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Authentic Montessori Experience


  Head of School and Director each hold advanced education degrees

  Director administers exams for Pan American Montessori Society, helping qualify new teachers for Montessori certification

  All teachers and staff members demonstrate a commitment to authentic Montessori practices

  Continuing education and conference attendance is encouraged for all staff members

 Respect for children is paramount for all staff members

Johns Creek Montessori is dedicated to providing an authentic Montessori environment for our students and is staffed with teachers that are highly trained and equipped to offer the best in a Montessori education.

Our staff teaches within a collaborative environment and is able to support our families and their children in every aspect of the Montessori environment, both at home and at school.

Please take a moment to meet our wonderful JCMSOG staff:


Ash Punjani, Head of School

Ash holds a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Education from the University of North Texas and a Masters of Education in Philosophy and Education from Teacher’s College – Columbia University in New York. She is certified at the elementary school level for grades 1-8 and has over 20 years of teaching and school administration experience. A long-deferred dream was achieved when she became the Head of Schools at Johns Creek Montessori in 2013.

Ash was born in Mumbai and belongs to a family of entrepreneurs. She immigrated to the US in 1989 to pursue higher education and became passionate about the field of education through voluntary service as a teacher in her house of prayer religious education program. Ash moved to Atlanta after her marriage in 2002 and continues to serve actively in the community in education and youth development. She currently resides in Johns Creek with her husband, Akbar, and her son, Kayden, a graduate of JCM who is now 13 years old and attends Woodward Academy. Ash loves to cook and often brings our teachers delectable dishes for our monthly luncheons!

“Establishing peace is the work of education.”

Debra Markham, Director

Debra’s childhood was spent mostly in Europe before her family settled in Georgia when she was eleven. She earned a BA in Elementary Education from Augusta University and taught 7th and 4th grades in an inner city school for 3 years before moving to Atlanta in 1982.

She taught a 1st/2nd grade combination, a 3rd/4th grade combination and Kindergarten at the Suzuki School before becoming an Assistant Director in 1986 and then Head of Schools in 2005 for what had evolved into the three Suzuki campuses. She also worked with the Suzuki staff in the opening of the Montessori Teacher Education Institute here in Atlanta; this training center is accredited by both MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education) and AMS (American Montessori Society).

Like many JCM teachers, Debra was trained as a Montessorian by Dr. Feland Meadows, a Goizueta Endowed Chair of Early Childhood at Kennesaw State University, in 2007 and received her 2.5-6 year-old credential from the Pan American Montessori Society in 2013. She also completed one year of PAMS Infant/Toddler training at Kennesaw and received the Birth to Three credential from the American Montessori Society in the spring of 2016.

She lives in Marietta with her husband; her daughter (also a Montessori teacher) and her husband live nearby with her eight-year old granddaughter, who is currently enrolled in the Honesty Community. Her passions are teaching, gardening, cooking and books and she is thrilled to be able to share all of these with your children!

“When a child is given a little leeway, he will at once shout, “I want to do it!” But in our schools, which have an environment adapted to the children’s needs, they say, ‘Help me to do it alone.’”

Esther Chi, Administrative Assistant 

Esther was born and raised in Maryland and was a Montessori student herself! 

Throughout her life, Esther worked with young students in her community and church. After serving as a student teacher in a first-grade classroom, she obtained her teaching certificate and graduated from the University of Maryland with a BS in Elementary Education. She became a fourth-grade teacher at a local public school for four years. As a teacher, she loved building her classroom community, as well as helping her students explore their creativity through art-integrated lessons. Esther moved to Georgia after getting engaged in 2023, and joined the JCM team as the administrative assistant!

Esther lives in Duluth with her husband and two dogs, Koda and George. In her free time, she loves visiting new restaurants or cafes, and reading mystery novels.

Respect Community

Anu Rawat

Anu was born in Delhi, India and holds her Bachelor & Masters degrees in Commerce & Education. While in India, she gained eight years of valuable teaching experience in an elementary school setting. Anu came to US in 2009 and taught in a Montessori school in Cleveland, Ohio for two years which was her first exposure to the Montessori system of education. She quickly fell in love with the philosophy and the approaches used in letting the child develop his/her innate capabilities. She loves the fact that Montessori classrooms are not run by the teachers alone. Students are taught to manage their own community and develop leadership skills and independence.

