Meet Our Team


Ever since she was nine years old, Yasmine Ghandour knew she would become a teacher of young children. She would tell anyone who would listen what her school would look like and what it would entail. Years later, in 2003, when she was looking for the perfect preschool for her newly born daughter, she opened the doors to the first Orchard House. There, she hoped for a school that would mirror the values she holds dear: one with a calm learning environment, a steady separation process, and a progressive, well-developed curriculum that would engage each child to reach his or her full potential.  At Orchard House, she created just that! Over the years, Orchard House has grown into Quebec’s leading establishment for early childhood education.


Leadership Team

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Yasmine Ghandour, Ph.D. - Founder & General Director

Miss Yasmine holds her Montessori Qualifications from the Montessori Center International, a M.A. in Early & Elementary Education from Columbia University and a M.Ed in Educational Psychology from McGill University, focusing on Inclusive Education. She completed her Ph.D. at Concordia University, exploring the implementation of the Montessori method within a Quebec framework. She has taught in preschool settings in Asia, the Middle East and North America and has most recently spent a few years as an Elementary School Director in Montreal. Miss Yasmine has also led seminars at McGill University, hosted workshops in early childhood education at the annual Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference and has served on the board of a speech and language centre. Her varied experiences have led her to understand the true value of an individualized approach to education.


Imad Khalil - Director of Operations and Development

Imad holds a B.Comm in International Business (Concordia University), and a Kellogg-Schulich MBA from both the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University) and the Schulich School of Business (York University). With over twenty years of corporate experience culminating in leadership roles in marketing and merchandising, Imad has channeled his skills in his new-found passion for education. As a father of three, he is actively aware of the important role of building and continuously maintaining the ideal learning environment for young children.


Tina Hillenbrand – Director, Admissions

Miss Tina holds a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Social Science and a certificate in Family Life Education from Concordia University. She also has completed Montessori and Daycare Management Certification. Miss Tina has taught and directed in preschool settings in the Montreal area for over 20 years. She is passionate about nutrition and cooking, cycling and being a mom of two daughters.


Christine Mayers – Operations Manager

Miss Christine has a Bachelor of Commerce from Concordia University and has worked in various administrative positions but enjoys preschool environments the most. In her spare time, she likes cooking, skiing, hiking, reading and spending time with her family and two daughters.


Annette Boulet - Assistant Director

Miss Annette holds a B.A. with Major in Child Studies from Concordia University and has been working with children in both the elementary and daycare settings for over ten years.  She strives to create a climate of connection and community within the school, as well as foster a lifelong love of learning in children.  Miss Annette enjoys reading, dancing, spending time in nature and visiting her family in Manitoba.


Ivana Aquilino – Administrator

Miss Ivana holds a college diploma in Early Childhood Education as well as a Certification in Daycare Management. She has several years of experience both in and out of the classroom and values the professionalism and dedication that she brings to her work. Miss Ivana is passionate about spending time with family and friends and enjoys anything to do with fitness and fashion. You can always catch her in her brightest outfits!

Members of Our Faculty

The teachers at Orchard House are specifically chosen for their warm and nurturing nature, and for their understanding of individual needs. All teachers hold a certificate in Emergency First Aid procedures. With class sizes ranging from 6 to 10 children, teachers create child-centered environments, concentrate on the needs of the whole child and are well-positioned to address social or cognitive issues as they arise.

Nurse Maricel

Nurse Maricel holds a Bachelor of Nursing degree from Saint Ferdinand University in the Philippines and has worked as a Registered Nurse for over a decade. Her professional experience includes three years in Saudi Arabia as an Operating Room Nurse. Nurse Maricel has completed the integration program for internationally-educated nurses at John Abbott College. She is also the proud mother of young twins. In her limited spare time, Nurse Maricel enjoys cooking, gardening, singing and going to church.

Miss Arleen

Miss Arleen has completed her studies in Early Childhood Education. Though she has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, her true passion has always been in early childhood settings. She has worked with young children for many years, and is happiest when she can provide them with all the attention, love and care that they need.

Miss Nita

Having graduated with a B.Sc. in Commerce and Accounting, Miss Nita worked for several years as a book-keeper before turning to her true calling. With a deep love for young children, Miss Nita moved on to pursue her studies in Early Childhood Education at BCM College to put an official stamp on the work that comes most naturally to her. When not busy with her children at school and at home, Miss Nita loves to cook and to watch movies with her family.

Miss Susan

Miss Susan has 12 years of hands-on experience working with young children in both daycare and home environments. She is a loving, caring educator who loves watching her little charges grow and flourish as she guides them through stimulating, interactive activities. When Susan isn’t working with the Tiny Tots, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking healthy meals and exercising.

