About us

The founders

Co-founders: Iker Marcaide, Irene Cañero and Mariano Pontón
We, the founders, are parents from Valencia with experience in business and education. Between our three families we have six children ranging from newborn to pre-adolescent, and we share the desire to provide our children with an education which will fully develop their abilities using a methodology different from the one we experienced at school.

We believe that the role of a school should be to accompany the children in their innate curiosity , respecting each child’s pace of learning as well as their likes and choices. We also believe children should be allowed to develop their creativity and explore what they have around them in order to discover that learning, finding difficulties and solving these on their own is a source of great satisfaction.

We identify with the Montessori Pedagogical Method because, besides being present in every continent for over 100 years (with over 20,000 schools around the world and 4,500 in the USA alone), its philosophical-scientific basis and methodology is centred on the development of the child’s cognitive, emotional and social abilities. We consider these to be key, equally relevant aspects.
“I do not believe there is a better method than the Montessori Method to make children aware of the beauties of the world and to awaken their curiosity for the secrets of life.”– Gabriel García Márquez
Writer. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature

Direction and Administration

Mariano

Mariano // Executive Director

Mariano is co-founder and Executive Director of Imagine Montessori School. Father of 2 girls aged 6 and 8 years old. Passionate about education, as a lever for society change. He was a strategic consultant and part of the Accenture Strategy executive team during 9 years. Under this role, he led transformational programs, as well as operational excellence programs in multiple industries in Europe, Asia, and south America. Mariano holds an Executive MBA by Instituto de Empresa Business School (Madrid) and an Industrial Engineering degree by the Polytechnic University of Valencia.

Gina

Elvira // Head of Administration and Enrichment Program

I grew up in Vigo, Galicia, moved to the U.S. at the age of 22 and lived in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for 13 years. Missing my homeland, I returned to Spain and lived in Barcelona for six years before recently relocating to Valencia to join Imagine. I discovered the Montessori pedagogy when my daughter was a few months old and fell in love with the way that the guides instill a passion for learning and curiosity in their students. I hold a Business and Tourism Management Degree. My experience includes managing a national educational leadership program; developing and implementing a training program and creating operational procedures in a start-up; event planning, and executive account management. I am very excited about being part of Imagine team and community, and being able to use my experience and skills to foster our student-centered mission and long-term vision.

Gina

Gina // Secretary

Graduated in Art History and Museums, I was mainly focused on educating younger generations and bringing arts and culture closer to a younger audience. I worked with school groups in different cultural institutions, and, after many years doing administrative work in different areas, I am excited to be part of Imagine, providing my support to everyone in this community. On my free time, I take long walks with my dog, visit museums, love travelling and finding new places to eat.

Camille

Camille // Administration Team

Children’s discoveries amaze me daily, and I consider crucial to provide them with the tools to experiment and develop their natural potential. To be part of Imagine Montessori School administration team gives me the opportunity to support parents & children to have a great experience. Being the mother of a 28 months girl helps me understand parents’ concerns and feel empathy. After obtaining a degree in Management, I have experience on startups projects, marketing and communication management, events organization, in admissions, hospitality and mobility departments at a university. All those experiences made me a very versatile person and I am willing to strengthen Imagine’s team with my dynamic skills, supporting my colleagues and the whole Imagine community. Since I came to sunny Valencia, I love to be outside with my daughter and discover new places!

Laura

Laura // Administration Team

With a professional degree in Marketing and Sales, I acquired professional experience in an international company. With this experience, supporting the administration department, I found true love for numbers. This shift took me to obtain a Degree in Business Administration at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia. After working on different companies, I came across Imagine Montessori school on its early stages – seeing how our community grows is my major learning experience.

Judith

Judith // Administration Team

If I could describe myself in one Word, it will be curiosity. I thrive discovering the hidden secrets life presents us with, those that took a new and fun perspective when I became a mother of three children. This curiosity, along with my passion for communication, led me towards a Communications Degree in Valencia, after spending my high school years in the United States. I started off my career in communications and move onto other areas, as my interest sparked. I ended up getting an Early Years education degree when my third son was born and joined Imagine when it was an idea in need of development. With my work at the admin department I hope to contribute to spread Montessori method and give children opportunities to develop their natural talents. Among my hobbies, geocaching, prolific reader and enjoy spending time with children and seeing the world through their eyes. Enjoying and protecting the environment is always on my mind. I am a strong inclusion advocate, sustainability and nurturing our human emotions.

Simone

Simone // People Director

My beginnings were in biotechnology: I’ve always been fascinated by science. Even so, academically speaking, I veered towards Comparative Literature. Life is an unpredictable path! I do not remember a time in which I was not fascinated by the giant potential inside each one of us. Reading, writing, traveling, playing basketball, my family with my three kids are my passions. Also, I adore talent development and children’s learning. For kids, there are no limits: only the sky.

