Board members of Hope Montessori School: 

  • Jaime Russell joined the Hope team in September, 2015. She is a Northern Virginia native and passed through the halls of Hope Montessori as a child in the early eighties. She attended college in Argentina, where she received her degree in Business Administration. After living in Argentina for over a decade, and working in small business development she, her husband and son moved back to the area. Her work lead her into the non-profit world, where she was focused on non-profit governance in foreign countries and international grants awarded by public charities and private foundations. Her son graduated from Hope and her daughter is currently attending the school.
  • Farida Essar joined Hope Montessori School in 1996. She has a love for children and has worked with them since high school. She holds a Primary Montessori Credential from the North American Montessori Center, and acts as a substitute classroom teacher when needed. She is the mother of two college-aged children and knows every nook and cranny of Annandale.
  • JoAnne McLellan “Mrs. Mac” (as her children call her) has been a Montessorian for 22 years, and has been teaching at Hope since 1997. Originally from the New England area, Mrs. Mac received her AMS Pre-Primary certification from the New England Montessori Teacher Education Center (NEMTEC) in 1990, and has a BS in Education graduating from Northeastern University, Magna Cum Laude. The wife of a career military Officer, Mrs. Mac held teaching positions at the South County Montessori School in Kingston RF, the East-West Montessori School in Okinawa, Japan and Der Kinderhuis Montessori School in Oak Harbor, Washington State. Mrs. Mac has also served as a lead training instructor for NEMTEC since 1994. She is a lifetime member of the American Montessori Society. Mrs. Mac is the proud parent of two grown children and two grandchildren (for now).
  • Lila Ross has been teaching in Northern Virginia for the past 30 years.  She began her Montessori journey 24 years ago seeking a better way to make math accessible for her middle school students. What she found was that the holistic approach of Montessori, not only helped with math, but touched all subject areas including a child’s social emotional well-being. Since then she has worked teaching and promoting Montessori.  She taught at Hope Montessori for 3 years from 2001 – 2004. She currently teaches in the Montessori program at Drew Model Elementary school, a public school in Arlington.  She lives in Falls Church, with her husband and 2 children, who both attended Hope Montessori.
  • Linda Hernandez has worked in multi-sector environments (non-profits, faith-based, government and even a documentary) for over 20 years, focused on non-profit organizational capacity, civic engagement/partnerships, planning and serving the immigrant community. She holds a Master’s in Social Work specifically focused on systems transformation. Her family has strong roots in Northern Virginia and she is excited to work on ensuring Hope Montessori is successful for future generations. She gladly serves on the board in gratitude to the Hope Montessori staff and community for their investment in her and her husband’s two children. 
  • Erik Giblin has been teaching Spanish and Spanish for Fluent Speakers for over seven years, at high school and college levels. He currently works for Fairfax County Schools at Lee High School. He has worked with highly diverse student communities, as well as developed curricula to support biliteracy.  From 1998-2012, Erik served as a Director for different Catholic and other mission-driven organizations in Virginia, DC and California, which focus on human rights, justice, peace and social action, among other issues. Erik holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Syracuse University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish from Oberlin College.  He also holds a VA K-12 teacher’s license in Spanish and Social Studies from the University of Virginia and is working toward obtaining certification to teach ESOL K-12.  A Salvadoran American, he grew up in Orange County, CA, and currently resides in Annandale with his wife and two children.  Both of their children attended Hope Montessori.