Nurturing the Whole Child: Parinaz Mokhtari
Owner/Founder and Director | Montgomery Montessori School
Photo by Ken Gabrielsen
Raised in the Montessori tradition, Parinaz Mokhtari was frustrated when it came to finding an Orange County school for her own three daughters that teaches the values she embraced as a child. So, in addition to her Bachelor of Science degree in clinical psychology from New Rochelle’s Iona College, she became certified through the North American Montessori Teacher Center. Then, in 2010, she received approval from the NYS Board of Education to open Montgomery Montessori School, the first of its kind in the Hudson Valley area offering a pre-K through 8th grade education.
Housed in a cheerful historic building in the village, the school draws families from throughout Orange and Ulster. Why here instead of public school? “My child loves coming to school every day,” is a common refrain. “Montessori nurtures the child’s independence. It gives them the freedom of choice and empowers them to be themselves and learn at their own speed,” says Mokhtari.
Her day is all about the kids: personally greeting them each morning at the door of the school in downtown Montgomery, walking through all the classrooms observing their interactions with the teachers and their peers, and snapping plenty of photos for parents.
It has been an intense yet rewarding six years, as Mokhtari has witnessed kids who “felt lost, or they felt they were not good enough or smart enough,” blossom into lifelong learners. “I keep in touch with most of our graduates,” she says. “I have so many happy stories to share.”