Jon

Jon // Financial Director

Born in San Sebastian, I have lived in Valencia for 20 years. Married with a 15 year old boy and a 12 year old girl. With a degree in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Navarra, I joined a Leadership Development program at IESE. I have focused my career in the financial area on different sectors, mainly in real estate, in which I have worked for the last 15 years. This is my first approach to the education sector and doing it with Imagine Montessori presents an exciting opportunity.

Víctor

Víctor // IT Manager

With more than 20 years of professional experience in the IT field, I have been able to lead digital transformation projects in different sectors such as retail, sports, banking, logistics and health. I am passionate about technology as medium that enables individuals and organizations to achieve their goals. I believe that curiosity is the key to progress, innate in children and that we must keep throughout life.

Luz

Luz // Communication Team

One of the greatest achievements of my life is to live my dream: Work in what I love and love what I do. Since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a journalist. My determination, my family and my teachers and friends were key to help me achieve this dream. Soon I will be celebrating my silver jubilee in this profession. Although I am a journalist by vocation, I am first and foremost a mother by devotion.

With a degree in Information Sciences from the Pontifical University of Salamanca, I have worked in radio, newspapers, Communication agencies and in the Relations and Communications departments of different companies and institutions.

As Anthony Robbins said, I am convinced that “the way we communicate with others and with ourselves determines the quality of our lives”.

Pedagogical Team


Primary
Geetha

Geetha // Primary Coordinator and Primary guide

My interest for the Montessori education has led me to focus my professional education and career on this field. I am AMI certified in the Early Childhood (2 ½ to 6 y.o.), Primary (6-12 y.o.) and the Adolescence program (12-18 y.o.). I have more than 28 years of teaching experience, around 20 years were in Montessori schools (teaching and consultancy) in countries such as India, England, Czech Republic and United States. I am very pleased to also have had the opportunity to run my own Montessori school for 10 years. I really love travelling and discovering new cultures but also spend as much time as possible with my grandchildren, trying to be a Montessori grandma and sharing what I can with them!

Carla

Carla // Primary guide

My Montessori background is an International Teaching Diploma and I am very pleased to be joining the Imagine community in Valencia. I’m from South Africa and have taught there for many years at a Montessori school. I love teaching children at every stage of development and nurturing their social, intellectual and physical needs. I’m a mother to a four-year old girl and love putting into practice the Montessori philosophy at home. What I enjoy most about being a Montessori guide is encouraging a child’s natural love for learning. When I’m not teaching or preparing the classroom environment I love to spend time outdoors with my family. I enjoy keeping fit and live a healthy lifestyle.

Madeleine

Madeleine // Primary Teacher

I am originally from Scotland, but spent most of my childhood in England. I have 15 years of experience as a teacher and worked in primary schools prior to starting my Montessori training. I began my journey working in a Montessori school in Portugal, where I worked for two years and completed my Montessori training through the MCI centre in London.

It was a great change from teaching in a traditional school to a Montessori school because the results can be seen in the children. They get to learn through exploration and choice in what they want to focus on, which I think is very important, especially in their formative years.

Paula

Paula // Spanish Curriculum Teacher and Assistant

After qualifying as a preschool and elementary teacher, I travelled around the world for several years, studying and working in different countries. This wonderful experience allowed me to get a deeper perspective on life and a global vision of the world. My view of a great teacher is a person who is always there to guide and help you get to know yourself and always believes in your best potential. It is very important for me to create a beautiful and calm atmosphere where the process of learning can occur naturally. I’m hoping to help the children at Imagine Montessori shine through their creativity and imagination.

Children’s House
Sheila

Sheila // Children’s House & Infant Community Coordinator, and Children’s House Guide

I’m a qualified Early Years teacher. I moved to London in 2012 where I started working as a teaching assistant in a Montessori school where I had the opportunity to discover the method and be able to work following the Montessori philosophy. I was impressed with how children were able to achieve their full potential working with the Montessori materials and how the school encouraged them to follow their interests. This inspired me to gain my Montessori Diploma and with it I became a teacher in the same school.

I think my experience in London has enriched my life both professionally and personally. At that school I was lucky enough to work with children from many different cultures, building up values like respect, patience, and responsibility among others to create harmonious learning environment.

Sian

Sian // Children’s House Guide

I began my journey into education as a drama teacher for the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy and after qualifying as a Montessori teacher, I have worked in many Montessori schools across the U.K. with a particular focus on Children’s House. I also worked as a Montessori Trainer in MCI for 3 years. I have 20 years experience as a Montessori teacher and thrive on educating young minds using Maria Montessori’s philosophy. My interests range from drama, art, culture to film, theatre and music. I am very much looking forward to discovering what the little minds at Imagine can accomplish and exploring Valencia as a city.

