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.
Naoko Ogawa
Naoko OgawaDirector of Primary Training
Naoko is an experienced and innovative AMI primary trainer. She grew up in Tokyo, Japan and received her BA in childhood education from Tokyo Gakugei University and an M.Ed. from Loyola University Maryland. Since 2009, Naoko has trained adults in the Philippines, Japan, China, and the US on assistant, foundation, and primary courses. Naoko lives in Baltimore with her husband Frank and is also an AMI/USA consultant.
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.
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).

Tiina Suominen
Tiina SuominenDirector of 0-3 Training
Tiina Suominen, comes from Finland. She is a WMI alum, she completed Primary training with Hildegart Soltzbacher in Washington, DC, and she also trained in Denver with Judi Orion and Maria Teresa “Chacha” Vidales on the Assistant to Infancy level. Tiina is an AMI trainer on the Assistant to Infancy level and has lectured on courses in North America, Asia, and in Europe. She has been working with children ages 0-6 for more than 20 years. Tiina runs her own Montessori School, called Mammolina, on Helsinki, Finland.
Rebecca Dallam
Rebecca DallamDirector of 6-12 Training
AMI Elementary Trainer Rebecca Dallam has been working in Montessori environments since 1985. She holds a B.A. in English literature from Temple University, USA, with a minor in Italian literature, and an M.Ed. from Loyola University, USA, in Montessori elementary education. She holds the AMI 0-3 and 3-6 Orientation certificates, the Montessori Core Principles certificate, and 3-6 and 6-12 AMI Diplomas. Rebecca completed summer Spanish language and literature programmes at the Universidad de Granada (1990) and the Universidad de Guadalajara (1991). She is currently studying Russian through the University of Queensland.

In addition to her work at WMI, Rebecca offers modular format 6-12 courses, face-to-face and blended format Orientation Courses, as well as workshops and mentoring, through Sydney Montessori Training Centre.

Allyn Travis
Allyn TravisDirector of 6-12 Training
Allyn holds AMI primary and elementary diplomas and has over 35 years teaching experience with both children and adults. She is the former Administrator and Director of Training at the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee. An AMI Elementary Teacher-Trainer, examiner, and school consultant, Allyn spent many years as a member of AMI’s Training Group, responsible for the training of new AMI teacher trainers and served as the chair of the AMI/USA board. Allyn has a B.A. in English from Michigan State University and an M.A. in Montessori education from Loyola University Maryland.
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.

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.