Meet the Teachers

Kristina Brusco – Business Director

Mrs. Brusco’s first experience with the Montessori method was when her own child went through the primary program. Watching her grow and flourish into the young woman she is today solidified her love of Montessori, and inspired her to come work at Diamond Hill in 2017. She then completed her Montessori Teaching Certification in Early Childhood Education through the North American Montessori Center, and also holds a Bachelors degree in Marketing from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. .  She is a faithful advocate for Montessori education and actively volunteers with NJMAC, New Jersey’s Montessori Association Corporation. She has spearheaded partnerships with countless local community groups, which echoes its dedication to modeling community service for its young citizens while providing essential resources to those in need.
Kristina’s contributions extend far beyond the walls of Diamond Hill. She is an active member of the Berkeley Heights Women’s Club, valued participant in the Berkeley Heights public schools and is always willing to lend a helping hand where needed. Through her dedication to education, outreach and autonomy, she has left an indelible mark on our community, with so many more big plans yet to come.
She and her husband, Michael, live in Berkeley Heights with their school-aged daughter. Kristina is a born and raised Jersey girl and enjoys spending as much time as she can down the shore with her family.

Auna Conrad – Academic Director

Mrs. Conrad has over twenty years of experience educating and nurturing young children. After attending the State University of New York at Buffalo and majoring in English and Early Childhood Education, Mrs. Conrad moved to New Jersey and began her career in Montessori in 2007. She then pursued her certification through the American Montessori Society. Mrs. Conrad came to Diamond Hill shortly thereafter, and has since watched her own children thrive in our Montessori environment. She lives in Berkeley Heights with her husband and three young children. When she finds the time, she enjoys practicing yoga, traveling and cheering on her hometown football team, the Buffalo Bills.

Madhumala Bajpai

Mrs. Bajpai came to Diamond Hill in 2018. Over the years, she fell in love with the methodology and its unique way of guiding a child. This encouraged her to get her Montessori certification in Early Childhood Education from the North American Montessori Center after several years in the Montessori environment. Additionally, she holds a Masters degree in Genetics from Ruia College in Mumbai, India. Mrs. Bajpai and her husband have raised their two sons together in India and Connecticut before settling in New Jersey. She is trained in the Bharathnatyam dance form, and has even shared her skills with our students!

Prajakta Tilak

Ms. Tilak was introduced to Montessori as a parent when her elder daughter started her education. After already acquiring a Master’s degree in Microbiology, she received her Early Childhood Montessori Certification from Princeton Center for Teacher Education in 2012 and since then has been on a wonderful journey teaching at various Montessori schools in New Jersey. Ms. Tilak lives with her husband and 2 girls, both having their foundation of learning with the Montessori philosophy. Besides the AMS certification, she also received a Board Certification In Inclusive Education. Ms. Tilak also enjoys reading, yoga, gardening and classical dance as they keep the student in her active and motivated.

Janira Roman

Mrs. Roman graduated from Rutgers University earning a bachelor’s degree in Childhood Studies. She joins Diamond Hill with 12 years of experience in early childhood, many of those years teaching in a Montessori environment. Mrs. Roman is a busy mom with 3 young children and 3 dogs at home, but working with children is truly a passion of hers. She has known she wanted to be a teacher ever since she was a child. We look forward to Mrs. Roman playing a positive part in your child’s development while also having fun!

Hema Bharwani

After completing her Masters in Business Management, Ms. Hema spent the earlier years of her professional career working in the Financial Services Industry. As her family traveled across the world and lived in different countries, she enjoyed her journey as a stay-at-home mom and loved the opportunity to see her two children grow. This also gave her the time to actively participate in her children’s school, helping organize and execute various cultural and art events working closely with the teachers. She partners in running a decade-old book club, and also enjoys cooking and studying philosophy. We are looking forward to Ms. Hema starting a new phase of her career at Diamond Hill Montessori!

Miranda Bonina

Ms. Bonina has over 10+ years of experience working with children of all ages as a babysitter, nanny, camp counselor, and in a school setting. She graduated from Felician University with a degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences minoring in Criminal Justice. After graduating college she started as a Substitute Teacher at a K – 21 Special Education School. During her time there she worked her way as 1-to-1 Aide and Teacher Assistant. Ms. Bonina has also been involved with Martial Arts for the past 18 years and holds a 4th Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. At her Martial Arts school you can see her training but also assisting the ‘Mighty Mights’ (3 1/2 – 6 year olds) and the older student classes (7 years – Adult). During Ms. Bonina’s free time she likes spending time with family, friends, and doing Martial Arts.

Gokce Atak

Mrs. Atak is excited to join the DHMS community this year along with her daughter Ena. She received a degree in Psychology at Ayse Atil Anadolu Teacher High School and also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Math from Gazi University Faculty of Education in Turkey. Since she was young, helping people achieve their best selves has been her passion. Mrs. Atak loves to create a community where kids aren’t afraid to make mistakes while having fun learning in a positive environment. Mrs. Atak and her husband have four children between 19 and 2 years old. In her free time she enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with friends and family. She also likes to keep my mind fresh by learning something new every day by listening to podcasts about the human behavior. Mrs. Atak is looking forward to working with you all in your children’s growth and development.

Synitra Bailey

Ms. Bailey, known by the children as Ms. Sy, was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey. As the eldest among five sisters and one brother, her passion for caring for children started at the young age of 13. Her path as an educator began in her church teaching Sunday school, and continued at a local Montessori school for the next 8 years, where she greatly admired the philosophy that embraced the children’s independence. During that time, she also obtained her degree in early child education, and after becoming a mom in 2019, Miss Sy was further inspired to pursue her dream of becoming an infant-toddler Montessori teacher. She recently attended the Westside Montessori teacher education program, and is excited for the next step of her teaching journey by joining the Diamond Hill community. Outside of the classroom, she cherishes moments with her daughter, cooking, baking, and enjoying nature. Family vacations in the summer are a must, and in her downtime, she finds joy in yoga and working out.

Begin your child’s Montessori journey today!

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