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Meet the Team

The Board of Trustees

The board is very active and meets three times a year as a full board to oversee the work of the charity.  After a recent (June 2015) review of its activities, the Board has formed a new committee structure, consisting of:

  • Montessori St Nicholas Charity
  • Finance and General Purposes Committee
  • Montessori Education Committee
  • Montessori Schools’ Directorate Committee

Such committees are constituted to provide direct governance in all core areas of the Charity’s activities.

Current Trustees

Chairman Mr Kevin Coyne


Vice Chairman Dr Catherine Hobey-Hamsher PhD, JP

Professor R D Rawlings BSc PhD, DSc, CEng

Felicity Marrian Mont.Dip

Andrea J Newman

JP Mont.Dip

  Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley

MusM, Hon GSM

  Andrew Ling 

F.C.A, BSc (Econ)

  Jean Tsang


  Misbah Mann


Charity Staff


Dr Stephen Tommis - Chief Executive

Stephen joined the charity in 2015. Up to 2014, Dr Stephen Tommis was the founding Executive Director of the Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education (HKAGE), a post he took up in February 2008. The HKAGE is an initiative to ensure that appropriate provision is made for teachers, parents as well as all gifted students across Hong Kong. 

Stephen is a graduate of the University of Dundee (MA First Class Honours), Jesus College, Oxford where he was awarded the D Phil degree and the Institute of Education, London University where he took a PGCE.

After a spell in business working as an antique map dealer, he decided that education was his true vocation and so moved to the south west of England to be a teacher at Sherborne School, an independent secondary school. After one year he was promoted to Head of Department and subsequently to Undermaster. From there he went to The King’s School, Gloucester, as Deputy Head and after three years learning the job, was appointed to be Headmaster of Abbotsholme School in Staffordshire, completing a 23 year stint of direct involvement with education. 

Between 2003 and 2008 he was the Director of The National Association for Gifted Education (NAGC) in the UK where he led campaigns to get parents’ needs heard in government and schools.

On joining Montessori St Nicholas Stephen says “I am delighted to be working for Montessori; it is always a privilege to work with and for young people. I hope that in the coming months we will be able to expand our provision and reach out to an even wider audience”.


Beverley Stewart - Head of Operations

Beverley joined the charity in May 2016. She is responsible for providing a wide range of support functions at Montessori St Nicholas, including HR, ICT and facilities management. 


Demetrios Stavrou – Head of Finance

I have 34 years of charity experience. Having previously worked in senior roles within the finance divisions of two major health charities.

I arrived at Montessori on an interim basis in October 2015 and became a permanent member of staff in May 2016.

As a member of the senior management team, my main role is to manage and report on the finances of and support colleagues in understanding the finances of the group.  

Karen Brunwin 

Karen Brunwin – Accounts Assistant

Karen Brunwin joined the Charity in 2010 and works as Accounts Assistant supporting the Finance Officer. She deals with the day to day accounts for the Charity and MCI.



Sameena Wali - Receptionist

After graduating in 2012 with an LLB honours, Sameena worked as a receptionist/administrator in the NHS for 1 ½ years, before joining the charity in 2014, as the MCI receptionist. Sameena assists with the day to day administration tasks, assisting Susan the distance learning co-ordinator with Seminar and Workshop bookings and she is also responsible for the administration of the magazine subscriptions and the classified job advertising.  

Kristine Largo 

Kristine Largo - MSA Communications and Marketing Manager


Kristine runs the Montessori Schools Association (MSA) office supporting a team of Regional Chairman who are based round the country, organises the annual MSA Conference and is responsible for communication with MSA members.

Philip Davies

Philip Davies - MEAB Administrative Manager & Editor, Montessori International

Philip administers the MEAB accreditation scheme, overseeing and scheduling assessment visits to Montessori nurseries in the UK and abroad, and does technical proofreadings of all reports. He is also Editor of Montessori International, the Charity’s magazine for the Montessori community; he occasionally contributes articles to the magazine.

Peter Salvadori

Peter Salvadori - Cleaning and Maintenance Officer

Peter joined the Charity in December 2008 after working for over 30 years for Royal Mail. Peter is responsible for the general maintenance of the building.


Beverley Stewart - Head of Operations

Beverley joined the charity in May 2016. She is responsible for providing a wide range of support functions at Montessori St Nicholas, including HR, ICT and facilities management.


