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Meet Our Staff and Educators


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.

Elementary Staff


Ann-Marie Reilander

Elementary Teacher and Principle 

Originally from Alberta, lived in Asia for almost a decade and now calls Vancouver Island home, Anne-Marie Reilander comes to Noorunissa Montessori Academy with a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology / Sociology), a Bachelor of Education-Master of Teaching and a Diploma in Radio and Television Arts. Anne-Marie is licensed to teach Kindergarten to grade 12 in BC and Alberta and has held teaching and leadership positions in both provinces as well as overseas.  Anne-Marie has acquired a great deal of lived world cultural experience, she’s even lived in an ashram at the base of the Himalayas on the banks of the Ganges in India, hiked to Machu Picchu in Peru, experienced Christmas with a local family in Italy and celebrated countless Chinese festivals including Lunar New Year, Lantern Festival, Mid Autumn Festival, weddings and funerals just to name a few. While traveling and working overseas is great, Anne-Marie, her husband Phil and their cat Charlotte have finally found their heaven in the Cowichan Valley and Anne-Marie has found her dream place to teach and mentor. When Anne-Marie is not working you can find her practicing or teaching yoga, window shopping in the quaint towns of the Valley, on top of the any of our beautiful mountains, hiking through our rainforests, at the beach, crocheting at one of our lovely coffee shops or studying for her Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology.


Meenu Majahan

Kindergarden, ECE, 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!

Preschool Staff


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.


Charmaine Cardin

ECE/Preschool Teacher

Miss Charmaine has worked as a preschool teacher for over 20 years. She earned her Early-Childhood Education  at Northern Lights College in Fort St. John. The past 8 years she has worked as a K to Grade. 9 school librarian. Miss Charmaine has many varied interests such as dog teams sled/carting with her Five German Shepards, crocheting, swimming, reading and raising farm animals. 

She is blessed to have her husband and 6 daughters, 3 son in laws, and 4 grandchildren who all farm in the Cowichan Valley. 


Dianne Grace Lomboya

ECEA/Preschool Teacher

I was born in the Philippines and studied Bachelor of Secondary Education major in Mathematics at University of Santo Tomas. I worked with children for 6 years teaching Mathematics in the Philippines. I moved to Canada a year ago and took Early Childhood Education and Care Program at Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo. 


I love to see children learn and witness their aha moments! I love coffee, traveling, and listening to music. 


Navneet Kaur

ECEA/Preschool Teacher

I was born and raised in the state of Punjab in India. After graduating from high school, I spent a few months gaining experience as a preschool teacher assistant in one of the schools in my hometown. Then I moved to Canada to attend Kwantlen Polytechnic University to pursue an education in Business Management and part-time I babysat my cousin’s children, which made me fall into the passion of working with the kids. So, I decided to formally obtain the education of early childhood assistant to begin my career in the early childhood field, and I am looking forward to being an ECE. I love working with the children, being able to work with the children brings new and exciting purpose to life every day. Apart from this, I love travelling and spending time with my family and friends.

Support Staff

Brianna Popovich.jpg

Brianna Popovich

Manager, 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.


Abigail S

Art Teacher, After-School Care, Administrative Assistant, Marketing

Originally from Ontario, lived in Nova Scotia for some years while attending NSCAD University. Eventually I received my Bachelors in Painting, Drawing and Ceramics. I moved onto Vancouver Island ten years ago and started working with children, sharing with them my knowledge and passion for art.

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