Sonia

Sonia // Children’s House Guide

I am an Early Years teacher with a degree in Psychopedagogy. Fascinated by other countries and cultures, after completing my Master Degree in Special Education, I moved to United Kingdom where I had the opportunity to work in mixed-age classes with children with different needs and abilities. When I started my Montessori Diploma my approach to education changed completely and open a new world to me. I have always been interested in child centred education alternatives that respect the child and give them the importance they deserved.

In my spare time I enjoy yoga, swimming, cooking and exploring new places. I am delighted to be part of this amazing team of teachers and to be able to contribute positively to the Imagine Community.

Maite

Maite // Children’s House Guide

I’ve worked as a teacher in different educational stages for more than 5 years. My curiosity about new pedagogical methods and the continuous improvement in my training took me to Ireland, where I certified as a Montessori guide and I lived for 6 years. After working in different Montessori Schools, it is a privilege for me to be able to apply all the knowledge acquired in Imagine. Being a Montessori guide is my passion. It makes me happy to promote a pedagogy where children learn spontaneously, with joy and enthusiasm, in an environment that favours freedom and where they become independent and confident.

I am passionate about artistic and creative activities such as art, dance and photography, which I usually do and combine with my other love, knowing and enriching myself from other cultures by travelling.

Sara

Sara // Children’s House Guide

I graduated as a Montessori guide in London and have to say I feel extremely fortunate to work with like-minded professionals who share this vocational dedication. After nine years abroad, I feel it is time to come home to Valencia and I can’t think of a better way than the opportunity to join the team at Imagine. Outside school, I enjoy playing team sports, music, movies and books. I enjoy nature, especially a stroll by the beach or in the countryside but most of all I love discovering new places with good company.

Raquel

Raquel // Children’s House Guide

After graduating as an Early Years and Elementary teacher, I moved to London to become a Montessori Guide. My previous experience volunteering in international schools in Germany and the US led me to the decision to look for a model of education that was child-centered. I’ve worked in London as a Montessori guide and now want to share that learning in my hometown of Valencia. I am extremely excited to become part of the Imagine team and my interests outside school include pilates, dancing and travelling.

Alba

Alba // Teaching Assistant

Learning about the Montessori method has opened new horizons for me on a professional and personal level. I began here at Imagine as a student teacher in Children’s House, where I was able to observe and participate in all aspects of learning through the Montessori pedagogy. It also allowed me to become part of this wonderful community of parents, children and colleagues. I have also been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to work as a counselor in many camps, including The Red Cross in the U.S. where I had to opportunity to master English. On a personal level, I enjoy travelling, photography, dancing, arts and crafts and spending time with my family.

Tamryn

Tamryn // Teaching Assistant

I am an educator from South Africa, with an International Diploma in Montessori Teaching. I have been fortunate enough to have taught at Mouse House Kindergarten for the last 4 years and before that at a Montessori Farm Preschool. I am excited to embark on a new adventure with Imagine Montessori School in Spain. Teaching and nurturing the potential in each child is my passion and I believe children learn effortlessly when they feel safe, loved and free to be who they are. I love the outdoors and exploring new places but I am just as happy when reading a good book or watching a good movie.

Cristina

Cristina // Children´s House Teacher

Being raised in a bilingual home definitely gave me the best of both worlds. After finishing a Psychology Degree in the US, I decided to come to Spain to continue my studies with a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Development & Diagnostics as well as a Teacher Degree. It’s been 8 years now working in the education sector and I feel like I’ve just begun. In 2014 I started my career in Montessori as an assistant.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world which has helped me gain positive qualities on a personal level. My hope is to share these experiences and learn from as many incredible little minds as possible.

Infant Community
Mercedes

Merche // Infant Community Guide

I’m a Teacher and have an international teaching diploma in Montessori education. I have lived and worked in Ireland and Australia, where I was very fortunate to work alongside colleagues with decades of experience in the Montessori Method and guide a class that included children from all over the world.

This year I returned home to Valencia as a mother. I was delighted when I found Imagine. It makes me happy to think that there is a place here in Valencia where children can learn to be independent, confident and gain self-esteem applying the Montessori Method.

Lidia Marques de Freitas

Lidia // Infant Community Teacher

Native Portuguese but raised in London, I graduated in Hispanic Studies and European Studies. After travelling the world, I now enjoy being a mother of three and am passionate about working with children and dedicating time to a good cause. I started with Imagine, three years ago when it was first founded and this will be my second year in Infant Community.

