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Meet Our Staff

Lina Masri

Lina has over fifteen years experience teaching and directing Montessori schools in North America and Europe.  She started her Montessori career teaching at Richmond Hill Montessori School in Toronto, Canada and has since taught and directed at the Lighthouse Montessori Nursery in Oxford, England; Papillion Montessori Nursery in Ringwood, NJ; Monarch Montessori School in Little Falls, NJ; and Young World Day School in Mahwah NJ where she has been the Director of Montessori for five years. 

  • AMI Montessori Certification (Centre for Guided Montessori Studies, Sarasota, Florida)

  • Masters of Arts in Teaching (Montclair State University). Dual certification in P-3 and Teacher of Students with Disabilities. (December, 2015)

  • Alternate Route Program for P-3 Certification at Montclair State University (August,20113)

  • Montessori Certificate for the Infant Toddler Course from Montessori Centre International, London, England

  • Montessori Diploma for Children ages 0-6 from St Nicholas Training Centre, London, England

Lina Masri Founder & Director
Laura Elmini 

Laura Elmini is a certified teacher holding a BA in Elementary Education and an MA in Early Childhood Education. She taught Pre-K and Kindergarten in public school for 7 years and her classroom was a model classroom in her district. Laura has been teaching Montessori for the past six years and Montessori is her favorite approach to teaching young children as she also enjoyed watching her own children blossom in a Montessori program. Outside the classroom Laura prides herself on being Hannah and Jake’s #1 fan at horse shows and soccer games. This is Laura’s six year teaching Montessori and she taught with Mrs. Masri for five years.  

  • BA in Elementary Education, William Paterson University

  • Masters of Arts in Early Childhood Education, William Paterson University.

  • Six years teaching Montessori

Laura Elmini Montessori Teacher

Kelly Lafflin received her diploma from the State University of New York at Cortland college, and went on to pursue her Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Queens College and Grand Canyon University, in Phoenix, AZ.  Kelly received her Montessori certification form North American Montessori Center and taught middle school Math and History at Resurrection Ascension in Queens, NY for four years before transferring to a school closer to her home in Long Island. It was there Kelly spent over a decade teaching Pre-K-3rd grade. After relocating to Rockland County in 2019 Kelly began teaching at Sacred Heart School in Suffern, NY.


When Sacred Heart unexpectedly closed, Kelly recognized it as an opportunity to focus on her true passion. She deeply believes in Dr. Montessori's philosophy and pedagogy and has since been working with infants and toddlers using Montessori. She feels it is vital to give children the skills to solve conflicts peacefully, care for themselves and their environment, and become responsive global citizens.

Kelly, her husband and her three children moved from Long Island, NY to Suffern about three years ago. Her oldest daughter is a freshman at the University of Massachusetts and her two sons attend Suffern Middle School. Kelly is honored to join the Mindful Montessori team and cherishes the opportunity to have an impact on the children.

Kelly Lafflin  Montessori Teacher
April Basyurt 

Mrs. Basyurt graduated from the University of Marmara in Turkey with a bachelor’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language and she worked as a high school teacher as well as a preschool teacher. She completed an MBA majoring in human resources and went on to study Teaching English as a Second Language in the St Gilles institute in London, England. She worked as a private tutor for eight years and founded her own company called Teachers Global which assisted families in finding private tutors for their children.

Mrs. Basyurt recently worked as an English language teacher at an ESL center in Newark, NJ, she enjoys spending time with her two children and she is very excited to work with young children again.

April Basyurt  Assistant Montessori Teacher
"Mrs. Masri has worked with my children for more than five years. There is no one more compassionate or more patient. She creates an incredibly calm and comfortable environment in which the children are excited and eager to learn. Thanks to Mrs. Masri, my children absolutely love school!"
—Karen G.
"I highly recommend Mindful Montessori! The teachers are amazing, very knowledgeable and dedicated.  They offer a nurturing and very loving environment for the children.  My son is very happy there and he learned so much already in these past few months. They are truly wonderful!   "

—Gabriela G.

"Truly a child whisperer! 

 At their previous location, the team at Mindful Montessori had my son reading by the age of four. He is now finishing 3rd grade and thanks to their early tutelage, has been excelling academically ever since!
We decided to follow the Mindful Montessori team to their new location, despite the longer drive. We enrolled my daughter in January 2022 and within a few short weeks, my daughter is eagerly reading, and we have seen a drastic improvement in her engagement!
I do not know how they do it, but Mrs. Masri and Mrs. Elmini know how to create an environment where children can be excited about learning. Perhaps they teach the child how to learn instead of just teaching them the material. They pay great attention and tailor individual learning plans for each child while providing a nurturing and loving environment.

Akiko V.


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P: 201.559.5965


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