Professional Staff At MCDC and LHM

The staff at Montessori Child Development Center are selected with the utmost care and scrutiny under the authority of Director Marijane Schafer, who is a Montessori Certified teacher.

One basic idea of the Montessori philosophy is that carried, unseen with each child, is the person the child will become. To develop to the fullest physical, spiritual, emotional and intellectual potential, the child must have freedom-achieved through order and self-discipline. To aid this fulfillment is the teacher’s ultimate goal.

A young child’s world is full of sights and sounds that appear chaotic. From this chaos the child gradually creates order and learns to distinguish among the impressions which assail the senses, thus slowly gains mastery of self and the environment. The teacher guides and directs each child on their individual quest for order and understanding of the world around him.

Head teachers called “guides” or “directresses”. The Montessori teacher carefully prepares and maintains the aesthetic, enriched, orderly learning environment. She is essential in bringing together the child and the materials and in guiding children’s social and emotional development. She makes daily observations in order to follow each child’s initiative and capture his or her interest when introducing appropriate materials.

A material chosen by the teacher to present to a child is considered developmentally appropriate and is most easily mastered when it corresponds to a child’s particular “sensitive period” for learning. Spontaneity is the key to the learning process in a Montessori environment.

Our standards are uncompromising when it comes to the well-being of your child. Sound character, experience and demonstrated proficiency in the classroom, the required education and professional certification, but above all, a commitment to children and teaching – these are the criteria by which we have built an exceptional staff. Certified Montessori teachers direct each class. Our student-teacher ratio never exceeds twelve to one.

Meet Our Wonderful M.C.D.C. Staff


Marijane Schafer Founder & Director of MCDC

Marijane, grew up in Michigan. As a child she loved to be out of doors, ride her horse, swim in the lakes and play in the woods. She was visiting the children’s center at the local hospital, as a young college student, and was introduced to the Montessori Method. Fascinated by what she saw she immediately began to observe Montessori Schools. She was hooked.

After completing her BA she went on to Chicago to take the Montessori Teacher’s training. In 1978 following 8 years of teaching at 2 other schools she co-founded MCDC. It is important to Marijane to be very involved in the everyday operation of the schools so you will see her in the driveway at arrivals and dismissals keeping things moving and having a chance to say hello to each of you.


Lewis Board, President of the MCDC Board

A San Diego Native. Lew grew up in the neighborhood of Mira Mesa. As enterprising youth man, he cut lawns, delivered papers and washed cars for extra money. After he finished school he worked in the retail and the hospitality industry for nearly 20 years. He was even a stand-up comic for a few years! He completed his Montessori Toddler training in 2008 in order to run Little Hands.

Lew is currently is co-owner of Little Hands Montessori and a licensed Notary Public. He has used his natural business acumen to help his wife, Marijane, run the Montessori Programs since 1995.


Deidre "DeDe" Maw, Assistant Director








Vanit Dhaliwal, Lead Primary Teacher

Education has been Vanit’s passion for as long as she remember. She holds a BA in General Science, Masters in Zoology and a Bachelor of Education from Punjabi University in India. When her 2 children were young they went to a Montessori school in Encinitas and she became intrigued with the Montessori Education system. Vanit joined MCDC in 2003. She completed my Montessori training and interned at MCDC. She was on deck when her lead teacher retired and took over as an excellent head teacher.



Maureen Schwersensky,
Support teacher since 2006




Liwei Liu,
Support teacher since 2017





Kelly Green, Lead Primary Teacher

Kelly received her BA in Durango, CO. Drawn to Montessori because of her love of children and the outdoors Kelly enrolled in the AMI Montessori training. In 1999 she earned an AMI Montessori Primary diploma from The Montessori Teacher Training Center of Northern CA. She taught for a year as an assistant/trainee before taking the lead for a 3-6 class at Telluride Montessori, in 2000. She spent some years, also, working for a golf and ski resort training and supervising staff and assisting guests. Living in the snow got old for Kelly and her husband, thus the move to San Diego beaches.  It was so perfect that she was available to join MCDC when the downstairs teacher retired, adding, again, the AMI component to our school.



Elizabeth (Betty) Webb,
Support teacher since 2008






Jennifer Kelley,
Support Teacher & Lead in Extended Care since 2006







Racheal Wood, Lead Toddler Teacher

Racheal Wood started working a MCDC in February of 2000. Her aptitude for Montessori teaching was immediately apparent. Racheal has 3 children who have all attended MCDC. Her youngest started in LHM and is now in MCDC. Racheal took the Toddler Montessori training in 2009 and interned under Nuccia Raccosta. Racheal has an eye for beauty and has created a lovely environment at Little Hands where the children are thriving.


Zoraida Stanberry, Support teacher