Our Team of Educators
Anna Rita Pergolizzi-Wentworth, Head of School
Anna Rita joins us from Del Mar Academy, an independent, bilingual Montessori and International Baccalaureate school located in Nosara, Costa Rica. While there, she taught, consulted, and served as Head of School.
Anna Rita has an Ed.M. in Educational Leadership Studies from Teachers College, Columbia University. She worked closely with the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College and, with its director, co-taught a distance-learning educational leadership course to Bilkent University graduate students in Ankara, Turkey.
Anna Rita was raised speaking Spanish and Italian. Her linguistic and cultural background, coupled with her language interests as an adult, allows her to bring a unique perspective to language acquisition. Anna Rita is a firm believer that being able to communicate in more than one language opens windows to understanding the idiosyncrasies of people's histories, cultures, and everyday lives.
She believes that a Montessori classroom is an ideal place to encourage the learning of a new language because children are allowed to work at their own pace, are encouraged to learn from their mistakes, and are embraced for their differences in who they are and how they learn. She believes that this allows children to build the necessary sense of security required to take risks, especially linguistic ones.
Anna Rita has had the opportunity to work with and learn from key individuals and institutions in the Montessori and independent school sector: As a graduate student, Anna Rita shadowed Dane Peters, former Head of School at Brooklyn Heights Montessori School.
Stacey Ann Brossia, Lead Teacher
Stacey brings over 10 years of diverse education experience to Battery Park Montessori.
As a child, she craved exposure to the arts, so she latched onto rare opportunities in the classroom that allowed her creativity to blossom. As an adult, she took this childhood longing and became an instructor and choreographer for the New Hampshire Dance Institute.
She went on to create an arts enrichment program called Artsploration that served students from pre-kindergarten through upper elementary.
When she’s not teaching, she likes visiting museums, dancing, hiking, and generally being as active as she can. She is a board game fanatic and a dog lover.
Maria Horsford, Lead Teacher
Maria has a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education and her Montessori certification for children ages 3-6.
Previously a longstanding member of one of NYC’s most respected Montessori schools – West Side Montessori – Maria spent the last several years working with West Side’s Third Year/Kindergarten aged students.
She is excited to be teaching at Battery Park Montessori.
Maria lives in Brooklyn with her family. When she is not teaching she loves to read, go to the park and visit museums. Maria’s favorite food is pizza!
Michelle Dion, Lead Teacher
Michelle is a teacher with over 15 years of experience in childcare and preschool education. After completing her B.A. at SUNY Purchase, she experienced an entirely new environment while working as an ESL teacher in Thailand. This inspired her to implement Montessori-style approaches into her own classrooms.
Michelle purposely sought out environments that complimented her evolving teaching style. She held firm to the belief that a child's perception and love for themselves effects who they become as adults. It also effects how they relate to, empathize with, interact, and influence the world as adults.
This bold way of thinking about education led her to Green Ivy. She received her Early Childhood Montessori Certification at West Side Montessori in 2015. This is her fourth year at Battery Park Montessori. The stunning natural beauty of Battery Park is a daily source of professional and personal inspiration.
Michelle never shies away from a hearty laugh, which is a universal language for children. She loves singing, jewelry making, hiking with her niece, taking photos and scrapbooking.
Corina Sanchez, Lead Teacher
Corina holds a B.A. in Psychology, with a focus on Child Psychology and Art Therapy from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, NY. Originally from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, she’s lived for most of her life in Indian Village in the Bronx and recently relocated to Brooklyn.
For the past 10 years, she’s worked with children ages newborn to adolescents at the New York Sports Club for Kids and Little Wizards preschool in the Bronx. She believes working alongside children of all ages has given her the ability to understand their needs and truly view the world through their eyes.
She loves Green Ivy because she has the opportunity to be creative and explore children’s individual personalities, while learning and thriving independently at their own pace. She enjoys play and exploring the world, as children do. Her favorite thing to do is try new foods and restaurants in the area. She also enjoys trying new aerobic classes such as Zumba, Kickboxing, and Step. She likes to go to the movies and visiting new restaurants. Her greatest joy is her family.
Yan (Chaonan Yan) 闫超男, Lead Mandarin Teacher
Yan brings 5 years of combined experience as a Kindergarten teacher, vocal coach and Mandarin instructor.
She is also a professionally trained opera singer! Her favorite opera is Marriage of Figaro and her favorite piece is “O mio babbino caro.”
A native Mandarin speaker, Yan grew up in the Shandong province in northern China, about 400 km south of Beijing.
She received a bachelors in vocal performance from Liaoning Normal University in Dalian and has been accepted to the Manhattan School of Music master’s program. Yan lives on the Upper West Side where she is enrolled in a Montessori certification program.
Mariela Young, Lead Spanish Teacher
Originally from Costa Rica, Mariela has been living in the tri-state area for the past eight years. She joins the team with more than four years of teaching experience as a Spanish teacher in Montessori Education. Mariela is bilingual in English and Spanish, with intermediate Italian knowledge.
Mariela believes in the importance of teaching in a positive and collaborative environment as we are all different and unique. She is currently working towards her Masters in Early Childhood with Special Needs at Concordia University. Mariela Completed her B.S. in Psychology and Childhood Development and most recently obtained the Early Childhood Montessori Teacher Certification at West Side Montessori.
Mariela loves singing, practicing yoga, and pilates. Traveling and learning languages is one of her many passions.
Arnaud Berger, Assistant Teacher
Arnaud grew up in France and after 20 years in the business world, he decided to shift careers and become a teacher. He holds an M.B.A. from ESSEC Business School in France and is currently working on his M.A. in Early Childhood with a French-English bilingual extension at Hunter College.
Arnaud obtained his Early Childhood Montessori Certification from West Side Montessori School in New York. He fell in love with early childhood when his two sons were babies.
He relocated to New York two years ago with his wife and two sons. Since then, he’s been teaching French in a preschool in Queens and as a Montessori Intern at Washington Market School.
Emily Thomas, Assistant Teacher
Emily has a B.A. in Psychology, a B.A. in Theatre from Converse College, and is currently completing the Early Childhood Montessori credential program. She’s been working with Primary-aged children since moving to New York in 2011.
A Montessori child herself from ages 2-12, and she brings deep understanding to her career teaching the philosophy that was so instrumental in shaping her as a person. She believes all students can become joyful, self-actualized learners under the guidance of skilled teachers who present opportunities for challenging, engaging work, that will spark their curiosity and seed a life-long love of learning.
Originally from South Carolina, Emily loves to create art, spend time in nature, and explore the cultural treasures of New York City with her students. She feels a deep responsibility not only for their physical development but also for the development of their minds, hearts, and values.