Ángela

Ángela // Infant Community Teaching Assistant

I have always considered teaching to be my vocation. As a teenager I was lucky enough to engage in my two passions: children and nature, as I worked as an instructor with children outdoors. I graduated in Early Childhood Education and Primary Education and am very proud to be responsible for educating children for the future. My discovery of Montessori Method, amazed me at how children can learn in a natural and spontaneous way, and how they enjoy developing their self-reliance, self esteem and their imagination. I am currently undertaking my Montessori guide training from 0-3. I’m grateful to have found IMAGINE and to have the opportunity to contribute my bit to keep growing together. Apart from education, I also love animals, enjoy cooking and especially traveling to new places.

Laura

Laura // Infant Community Teaching Assistant

After graduating as an Early Years teacher, I followed my admiration for those who teach with enthusiasm and decided to continue my education and learning to be able to nurture children as much as possible. Discovering the Montessori Method was the tipping point for my decision to complete a M.A in Montessori Education in Early Years (0-3). My passion for this method took me to Rome to dive in Maria Montessori’s steps. Imagine is an opportunity for me to actively contribute on children’s development in a Montessori environment. On my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, walking on the beach and creating Montessori materials from scratch for children.

Specialists
Laura

Laura // PE Teacher

I am a qualified primary teacher, passionate about lifelong learning, different pedagogical philosophies, and sports! As a trail runner and mountain lover, this sport has lead me to rediscover nature and the benefits of movement as a natural and necessary process in our development. With my previous experience of teaching nutrition and cooking workshops at a British School and teaching at a School in The Netherlands, l believe creativity and curiosity are triggers for learning.

I am excited and grateful to convey my passion about sports, learn and add my positivity to this wonderful community.

Lucas

Lucas // PE Teacher

The learning process and the continuous search for new paths has always been and continue to be my engine day after day. I am a Physical Education Teacher, Lifeguard, Entrepreneur, Architect, a lover of physical activity and father of three girls of five, six and nine years old. Passionate about my callings and aware of the diversity of my fifteen years of academic training I bring, I try to add new knowledge and contribute with my experience to all the projects I join. I am convinced that the best work is team work and I firmly believe in the constant feedback of new ideas and perspectives. To become part of the Imagine Montessori School team generates in me responsibility, commitment and enthusiasm, much enthusiasm

 Lucía

Lucía // Music Teacher

I graduated in music from Berklee College of Music (Boston and Valencia). My work has involved many creative and multidisciplinary projects as a professional artist and musician, which has given me a wide understanding of the creative process. I’m a performance musician currently leading my own project as guitarist, singer, composer and arranger. My background as a Montessori child in school makes me feel very connected to this philosophy, especially as I like to encourage the autonomy of each child, and the discovery of their own unique voice and identity. I truly believe that creativity is a vital tool for the present and the future world, which is why I want to support this idea by teaching young children how to use it and develop it through music. I like to teach in a fun, dynamic and intuitive way for children to be able to gain a love for music and on a deeper level, use it to develop the capacity for communication, expression, concentration, attention and collaborative work. Besides going to concerts and art exhibitions, I love spending time in nature, and especially enjoy hiking, biking, yoga, languages and travel.

Ricard García

Ricard // SEN Teaching Assistant

When I graduated in Psychology I did my thesis on infant psychology. I love the world of leisure and free time so I have worked as a monitor in campuses, farm schools and summer camps. I actively collaborate with associations that help people with disabilities in leisure activities and to promote their well-being. At the moment I am studying sociocultural animation and pedagogy.

My passions involve discovering new things that are stimulating and help me reflect so I love reading, travelling, workshops, theatre, discovering, listening and learning from people.

During my Erasmus in Poland I came across the Montessori pedagogy and I realised that using this method, children could actually learn whilst having fun. It is an honour to be part of Imagine, a project that has not limitations where autonomy and emotional intelligence are the priority.

 Aída

Aída // SEN Teaching Assistant

I’m psychologist and I had the opportunity to work with children and youngsters during an internship, where I realised the truth in the statement “they are the future”. For this reason, I decided to extend my training with a masters in intervention for learning difficulties in order to assist kids in their personal evolution.

I enjoy cooking, travelling, reading and writing, and meeting new people.

 Alicia

Alicia // SEN Teaching Assistant

As a psychologist, specialized in learning difficulties, my main objective is to work with special needs that manifest themselves in the classroom. My vision on education is holistic, giving importance not just to academic content but also to values and emotions. I value the importance of reinforcing self-confidence in children, curiosity and the willingness to be a lifelong learner.

 Noemi

Noemi // Psychopedagogical Office

I am psychologist, with a Master on Specific Learning Difficulties. Additionally my expertise focus on on Multi-Element Behavioural Support. I am mother to a 12 yo daughter and have developed most of my professional experience in Ireland for 13 years.

I am passionate about children and being part of their support sytem, work along their families, educators and with themselves, helping develop their full potential.

I am thrilled to join Imagine, a team working from principles that respect each child’s learning rythm, their individual personality and cares for emotional development, principles I consider fundamentals in education.

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