Director, Cathy Sexton
Cathy comes to Tomorrow’s Hope Montessori with over 30 years of experience in an early childhood setting. She has experience as a classroom teacher, but the majority of her 30 years has been in the position of Director. Cathy’s background includes working in traditional child care, both corporate and privately owned, as well as a non-profit faith based program. Her desire to work with young children began at a very early age and continues to be her passion. Prior to moving to Atlanta, Cathy began teaching in a toddler classroom at a Montessori School and it was then that she discovered the Montessori method of teaching. Cathy loves seeing the children explore the world around them and watch them grow into independent little people.
While directing in Chicago, Cathy was an active member in a local NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) affiliate and served as a support person for other schools seeking NAEYC Accreditation.
Cathy is originally from the Chicago area and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Winona State University in Minnesota. After college she began her career working in the Minneapolis area and remained there for 15 years before deciding to relocate back to Illinois. Two years ago she and her husband moved to the Atlanta area in search of warm weather and to be close to family. Cathy comes from a large family and enjoys spending time with the most recent additions to her family, her great nephew and niece who live in the Atlanta area.
Assistant Director, Cheryl Leaphart
Cheryl’s passion for Montessori began years ago when she enrolled her first child in a Montessori school. She was quickly amazed by the scope of learning and sense of inquisition her daughter came home and shared. Even more impressive was the level of excitement she had about learning overall. Cheryl found this to be the case with her son and younger daughter also. Their love of learning inspired her to enroll in the Buffalo Montessori Teacher Education Program and obtain her AMS (American Montessori Society) teaching credentials.
Professionally, she holds a B.A. in Business Management and an M.B.A. in Business Administration. She spent seven years doing Marketing with Fortune 500 companies in the food manufacturing industry such as Nabisco, General Mills and CPC International before leaving the workforce to raise her children. She returned to the workforce and has spent the last eight years in Montessori teaching and administration.
Cheryl is originally from Teaneck, New Jersey but she has lived in a couple other states including Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina before settling here in Lawrenceville in 2007. She lives there with her three children – two daughters and one son.
Primary 1 Lead Teacher, Kathy Pratt
Kathy comes to Tomorrow’s Hope Montessori with over five years of experience in Montessori primary classrooms and is in her third year as a lead guide (teacher). She received her AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) certification at the primary level in 2010 and recently received her MA in Montessori education from Loyola University in Maryland. She also holds a bachelor of business administration from Georgia State University with a major in general management.
Kathy is also nidan (second degree black belt) in Aikido under George Kennedy Shihan at the Aikido Center of Atlanta (aikidoatlanta.com). It was through teaching children Aikido that Kathy discovered her vocation to teach. Kathy is an active member of Montessori Partnerships for Georgia (montessoripartnerships.org). She is very excited to be working on the issue of access to high-quality Montessori for all children in Georgia.
Primary 2 Lead Teacher, Parvin Shokohi-Nia
Parvin Shokohi-Nia was born and raised in Iran. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Alzahra University in Iran. Parvin has always found herself fascinated about preschool education and its significance. From the beginning of her professional career Parvin has strived to learn new methods and ways to better her teaching style. She has worked with children ages 3-6 years old for more than 20 years in a variety of roles and settings. Parvin has been a primary teacher, director, and a private counselor for families. Still to this day, she is always searching for new strategies and techniques to meet the needs of today’s children. When she moved to the United States she fulfilled her desire to obtain her Primary Montessori Certificate. Parvin has taught for the last two years at a local Montessori and she has been waiting for an opportunity to join the Tomorrow’s Hope Montessori faculty since the school opened.
She is married and has a daughter, a son and a cat. Her cat’s name is Moushi and she is the sweetest cat. Painting has always been a passion of Parvin’s. In her spare time she paints and gardens.
Toddler 1 Lead Teacher, Kathy Rhilinger
Kathy Rhilinger has been with Tomorrow’s Hope Montessori School since it opened in 2015. Prior to joining the THMS staff, she had been working in the early childhood profession since 2005. She worked as an Assistant Teacher while completing her CDA (Child Development Associate training) and then became the Lead Teacher to a class of twenty five 3 and 4 year olds. Kathy has had the opportunity to work in a GA Pre-K class as an Assistant Teacher as well as being a nanny. She realized her true passion was teaching in the classroom and that is when she found Tomorrow’s Hope Montessori School.
Kathy began her career at THMS as an Assistant Teacher and decided to pursue earning her Infant to Toddler Montessori Diploma. In June 2017 Kathy became the Lead Teacher for the Toddler 1 community. Kathy is very excited to take all that she has learned to create a fun and loving teaching environment where the children will blossom and be happy as they prepare to continue their education
Toddler 2 Lead Teacher, Syada Salauddin
Syada is a certified Montessori teacher, Infant-3 years old. She previously worked as a Lead Infant Teacher at another Montessori school in the area.
Syada has completed many courses to fulfill her commitment of providing a loving, nurturing and advanced learning environment. She earned her Montessori Teacher Diploma from the North American Montessori Training Center. She has attended classes and gained experience in the teaching philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori. She earned her Associates in Arts from Siddheswari Girls College in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She also teaches at her Sunday school and works with groups ranging from ages 7-15. She is multi-lingual in English, Bangla, and Hindi.
Syada is married and has two young daughters, one attends Lanier High School and the other attends Lanier Middle School. Her free time is spent gardening, cooking and decorating.
Syada has a strong passion to educate children and this is evident in the positive results she has achieved with teaching children under any circumstance. She enjoys working with children and gets very attached to her students. Before working as a teacher she devoted most of her time to her first generation daughters, and she will assure you that she will devote her time to her students and Tomorrow’s Hope Montessori School. She looks forward to helping each child reach their potential and watching them develop in every aspect.
Throughout the years, Molly has had numerous volunteer and paid experiences working with children. For four years, she worked at a Boy Scout camp teaching Climbing merit badge and running the Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience (C. O. P. E.) program for 13-18 year olds. She spent a year as the live-in nanny for her infant nephew and toddler niece. During that time, she began using “craft time” as a way to teach her niece writing, vocabulary, and simple math. She was amazed at her niece’s ability and willingness to learn which has continued as her niece has gone to elementary school. Also during her stay, her nephew began crawling and babbling which added to her curiosity about the rate and ways in which he was developing.
Molly earned a Bachelor’s degree in English from Westminster College in PA. Upon moving to Georgia a few years ago, Molly began helping at an educational summer camp by teaching English grammar and reading comprehension to children from the ages of 5 to 14. Molly is excited to be working in the Infant Room and helping children during such a vital developmental period.