Head of School

Emma Rattigan

Principal and Founder

A Montessorian first and foremost, Emma developed her passion for Montessori education soon after leaving high school and was inspired to take Montessori’s ideas to children around the world. She founded Edinburgh Montessori Arts School in 2006.

Emma holds her 0-6 Montessori Diploma (MCI), Montessori Special Needs Certificate (MCI), Administrator’s Certificate in Montessori for Inclusion (MMPI) and Post Graduate Diploma in Collaborative Working.  She is currently training in Montessori Therapy.

Her colleagues describe her as a ‘big picture’ thinker and Emma says:

‘I am fascinated by the evolution of human consciousness and thinking about how we think and learn. A generalist at heart, I am dedicated to developing our systems based model of inclusion where the whole school community is challenged to collaborate in making the world a sustainable place for all.’

Inclusion Coordinator

Louise Leamy

Montessori Educator; ASL Coordinator

A Montessori veteran; Louise was the first ever teacher here at EMAS way back in 2006. With her 0-6 Montessori Diploma and a P.G.D.E in Primary Education, Louise has taught in a range of educational settings following her initial 7 years at EMAS, returning in 2022 to support the development of our early years program and inclusive ethos. Her passions are outdoor education and inclusion.

Louise is training as a Montessori Therapist and works across the school to support the teaching teams. She ensures the school’s values are upheld through implementation of dynamic and collaborative approaches to teacher education and training. Through observation, modelling approaches and sharing her unending patience for all children, Louise inspires us to continually improve our practice and challenge our ideas about what real education should look like.

Administrative Team

Steph Thornton

Office Administrator

Whatever your reason for getting in touch or popping by, Steph is your friendly first-point-of-contact in the school office. With an extensive background in administration, management and hospitality in both corporate and care sectors, Steph works alongside Becca and the Educational Co-ordinator team to keep all administrative functions running smoothly.

Becca Boyde

Admissions Secretary

With passion for all things educational and a dedicated eye for detail, Becca keeps the back-office administration running smoothly. Becca has a background in heritage education and youth engagement, and coordinates the Scottish Learning Group. Becca is passionate about inclusive education, recently adding an Administrator’s Certificate in Montessori for Inclusion (MMPI) to her retinue of qualifications.

Classroom Teams

Infant Community

Marta Ribeiro

Montessori Educator

Originally from Portugal, Marta holds a Bachelors degree in Portuguese and English, and a second Bachelors in Theatrical Studies. She studied Montessori education in the United States and taught in Colorado before emigrating to Edinburgh. She brings her deep understanding of toddler development and passion for the creative arts to her lead role in our Infant Community.

Nuha Al'Ogaili

Montessori Trainee

Nuha completed her training in childcare and education after moving to Scotland from Iraq in the early 2000’s. She is a dedicated early years practitioner currently studying for her Montessori Diploma. Her immense patience and deep understanding of very young children make her a wonderfully loving carer in our Infant Community.

Kate Schofield

Montessori Educator

Kate studied Montessori education in South Africa and holds her 0-6 Montessori Diploma. She later founded and ran her own nursery school for 6 years before emigrating to Scotland. Often found baking and cooking with her students, Kate is passionate about developing children’s independence and interests.

Children’s House

Eleni Papavasileou

Eleni Papavasiliou

Montessori Educator; Early Years Coordinator

Eleni holds a degree in Early Years education and a Masters in Exercise and Life Quality from Greece. Since joining the EMAS team in 2013, Eleni has completed her Montessori Diploma for Birth to 3 and 3-6. Eleni coordinates the children’s house and infant teams, whilst supporting the teachers in both the indoor and outdoor classrooms.

Anuja Singh

Lead Montessori Educator

Anuja leads the teaching team in our Children’s House with dedicated attention to detail and fierce love of creativity and fun. She completed her Montessori training in Mumbai following her Bachelor’s in New Delhi and Master’s in Sydney and  joined the EMAS team  in 2019 from a Children’s House classroom in California. Her international perspective on child development and deep knowledge of Montessori methodology make her an excellent lead guide to our nursery cohort.

Ana Dora Tomaz

Trainee Montessori Educator

With a primary teaching degree from her home country of Brazil, Ana sees her Montessori practise as a furtherance of her passion for childhood education. She balances her Montessori studies with keen interests in a range of outdoor pursuits including rock climbing and capoeira, running an after school fun club in the latter. Ana is completing her 0-6 Montessori Diploma with EMAS and is a valued member of our team.


Laura Rojas Castellano

Montessori Assistant Educator

Laura holds a bachelors degree in Early Years Education and a masters in Psychology Development, both studied in her native Spain. She discovered Montessori education whilst working at a wonderful setting in Glasgow and was inspired to complete her Montessori Assistant’s training as part of the team there. Laura supports the classroom team in Children’s House and delivers Spanish language teaching accross the nursery.


