Ms. Cruz and Ms. Gamarra: How This Dynamic Duo Leads the Early Childhood Division
With the kickoff of another school year, we want to reintroduce Karina Cruz and Magaly Gamarra, co-directors of Early Childhood Education (ECE) at MMS. They possess roughly 20 years combined at our school, mostly as classroom teachers. Ms. Gamarra is still one of Room D’s teachers, and Ms. Cruz formed part of the Room C team for eight years.
Ms. Gamarra and Ms. Cruz both fulfill important roles, with Ms. Gamarra more often working directly with individual students, their families, and their teachers, and Ms. Cruz tackling more supervisory and administrative tasks of the division. Collectively, they mentor and support teachers, in addition to managing student support services, the Pioneers and Explorers afternoon programs (for three and four-year-old students, respectively), teacher recruitment, and so much more.
Here’s some more information on each of these leaders:
Magaly Gamarra has been a teacher for 17 years and part of our MMS community for the last 10 years. She was born and raised in Venezuela before moving, at 17, to the United States, where in 2003 she obtained a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M in Psychology. Her Montessori Early Childhood (3-6) AMS certification is from the Houston Montessori Center located in Houston, Texas. She holds a Master’s Degree in General and Special Education from Hunter College. Most recently, Ms. Gamarra got accepted, and completed, the inaugural cohort fellowship program from the American Montessori Society on Emerging Leaders.
Karina Cruz grew up in Manila in the Philippines and has a BA in Legal Management from De La Salle University and a Masters Degree in Early Childhood and Family Life Education from the University of the Philippines. She earned her Montessori certification for ages 2.5-6 year olds from the Montessori Teacher Preparation of Washington. Karina was a banker at Citibank before changing careers to pursue her masters in early childhood education. She has over 17 years of experience as an educator and administrator. At MMS, she was a lead teacher for 8 years from 2003-2011; then became Admissions Director at Waterfront Montessori in New Jersey; then re-joined MMS last year. Her only daughter, Gabby, who is now 14, was a student in Room B (fun fact: Room C’s Ms. Aryee was her teacher!).