Melia Aranas is a Lead Nido Guide at STEAMspark Montessori Experience. Aranas was born and raised in California and is a recent resident of Dallas, Texas. Growing up, Aranas was passionate about the arts and dabbled in several mediums. Aranas always thought her career would lie in fine arts, however, high school volunteer experience in geriatric living and pregnancy homes found her shifting her interests more towards psychology. Aranas attended Ave Maria University in Florida where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology as well as a Minor in Theology.
Aranas continued volunteer work through her college career and found she was passionate about working with kids. Aranas volunteered in both educational and recreational after-school programs, youth group and mentorship settings, and has experience providing childcare support to medically frail children abroad in Chinese orphanages. Most recently, Aranas worked in the field of behavioral analysis and provided behavioral therapy to children ages 2-16 who were diagnosed with ASD.
Aranas’ work experience has led her to develop practical skills of leadership, organization, communication, creativity, observation, planning developmentally appropriate activities, encouraging educational and activity engagement, personal childcare, teaching independent living and social skills, and behavioral crisis response. Even more so, Aranas’ experience and education has caused her to realize the importance of childhood and the impact it has. Aranas has a desire to be a part of an environment that encourages and responds to the child’s natural sense of awe and wonder. Aranas hopes to help build a foundation on which the child can flourish.
Aranas plans to go back to her creative and artistic roots and combine her passion of psychology, children, and art by pursuing a Masters in Art Therapy. She hopes to work in art based rehabilitation programs as well as youth art enrichment programs.
Olamide Ejidiran is a Lead Guide for the Toddler classroom here at STEAMspark Montessori Experience. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and a Master’s degree in Corporate Communication from The University of Leeds. After working to create social etiquette programs for young kids and developing literacy programs, Ms. Ejidiran discovered her true passion for working with kids. She has worked with children of varying age groups and cultures both in and outside of a classroom setting.
Ms. Ejidiran is currently enrolled in a dual certification program for Masters in PreK-6th grade special and general education. Ms. Ejdiran passionately believes that although education is crucial & sets the right foundation for young children, there is no reason why it cannot also be fun. She adores the joy she sees in young children and believes that every child is unique, therefore, their learning process should also be unique.
She believes STEAMspark Montessori is more than a place for academics. It is also where children can foster relationships, build social skills, and develop a life-long thirst for knowledge. Olamide is excited to have this opportunity to build future leaders to come.
Helen-Anne Gable is a Lead Toddler Guide at STEAMspark Montessori Experience. Gable spent her own toddler years in Northern California before moving to Virginia. In 2004, Gable lived abroad in Nagoya, Japan for one year where she attended an international school. In 2015, Gable took her love of traveling and education to France where she studied abroad for a summer. Gable moved to Washington, D.C. for high school before she moved to Dallas, Texas in 2016 to attend college. Gable pursued her undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University where she graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy with a minor in Psychology in 2020. Gable currently attends graduate school at Dallas Baptist University where she is completing a Masters in Education for Special Education. She hopes to get her doctorate in Occupational Therapy once she has obtained her masters.
Gable’s passion for working with young children began when in Haiti, volunteering at the age of 15, where she participated in home visits, taught children basic health and wellness skills such as teeth-brushing and wearing undergarments, and helped support soccer programing by organizing games and activities. Gable’s background includes experience in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children ranging in ages 0-5 years, as well as working with older children with special needs. At the First Unitarian Church of Dallas, Gable excelled in an over two-year role providing child care support in a nursery setting with children ages 0-5, and acquired key skills in organizing recreational activities, preparing and serving snacks, cleaning toys, setting up special projects, and facilitating children’s social development. She has also delivered child care support to numerous families in various babysitting capacities, using her patient and fun-loving nature to earn children’s and parents’ trust and build long-standing relationships. Additionally, she has direct experience working with a child with developmental challenges and has spent time both in teaching her how to walk as well as improve her verbal communication.
A few specific highlights of Gable’s experience while working in educational settings are teaching children with special needs how to self-calm as well as eliminate fears they have surrounding personal care, reading to children and leading them in diverse activities such as arts and crafts, songs, and outdoor play, and demonstrating superior organization, leadership, and communication skills.
Faby Niswonger is our Nutritional Chef here at STEAMspark Montessori Experience. Ms.Niswonger has worked with world-renowned chefs across the country, from New York to Los Angeles. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in California, Ms. Niswonger pursued a Dietetic degree to use her culinary expertise towards creating healthy dishes. She believes that food can be healthy and nutritious without having to sacrifice any flavors or taste and that proper health means we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of delicious food but rather, make it a goal to utilize the best ingredients along with optimal meal portions. Now at STEAMspark Montessori Faby is excited to cook for our kids. She strives to make it easy for them to eat healthy delicious food while helping them reach and maintain their daily nutritional goals and needs.
Deborah Pitcher is our Primary Guide at STEAMspark Montessori Experience. She earned a Master of Education Degree from the University of North Texas, with a focus on Elementary Education, Early Childhood Education, and English as a Second Language. Her Bachelor of Science Degree, earned from the University of Texas at Dallas, focused on Special Education and Psychology.
Mrs. Pitcher taught in public schools for 24 years, with most of her experience at the primary elementary level (K-2). Her passion is to ignite each child’s curiosity, wonder, and excitement about learning. Her goal is to help students achieve their highest potential and strive for continuous self-driven learning through adulthood. Mrs. Pitcher is currently seeking a teaching certificate in Montessori Education and consulting with experts to ensure her students experience the quality education they deserve.
When she has free time, Mrs. Pitcher enjoys spending time outdoors and participating in water sports. Her hobbies also include reading, research, learning, and gardening. Mrs. Pitcher has 4 children, and a husband of 38 years, who are the lights of her life.
Mrs. Pitcher is excited to be teaching at STEAMspark. It is a wonderful place to work and learn!