Elite Minds Montessori is a women owned and operated preschool. We are local moms with a total of 6 children. Our backgrounds include decades in the field of education, healthcare and entrepreneurship. Our mission of an early and purposeful education is near and dear to our hearts, as we believe the greatest weapon towards peace that we can give our future is through an early education. We are deeply committed to providing a strong foundation and developing a love of learning as part of a natural process. The Montessori philosophy strongly focuses on mutual respect and independent learning. Elite Minds combines this method with a strong focus on the arts and mindfulness. We believe our children are fully equipped to enter elementary schools with a balanced passion for academics and creativity after graduating our program.
Laurie Torres (Administrative Director) is a Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Provider, CPR and First Aid Instructor for American Heart Association and owner of Baby Be Safe. Laurie completed her BBA in International Management with a minor in Spanish from Pace University in 1992.
Laurie has been the owner of Baby Be Safe since 2005. She has over 25 years of experience as an administrator in the health care field working for hospitals, wound care centers, and home care. Laurie was determined to be a stay home mom and nurture her premature twins (who are now teenagers) so they could thrive to be healthy children while maintaining a flexible work schedule. Today Laurie and husband Ralph are proud parents of 4 boys (Ethan, Aydan, Dylan and Brandon).
Laurie was PTA President and chaired the 5th grade committee at PS 230. She was also part of the School Leadership Team (SLT). As a parent, Laurie feels that providing education, support and resources to parents will strengthen the village it takes to raise our children.
Natania Cortijo (Educational Director) has worked with children since 1998 as a classroom teacher and tutor. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Rutgers University in 2000 and a M.A. in Early Childhood Education from Adelphi University in 2004 with a dual certification in early education.
When Natania's daughter was born in 2004, she started researching different approaches to early childhood education and was intrigued by the Montessori method. She visited almost every Montessori school she could find in Brooklyn and at 2 1/2 years old enrolled her daughter in Midwood Montessori. There her passion for a Montessori education evolved. She volunteered and observed and continued teach with the NYC DOE and applied her knowledge of Montessori.
Since 2011 Natania has operated an after-school learning center in Carroll Gardens Brooklyn and left her full time teaching job to dedicate more time to her new business.
Both her children attend(ed) school (elementary/middle school) in Carroll Gardens and so Natania has become very connected to the community, specifically families with children.
Familiar with both the classroom benefits of a Montessori education and the Carroll Gardens community, Natania has a mission to increase options with quality education for our future generations.
Jessica Rich (Parent Intervention Specialist) is a licensed clinical social worker, practicing with young children, adults and families since 2005. Jessica double majored in Human Development and Family Studies as well as Interior Design at Cornell University before receiving her Masters in Social Work at NYU.
Jessica spent the first few years of her career developing and running mental health programs in schools on both coasts. She then began traveling the world and living abroad for over 12 years where she began teaching alongside of providing therapeutic services to families of her students.
Jessica learned new ways of understanding family dynamics across cultures, socioeconomic situations and religions from her travels. She also began to explore different methods of healing from mindfulness to aboriginal psychotherapy.
Of utmost value to these endeavors has been her ability to close the gap of communication that often exists between social workers and families. Jessica finds it most rewarding to share her tools, techniques and understanding of family dynamics to support the whole child. Jessica continues to experience that the more partnerships that occur to support a child both inside and outside his home, the more likely the child will be successful in the years to come.
In addition to being a clinical social worker, Jessica is an International Bachelorette experienced teacher, yoga teacher, doula, avid cyclist
(pre-baby) and Vipassana meditator.
But most importantly, Jessica is a local Bococa mom to a spicy
14 month old.
Aisha Ladak-Barber (Head Teacher) is a certified Montessori teacher currently living in Montreal Quebec and making the move to New York City in the next coming months. Aisha also has a Bachelors Degree in Sociology and Psychology from Bishops University located in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. She received her certification and training at the Canadian Montessori School. Aisha’s passion for kids not only lies in the classroom but in many years as a nanny as well as a tutor. Aisha enjoys her free time doing a wide variety of activities such as, going to the movies, running outdoors, playing sports (Tennis, squash, basketball), discovering new cities, spending quality time with her family and friends, and of course her 3 nieces and 1 nephew. She is very excited to begin teaching at Elite Minds Montessori.
Tracy Michele Bullock is an Education Developer and Community Organizer committed to serving families and mission based small businesses and entrepreneurs. Tracy is honored to be on the Elite Minds Montessori team!
A graduate of the American Ballet Apprenticeship Program, Mary Mount Manhattan College BFA Acting Conservatory, DONA Postpartum Training, and Mindfulness of the Breathing Body Teacher Series - you'll find no shortage of passion, creativity, and drive in Tracy!
Curious to learn more? Inquire about bringing your class, event, party, or offering to the Elite Minds Montessori space! Tracy is here to help: firstname.lastname@example.org