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Our Team

Administration and Office Staff

Kateřina Bečková

Executive Director, Director of Czech Program

Kateřina is the founder and executive director of the International Montessori School of Prague and a community coordinator. While searching for a school with an alternative educational approach for her three children, she discovered the famous Montessori method. She immediately fell in love and since 2002, when she founded the IMSP, she’s been a keen advocate of Montessori education.

Kateřina holds Master's degrees in Economics and Special Education, and has attended Montessori Administration trainings and workshops led by Tim Seldin and Peter Davidson. She is a team player and using her strong leadership skills she boosts and maintains a positive morale among the staff and encourages teamwork. She lays great stress on achieving superior quality both in her personal and professional life. When not working at the school, Kateřina enjoys travelling, reading, sports, spending time with her family and relaxing in nature.

Pherooz Karani

Head of School

Originally from Boston, Pherooz came to IMSP from Florida.  She attended a Montessori school herself and credits the educational model with developing in her the skills and passions that guide her work today. She has been in education for over twenty years, teaching in Infant, Toddler and Primary classrooms before moving into administration. It is her greatest joy to pass on the legacy of Montessori education to new generations of children.

Pherooz attended Northeastern University and received her BA in Theatre and a Minor in Elementary Education; she also earned a Master in Education with a focus on Montessori Integrative Learning from Endicott College in Massachusetts. She holds Montessori teaching credentials for every age group served at IMSP: she received her AMI Assistants to Infancy Diploma (ages 0-3), from the Maria Montessori Training Organization in London, her AMI Primary (ages 3-6) Diploma from the Ohio Montessori Training Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, and recently has her AMI Elementary (ages 6-12) training here in Prague. Pherooz has also completed a Montessori Administration degree with CMTE in New York. In her free time, Pherooz enjoys traveling, reading, going to concerts and attending theatre performances.

Katarína Slotová

Business Administrator

Katarina graduated with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Economics in Prague. For the past decade, Katarina has worked as an IT Service Team Leader for McKinsey & Company, leading the expansion to 14 new offices in the EMEA region and as a Project Analyst. After her time in the corporate world, she has decided to pursue a career change and find meaningful work in Education. Katarina enjoys the challenge of developing and implementing change and is excited to bring her energy and expertise to the IMSP family. In her free time, Katarina is passionate about walking in nature, going on road trips, and making DIY crafts and materials.

Eliška Hladká

Office Manager

After graduating from high school, Eliska began pursuing a degree at the Czech University of Agriculture.  After almost two years of studies, Eliska realized that she wasn’t passionate about the subject and decided to enter the workforce full time.  Eliska spent time as an Event Manager before moving into the corporate work as a receptionist and office assistant.  She is happy to be working in the education sector now.  In her free time, Eliska enjoys spending time with her family and partner, playing with her, visiting her cottage and watching movies. 

Andrea Šmahelová

Assistant to the Business Administrator

Originally from the Czech Republic, Andrea studied Tourism in Jihlava. After her graduation, she worked as a Business Consultant in a Czech company, focusing on Sales and Administration. In her free time, Andrea loves spending time with her husband and family. She also enjoys volunteer work especially helping out in cat shelters and is pursuing her interest in Czech sign language. Andrea’s hobbies include cycling, hiking, traveling, reading and she is a big soccer fan at heart!

Caryn Khoo

Marketing Director

Originally from Malaysia, Caryn holds a Bachelor's Degree with a double major in Writing and Communications from Monash University, Australia. After graduating from university, Caryn did her internship in a Public Relations firm in Thailand and spent a year working in an American advertising agency: Leo Burnett, Malaysia. Following this, Caryn joined a branding agency for four years, which led to her role as a Brand Consultant. In the years she had spent working with DIA Brands, Caryn is most proud of her biggest portfolio: Progresif, a challenger telecom brand in Brunei that gained a remarkable 25% from a 5% market share within 3 months of its successful brand re-launch. In 2016, Caryn moved to Prague, to further her desire to work in early education and completed her TEFL Certification and AMS Montessori Training for Primary-aged children while working at IMSP as a Primary Teacher. In 2021, Caryn will be returning to her first passion while channeling her love and knowledge in education into Marketing. In her free time, Caryn enjoys cooking without following a strict recipe, tasting good food, traveling, and cuddling with her cat!