Miss Martine

Mme Martine is a certified educator who has been working with preschool aged children for many years in diverse settings (swimming instructor, camp animator, daycare and preschool educator).  She also has two boys of her own and in her spare time enjoys reading, photography and travelling.

Miss Veronique

Miss Veronique has a Bachelor of Arts degree with a Major in Child Studies from Concordia University. She has a compassion and respect for early childhood education. Miss Vero values diversity and encourages her students to celebrate what makes them unique! Together, the individual traits of each child contribute to the classroom community – one that is warm and welcoming. When she is not teaching, Miss Vero enjoys oil painting, playing softball and scuba diving.

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Miss Meaza

Miss Meaza has a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in History from Concordia University as well as an Attestation in Early Childhood Education from Vanier College. She has worked in different types of childcare settings with age groups ranging from infant to preschool. Miss Meaza believes that every child is unique and special and that children develop at their own pace and in their own manner. Her goal is to provide a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment where the children can thrive.  She is a mother of two and loves music, dancing, biking, reading, arts and crafts and hiking.

Mme Claire

Mme Claire has more than 18 years experience working with young children in Canada, as well as teaching French as a second language in Qatar and as an educator in France.  She believes children learn best in environments which encourage autonomy and self confidence.  Learning in her class is always fun and interesting!  In her spare time, Mme Claire enjoys spending time with her son, learning about other cultures, hiking, listening to music and dancing.

Mme Véronique

Mme Véronique has a bachelor’s degree in management from the Grenoble School of Management in France and a certificate from the North American Montessori Center.  She is passionate about the Montessori philosophy and seeks to create a calm and respectful environment where each child feels secure and wants to learn.  In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, skiing and travelling to France to visit her family.

Miss Valarie

Miss Valarie first had the opportunity to work with young children back in the early 90’s while filling a position for an educator on study leave. Over the years she has worked in other fields but felt like she was missing out on something.  In 2015 she took a big leap and decided to do something she really loved; she went back to school to study early childhood education and successfully completed the program (Attestation of Collegial Studies) and awarded a diploma with honors. In her spare time she enjoys frugal crafting, interior decorating and home DYI projects.

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Miss Manuela

Miss Manuela studied midwifery at the Dr. Carlos S Lansing College in the Philippines and then practiced midwifery in Saudi Arabia for 8 years.  Since moving to Canada, she has worked as a caregiver and obtained a diploma in Early Childhood Education.  Miss Manuela loves keeping children active, helping them be more independent and watching them grow.  Their smiles are her favorite reward! In her spare time, Miss Manuela enjoys biking, swimming, hiking, basketball and competitive volleyball.

Tabatha (Notre Dame de Grace)

Miss Tabatha

Miss Tabatha holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English Literature from the University of British Columbia.  She began her teaching career in Asia, teaching English as a Second Language to students of all ages, but with a concentration with the under 5’s.  Fifteen teaching years later, including a Supervisor role in a preschool setting, Miss Tabatha comes to Orchard house with a very good understanding of child development, and a deep compassion for the education of the whole child.  Mind, spirit, curiosity, and empathy are the guiding hallmarks of her class.

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Miss Nitchel

Miss Nitchel holds a Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in General Science (Father Saturnino Urios University, Philippines) and an Attestation of Early Childhood Education (Vanier College). Teaching has always been her passion and her exposure to a home daycare setting when she first arrived to Montreal switched her passion of teaching to younger children. She is a mother of two boys and loves to spend most of her time at church where she has been teaching Sunday School for fifteen years now.

Miss Gaby NDG

Miss Gabi

Miss Gabi holds a B.A. in Early Childhood Education (UNIBE, Dominican Republic) and has received professional training at the Harvard School of Education and at The Loris Malaguzzi International Centre in Reggio Emilia. She is now completing her Master’s degree in Art Education at Concordia University.  With more than 10 years of experience in the classroom, Miss Gabi joins Orchard House believing in the value of teaching children to be curious and confident, encouraging them to express their ideas, experiences and emotions in many different languages, focusing on her biggest passion: the language of art. In her spare time, Miss Gabi practices the martial art of Muay Thai.

Miss Manon NDG

Miss Manon

Miss Manon is the oldest child of a large family and has been surrounded by children her whole life. She has always been the one in charge of creating games, plays, quests or races for her cousins to make sure everyone had a good time! Now, she uses this creativity in her work to help the children in her care to develop autonomy, self-confidence, respect for one another and most of all joy. Miss Manon sees in young children the world of tomorrow; working with them is her contribution to create a better world and this is why she is so passionate about her job!

