Faculty & Staff

Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff

Founder & Executive Director

Ayelet “Ellie” Lichtash

Ellie, an attorney by trade, practiced labor and employment law in Israel and in the United States. She published two papers in the U.S. on Discrimination Law and Employment and Arbitration issues. She holds a master’s degree from Tel Aviv University and from Georgetown Law School.

Ellie, alongside the community, established the Alef Bet Montessori School to bring together all denominations of the Jewish Community to experience Jewish life through the Montessori Method.

Until June 2010, Ellie served as a founding board member of the National Organization of Montessori Administrators Association. Ellie has served as the Vice Chair to Montessori Schools of Maryland (MSM) for over seven years and has served as the National Representative of AMI (Association Montessori International) USA at CAPE for over five years.

In 2013, Ellie won a fellowship at the ConnectGen program of the Federation of Greater Washington to initiate an international organization – Israel Montessori Association (IMA). Since March 2014, Ellie has been a member of the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington (AISGW) and serves on the AISGW MoCo Legislative Committee. In the Spring of 2015, Ellie took on the role of Co-Chair of Israel Action Committee (IAC) for DC Region until the fall of 2017. As of March 1, 2019, Ellie serves as the President of the Board for Whole School Leadership (WSL) an international organization for training Montessori heads of schools.

Teachers & Supporting Staff

Marjorie Arriola, Toddler Lead Teacher

Marjorie is an AMS trained lead teacher who joined our school in the fall of 2015. She has been teaching toddlers and infants for over 15 years with love and deep understanding of child developmental stages. Marjorie is passionate about early childhood learning and is a dedicated and loving member of our staff.

Carla Goldstein, Toddler Lead Teacher

Farhana Jaffrey, Primary Lead Teacher

Farhana is an AMI Montessori teacher who been teaching at Alef Bet Montessori since August 2008. Farhana has a BS in Business Administration and holds a JD degree from Kings College, University of London. She practiced law for several years before changing careers and earning her AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) Montessori certification from the Washington Montessori Institute at Loyola College, Maryland, one of the most prestigious Montessori training centers in the country. Farhana is an innovative teacher with an acute sensitivity to children’s needs and abilities.

Julia Johnson, Primary Support Staff

Tamara Kahana, Toddler Support Staff

Carmen Murrilo, Primary Support Staff

Carmen is working with Farhana as a team member of the Primary classroom. She joined our staff in the fall of 2015 and has been changing the lives of children with her patience, love, and compassion. Carmen has trained with the early childhood program and master the understanding of child development. She adds a warm smile and care to each day of the school.








Efrat Schwartzman, Toddler Support Staff








Rachel Sharon, Elementary & Primary Hebrew Coordinator

Rachel joined our school in the fall of 2013. A skilled and enthusiastic teacher, Rachel is also a fluent Hebrew speaker. Rachel has a Teaching Certificate as well as a BA from Seminar Hakibuzim in Israel. Rachel is also very accomplished in the field of teaching on an individual basis and small groups. Rachel is excited to work both in Primary and Elementary classrooms.

Supporting Staff:

  • Shirin Zahirpour, Hebrew Specialist, Support Staff.

Administrative Staff

Gabrielle Cohen, Assistant to the Head of School

Gabi has a passion for education and love for children. A Psychology graduate and passionate individual she comes to work each day with the goal to make a difference in children’s lives and support the teachers so that they can do their work with love. Gabi joined our team in February 2019 and will be working as an assistant to Ellie Lichtash.

Edith Gvirtzman, Accounting & Business Manager