance of observation aligned in harmony with Maria Montessori's philosophy.  She began volunteering and later working at two different Montessori schools.  All four of their children have been in Montessori schools.  Mara had the opportunity of learning from all three Montessori schools that her children have attended.  She is now incorporating all the wonderful ideas and programs that she was able to be a part of.

Mara and Francisco are very proud of their children Francisco Jr., Diego, Isabella and Camilla.  They enjoy and appreciate family time and are constantly helping one another achieve their goals and dreams!

AnyssaAnyssa Fragoso, Primary Quail Classroom Guide

Since joining Mis Manos, Anyssa has blossomed into a great guide for the children.  She has recently discovered her calling in the Montessori philosophy and is in the process of completing her American Montessori Society training. 

CynthiaCynthia Leyva, Primary Quail Classroom Guide

Bio and photo coming soon!

DDanielle Soetaert, Enrichment Specialist

Danielle Soateart (a.ka. ā€œDā€) grew up in Tucson, AZ, after being adopted with her three siblings at the age of 7. Sports and the outdoors, whether at the lake or building forts in the wash, was a huge part of her childhood. She graduated from Sabino High School and aspired to become a firefighter. After working part-time at a daycare, she soon realized that she connected with children and really enjoyed her new found passion. She has been working in the Montessori environment since 2006 and received her Montessori Teaching Certificate in 2012. D is an avid outdoors person and loves showing children how much fun learning can be while getting dirty.

JudithJudith Humphrey, Primary Roadrunner Classroom Guide

Bio and photo coming soon!

MarianaMariana Madden, Primary Roadrunner Classroom Guide

Mariana Balamani Madden was born in Hyderabad India. At the age of ten she was adopted by an American family and since then has been living in Tucson, Arizona. Mariana maintains her Indian roots through her cooking of South Indian food, arts and crafts and by frequent conversations with friends in India.  Most of her friends and family call her Balamani.

From an early age Mariana has loved being with and helping young children.  Following this path Mariana graduated from Pima Community with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Early Childhood Education in 2013. Mariana has been working in a Montessori environment for few years while going to school. She strongly believes that children learn best through hands on experiences in a nurturing environment.  Her exposure to the Montessori method through both work and her formal education inspired Mariana to obtain her certification as a Montessori teacher. She is certified as a Primary Montessori Guide. Her future plans include working as a Montessori teacher in another country, possibly her native India.

In her free time Mariana likes to spend time cooking Indian food for family and friends, photographing nature and doing arts and craft projects.  She also likes to come up with new art ideas to incorporate in her teaching of art to the children of Mis Manos Montessori School.

SandraSandra Eden, Toddler Hummingbirds Classroom Guide

Sandra Eden is a native Tucsonan and lives with her husband and four sons. She discovered her love of children at a very young age while helping her mother teach a toddler Sunday school class when she was twelve. Her love of children carried on throughout her life through babysitting neighborhood children and then taking her first preschool job at age 18.  Sandra has worked with preschool age children on and off for most her life and consistently since 1999. Sandra joined Mis Manos Montessori in 2013 where she first experienced the Montessori Method.  She is amazed to see how beautifully this method helps a child gain independence and fosters a true love of learning.  She feels that every day is an adventure and that she is learning as much if not more than her students. Sandra is currently attending Pima College and is close to earning her degree in early childhood education.

In her spare time Sandra enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

DKimberly Connell, Hummingbirds Assistant Guide

Bio coming soon!

DMiriana Henderson, Hummingbirds Assistant Guide

Bio coming soon!

DChristel Fragoso, Hummingbirds Assistant Guide

Bio coming soon!

AlbaAlba Lopez, Toddler Bluebirds Classroom Guide

Alba Elisa Nichols-Lopez was born in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. At the age of 5, her family moved to Arizona.

Alba has an Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education (ECE) and also holds two other diplomas; one in Medical Assistant and another in Phlebotomy. Alba worked at St. Mary's Hospital, where she took care of patients and also worked in the laboratory. Soon after, she was offered an opportunity to work with special needs children. This changed Alba's life and it was a determining factor in her pursuing an Associate in Early Childhood Education. After receiving here ECE, Alba continued working with special needs children and concurrently working part-time in a Montessori School in Tucson. Alba joined Mis Manos Montessori School in 2013 and will commence her Montessori training this school year.

Alba has four beautiful children. Anthony, her twins girls; Lesay and Andrea, and the youngest Elizabeth. When Alba is not at work, she enjoys going out with her wonderful family to the movies or to a nice restaurant. Spending time with her family is important to her. Alba likes to paint and read books.

DAlma Martinez, Bluebirds Assistant Guide

Bio coming soon!

DAlma Dorado, Bluebirds Assistant Guide

Bio coming soon!

DGabriela Grijalva, Bluebirds Assistant Guide

Bio coming soon!