OUR FACULTY & STAFF

A Dedicated Leadership Team

The mission of South Loop Montessori School is to foster an enriching and challenging educational environment where each child is encouraged to grow to his or her fullest academic, emotional and social potential. Through the dynamic partnership of child, parent and educator in the school and home, a consistent Montessori framework for learning is developed, thus educating the full human capacity.

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CEO & Co-Founder

MAHDI DADRASS

As our CEO & Executive Director, Mahdi Dadrass is the head of the school and oversees all programs and long-term initiatives. His passion is rooted in a legacy of Montessori education, with the Dadrass family owning and operating two other highly regarded Montessori Schools (Northbrook Montessori School and The Grove Montessori School) located on Chicago’s Northshore and in its northwest suburbs. Mahdi is a certified (AMS) Montessori educator with 15 years of Montessori teaching and administrative experience.

He trained at the Seton Montessori Institute, holds a Montessori 3-6 Certification and taught at the highly esteemed Near North Montessori School in Chicago. Mahdi’s extensive involvement with his family’s existing schools — leading the expansion of classrooms, enrollment and programs — combined with his experiences, observations and collaborations with other leading Montessori institutes have given him a deep understanding of the ideal Montessori learning environment. Mahdi holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from The University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as a certificate of Vocational Specialist in Montessori Early Childhood Education with High Honors. You can contact Mahdi at mahdi@southloopmontessori.org or (312) 431-8050.

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COO & Co-Founder

SAMEER SHANBAG

As our COO & Operations Director, Sameer Shanbag manages the school’s day-to-day operations. He has worked as a management consultant for a global consulting agency and as a corporate attorney for a large Chicago law firm — and throughout his career, Sameer has shown a dedication to education. Prior to attending law school, he was the business manager and administrator for a new engineering program at Northwestern University and served the City Year AmeriCorps program as a teacher of literacy for kindergartners in a low-income Chicago Public School (CPS).

For the Princeton Review, he served as an SAT teacher and his involvement in undergrad and law school mentorship programs was instrumental to the growth and the success of students and mentees. Sameer has also worked with large not-for-profits, including volunteer teaching roles educating CPS students on legal concepts. Sameer holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois’ College of Law. You can contact Sameer at sameer@southloopmontessori.org or (312) 431-8050.

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Administrative Director

TIFFANY MONREAL

Tiffany came to South Loop Montessori School in September 2017 as the Administrative Assistant after spending three years teaching English at Bullo Elementary School in Gwangju, South Korea, as part of the Fulbright Program. She has since transitioned to the position of Administrative Director and helps in managing the day-to-day operations at South Loop Montessori School. Tiffany is a Chicago native and attended elementary and high school on the northside of the city. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Economics & Business from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa.

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School Director

KYLEE BURKE

Kylee holds her BS in Montessori Education from Xavier University. After college she moved to the Chicago-area and join the South Loop Montessori community as a Primary Lead Teacher in 2013. After six years she decided to join SLMS’s administrative team as the SLMS School Director. She loves being able to get to know more students and families and work alongside them. Kylee has enjoyed being apart of the community at South Loop Montessori School and looks forward to continuing to grow along with it.

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Community Director

MICHELLE CLARK

As Community Director, Michelle is focused on bringing together students, staff and parents to promote a holistic school community. Her education journey began when she volunteered abroad to teach health education. She has then worked in charter and public schools for 6 years, working with students, staff, and families to integrate mental, physical, and social-emotional initiatives both in and outside of the classroom. Michelle aims to create programs for a more equitable and inclusive learning space. She attended The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she received her BS in Community Health and has her M.Ed in Youth Development from UIC.


In Memoriam

MINA DADRASS


in memoriam - american montessori academy montessori school in chicago ilMina Rahbar Dadrass was born on April 22nd, 1955 in the city of Borujerd, Iran. She found her calling working with and teaching deaf and blind children in Iran as a young woman. In 1978, she moved along with her husband Reza and newborn son Mahdi to Chicago, where she started a family and her lifelong path of love and educating children. She dedicated 40 years to educating children, families, and teachers as well as creating a legacy of Montessori schools that will continue to spread her message of love to all for decades to come. Along with her own family, her greatest love was the love that was created through the schools that she founded. The time that she spent so carefully nurturing children over the years were some of the happiest times of her life.

