Janet McDonell
Janet McDonellDirector of Primary Training
Janet McDonell is a primary trainer for the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). Janet holds Primary, Elementary, and Special Education diplomas from AMI. She also has a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin and an M.Ed. from Loyola University Maryland. Before training teachers, Janet had 20 years of teaching and administrative experience in Montessori schools serving children of widely varying backgrounds. Janet has served on the AMI Training Group, the AMI/USA Board of Directors, and currently serves on the AMI Consultation Committee. She lectures, examines, consults, and offers workshops around the world.
(202) 818-8701 ext 1
Jennifer Shields
Jennifer ShieldsDirector of Primary Training
Jennifer Shields is a primary trainer for the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). She holds both the AMI Primary and Assistants to Infancy diplomas. Jennifer earned a B.A. in English Literature from Georgetown University and an M.Ed. from Cleveland State University. She worked for over fifteen years in Montessori schools as a teacher, assistant, and administrator. She is an examiner and consultant for AMI and presents at workshops and conferences locally and worldwide. Jennifer loves observing in classrooms, coaching teachers and teacher trainees, and spreading the insights made by Dr. Montessori.
(202) 818-8701 ext 2
Dora María Vidales
Dora María VidalesDirector of 0-3 Training
Dora María Vidales is an AMI Director of 0 to 3 Diploma Training. She has participated in the Montessori movement for more than 45 years as a mother, a student, a teacher, a consultant, and as a speaker at international conferences. Dora has served as a principal and owner of schools. She has directed Montessori Nido, Infant Community, and Primary classes. Dora has lectured on AMI courses in different countries since 1990.

Dora has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology as well as studies in anthropology, economics, and theology. She has worked in the Mexican government as part of a team that designed pedagogical programs for official social security nurseries (IMSS).

Samantha Vejay
Samantha VejayExecutive Director
Samantha’s Montessori career began as an infant in her mother’s Primary classroom, and continued as a child in AMI Primary and Elementary environments.

Samantha has a degree in Business and Non-Profit Management, and a Masters in Education from Loyola University. She holds dual AMI diplomas from our own Washington Montessori Institute at the Primary (2004) and Elementary (2010) level. She has taught in 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12 environments. Most recently, Samantha completed the AMI Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies in Rydet, Sweden (2019), and also completed the 0-3 Orientation through WMI (2020).

Samantha has experience working in the classroom, leading schools, offering community workshops, working with non-profit organizations and supporting public and private educators. She is a board member for the Montessori Administrators of Georgia (MAG), and is an active participant in the Elementary Alumni Association (EAA). Samantha lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her dog, Shakespeare, and her snake, Sarah Mildred. When not immersed in Montessori, she loves to travel (6 continents and 40 countries and counting) and visit schools all over the world.

(202) 818-8701 ext 3
Jennifer Mott
Jennifer MottDirector of Operations
Jennifer Mott supports the Washington Montessori Institute (WMI) as the director of operations. She holds a B.S. in Political Science & Sociology from the University of Utah. Jennifer has administratively supported education programs, in various capacities, for over fourteen years.
She values and respects Maria Montessori’s approach to education and human development, especially the principles to respect children and provide opportunities for them to be independent discoverers. She is excited to support WMI’s mission and vision.