Meet Our Staff and Educators

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Ms. Inayat Unissa Bergum 

Founder, Head of School,

Director & Montessori Mentor

My calling began shortly after obtaining a superb Montessori training in Paris, France in 1962, and it was to unite children from all aspects of life in the United States, Canada, as well as Mexico through the Montessori way of education. All of my educational training has led me to understand that I inherited my passion for children by way of my aunt, Noor Unissa. In 1962, I took part in assisting Tom Laughlin (an actor and director in the movie, Billy Jack) to start the first Montessori in Southern California. It was named the Sophia Montessori of Santa Monica. In 1964, I opened the first Montessori in Costa Mesa, California, known as the Montessori Centre.

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Lisa Marie Nicol

 Chief Administrator & Finance Officer

I am a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant, Life Coach, photographer and a creative entrepreneur by nature. I'm passionate about helping people heal their mind, body and spirit holistically.  Whether it be nutrition guidance, spiritual guidance or help with business goals I encourage self-advocacy through the process. Having an entrepreneurial background starting at the age of 18, from owning local gas stations to coffee shops and business start-ups, I have learned many valuable skills and offer them to our school such as planning, communication, organizational, problem-solving and many years of bookkeeping. 

I have always had a love for children and their inquisitive minds and authentic nature, which is what attracted me to accept the position here.

Elementary Staff

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Elementary Principal & Teacher

Christie Scott

I received my Education degree from UBC and taught elementary students from ages three through eleven in Greater London, England, before returning back to the Lower Mainland, where I taught English to adults. Afterwards, I coordinated the BC Health Authorities Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee, a group of medical professionals who decide which medications will be used in acute-care settings throughout BC. As I grew up in Nanaimo and Qualicum, and absolutely love this beautiful Island, my husband, our two daughters and I decided to move to Ladysmith last summer. My hobbies include: swimming, breathing in fresh sea air, and spending time with my family. Montessori has always piqued my interest, so I am super happy to be learning more about it, while helping both the administrative and teaching teams. 

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Meenu Majahan

Special Ed Assistant, Teacher's Assistant,

Sign Language

I was born in India and spent seventeen years teaching and following my passion for working with children. I moved to Canada 6 years ago with my husband and two sons in Grade 5 and Preschool here in Duncan. I took my ECEA certification at Northern Lights College. I love teaching here at our International Montessori Academy. I am hardworking, compassionate, and passionate about working with children. It is never a dull moment working with kids!

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Brianna Popovich

Administrative Assistant, Uniform Management

My first and most important job is being a mother of 2 boys, ages 7 and 3. When I had my first child, I knew that I wanted the best education and life possible for him, this is when I found the Montessori way. I started to study these methods and applying them to our home life. I have grown to become very passionate about the Montessori ways and how close it has made my family.

My goals are to go back to college, and get a degree in children’s psychology, to become a Children’s Play Therapist. I have always been curious about psychology and the way that children grow and learn.

I enjoy working with our school, and helping it grow and flourish in every way that I can.

Preschool Staff

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Nikki Parian

Manager & Preschool Teacher

I was born and raised on a beautiful island located northeast of Mindanao in the Philippines.  I graduated from college with a four-year course of Bachelor of Science in Office Administration major in Computer Education.  My journey to be part of International Montessori Academy began when I volunteered as required to be accepted in ECE program in Vancouver Island University then later was hired as employee of the said school.  I took my ECEA at Pacific Rim Institute and currently working on getting my Montessori certificate (3-6) , early childhood educator, infant and toddler, and special needs educator at Vancouver Island University.  I love watching the children learn and discover in a Montessori approach.  Working with children, I am constantly learning more, and it is my passion in life to invent new ways to relate to children and help them form their foundations for learning as they go forward into life. The children have all become my best friends.

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Kareena Harwood

ECE/Preschool Teacher

Kareena has been in the childcare field since 2006. She started as a live-in nanny to a group of five brothers, all under 5 years old in Alberta. Her passion for early education was sparked. From there she started working with children in inner city Edmonton, giving them a safe place where they were fed and loved. She did her Youth certificate and moved to the island, drawn by the lack of snowshoeing and abundance of ocean. She continued to work with teens and children. She started working with the Child development center, and finished her E.C.E. Following a transfer, she discovered Montessori in Squamish. After 5 years on the mainland, and 2 children later, Kareena and her family moved back to the island where she opened her own daycare for a few years. Kareena enjoys art in all its forms, good coffee and great conversation.

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Carrie Gendreau

Preschool Teacher

I've enjoyed my career in early learning in several capacities over the last twenty years. I especially enjoy gardening, baking, science experiments, and art and look forward to sharing these activities with the children.  I am originally from the eastern townships in Quebec. I’m bilingual and I’m really looking forward to using French in the classroom on a daily basis.