Marie Dernovšková

Marketing Specialist

Marie has a master’s degree in Architecture and Civil Engineering from Czech Technical University and also spent a few years studying at the University of Economics Prague. During those studies, she started to work full time in marketing – first, as a Marketing Manager for CZ and SK for gaming brands like Nintendo,  following that, as a marketing specialist for phones, tablets and notebooks with ASUS Computers. She joined our team in June 2016 as an external marketing specialist. She immediately felt in love with the Montessori system of education and therefore greatly enjoys her role in promoting this educational method. 

During her free time, she prefers being active - from a variety of sports such as dancing, acrobatics, fire spinning, and running to the sport she is most passionate about, kitesurfing. And that’s why she also likes to travel and learn foreign languages.

Anna Ritchie

Social Media and Communications Specialist

Originally from the United States, Anna is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Communication and Media at Charles University in Prague. While studying, Anna has also had the opportunity to gain experience in the field of public relations, most recently working in the marketing department for the Czech nonprofit People in Need. With a passion for social media and a commitment to promoting the Montessori model, Anna is excited for her first year here with IMSP.

In her free time, Anna likes to relax in nature. Whether it’s hiking, swimming, or spending time in parks with friends -- if the sun is out, she’ll be there!

Toddler Team

Ivana Obradović

Toddler Coordinator

Ivana has been with IMSP since 2005, first serving as a substitute teacher and progressing to school leadership, responsible for the Toddler level, where she is also a lead teacher.

Ivana originally comes from Croatia and is a mother of three children.  When looking for a school to enroll her children in, she first encountered Montessori and recognized the monumental potential it has to change both the way we view education and the means by which we accomplish it. She is certified by the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), holding an Assistants to Infancy (ages 0-3) diploma from the Montessori Institute Prague. Ivana believes that each child has a unique potential and that the relationship between parent and child is the most essential component in both their relationship and the development of the child.

Lindsey Taylor

Toddler 2 Lead Teacher

Lindsey is originally from Texas, where she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s Studies at Southwestern University. She completed her TEFL certification and discovered her passion for working with children while teaching English as a Second Language in Costa Rica. She has spent the past three years working as an assistant in a Montessori school in the US, which further fueled her passion for education and love of the Montessori Method.

Lindsey enjoys practicing yoga, cooking and doing creative projects in her spare time. She loves to travel and learn new languages!

Ana Lourdes Sánchez Ruiz

Toddler 1 Lead Teacher

Ana was born and raised in Guatemala. She has had a lifelong interest in children’s development and helping humanity through education. Ana started her career path as an Early Childhood Educator in 2013. Since then, she has completed her AMI Assistants to Infancy training in 2017 and taught in a Toddler program in Mexico City before working in the administration of a Montessori school in Spain.  She is currently completing a pedagogy degree at the Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City.

In her free time, Ana enjoys hiking and prefers going to the beach. She loves being surrounded by nature and meeting new people from around the world.

Adrienn Eva Sýkorová

Toddler 2 Assistant Teacher

Originally from Hungary, Adrienn holds a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, which she completed in 2008. She spent four plus years working with children in the United Kingdom, where she met her Czech partner. Following that, she moved to Prague and is a mother of two. During her maternity leave, Adrienn discovered her passion for Montessori and began home schooling using Montessori’s approach with her own children.

Adrienn enjoys spending time with her family and loves cooking, baking, and making DIY crafts.

Jana Dűmlerová

Toddler 1 Assistant & Toddler Childcare Support

Originally from Moravia, Jana holds a Master's degree in Secondary Education and Sciences from the University of Ostrava. During internships in the United Kingdom and France, she fell in love with working with younger children. When she returned to the Czech Republic, she joined a Montessori school to learn more about the pedagogy and approach as an assistant to children with special needs, and later on as a Toddler teacher and summer camp leader. 

