Our Alumni Speak

“13 years later and 6,000 miles away, I have still never really left Casa di Mir. I may no longer sit in morning circle every day, but with each new step I take in life, I continue to realize just how much I learned from my six years there. I truly am who I am today because of Casa. Every single interest, every single goal I have evolves from the core principles I learned from Casa di Mir: my decision to major in environmental studies, my choice to study in Switzerland so far from home, my dedication to volunteering both locally in California and abroad in Latin America. These all started with Casa teaching me how to appreciate the people and cultures of the world, how to care for myself, my peers, and my environment and how to learn from my own independence, but also by helping others.

“Many people assume that the transition to a large public middle school (with more students in one math class than I had had in the third, fourth, and fifth grades combined at Casa), would be a difficult one; however, for me it was quite the opposite. Casa di Mir had given me all of the tools I needed to succeed. After years of practice with the Montessori hands-on approach, I no longer needed puff balls or beads; I had all the resources I needed for academic success embedded in me – organization, independence, and (perhaps most importantly) self-motivation. Learning was not an obligation and studying was never something I had to do. Instead, as I knew coming from Casa, each person gets out of learning whatever she puts into it, and in all my career as a scholar, this has been all the inspiration I needed to keep working hard.

And after all these years, I still remember all of the words to “’Tis a Gift to Be Simple” and “Tumbalaika.” I can still play “De la puna vengo” and “Everybody Loves Saturday Night” on the recorder. I still know all the steps to the Korobushka and the Troika. Every song, every dance, every lesson, every memory I have from Casa di Mir continues to move with me through the years and past the miles, guiding me through life wherever I go.
-Arianna Renee, Class of 2001


“Casa was like my second home and it definitely influenced me in a way that I have learned to love education and learning. It really prepared me for the rest of my life. It gave me communication skills, problem-solving skills and a positive attitude, all of which are important for leadership. “
-Holly Nguyen
The Girls’ Middle School
Notre Dame High School
Worcester College – Engineering Major


“I have attended many different primary and secondary schools – American public, Canadian public and International Baccalaureate. Although I found the IB system far superior to the American public school system, nothing beats my experience at Montessori! Montessori is really designed with the child in mind!”
-Nicholas St. Charles
Fisher Middle School
Los Gatos High School
University of California at Davis
Film Student


“Casa gave me such a great foundation I build off of. It taught me how to be accountable for my own work, time management, and a good work ethic. I wouldn’t be the same without the Montessori education!”
-Kelly Hoose
Los Gatos High School
University of San Francisco – BS Biology


“My time at Casa di Mir has really shown me what education was all about. It got to the core of what mattered in how to treat others, how to approach problems, and how to keep an open mind.”
-NiuNiuTeo
Stanford University


“Montessori education has provided me with the tools to go above and beyond what’s requested of me. Thanks to the years I spent at Casa I am able to work independently, figure out solutions to problems on my own without requiring help from an adult, solve conflicts peacefully, and always strive to be the best at anything I do. “
-Jasmine Pournavab
Almaden Preparatory School ’08
Presentation High School ’12
Chapman University ’16


“I always look for the hardest challenges and push myself to keep improving my abilities and expanding my knowledge. Montessori education allowed me to work on material far more advanced for my age, and that stayed with me over the years as I always sought the most difficult classes at the highest levels offered.”
-Jasmine Pournavab
Almaden Preparatory School ’08
Presentation High School ’12
Chapman University ’16


“My Montessori education has stayed with me and guides me even now. Because of its holistic approach to education, I was able to experience and experiment with music, art, sports, as well as academics from very early on, and that has made me a more well-rounded person. “
-Gina Chang
Girls’ Middle School
Menlo School
Washington University in St. Louis
University of Pennsylvania – Medical School


“Casa also challenged me academically on a daily basis, because of its individualized approach to learning, and I felt extremely well prepared for middle school. Lastly, the one word that I always associate with Casa di Mir (and Montessori in general) is “peace”, because that’s what the atmosphere at school was always like, and that’s what has stuck with me ever since.”
-Gina Chang
Girls’ Middle School
Menlo School
Washington University in St. Louis


“At Casa, our teachers were happy to be with us and learning was truly a collaborative effort. I believe that my Montessori education has instilled in me independence and responsibility. “
-Emily Nguyen
Notre Dame High School
Muhlenberg College – BS English and Math


“Because we were encouraged to learn at our own pace, school truly became a place to learn—as opposed to a place where we were fed a standard curriculum. That environment pushed me to work independently and to take responsibility for my own learning. These principles have stayed with me throughout all aspects of my life and I am eternally grateful for that!”
-Emily Nguyen
Notre Dame High School
Muhlenberg College


“I was very lucky to have attended Casa di Mir. I feel that the school played a key role in developing my self-confidence and independence. “
-Annie Smith
BA Sociology, UC Berkeley
Marketing Channel Manager


“The environment at Casa di Mir was very special. Having the room to be creative was very important to me. The focus on learning about other countries and cultures fostered in me a respect for diversity and an open, curious mind.”
-Annie Smith
Marketing Channel Manager


“After graduating from Casa and going to middle school, I found that I was way ahead of the pack in math and science.”
-Trevor Nelson
BS Cell and Molecular Biology, Santa Clara University
Laboratory Specialist


“I learned how to be compassionate and to care about other people. I learned how to talk to people, to resolve differences and be polite. I learned to be a good citizen.”
-Trevor Nelson
BS Cell and Molecular Biology, Santa Clara University
Laboratory Specialist


“I felt very comfortable stepping up to positions of leadership in middle and high school, because of my experiences at Casa di Mir.”
-Trevor Nelson
BS Cell and Molecular Biology, Santa Clara University
Laboratory Specialist


“The independent learning model at Casa di Mir was fantastic and allowed me to stay challenged despite the fact that I was accelerated well beyond grade level in some academic subjects.”
-Yoni Kahn
BA, Physics and Math and Bachelor of Music, French Horn, Northwestern University
Graduate Fellow in Physics, MIT


“The teachers were incredible in the way that they supported and directed my enthusiasm for learning. If I have children, I definitely want them to attend a Montessori school!”
-Yoni Kahn
BA, Physics and Math and Bachelor of Music, French Horn, Northwestern University
Graduate Fellow in Physics, MIT


“I could pursue my work independently, but there was always a safety net of caring teachers ready to help me. I became a confident learner at Casa.”
-Emma Schuler
Lewis & Clark College – BA Rhetoric and Media Studies

It’s not that we do what we like; it’s that we like what we do.
– Montessori Student