Kathy Khatib – Director
Kathy has a B.A. in English, History and Art History, from the University of Illinois, Chicago. She received her Montessori training at the Centro Internazionale Maria Montessori in Perugia, Italy, where she remained for four more years, as training course assistant to Maria Antonietta Paolini, who had been Maria Montessori’s assistant for 30 years. She has been privileged to work with hundreds of children, for many years, as Montessori teacher and school administrator.
Ramona “Mona” Summers – Office Manager
Mona was born in Dresden, Germany. She and her husband ran a successful catering business. They now reside in Naples with their daughter Nea, and attendee of the Garden School. Mona has received her Florida Childcare Credential. Mona is our Office Manager and are grateful to be members of the Garden School Staff.
Yesim Tepehan – Teacher
Yesim grew up in Istanbul, Turkey and graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management from the University of Istanbul, Turkey. She moved to the United States eight years ago where she obtained her B.A. in Early Childhood Education Child Development in Florida. She worked as a VPK teacher at Collier County Public Schools for three years. She has her Florida Child Development Associate Credential. She is married and has two sons; one attends the Garden School. This will be her second year teaching at The Garden School.
Vadha Rajaratnam- Teacher
Vadha was born in Sri Lanka formally called Ceylon, where she received a B.A. in Education, and musical education degree at the Royal Schools of Music. She was interested in pursuing a Montessori education so she received her Primary Montessori diploma in Sri Lanka. She moved to Boston in 1975 as a Primary teacher. While living in Boston, she became interested in the Suzuki Piano training and then received her Suzuki Piano Training at Kingston University in Canada where she went on to open her own music school called Rhythm Keys Music Academy. In 1983, she received her Elementary Montessori Certification in Bergamo, Italy. She then returned to Boston and continued to teach in the Elementary Montessori Program for 33 years. Five years ago, Vadha moved to Naples with her husband, where she received her Florida Childcare credential. She feels lucky to have the opportunity to teach at the Garden School of Naples, where she can continue a career that she is passionate about.
I have been an Early Childhood Professional since I was first trained in the Montessori Method over 40 years ago. I received my first teaching degree in Rhode Island in 1983, along with a B.A. in English Literature. I received my M.S. in Elementary Science Education in 1996. Ten years later I was certified by the state of CT (K-5) and have worked in a wide variety of Montessori schools as well as private preschools, child care centers and after-school programs. I have been the Director of a local after-school program for the past eight years, until schools closed in March. When I first came to meet Ms. Kathy here at The Garden School, I felt as if I had been welcomed back into a well-loved environment. I am now working on being fully certified by The American Montessori Society, “with a little help from my friends”!
Amber Pequito – Teacher
I was born in Fairfax, Virginia and moved down to Naples, Florida to receive a B.A in psychology at Ave Maria University. After I graduated, I worked as a registered behavior therapist (RBT) in which I helped children with special needs. Last year, I worked at Mason Classical Academy as a teacher assistant. I am currently working on being certified in early education by The American Montessori Society. I love teaching here at The Garden School and am grateful to be a part of the staff!