Jana is excited to join the IMSP family. In her free time, Jana enjoys being with her family and two pointer dogs either in the surroundings of nature or in her garden learning more about permaculture. She spends the majority of her spare time reading literature and creating hand-made materials from scratch!

Primary Team

Veronika Newkirk

Primary Coordinator and Primary 2 Lead Teacher

Originally from Jablonec, Veronika first pursued a law career, gaining a Master of Arts in Legal Studies from Charles University.  After having her first child, Veronika discovered Montessori and fell in love.  She volunteered with IMSP for a year before pursuing her American Montessori Society (AMS) Primary training in the US.  After teaching at a Czech Montessori school, Veronika opened her own Montessori school in Prague, teaching and directing the program for five years before moving back to the US.  Since 2013, Veronika has been teaching in 3-6 Montessori classrooms in the US.  Veronika is excited to be moving back to Prague for this opportunity.  In her free time, Veronika enjoys reading history and popular science as well as travel, sightseeing and nature walks.

Geraldine Coiro

Primary 1 Co-Teacher

Originally from Scotland, Gerry initially pursued a degree in Zoology at the University of Glasgow. Through her love for travel, she discovered her passion for working with young children whilst working at an international school in Denmark and later in Seychelles.

Her love for Montessori’s philosophy and educational principles transpired from her work in an International Montessori school in Seychelles and was her rationale for completing a Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy: Early Years Educator through the London Metropolitan University. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, a wide variety of music, dancing Salsa Cubana and seeking adventure through travel.  

Grainne Barry

Primary 1 Co-Teacher

Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Grainne discovered Montessori through a neighbor who recommended it to her. After learning more about it, Grainne enrolled in the Primary Montessori Training at St. Nicholas Montessori and now holds a diploma in Montessori Early Childhood Education and Care (age 0-6) and her teaching qualification from Killester College, Ireland. Grainne brings with her over 19 years of teaching experience in Montessori classrooms and is currently pursing another bachelor’s degree in education from the Open University in United Kingdom. In her free time, Grainne enjoys musical theatre, Zumba dance classes, reading, and traveling.

Lisa De Silva

Primary 2 Co-Teacher

Originally from Western Australia, Lisa has a Certificate IV in Education Support which qualifies her to work as an Education Assistant for mainstream and disabled children as well as an AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) Assistant Certification. In addition, she holds the TEFL Certificate. Her recent teaching experience includes being a classroom teacher in Australia and teaching English to young learners in a Czech language school. Lisa was thrilled to join the AMS Primary (3-6) training this summer. In her free time, Lisa enjoys photography and art as well as dancing and traveling.

Emma Payne

Primary Support Teacher

Originally from South Africa, Emma holds a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Languages and Linguistics from the University of South Africa.  She has also completed her TEFL certification.  She developed a passion for teaching when working in Thailand with secondary school students. Emma has enjoyed teaching English, music, gym and after-school programs in Thailand, South Africa, Taiwan and Vietnam over the past eight years.  In her free time, Emma enjoys travel, reading and swimming; she is engaged to IMSP team member, Wesley Vinay.

Natálie Cihlová

Primary Support and Childcare Teacher

Natálie je původem z České republiky. Vystudovala grafický design a umění v Plzni. Po ukončení studia se přestěhovala do Anglie, kde žila a pracovala 3 roky jako au pair u dětí od miminek až po děti základní školy. Během svého pobytu v Británii absolvovala profesionální trénink pečovatelky o děti se speciálními potřebami. Kromě toho zde vyučovala umělecké hodiny, včetně letních uměleckých soustředění.

Ve svém volném čase je Natálie vášnivou fotografkou, ráda cestuje a maluje a zajímá se o zero-waste lifestyle.

Richard Todd

Primary Support and Childcare Teacher, ESL Teacher

Originally from Scotland, Richard first worked with children in his late teens in a socially deprived area and continued exploring his desire to help the community by volunteering with a national charity, providing weekly support for young children.

