Our Teachers and Administrative Team

Emma Forrest

Emma Forrest,
Site Supervisor since September 2020

I am a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE) with over 10 years of experience working with all age groups from infant to school aged children in a childcare setting and over 15 years of experience working with children in multiple settings. I graduated with Honours from Mohawk College in 2009 and have been dedicated to the future of the Early Years Sector since. I have had the pleasure of learning from my experiences at various centres in the Hamilton area. I am also conversant in American Sign Language (ASL) and may unknowingly use sign language even with individuals who are not hearing-impaired! I enjoy learning and hope to further my Montessori learning at SCMS. I have lived in Hamilton my whole life and currently reside here with my husband, son, and our animals. In my free time I enjoy crafting, spending time outdoors and reading. I also enjoy participating in drum circles in the Mohawk and Ojibwe languages of our ancestors when I can.

Annabel Gills,
Site Manager

I started with Stoney Creek Montessori, albeit behind the scenes, during the construction phase. I’ve loved this school ever since! I’m thrilled to be involved on-site now, assisting with anything and everything. My 15-year career in drug and medical device regulatory and quality compliance comes in handy for the school’s licensing and reporting requirements. My love for all things handy makes sure that the facility is in tip top shape. As a mom of two, I adore kids and especially all the blossoming personalities of our students. I love being a part of the Stoney Creek Montessori Community!

Bambini class:

088_photagonist.ca_.jpgJennifer Davis,
Toddler/Bambini Classroom

I love working with preschoolers and find it very rewarding to watch precious children grow and strive in life. For 16 years, I ran pre-school programs for ages 1 to 5 year olds (8 years for the City of Hamilton and prior to that 8 years with the City of Etobicoke). I have a Montessori diploma in teaching toddlers aged 0-3 years. I also have a background in Recreation Leadership from Humber College. I love what I do and take my job to heart. I am married to a wonderful and supportive husband and am a mother of two fabulous children 15 and 18, as well as a stepmom to three great young adults.

Anu Joseph,
Toddler/Bambini Classroom

“Every child is a different kind of flower and all together they make a beautiful garden.” I am very excited to be a part of Stoney Creek Montessori School. I have certification in Montessori and Early Childhood Education and also, a Masters in Computer Application. I have been working with young children for four years, and love being around them. As an educator, I believe I can make the learning of the children enjoyable as well beneficial for their development. When I am not at work, I enjoy the company of my husband and my two lovely children who first inspired my love of working with tots.

Islam ZeytounIslam Zeitoun
Toddler/Bambini classroom

I recently graduated with honours in early childhood education program at Mohawk College. I have worked with Mohawk College since Summer of 2018 and with Stoney Creek Montessori School since early 2019, which has been a great opportunity for me to develop my professional skills. I am a mother of three children who mean the world to me. They are the reasons I was attracted to the world of childhood education. I am passionate about ensuring children get support and high-quality education that they need to thrive.

CASA I class:

Stephanie Renna

Stephanie Renna,
CASA I classroom

I completed the Montessori Early Childhood Teacher program at Sheridan College in 2006 and have been working in Montessori schools since September 2007. I have also been a Registered Early Childhood Educator since 2004. I have a nephew and niece who I am really close to and love dearly. In my spare time, I love to spend time with my family and my friends. I enjoy going to concerts. I love reading books, playing hockey, watching my favourite hockey team and traveling. I’m very excited to be part of the SCMS team!


Toni-Leigh Pienaar,
CASA I classroom

As an elementary school teacher since 2014 in my native country of South Africa, I have a passionate commitment to student development and progressive learning. I am skilled in the design of challenging, enriching and innovative activities that address the diverse interests and needs of students. I am in the process of completing my MACTE training at the Montessori Institute for CASA-aged students. I have two very active sons who love getting outside to explore. I’m very excited to be a part of the SCMS Team. 

CASA II class:


Nancy Hozjan,
CASA II classroom

I have been teaching for 20 years in various private schools from the Toronto area to St. Catharines, where I live with daughter and husband. I completed both my CASA and Elementary Montessori teaching diplomas at Toronto Montessori Institute, which allow me to teach children ages 2.5 to 12 years. In the course of my career, I have taught ages 18 months to Grade 3.  I thoroughly enjoy the Montessori method and believe strongly in the independence it nurtures in children. I am very happy to be a part of Stoney Creek Montessori School.

