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Maestra Mary
Bilingual Director, Educator, & Founder

Meet Mary...

Mary Barcena is the founder of Casa de Montessori & Lead Guide in the Children's House. Mary is of Guatemalan descent and bilingual in Spanish/English.  She is eagerly learning to play guitar from her talented teenage daughter. Mary has shared the last 20 plus years with her number one supporter & husband, Richard.  Together, they are raising three amazing children, Michael (16), Alyssa (14), and Maya (9).  All three of them attended Montessori schools from about the age of 3 years old through upper elementary.

Mary learned about the Montessori Education after extensively researching different early education programs as she sought out the best environment for young Michael who was ready to form new relationships & explore the world outside of the home.  She enrolled Michael in a Children's House class and upon learning more about Maria Montessori's scientific method, she decided to change her own educational program studies to that of  a Montessori education.  In 2010, she completed her Early Childhood Montessori Teacher Training through the American Montessori Society.

Mary also holds an undergraduate degree from Ottawa University in Human Services.  You see, she was a Social Worker for the City of Phoenix before diving into education and has a passion for helping families who face and tackle major challenges in their lives.  She faced many obstacles growing up in Los Angeles and seeks to empower those around her to reach their own successes.  Mary sees the importance of a strong, healthy family life to aid the child in reaching & surpassing their developmental benchmarks for their age and abilities.

Mary deeply loves being with children first and foremost.  She is most comfortable with them and strives to make their early education both a memorable, well rounded,  and enriching experience, which no one else can match.

When outside of the classroom, Mary loves being in nature, run & exercise, travel, read, and spend time with her family.  She regularly undertakes DIY projects with Richard, attends concerts with Alyssa, gives Michael driving lessons, and swims with Maya.

Welcome to Casa de Montessori!


Maestra Esthefania
Toddler House
Lead Teacher

Ms. Esthefania is the Toddler Whisperer, is impeccably skilled, and easy to love. She and Ms. Mary began working together over 10 year ago when Ms. Mary was searching for an Assistant Teacher to support her in leading a new toddler classroom of 18 children. They formed a strong connection of respect, dependability, and connection over Montessori pedagogy while guiding many children throughout the school years. Ms. Esthefania is a passionate, kind, dedicated, joyous teacher and co-worker. She loves to sing with the children and build relationship with them and their families.
Ms. Esthefania earned her Teaching Credential through the North American Montessori Center in 2016. Alongside her husband, she is raising a beautiful son, Iker, whom she is an incredibly loving mother to. She loves reading, baking, dancing, rooting for the AZ Cardinals, and everything panda bears. Ms. Esthefania adores her beloved family including those who still reside in her native town of Hidalgo, Mexico and enjoys all their native cuisine.
Ms. Esthefania add so much laughter, culture, and school spirit to Casa de Montessori. Your child will probably love to call her "Nia" and sing a favorite song about a little turtle/la tortuga. 


Ms. Ruby
Toddler House
Assistant Teacher

Ms. Ruby started with Casa de Montessori in 2021 as a Summer Camp Assistant. She was exposed to the Montessori Method as a child visiting her Tia Mary's home. Ms. Ruby currently works alongside Ms. Esthefania as one of her full time Assistant Teachers in the Toddler House classroom and in the Extended Care program. She says Ms. Esthefania is like a second mom and admires her mentorship over the years. 
Ms. Ruby states CDM really helped her see young children in a different light and loves being with them. She is a natural, patient, and nurturing teacher who always has the right thing to say to help a child over come difficult emotions. Every child and teacher loves Ms. Ruby because she is a great communicator, sweet, patient, accountable, resourceful, and kind.
Ms. Ruby is of Salvadorean and Guatemalan descent. She works hard, is fun loving, and creative. She loves to cook, root for the Raiders, watch movies, care for her bearded dragon-Panchito, travel, and spend time with family and friends when not surrounded by the littles in our program.


Ms. Yully joined CDM in 2023 as a Toddler House Assistant Teacher when our previous assistant left on maternity leave. Ms. Yully is from Caracas, Venezuela and alongside her husband is raising three wonderful children. She holds over ten years experience in Early Childhood and is a passionate educator with loads of energy. Ms. Yully is hard working, kind, and dedicated. The children easily gravitate to her loving and attentive disposition.
Ms. Yully completes our excellent Toddler House Team where it seems like friends work together all day alongside 14 beautiful toddlers.
Ms. Yully is quite the adventurer and loves to go hiking, dancing, and participate in Zumba when not in the classroom. She also enjoys nature, Venezuelan cuisine, and family.  

Ms. Yully
Toddler House
Spanish Speaking
Assistant Teacher

Ms. Mariah
Children's House

Bilingual Lead Teacher

Ms. Mariah began her career at Casa de Montessori as a Summer Camp Assistant in 2021. Ms. Mariah is a gifted teacher and like no other. She demonstrated early on a desire to learn more, do more, and is constantly able to adapt to the learners under her care. Ms. Mariah completed her Early Childhood Teaching Credential from the American Montessori Society, New York while under the supervision of Ms. Mary. Ms. Mariah is proactive in all she does, is a great planner, and has a strong passion for Science, Math, and American Sign Language. She is a natural, calm teacher who is able to create engaging lessons, strong connections, and firm boundaries for her students so they can learn and exceed their own expectations.
Ms. Mariah is a born leader and fully dedicated to creating a rich learning Montessori environment for the students she guides each day and her nephews/nieces when not in the classroom. Ms. Mariah is a Chandler native and of Mexican descent. She loves sushi & Mexican food. She also loves music, the arts, sewing, thrifting, and her cats. Ms. Mariah adds so much beauty, integrity, and spark to Casa de Montessori by incorporating all her creative, innovative, and fresh ideas to engage and challenge her students.
She and her two full time, Spanish speaking assistants make the Children's House the most wonderful classroom for the 3-6 year old child. 

Ms. Amalia
Children's House
Spanish Speaking
Assistant Teacher 

Ms. Amalia is from Chandler and is a dynamic Assistant Teacher. She has roots in Jalisco, Mexico and is fluent in both Spanish and English. Ms. Amalia began her career with us in early 2023 as a Teacher Assistant. She is the most patient, kind, dependable, and creative person. You can always count on Ms. Amalia to be fully present for her students each day, have a radiant smile, and offer incredible guidance for her students as she knows children need a patient adult.
Ms. Amalia earned her Art Degree from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco in 2012. Our students are lucky to learn about photography and the arts from someone so skilled and talented. She is regularly bringing in something new for them to explore.
Ms. Amalia has an extensive background as a Habilitation and Respite Provider working with children between 0-17 years old. She is an incredibly loving person who connects well with children and co-workers alike. Ms. Amalia enjoys her family, watching movies, going to the beach, crocheting, and spa days!

Ms. Maria is from Sonora, Mexico and is an incredibly energetic and dedicated educator who loves the Montessori Method and guiding children throughout their days at CDM. 
Ms. Maria holds a degree in Educational Psychology and is the proud mother of two year old, Sofia, a Toddler House student. Ms. Maria is a genuine, patient, and loving person who takes her professionalism to another level. 
Ms. Maria loves to bake cakes, travel, go to the gym, visit the beach, and treat herself to a spa day. Everyone loves her sweet, joyous, and hard working demeanor. She is easy to love and will quickly befriend you.

We are lucky to have her as one of our Children's House Spanish Speaking Assistants and school parents. 

Ms. Maria
Children's House
Spanish Speaking
Assistant Teacher
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