Mina loved spending time with her family and friends and devoted much of her time to them. She lived to make others smile and was a true joy to do just about anything with. She loved spending time in nature and traveling to the ocean and mountains, where she found great peace and positive energy. Mina was incredibly talented and creative; she loved to sing, dance, and excelled naturally at most everything. She enjoyed hosting and bringing her friends and community together, and she was the best cook most people have come across. Mina was hugely proud and in love with her Persian culture. She was an advocate for women and children and embodied the divine feminine spirit in alignment with the universe.

Anyone who was ever in the presence of Mina knows her energetic drive, infectious smile, contagious laugh, captivating personality and unforgettable storytelling. Her intuitive ability to teach children, as well as fearlessly guide and nurture everyone around her made up every fiber of her being. She taught the universe so much about Montessori, educating children, and most importantly, how to spread love to those around her. Mina was an earth mother and the shining example of strength and courage; she spoke in the language of love.

She taught us that no matter what challenges you are facing, spreading love and kindness to those around you will guide you to peace. We miss her immensely and her legacy will live on in all of our hearts and in the loving way we educate children and give to those in need. We will forever be inspired by her and cherish her beautiful spirit that remains around us.

in memoriam - american montessori academy montessori school in chicago il

In Memoriam

MINA DADRASS


Mina Rahbar Dadrass was born on April 22nd, 1955 in the city of Borujerd, Iran. She found her calling working with and teaching deaf and blind children in Iran as a young woman. In 1978, she moved along with her husband Reza and newborn son Mahdi to Chicago, where she started a family and her lifelong path of love and educating children. She dedicated 40 years to educating children, families, and teachers as well as creating a legacy of Montessori schools that will continue to spread her message of love to all for decades to come. Along with her own family, her greatest love was the love that was created through the schools that she founded. The time that she spent so carefully nurturing children over the years were some of the happiest times of her life.

Mina loved spending time with her family and friends and devoted much of her time to them. She lived to make others smile and was a true joy to do just about anything with. She loved spending time in nature and traveling to the ocean and mountains, where she found great peace and positive energy. Mina was incredibly talented and creative; she loved to sing, dance, and excelled naturally at most everything. She enjoyed hosting and bringing her friends and community together, and she was the best cook most people have come across. Mina was hugely proud and in love with her Persian culture. She was an advocate for women and children and embodied the divine feminine spirit in alignment with the universe.

Anyone who was ever in the presence of Mina knows her energetic drive, infectious smile, contagious laugh, captivating personality and unforgettable storytelling. Her intuitive ability to teach children, as well as fearlessly guide and nurture everyone around her made up every fiber of her being. She taught the universe so much about Montessori, educating children, and most importantly, how to spread love to those around her. Mina was an earth mother and the shining example of strength and courage; she spoke in the language of love.

She taught us that no matter what challenges you are facing, spreading love and kindness to those around you will guide you to peace. We miss her immensely and her legacy will live on in all of our hearts and in the loving way we educate children and give to those in need. We will forever be inspired by her and cherish her beautiful spirit that remains around us.



“The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination.”

Meet Our Team of World-Class Educators

Our AMS / AMI Montessori Certified educators promote joy in learning and the development of each child’s true potential by enabling their intellectual, emotional, physical, and social growth through the Montessori philosophy and approach.


Infant Lead Guide

Nancy De Leon



Toddler Community Lead Guide

Miriam De La Torre



Pre-Primary Lead Guide

Dalyn K.



Pre-Primary Lead Guide

Victoria B.



Primary Lead Guide

Courtney S.



Primary Lead Guide

Shanna B.



Primary Lead Guide

Brooke H.



Elementary I Lead Guide

Chris R.



0-3 Remote Learning Lead Guide

Katelyn M.



3-6 Remote Learning Lead Guide

Julia R.