After leaving Scotland in 2004, Richard has worked in international schools as a teaching assistant where he specialized in working with children between the ages three and six, both in groups and individually. Richard gained his HLTA qualification and is looking forward to using his experience and knowledge in a Montessori environment.

Richard enjoys spending his free time coaching and playing rugby with his local Czech team, watching football, painting, and exploring the Czech Republic with his wife.

Lenka Míkovcová

One-on-One Aide

Lenka joined the IMSP team during the 2017-18 school year.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Economics and Public Administration at the University of Economics in Prague, and studied in an international diploma program at UC Berkeley Ext in California. Prior to becoming a mother,  Lenka worked with the Vice Prime Minister of Economic Affairs of the Czech Republic, focused on public funding in science and education.  Lenka also worked for the Sue Ryder Foundation. A writer, Lenka has published various parenting bulletins with practical tips for parents as well as a story called “Baboo the Baby Elephant and the Sharing Puzzle,” which later also become a play.  In her free time, Lenka enjoys spending time with her family, writing her next story, and traveling. 

Elementary Team

Amy Tobias

Elementary Coordinator Lower Elementary Teacher

Amy joined the IMSP team in 2009 and has since taught in both the Primary and Lower Elementary classrooms. She holds AMS Certifications for the Primary (ages 3-6), Lower Elementary (6-9) and Upper Elementary (9-12) levels, as well as a B.A. in Psychology.

Amy has been working with children in Montessori schools since 1992. Aside from leading classrooms, her experience includes developing and integrating curriculum, creating character education programs and setting up new classrooms and schools. Originally from the Chicago area, Amy has appreciated living in different areas of the United States as well as England. She enjoys traveling, cultural exchanges, long walks and all things canine.

Joyce McCusker

Lower Elementary Lead Teacher

Joyce has been a Lower Elementary teacher for 17 years. Born in Poughkeepsie, NY, she grew up near Pittsburgh, PA. She earned a degree in history and political science from Duke University in Durham, NC, after spending her junior year abroad in Hong Kong.

Having homeschooled her two daughters using Montessori methods and materials, Joyce trained to be a Montessori Elementary teacher at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies, earning an Elementary 6-12 credential. In 2002, she began teaching in the Lower Elementary at Sunset Hills Montessori School in Reston, VA, where her children attended through sixth and seventh grades, respectively. Joyce attributes her daughters’ academic success to the foundation they received and the love of learning they developed during their Montessori years. She strives to inspire all her students to become their best selves. When not in the classroom, Joyce enjoys hiking, biking, swimming, reading, visiting museums, and traveling.

Ruth Švandová

Lower Elementary Teacher

Ruth has spent her entire life in Prague, and has been a Montessori advocate and enthusiast for six years now. She is currently studying Primary and Elementary education at the J. A. Komensky University in Karviná, and is completing an AMS Elementary (6-12) Montessori training. Previously, she has taught in an Elementary classroom at the Modřany Montessori school, and as an assistant teacher in our Primary 2 classroom and as our Upper Elementary Czech teacher. In her free time, Ruth enjoys Latin American dance, sport and music.

Greg McCracken

Upper Elementary Lead Teacher

Greg has been involved in the Montessori world since the oldest of his three children started first grade in 1987. Originally from western Pennsylvania, he studied theatre and acting in New York City in his early twenties, and then moved to the Los Angeles area where for 15 years he cared for his three children as an at-home dad. While in L.A., he completed a degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies. He also occasionally worked as a carpenter in L.A.

In 1997, Greg and his family relocated to a small town near Washington, D.C. Inspired by his children’s Montessori experience, he pursued a credential for Elementary I and II at the Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Silver Spring, Maryland. He has taught in both Lower and Upper Elementary Montessori classrooms since 1998. He loves teaching, but when not in the classroom, he also loves taking photographs, playing music, reading, hiking, traveling, visiting museums and bookstores, and learning about and discovering new things.