Khuram Ahmad - Admissions Officer

Khuram joined the MCI as a Course Admissions Officer in January 2016. He previously worked within Admissions for various Further Education and Higher Education colleges in London as a manager or team leader.

He completed his BSc Hons in Business Information Technology in 2000, and also has PTLLS qualification.  

MCI Staff


Barbara Isaacs

Barbara Isaacs - Chief Education Officer

MA, BA, Adv. Mont. Dip.

Barbara joined the newly established MCI in 1998 after training Montessori teachers both at Montessori St. Nicholas and London Montessori Centre.  She was also a proprietor of Seedlings Montessori Nursery in Oxfordshire for fifteen years. She is the Chief Education Officer for the Montessori Centre International and the Senior Accreditation officer for the Montessori Accreditation and Evaluation Board.


Penny Johns

Penny Johns - Head of Programmes

MA, BA (Hons), PG Cert., Mont. Dip.

After a previous career in theatre costume Penny retrained as a Montessori teacher at MCI with further Early Years training at Middlesex University.  After working as a Montessori teacher at a North London Montessori nursery Penny joined the teaching team at MCI in 2009, teaching on the Foundation Degree and Diploma courses.  She is currently Head of Programmes at MCI.  


Padmini Persaud 

Padmini Persaud - Academic Compliance Officer

Mont. Dip, Legal Sec Dip, Bus. Comp. Prog. Dip.

Michela Yagoub

Michela Yagoub - Academic Tutor

Mont. Dip.

Michela has been working at MCI for about 10 year after having taught and managed the Balderton street branch of St Nicholas pre-preparatory school. She is a lecturer, group tutor and leader for the Montessori diploma course in Early Childhood. Her duties also include supporting and tutoring students during their teaching practice experience.

Ewa Donnachie

Ewa Donnachie - Registrar

BSc (Hons), Mont. Dip.

Susan Balcombe

Susan Balcombe - Distance Learning and Teaching Practice Administrator

B Ed. (Hons), Mont Cert. Stage 2

As distance learning co-ordinator, Susan provides a contact for all enquiries about the distance learning course and acts as the administrator for the distance learning course and the MCI seminar and workshop programmes.  She also deals with student accounts as well as registering students on their courses.

Sarah Olley-Dorey

Sarah Olley-Dorey - Tutor

BA, Mont. Dip.

Sarah has worked at MCI and formerly LMC since the 1990s. She has also worked in schools across London and ran her own small infant toddler community that evolved into a small school for a few years. Her current involvement at MCI is teaching cultural and creativity and as a teaching practice tutor. She writes for Montessori international magazine and volunteers in her local primary schools supporting children with reading.

Antonella Cirillo 

Antonella Cirillo - Tutor

PG Dip, Mont. Dip.

Antonella joined MCI in 2007. She practised as a clinical psychologist in Italy, before moving to the UK. Antonella gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Observational Studies at the Tavistock and Portman and trained as a Montessori Teacher at MCI. At MCI, she is a lecturer for the for the Diploma Course and for the Foundation Degree and is also a Teaching Practice tutor.

Marion Meechan

Marion Meechan - Tutor

B.A.(Hons), Mont. Dip.

Marion left a successful career as a senior buyer for a large retail group in 1996 and retrained at L.M.C. She still owns and manages the Montessori Nursery School in Surrey that she started fifteen years ago. More recently she has joined the team at M.C.I. as a part time tutor. Marion has a Foundation degree in Early Years, an Honours degree in Education; she recently completed the Montessori trainer certificate and is currently undertaking Early Years Professional Status at Chichester University.


Lynnette Brock - Tutor

Lynnette has worked in early years both as a practitioner and as a head teached in Montessori nursery settings and preparatory schools in South West London.
As an avid supporter of play in the outdoor environment, principally the role of play in contributing to children’s learning, knowledge, motivation and self-esteem, she has recently led two projects; the first at a preparatory school working with teachers from reception to year two, and the second at a seventy place Montessori nursery setting.  She has also co-ordinated a project in an under two's room to enhance sensory and communication experiences for babies.
Lynnette completed her Montessori Diploma at MCI, and read for a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies at the London Metropolitan University, where she also achieved Early Years Professional Status.