The International Montessori House of Children Staff and Leadership

Leadership Team

Jennifer Weerasuria

Owner and CEO

Mrs. Jennifer began working with IMHoC founder and her Mother in Law, Mrs. Iranganie Weerasuria, in preparation to take over the company in 2015 after the birth of her son, Shelby. Mrs. Iranganie spent time with Jennifer daily as her mentor to ensure her beloved schools were maintained and operated in accordance with the founding values and ideals. Jennifer took ownership of the company in April of 2019. Before working with International Montessori Jennifer studied at St. Edward’s University in Austin with the goal of “saving the world” through Environmental Law. Jennifer has since recognized the potential of change in humanity by educating the next generations of leaders through her work with the students at IMHoC. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, living an active lifestyle, and is an avid sports fan.

Viktoria Gorelik

Curriculum Coordinator

Ms. Viktoria first found the transformative power of the Montessori method as a parent, watching her three kids go through the journey. She then went on to teach at the toddler, primary, lower elementary, and upper elementary levels over a career spanning 15 years. Over the last couple of years, Ms. Viktoria spent time working with various schools around the Austin area, helping to develop the Montessori curriculum, assisting with teacher training, and improving operations. In addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from the City University of New York, Ms. Viktoria has a Montessori toddler certification from North American Montessori Center, primary certification from the world-renowned Princeton Center for Teacher Education, and lower and upper elementary certifications from Houston Montessori Center, as well as a certificate in Floral Design from Parsons School of Design.

In her spare time, Ms. Viktoria enjoys Bikram yoga, working out, crafting, entertaining her three dogs, being entertained by her husband, wistfully awaiting graduation of her oldest daughter from college, and ubering her two high-schoolers as she barrels towards the status of an empty-nester.

Hart Lane Campus

Janu Johnson

Head of School

Better known as Ms. Juju, she adds to our family a rich 18-year-long experience in the classroom. She joined our family first as the Lead Toddler teacher before she joined our leadership team beginning in 2021. She is known for her exuberant spirit, positive attitude, warm demeanor, and outstanding management abilities.

Ms. Marlen Barrios

Lead Teacher - Toddlers Italy

Ms. Marlen is a loving and peaceful toddler teacher who joined our team as an assistant teacher and continuously proved her dedication, patience, and strength to become a lead teacher. She holds an Associate degree in Child Development and will complete her Montessori certification from the North American Montessori Centre in the Summer of 2021.

In her spare time she enjoys meditating, hiking, and wrestling.

Ms. Bethany Burke

Lead Teacher - Primary 1 Madrid

As Montessori graduate herself she became in love with the philosophy from a young age, it helped her see the world around her with an exciting curiosity and thirst for knowledge, it shaped the person who she is today and now her goal is to provide that same learning experience to students at IMHoC. She has been studying to become a Montessori Guide for years on her own and is now getting her formal certification with the North American Montessori Centre, thanks to the sponsorship of IMHoC. She is a Southwestern University Communications graduate with studies that included teaching theatre (her minor), art, multicultural literature, and STEM classes. She has a great deal of experience working with children as a teacher in public schools, camps, and a state foster home for high-risk children under the age of 14. Her biggest passion besides working with children is paleontology! If your little one loves dinosaurs, then she is the lady to ask!

She’s had an eclectic life being everything from a national medical charity spokesperson, videogame producer, and owner of a children’s paleontology education company. Her hobbies are paleontology/fossil hunting, embroidery, painting, and reading! She also bakes a mean apple pie.

Ms. Cynthia Perera

Lead Teacher - Primary 2 Milan

Mrs. Cynthia is AMI certified through the Training Center for Montessori Teachers in Sri Lanka. Having worked in Sri Lanka initially, she joined our family at International Montessori House of Children in Austin in 2011.

She is a strong promoter of the Montessori philosophy and has extensive training in early childhood development, behavioral management, and positive discipline. She is known for her patience and loving demeanor; she believes that learning can be best achieved in a joyful environment and she loves being a part of the growth and development of every child.

Mrs. Cynthia enjoys playing the piano, reading, cooking, listening to music, and spending time with her family.

Jollyville Campus

Pinki Kakkad

Head of School

Ms. Pinki is a seasoned manager with meaningful Montessori classroom experience. She first joined our community as an Assistant Teacher for a Primary classroom and has been developing her career with us as we grow our family. She joined our leadership team in 2020.

In her spare time, Ms. Pinki enjoys reading and spending time with her three musketeers – her husband and two boys.

Ms. Arlene Fernandez

Lead Teacher - Toddler 1 Ladybugs

Ms. Arlene enjoys learning more and more about the Montessori philosophy and guiding the youngest students at IMHoC. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in early childhood while also undergoing formal Montessori training certification via the North American Montessori Centre. She is a big supporter of the Montessori methodology because it is a beautiful pedagogy that focuses on enhancing the latent capacities of the child to reach their full potential.

Ms. Arlene is a very creative and artistic person, in her spare time, she likes baking, creating upholstery, making shirts, and general arts and crafts.

Ms. Sunanda Natwa

Lead Teacher - Primary 1 Dragonflies

Ms. Sunanda is an AMI-certified guide with over 20 years of Montessori experience. She worked at IMHoC with our founder Ms. Iranganie and joins us again to lead our students through the Montessori primary curriculum.

Ms. Sunanda values a peaceful classroom that keeps the children focused on the task at hand and helps them to be successful.

Ms. Nighat Raza

Lead Teacher - Primary 2 Beetles

Ms. Nighat has an Early Childhood Montessori certification through the North American Montessori Center. She has been teaching for 25 years specializing in Montessori for 14 of those years. She is well seasoned in planning lessons and activities, managing a Montessori classroom true to the method and philosophy, and is known for providing one-on-one loving and patient attention to each child in her classroom. She is passionate about teaching children, and in her spare time, she enjoys free reading and cooking.

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