Irena Andělová

Upper Elementary Teacher

Ms. Irena comes from the beautiful spa town of Františkovy Lázně. It has been her dream to become an educator since being inspired by her own elementary teacher. She graduated from the Pedagogical High School in Karlovy Vary and holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and English Language from the Purkyne University in Ústí nad Labem. During her university studies, she moved to Prague and began teaching at the Gate of Languages Elementary School.

Irena’s life was changed by a move to New Zealand two years ago. During her travels, she experienced different cultures and environments and emerged with a new understanding and approach which eventually led her to IMSP. She was excited to join the AMS Elementary (6-12) training this summer. Irena  spends her free time travelling, practicing yoga, hiking, or with her fiancée, friends and her dog Vicky.

Wesley Vinay

Elementary Support and Childcare Teacher

Hailing from South Africa, Wes earned his Bachelor of Arts in Cinematography from AFDA, The School for the Creative Economy.  Following that, he also completed his TEFL certification. For the past three years, Wes has been teaching English in Taiwan and Vietnam.  He became interested in Montessori when he was introduced to the Reggio Emilia approach and began researching alternative educational models.  In his free time, Wes enjoys travel, exploring new cultures and films.  

Tomáš Anděl

One-on-One Aide

Tom is originally from Karlovy Vary, in the western part of the Czech Republic.  He attended the Pedagogical High School in Karlovy Vary and later moved to Prague to continue his studies, which included English language courses at the Burlington School of English in London.

Growing up in a family of musicians, Tom was drawn to singing and music from at early age.  As a singer, Tom pursued a career with a band, Goodfellas, which released two albums and won several awards; he also plays guitar and the piano. Tom is married to our Upper Elementary teacher, Irena, who introduced him to Montessori and to our school; he values the individual approach, respect, and love it offers the children.

When he isn’t working or making music, Tom enjoys travel, reading, and exploring nature. He is passionate about environmental causes and instilling love and care for nature and for our planet in children.

Tereza Veselá

Elementary Czech Support, One-on-One Aide

Tereza was born and raised in the Czech Republic. She holds a master’s degree from the University of International Relations and speaks four different languages. She discovered her love of working with children, when homeschooling Elementary age children. She loves traveling and has traveled extensively in the United States, Switzerland, and Italy, and has always strived to be a true citizen of the Planet Earth.

Her life motto is to live consciously in all aspects of life and be kind to people while maintaining good care towards nature and the environment.

Tereza Křečková

Elementary Czech Assistant

Originally from Prague, Czech Republic, Tereza holds a Master's Degree in Elementary Pedagogy. After obtaining her degree, she spent several years working for a corporate company in Finance. After having children, Tereza began looking for the best and most suitable educational method, which is how she found Montessori. After renewing her passion for education in a new way, she strives to help children find their strengths and deepen their understanding of the world and their inner self. In her free time, Tereza enjoys walking in the countryside, cooking, and making DIY handmade materials.

Childcare and Specialists

Kathleen Renehan

Expressive Arts Specialist

Miss Kathleen has joined IMSP as a teacher in 2007. She received her Montessori Teacher's certification for both Primary (3-6) and Lower Elementary (6-9) at the Princeton Montessori Center for Teacher Training. She graduated from Stonehill College in Massachusetts majoring in Early Childhood, as well as receiving minors in Psychology and Fine Arts.

Kathleen is originally from New York, where she taught Art to people with learning and developmental disabilities prior to joining IMSP. Her interests include art, hiking, biking, horseback riding and traveling.

Jana Růžičková

Psychologist

Originally from the Czech Republic, Jana holds a Bachelor and master’s degree in Psychology and has recently become a clinical psychologist. Her main focus is on conducting therapies and diagnostics of the children although her work also involves working with teenagers and adults. Jana brings with her experience from her work at a Crisis Intervention Centre as well as in hospitals, where she worked closely in the children’s department and has also published a book about teen psychotherapy in hope to help people in need. Jana is also a certified AMS teacher for children ages 3-6 years old. In her free time, Jana enjoys writing, dancing, being by the sea, in the mountains and in the forest.

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