Our Staff

Margarita Shvets

Owner /Director and Music Teacher.

Her education started in Russia as of elementary teacher for 1-3 grades in grade public school; piano, voice, music theory teacher in music school. In USA She first worked as an assistant teacher in the primary level in Montessori school, and simultaneously continued her Montessori Primary Training to become a certified Primary Level Montessori Directress in 1992. With her strong motivation and passion teaching Montessori methods, she continued with introducing a lot of music in the classroom. She was a dedicated directress for many years. She embarked on a new role in 2000, when she opened Vernon Hills Montessori Academy (formerly Montessori and Music Academy ) out of her home in Vernon Hills, managing not only the daily operations but continued as a Directress and Music teacher.

Charlene McCloskey

Director of Toddlers Class (15 - 35 Months old)

Charlene has resided for over 30 years in IL and has three grown children, not including her youngest that has been with her in Montessori until first grade. She received her Early Childhood Credential from Meca-Seton in 1998. Her experience for twenty years has included yoga training, parenting classes in redirecting children’s behavior, opening and organizing Glenview Montessori School for nine years. The past ten years she has worked as a Montessori Directress with many various responsibilities of different age groups at two locations of Montessori Music Academy. She brings a wide range of experience and
most important, love of children.

Sunita Toke

Director Assistant and Montessori Directress of Afternoon Classroom

Sunita brings over 16 years of Montessori teaching experience to Vernon Hills Montessori Academy. She has a bachelor of Arts degree and has taken early childhood courses at College of DuPage in Wheaton. She completed her Montessori training from Meca-Seaton for Primary level Montessori directress in 1999 while working at DuPage Montessori School in Naperville. She joined Vernon Hills Montessori Academy in 2012 when she moved to Long Grove from Naperville. Sunita’s niece and nephew attended Vernon Hills Montessori Academy. Sunita is living in Chicago Area for more than 35 years. She is married and has two grown up daughters. She enjoys teaching at Vernon Hills Montessori Academy and loves being with kids.

Ms. Aaliya

Lead Montessori Directress (3-6 Age Group)

Ms. Aaliya Khanum is the 3-6 lead Montessori Directress at Vernon Hills Montessori academy. She was born and raised in India. Aaliya began her Montessori career in 2008 as a Primary Teacher at Sunshine Montessori school in Chennai, India. She has a Diploma in Association of Montessori International (AMI) in Montessori education for 3-6 age group from Navadisha Montessori Institute, Chennai, India. Aaliya moved to USA due to her husband's work. She took up the service as a Directress in Carlisle Montessori School, Atlanta. She moved from Atlanta to Chicago in the year 2011 and took up the service of being the Lead directress for the Red Room at AGBMS. She had two deaf and hard of hearing children in the classroom then. To communicate and provide the best teaching to children, Aaliya passionately learned Cued speech within a month. She attended extra classes and participated Cued- Speech Workshops in order to refine her cueing skills. Aaliya received a Humanitarian award for her passionate and dedicated service at AGBMS in 2013. Aaliya holds a Bachelor degree in Commerce before she started her Montessori Career. She also has the gift of knowing 8 languages - English, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi, Urdu & Sanskrit.

For Aaliya, Montessori education is driven by her love for children and the desire to make them better human beings. For this, she has put her excellent training, self-discipline, and her inborn talent in teaching to the best use. For Aaliya, following Montessori’s path is like discovering her inner self.

Michael A Hami

Music Teacher

Born in 1958 in Krakow, Poland. Here he created and lead vocal/instrumental band “Bethlehem” (1974-1980). In early 1980s immigrated to Chicago, USA, where he lives to date. Serviced local Polish Community (population of about 1.2 mil.) by publishing editorials in Dziennik Chicagowski, Alfa, Nowe Zycie… participating in radio programs in 1987- present: WNVR 1030, WNWI 1080, WPNA1490, WCEV 1450 and reported on TV station “Polvision” in 1993. Wrote over 150 pieces of music from classic to contemporary, from jazz to sacral music with his biggest work of “Symphoniette” for classic 0rchestra.
Michael plays piano and other instruments since early childhood. He leads/directs music/vocal groups in local American and Slavic Churches: Ukrainian Pentecostal Church in 1983-1987, Polish Christian Center in 1987-1991, Niles Assembly of God in 1991-1995, Northwest Assembly of God 1996-2004, Algonquin Community Church in 2002, Moody Bible Institute in 2003, Polish Evangelical Fellowship in 2005-present, Cancer Support Group of Willow Creek Church in 2006-present, Deliverance Temple 2013- present and Alpha And Omega 2017-present. Choir/orchestra/band conductor, composer/arranger/music teacher/poet. Teaches piano, guitar and bassoon at Schaumburg Music Academy (since 2017 to present) and at Vernon Hills Academy (since 2017 to present).

Ludmila Yankovsky

Teacher Assistant

Ms.Ludmila Yankovsky was born in Crimea in Russia and was educated and graduated in Geography from the University of Uzbekistan in Tashkent. She worked as a Geography teacher too. 

She moved to USA and initially worked as babysitter for 5 years for a nice Russian Family. She started working as Assistant Teacher at Vernon Hills Montessori from 2011. She loves her Job and and all our little children love her too. Ms.Ludmila is married and her son lives in Dallas with his family.

Mr. Merv Raasch

Physical Education Teacher

He is famous as Mr. Merv among our Montessori Children. He has active tennis teaching experience of around 25 years. He has worked at Libertyville Tennis club, Libertyville, IL as a Tennis instructor. 

He is retired tennis instructor with 30 years of experience in teaching. He is still a active sports person. He has wide knowledge about sports. He has also served in Military service and has worked with developmentally disabled adults.  With his lot of enthusiasm,  he brings positive energy among the kids.

Raisa Greyz

Substitute Teacher

Graduated from university, Teacher of Russian and teacher of Child care in Ukraine.

After moving to USA and worked 15 years as head teacher.

She has two kids, 1 son and 1 daughter. Son is a computer analyst and daughter is a pediatrician. She loves children and is very happy to share all her experience and spending time with children.

Megha Baxi

Substitute Teacher

Ms.Megha Baxi moved to USA from India after getting married. She has completed her Masters degree in Human Development from SM Patel College in India. Over the last 2 years, she has been dedicating her time being around with children in a variety of ways working with 3 & 4 year olds and she has spent considerable time working at Poko Loco childcare in Illinois. Her hobbies include watching movies, keeping fit by exercising and cooking.

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Vernon Hills Montessori Academy

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21 W Hawthorn pkwy
Vernon Hills, IL 60061


Phone: (847) 918-0342
Fax:   (847) 573-9367

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