Support teachers:

Krista Coutu

Krista Coutu,
Supply teacher

I have a Masters’ of Education from Medaille College and a BA in Sociology from Brock University. I am particularly passionate about the primary age group and hope to inspire children as they are the future of our planet and global community. I am a parent of an amazing 9-year-old boy, who excels academically at an IB school and plays hockey as well as tennis competitively. Teaching is a passion for me, and I hope to use my life experience as well as experience in the classroom to inspire your child and encourage them realize their full potential. I was born and raised in the Niagara Region. I attended French immersion school and was fortunate enough to have completed a student exchange to France. I think that was when my love for travelling began. I have since spent much of the past few years travelling with my own family. I have been to Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia just to name a few. I enjoy learning about new cultures and connecting with people.

Shawn SmithShawn Smith,
Supply teacher

I have a Bachelor of Arts in History from Brock University and a Masters of Science in Education from Niagara University. I have experience with schools in both Ontario and New York state and am thrilled to have the opportunity to share my experience in the classroom with the students at Stoney Creek Montessori School. I have a passion for helping students explore their learning and believe the Montessori method of education provides a positive platform for students to do this. 

Founders and Administrators:

Ateeka Khan

Ateeka Khan, M.A.
Co-founder; School Director

I am the co-founder and current Director of Stoney Creek Montessori School. As a resident of Stoney Creek, I am very concerned with the development of the Hamilton area. As a PhD candidate at McMaster University in the Department of History and having worked with students in institutions of higher learning for many years, I am keen to see changes in the education system that promote a love of learning and critical thinking at the younger ages so that children are better prepared to thrive and enjoy the lifelong journey for knowledge and become empathetic, concerned adults. My husband – also a core team member – and I have three children, all of whom have attended or are attending Stoney Creek Montessori School.

Alam,Fareena - The Concordia Forum

Fareena Alam,
Co-founder; Head of Enrolment and Online Operations

My appreciation for Montessori pedagogy was realised when I saw how my son thrived in a traditional Montessori school in London, England where we lived until Fall 2017. Offering the same nurturing care to other families, with a genuine emphasis on raising thoughtful, open-minded children, is my chief motivation for the founding of Stoney Creek Montessori. In addition to my involvement at SCM, I have almost 20 years experience in working with organisations in the UK, the US and Canada. I am an avid gardener. My husband – an experienced educator from Toronto, Canada, our son and I are currently based at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Staff on leave:

Stoney Creek Montessori

Elana Simaitis,
Toddler/Bambini Classroom

I am thrilled to be part of the SCMS community. I hold my MACTE Montessori teacher certification at the Infant/Toddler level from Montessori Teachers College and I am a graduate of the Mohawk College Applied Music Program in vocal performance and pedagogy. I have been teaching music to young children for 13 years and started guiding the youngest children in the Toddler classroom over a year and a half ago. My passion for teaching led me to open my own school the Hamilton Academy of Music where I taught for three years. It was through my students’ parents that I became interested in Montessori education. I am honoured to teach young children in the most important period of their development.


Joan Mendoza,
CASA I classroom

I am beyond grateful and blessed to be a part of SCM family! I moved to Stoney Creek two years ago to start a family. I am a mother to a beautiful and adventurous girl, who also attends SCM school. I am a MACTE-accredited Casa Directress and have gained years of experience mentoring young minds around the GTA. I have a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, which I acquired in The Philippines. My passion in teaching grew stronger when I learned about the Montessori philosophy. I am deeply committed to getting every child off to the best start in life and to instil a lifelong love of learning.

Jayde Plett

Jayde Plett,
CASA I classroom

A big hello to all of the lovely friends and families of Stoney Creek Montessori School. My name is Jayde Plett, and I am very excited to be joining the SCM family. I have an immense passion and love for children and highly value educating and developing my little pupils. I was born and raised in South Africa, and spent countless hours in orphanages, loving and caring for the forgotten. My love for children only continued to grow when I moved to Canada 8 years ago, volunteering with my church’s youth group, mentoring young girls as they navigated their teenage years. I am a MACTE accredited CASA teacher and spent the last four years teaching at Glen Abbey Montessori School in Oakville. Outside of the classroom, I love to spend time with my husband and our little Aussie Shepherd pup Bailey.