Chestnut Montessori School is rooted in the belief that children are uniquely capable to absorb abstract concepts presented in a way that sparks the child’s spirit and imagination. We provide a rich, natural learning environment in two  beautiful and peaceful campuses. Our students learn about their world through real-life activities and a science-based curriculum.



Located on the border of Kirkland and Bellevue, below the South Kirkland Transit Center, our campus is a former orchard where historic Chestnut, Apple, and Pear trees, and a natural play yard provide students with many unique opportunities for indoor and outdoor learning.


The School is open year-round, with occasional closures according to the School schedule each year.

The hours of operation are 8:00 to 6:00.





We have two Early Childhood classrooms: The Cedar and Pine Rooms, for children ages 2 through 6. Each classroom is beautifully prepared for 18-20 children and staffed with Montessori credentialed teachers and interns.


The New Kirkland Campus is located in the Forbes Creek area on over four acres of trees, ferns, and wetlands.

Our first classroom has been carefully prepared to receive kids from ages 2 through 6 following the Early Childhood Program

The School is open year-round, with occasional closures according to the School schedule each year. 


The hours of operation are 8:00 to 6:00.




The Garden Room is our Elementary classroom for children ages 5 through 12. The classroom is prepared for 8 -12 children have a joyful learning and staffed with Montessori credentialed teachers and interns



The Lilac classroom is located within a lovely family home with a beautiful view of the wetland and temperate forest biomes on campus, providing an ideal outdoors environment.


meet our team


Jeannine Hanson

Founding Director

Jeannine Hanson founded Chestnut Montessori School to exemplify a model school for children, parents, teachers, and teachers-in-training on one dedicated campus. Her goal is to provide children with experiences to prepare them to become joyful lifelong learners. The beautiful environment and smaller class sizes she created at CMS supports the remarkable academic advancement by the students.


She has a deep-rooted dedication to the Montessori philosophy. Jeannine directed Bellevue Montessori for 20 years, overseeing the elementary expansion on two campuses. In 1997 she founded the Montessori College for Early Education (now Montessori Center for Teacher Education - MCTE), which provides excellence in the education for Montessori Early Childhood teachers. MCTE is affiliated with the American Montessori Society (AMS) and accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Commission for Teacher Education (MACTE).


She has served on the Board of Directors for Washington Federation of Independent Schools, the Pacific Northwest Montessori Association, the National Center for Montessori Education and Bellevue Montessori School. Jeannine is a Washington State Approved Continuing Education Trainer through MERIT and presents continuing teacher education workshops to fulfill Washington State required STARS (State Training and Registry System).


Jeannine received her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from the University of Washington in 1972 and her Montessori teacher education at Seattle University in 1983 and 1984, after serving as an Assistant Dietitian at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland. She resides in Kirkland with her husband Paul and is the proud parent of four grown children and the grandmother of four boys and one girl.


April Malley 

Assistant Director

April Malley grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, and earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology at the University of Arizona. She received her American Montessori Society Early Childhood teaching credential through the Montessori Center for Teacher Education in 2011.  April earned her Masters of Education (MAED) degree with a focus on Montessori studies through St. Catherine University in 2017.    In her free time, April enjoys cycling and participates in many group rides and events. 

Rani Appiah

Elementary Lead Teacher - Garden Room

Rani Appiah has been a Montessori teacher since 2007 when she was certified through the Montessori Center for Teacher Education in American Montessori Society Early Childhood. She have also received her NAMC Montessori Lower Elementary Teaching diploma and gained a few years’ experience leading kindergarten and 1st grade education.

The Pacific Northwest has been her home since She moved here two decades ago from India where She grew up. There, Rani earned her bachelor's degree in Commerce and Economy. She  currently lives in Redmond with her husband and She has two adult children! Rani enjoys travelling the world and like to hike on the weekends!


Uthra Sundar

Early Childhood Lead Teacher - Garden Room

Uthra had her  formative years in Zambia, Africa. She  has a Masters Degree in Business Management from India. She moved to Washington few years ago and now call Seattle home. Uthra enrolled in the teacher training course last year and worked in Pine Room during the 2017-18 school year with April Malley. She is an enthusiastic teacher with a loving commitment to creating a nurturing environment for children. One of her favorite quotes by Dr. Montessori is " Within the child lies the fate of the future"


Deniz Bozkus

Early Childhood Lead Teacher - Cedar Room

Deniz was born and raised in Turkey where She received a BS degree in geological engineering. She moved here in 2007 with her  husband and son. Deniz had her certification from Spring Valley Montessori Teacher Education Program and she has been working as a Montessori teacher since 2008. Deniz outside interests are Reiki healing, reading and cooking. She is  very happy to be part of Chestnut Montessori School where children are encourage to learn and grow.


Feeza Naveed

Early Childhood Lead Teacher - Pine Room

Feeza Naveed lived her shaping years in Karachi, Pakistan. Once she came to the U.S she volunteered at different schools, in Illinois and later in New Jersey, to better understand the education atmosphere. She has learned and experienced Montessori first hand by some prestigious mentors and has learned the absolute foundation of the Montessori lifestyle. Working  at Open Hand Montessori alongside learning the AMS curriculum she has indeed furthered her Montessori education. With a bachelor’s in art she also has a unique artsy way of executing any and everything she does. Feeza has a soft spot for children and cares for them in a motherly sense. Making her the amazing combination of a smart loving teacher the does her best every day.


Lisa Hanson

Office Administrator

Lisa Hanson, through Jeannine Hanson, has been immersed in Montessori her entire life.  Lisa worked in wardrobe styling, wholesale clothing and jewelry design before joining Chestnut Montessori School.  Lisa’s favorite part of working at Chestnut is being able to watch students develop into confident, courteous and independent young scholars. 


Paul Hanson

Co-founder/ General Manager

Paul Hanson is a General Contractor who has built and remodeled four different Montessori schools in the Seattle area. He provides facilities management at Chestnut Montessori School.