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passionate educators 


HMS Directors and Teachers are passionate about Montessori education. True to an authentic Montessori approach, our teachers are guides and facilitators, not instructors.  They observe children who are actively engaged in self-directed learning and move the child to the next steps when they are ready for more.  Our head teachers have undergone a year-long training course offered by the American Montessori Society (AMS). During this course, our Montessori teachers become educated and certified in the Montessori teaching philosophy, Montessori curriculum, and the use of Montessori material. 
Interested in joining the HMS community? Click here to learn more about what makes HMS an amazing place to work.


Katie Cullen


Ms. Katie has been with Hoboken Montessori School since inception in 2011. A Montessori child herself, Katie has been working alongside young children for over 15 years and received her undergraduate degree in Marketing from Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. After joining HMS as an Assistant Teacher, she soon obtained her Infant/Toddler AMS certification from West Side Montessori School in Manhattan and became a Head Teacher for a number of years in both the Toddler and Pre-Primary programs. Katie filled the role of Assistant Director from 2018-2020.  Katie is passionate about ensuring that every child receives a high-quality education while assisting our families through the journey at HMS.


Kendra Finck

Director of Admissions 

Ms. Kendra graduated from Salisbury University with a B.S in Early Childhood Education after knowing from a young age that she wanted to become a teacher. While teaching in public schools, she quickly realized her passion was in early childhood education, and once discovering Montessori, she was on a path to become certified in an authentic approach.  Ms. Kendra earned her AMS certification in 2015 from Westside Montessori School in NYC.  She started at HMS in 2013 as a Primary Head until she was appointed to Assistant Director in 2020.

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Sondra McPoland

Business Manager

Ms. Sondra joined the HMS team in 2022, bringing more than 20 years of professional
experience in both corporate and school settings. Sondra has devoted most of her career to
working with children and their families from preschool through high school, in both private
and public schools, in a variety of roles. Sondra believes in fostering strong working
relationships with staff and families to create an environment of collaboration and community.


Synitra Bailey

Head Teacher

Ms. Synitra ("Sy") has been an integral member of the HMS teaching staff with over 5 years of experience at HMS.  After studying psychology, Sy discovered her passion for working with children at her church, where she regularly organized and helped babysit children that attended Sunday school.   Since joining HMS in 2016, Sy was struck by the unique way children were taught, an approach that was very different from what she was accustomed to. Sy's daughter inspired her to learn more about the Montessori philosophy and to become Montessori certified. 

In 2021, Ms. Synitra joined West Side Montessori School in NYC and will be completing her practicum to obtain her Infant/Toddler certification. Outside of the classroom, family is very important to Sy.  She loves spending her free time with her daughter, whether it’s planning a fun day out, or going on vacations to create special, lifelong memories.


Daykota Kucera

Head Teacher/Auxiliary Programming Lead

Ms. Daykota joined HMS in 2021. She comes to us with over 13 years experience of working in a Montessori classroom. Ms. Daykota obtained her Montessori certificate in 2009. She followed this by attending the Montessori Centre International College in London where she gained her Montessori International diploma (2010) and her Montessori Early Childhood Degree (2011). Ms. Daykota loves learning and believes in being a life-long learner. This is why after completing her Montessori Foundation Degree she continued her higher education and obtained a B.A. Honors Degree in Early Childhood Learning for the University Campus Suffolk, UK (2013). Ms. Daykota then continued to the University of East Anglia, UK, to complete her Early Years Teaching Status (2014). In her spare time she enjoys time with her family, friends, dogs and boating. 


Victoria Johnson

Head Teacher

Ms. Victoria joined HMS in 2012, after graduating from Temple University with a B.A. in Printmaking and Art History in 2011. Ms. Victoria has been pivotal in developing HMS's art program. Ms. Victoria received her Montessori certification from West Side Montessori School in New York City in 2016. She brings a joy, enthusiasm and creative spirit to her classroom that both students and parents are drawn to.


Katja Nagel

Head Teacher

Ms. Katja started her career with a degree in Early Childhood from Ochsenfurt State School for Teacher Education in Germany. Her passion for teaching and desire to foster an education for the whole child brought her to study the Montessori philosophy and earn her AMS Early Childhood Credential from the Institute of Mercer County CC and began her Montessori career as an intern at HMS in 2011. Impressed by the underlying intelligence of the Montessori method and materials, Katja believes deeply in the prepared environment to allow creativity, foster independent learning, and create a sense of belonging for all children. 


Mike Oh

Head Teacher 

Mr. Mike brings over 10 years of experience working with children in many different environments, such as tutoring, counseling and program administration. He graduated with a B.A. in Studio Art from Hunter College in New York City in 2008. Mike later joined HMS in 2016 as an Intern in one of our Primary Classrooms while completing his AMS Early Childhood Montessori Credential from West Side Montessori School in NYC in 2017. While interning as an Assistant he fell in love with the Montessori philosophy, as it genuinely encompasses everything he believes is important and necessary in child education.


Virginia DeLeon

Head Teacher

Ms. Virginia has been part of HMS since 2021 when she joined the Primary classroom. She comes to us with five years of lead teaching experience and has her Montessori training from West Side Montessori School in Manhattan. In addition, she has her Associates Degree in Science from Bronx Community College, and is bilingual in english and spanish. Ms. Virginia also follows the Montessori method at home with her three-year-old son and her one-year-old daughter. She can't wait to begin this new experience with you all!


Houria Selmy

Head Teacher

Ms. Houria has over 15 years of teaching experience. She began her career in education earning her B.A. in Education from University Hassan II in Morocco, in 1994. Ms. Houria specialized in teaching learning strategies in the foreign language classroom. She became very interested in the Montessori approach and pursued a Montessori Certification at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education in New York in 2007. In addition, she speaks fluent English, French and Arabic.

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