Joji Escanilla, Executive Director
Hello and thank you for your interest in Skokie Montessori School. As one of the founders of our school I am happy to welcome you! I am Executive Director of Administration and my desire to educate children utilizing Montessori teaching methods has been my personal and professional passion for more than 30 years. Prior to opening Skokie Montessori School in 2003 I spent 20 years with the Northshore Montessori Schools as founder of their elementary Program and supervisor and teacher for 8 years. I began my Montessori journey in 1992 as a Preschool Directress and have been an advocate and lifelong learner, teaching the unique philosophy of Maria Montessori for more than 31 years. I earned a Master of Arts degree in Teaching and Leadership from Saint Xavier University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce. My teaching certifications include American Montessori Society Montessori Directress for Primary Childhood, Elementary 6-9 year old program, and Elementary 9-12 year old levels. Both of my children were Montessori students beginning from early childhood through the sixth grade. As a mother I observed how easy the transition to public school turned out as my children developed strong self- motivation, awareness in managing their time and schedules independently and strong problem solving skills.
My name is Jacqueline Arellano (Miss Jackie) and a Directress at Skokie Montessori School in our 3-6 year old program. I also head up our annual Spring Sing event and am responsible for mentoring and overseeing our internship program. I have been teaching Montessori students for more than 15 years and am AMS Montessori Certified and have Bachelors degrees in Music and Applied Behavioral Sciences from National Louis University. I have also been an active volunteer within special education classes in the early childhood age students. I was one of the founding Directresses at Skokie Montessori School in 2003 but before I joined our school I previously led the music and movement program at a Montessori school on the North Shore. I am excited to offer my high level of enthusiasm and energy to Skokie Montessori School where working within the early childhood field of Montessori education has been my favorite area of focus! I love seeing a child’s eyes light up when they suddenly grasp something we are working on together. Both of my children also have been students of the Montessori philosophy.
My name is Megan Escanilla. This Fall I will be a lead elementary teacher at Skokie Montessori School and this past Spring I was an assistant teacher in 3-6 Program. I attended a Montessori school, from two years old through 5th grade and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Neuroscience from Lake Forest College in 2014. I earned a Masters in Education with a concentration in Montessori Early Childhood Education from Xavier University, Cincinnati, in 2016. I am currently in the process of obtaining my 6-9 year old American Montessori Society certification at the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center. After teaching in private and public Montessori schools as an assistant in Cincinnati and Lead Teacher in Philadelphia, I am happy to be back in the Chicago area and am eager to share my experience with the Skokie Montessori School community. When not at SMS, I spend my free time playing piano, cycling, running, yoga, and reading a good book.
Mariquita A. Florendo
Hello and welcome to Skokie Montessori School. I am Mariquita Florendo, one of the co-founders of Skokie Montessori School and am currently Director of Operations and a Directress at Skokie Montessori School. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Psychology and began my Montessori career in July 1990. I first worked as an assistant teacher in the primary level, and simultaneously continued my Montessori Primary Training to become a certified Primary Level Directress in 1992. My strong motivation and passion for teaching Montessori methods led me to continue with Montessori training for the Birth through three year-old level. I embarked on my current role in 2003 when we started the Skokie Montessori School. My first love is being a teacher; playing the role of a teacher during childhood has always been my favorite. I have witnessed the many great works of the Montessori teaching through my two daughters who have been students in Montessori school.
Hello I am Miss Adela and am currently a Co-Directress in our 2 to 3 year old Toddler Program. In 2013 I joined the staff of the Skokie Montessori School and during the past four years I have worked with in our 3 to 6 year old program as well as our Toddler Program. Both my Bachelors and Masters degrees are in psychology allows me to witness and nurture the developmental growth of the children I work with at a different level.
My name is Ms. Maricel and I am the Lead Teacher and Co-Directress for the 2 – 3 year old program. I have a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and received a Montessori certification in the birth – 3 year old program. I have been a member of the Skokie Montessori School staff since 2012.