Anu left teaching when her son was born in 2013, but after moving to Atlanta, GA with her family, she sought an authentic Montessori school for him because she knew he would flourish in its prepared environment.

Anu joined JCM in August 2016 and is a vital member of the PrePrimary team. Her knowledge of Montessori and her experience as a teacher and a mother help us provide a true Montessori environment for the development of young minds. She holds an AMS affiliated teacher training from MTEI of Atlanta.

Anu lives in Duluth with her husband and their son. She enjoys spending time with family, reading, travelling, walking, and learning anything new.

“The education of even a small child, therefore, does not aim at preparing him for school, but for life.”

Peace Community

Ji You

Ji was born in South Korea and spent much of her younger childhood there. When she was ten, her family immigrated to Atlanta and so she considers Atlanta her home.

Ji holds BA in Early Childhood Education, Birth through Kindergarten, with a concentration in Montessori Education from Kennesaw State University. She holds a MACTE-accredited Pan American Montessori Society Teaching Certificate and a GA State Teaching Certificate, both for children from Birth through Kindergarten. Ji joined our school in 2016 and has made her PrePrimary classroom an amazing place.

Ji’s approach provides a balance of gentleness and firmness, giving children freedom coupled with boundaries. The Montessori Method best matches her own philosophy of teaching – children learn best through purposeful work, having large uninterrupted blocks of time to explore and discover on their own, with windows of opportunity for times of specialized learning unique to each child.

Ji lives in Suwanee with her husband, her daughter Joy, and her son Aiden.

“The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one’s self. Adults work to finish a task, but the child works in order to grow, and is working to create the adult, the person that is to be. Such experience is not just play… it is work he must do in order to grow up.”

Love Community

Zoe Ammatuna

Zoe was born in Atlanta and raised in Marietta, where she now lives with her four-year old daughter (who is in the Honesty community) and her husband. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, museums, and exploring Historic Marietta Square!

Zoe is completing her degree in Early Childhood education at Kennesaw State University and holds a Montessori teaching certificate from the Pan-American Montessori Society for ages 2.5 – 6 years. Zoe has taught as both an assistant and a Lead guide for the past eight years in several Montessori schools, joining Johns Creek Montessori in 2015.

Zoe loves to help children see the connections between language, math and science and the world around them, believing that children learn best when concepts and skills are presented in a context that is familiar to them. She is particularly passionate about the Peace Curriculum, believing strongly in Dr. Montessori’s assertion that children are the hope and promise of mankind.

In her classroom, she helps facilitate the Primary child’s growing ability to resolve conflict in a respectful, empathetic way as he learns to honor his needs and feelings while also considering those of his peers. Zoe is very proud of her children’s accomplishments in this area, and you will often see her friends offering a tissue or glass of water to a classmate who is upset!

“When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength.”

Honesty Community

Chelsea Aubrey

Chelsea was born and raised in Georgia. She grew up in a Montessori school from the ages of 4–15 and loved every moment of it. She went on to complete her BA in Applied Linguistics at Georgia State University and her M.Ed in TESOL and World Language Education at University of Georgia. 

After teaching in a variety of settings, from Early Childhood to adult English language learners, Chelsea returned to her roots to obtain her AMI Primary training and has been teaching and leading in Montessori schools since.

Shortly after joining JCMSOG, Chelsea welcomed her first son into the world and is delighted to have him in the Joy infant room. It has been her desire for her children to be raised with the same love and respect she felt growing up as a Montessorian and that desire is being fulfilled. Chelsea offers all her love and attention to the work of her classroom. Every child has a story and Chelsea is happy to share in each one of them. Our work is never finished and is ever changing. That’s part of the joy of life.

Chelsea lives with her husband and son, Keo, in Roswell.

“The child gives us a beautiful lesson - that in order to form and maintain our intelligence, we must use our hands.”

"If teaching is to be effective with young children, it must assist them to advance on the way to independence." 
- Maria Montessori

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