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Miss Rosa

Miss Rosa came to Montreal from the Dominican Republic to pursue her studies for a DEC in Early Childhood Education at LaSalle College. She has been working with children since the age of fourteen and loves meeting new children. Through multiculturalism, literacy, art, as well as children’s interests, Miss Rosa enjoys creating activities that enrich the children’s development, independence, and self-confidence skills, while respecting both their individual and group needs. During her spare time, Miss Rosa enjoys discovering neighborhoods around Montreal, visiting her family in her hometown and baking.

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Miss Abby Gail

Miss Abby Gail has a dual degree from Concordia University with a B.A. in Child Studies and a B.F.A. in Design. In her many years of experience, she has worked with children all the way into the elementary ages, but the beginning stages of early childhood have captured her heart. When she’s not in the classroom, you’ll find her deep in a DIY craft project, hiking with her husband, or spending weekends eating loads of food with her family.

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Miss Alexis

Miss Alexis holds a Bachelor of Education from McGill University with a concentration in English Language Arts. She has always had a passion for early childhood education and a deep appreciation of the Montessori method. She values community and aims to create a warm and lively classroom for her young students. Miss Alexis enjoys biking, practicing yoga, and baking for her friends and family. 


Miss Rechel

Miss Rechel has a Bachelor degree of Secondary Education in Chemistry from Philippine Normal University and holds a teaching license in Ontario and Quebec. Her many years of experience working with various preschool and elementary age groups in Montessori settings has guided her to be passionate and committed to her work. In her spare time, Miss Rechel enjoys cooking, baking and travelling with her family.


Miss Marta

Miss Marta is from Brazil and has a degree in Education from the University of Maryland – USA. She has recently received her diploma in the Montessori method and is very passionate about it. She has more than ten years of experience teaching children around the world such as in the United States, Japan, Brazil, Paraguay and the United Kingdom. Miss Marta’s teaching approach has always been based on children’s freedom to lead their own learning, and her role is to prepare their environment and to be of service. Miss Marta’s classroom aims for a calm and friendly feeling with soft background music. In her spare time, she likes to travel around the globe with her family, practice yoga, read books on child development, watch movies or just cuddle with her rescue cats Cal and Mia.


Mme Jessica

Mme Jessica is a certified educator who completed a Bachelor of Education in Teaching English as a Second Language. She is also currently completing her Master’s Degree in Child Studies. She has various experiences in teaching young children in Greece, Italy, and most recently, South Korea. Mme Jessica believes in safe and welcoming classroom environments, giving children the space and confidence to learn without fear of mistakes, judgement, or failure. In her spare time, she loves journaling and running.


Miss Kathy

Miss Kathy has a Bachelor degree in Physical Education from McGill and has been working with children of all ages – early childhood, elementary, and high school – for over 10 years. Miss Kathy knew she wanted to work with children from a very young age when she would pretend her stuffed animals were students in her class! Now a proud mother of two, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, sharing delicious food, traveling to new places and playing soccer.


Miss Katya

Miss Katya has been teaching children, teenagers and adults for over a decade, but especially loves working with toddlers. She received her BA degree in Anthropology and her MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She grew up hiking, camping and looking for black bears on the West Coast and is eager to bring her love of nature into the classroom.


Miss Nozi

Miss Nozi holds a Bachelor of Education (Foundation Phase K-3) from the University of South Africa and recently completed a Bachelor of Education Honours from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. She has worked in childcare for many years before pursuing Early Childhood Education studies and taught Kindergarten before moving to Canada. She comes from a family of four and has a daughter and grandson of her own.  When not working she enjoys listening to emotional awareness podcasts, taking long walks or making long phone calls to her family back home.


Miss Reina

Miss Reina is originally from Venezuela and moved to Montreal in 1993. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Education with a specialty in Early Childhood Education from Jose Maria Vargas University. She came to Montreal to study English at McGill University and then pursued a Certificate in Human Resource Management. Miss Reina has been teaching for 30 years and has much experience working with children ranging from 3 to 5 years old. She believes that each child is unique, learns at his or her own pace and is capable of achieving their very best potential. Miss Reina loves planting the seed to enable children to be curious about their environment and cultivate an excitement for learning.


Miss Sarah

Miss Sarah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Concordia University and a Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce. With a passion for working with children, she has accumulated valuable experience across various age groups and hopes to make a positive impact on their lives. In her free time, she finds solace in the world of books, embraces the tranquility of yoga, and seeks rejuvenation by reconnecting with the beauty of nature.