Kate Hanekom

Kate Hanekom

Montessori Educator; Elementary Coordinator

Honeybees Class

Kate is a life long learner originating from South Africa. She holds Montessori qualifications teaching 0-6 and 6 – 12 year olds and is undertaking her training as an adolescent guide. . Having led the Elementary class for over 7 years Kate has a deep knowledge of what makes our students tick. Further training in Montessori for Inclusion (MMPI) led to Kate’s enhanced role as Coordinator for the elementary classrooms. She firmly believes that the Montessori approach can provide the best learning platform for all children.

Chloe Faucher

Trainee Montessori Educator

Honeybees class

Chloe holds a Bachelors degree in Nursery and Primary Teaching and a Masters in Inclusive Education. As she undertakes her studies in Montessori education, Chloe supports the work of our Honeybees team. She is adept at providing bespoke support to those students who need it and in return is much loved by the class and her team.

Jasmine Herrick

Lead Montessori Educator

Fireflies class

Jasmine hails from the United states and has lived, worked and studied in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Hawaii.Having completed her Master’s degree in Education with a Montessori emphasis Jasmine led the lower elementary cohort at the Montessori School of Maui before joining EMAS in early 2023 as Fireflies lead guide.

Thoughtful, determined and hugely knowledgable about children’s learning, Jasmine brings a wealth of expertise to the elementary team.

Hanane Mesref

Montessori Trainee Educator

Fireflies class

Originally from France, Hanane has a life long interest in education and learning. Having educated her two daughters she became interested in the Montessori method and combined her studies with working at EMAS.

With qualifications in personal fitness and health coaching, Hanane is passionate about physical education and inspiring our children and young people through games and sport. She leads or P.E. program.

Simona Diguta Turcana

Montessori Educator

Fireflies class

Simona holds a Bachelors degree in psychology alongside her Assistant’s to Infancy (0-3) Montessori diploma and her 3-6 Montessori Assistant’s certificate.

Originally from Romania, Simona has lived and worked in a range of countries, discovering her interest in Montessori education whilst working in London. She has most recently completed training in Identity Psychotrauma in Munich.

Simona provides bespoke 1-1 support for students who need this and works closely with the school’s therapeutic team to ensure authentic and equitable inclusion for students.

Adolescent Community - Teens Hub

Samuel Martin Nye

Adolescent Guide; Language Arts and Humanities

Samuel has worked as an English and Drama teacher for many years in both the United Kingdom and further afield in Oman. His passion for the dramatic arts and the spoken word inspire our adolescent cohorts. Often found coordinating socratic seminar or building sets for student led performances, Samuel’s dynamic skillset it ever utilised by our eclectic teens group. Samuel’s fascination for the Montessori approach led him to joining EMAS and to undertaking his Montessori Adolescent training.

Payam Beint

Adolescent Guide; Visual Arts and Humanities

Payam is central to the day to day guidance of our adolescent cohort. With extensive experience in arts education he is naturally suited to the challenges of nurturing our teens’ growing independence. He holds a Bachelors degree in Contemporary Arts, a P.G.C.E in Art and Design and a Masters in Fine Art Painting. Payam is a dedicated artist and developer of student skills. He can be found in the art studio working with elementary and teens students on all manner of media and techniques, or out and about with our teens as the navigate the wider world with the school campus as their launchpad.

Fergus Murray

Adolescent Guide; Sciences and Maths

Fergus shares their fascination with all things scientific and philosophical with our teens students. An experienced STEM guide, holding a BSc in Physics and Philosophy and a Masters in Computer Games Engineering, they are well placed to understand and respond to 21st Century young people’s interests. Having combined these eclectic areas of study with qualifications in Forest School education and a PGCE in Secondary Physics, Fergus in an inspiration both in the lab and when guiding students interests with the world as their global classroom.

Fergus co-founded and runs the Autistic Mutual Aid Society Edinburgh (AMASE) where they facilitate community events, research studies and cohost the The AMASE Research Podcast.

Lesley Milloy

Adolescent Guide; Language Arts

Following her original Bachelors degree in English literature and theology, Lesley completed her PGCE teaching English, Media and Drama at North London University in 1999. Her passion for literature and the development of children’s literacy at all levels, led her to further specialisation as an SPLd teacher and assessor recognised by the British Dyslexia Association.

After moving to sunny Edinburgh in 2001, Lesley joined the team at EMAS where her poetry workshops and many trips to sites of literary interest soon became a popular fixture with our adolescents.

Lesley provides 1-1 and small group support in literacy as well as supporting the general adolescent program.

Rob Eyton Jones

Visiting Outdoor and Photography Guide

Self made entrepreneur and champion of the Montessori approach, Rob has extensive experience in the media industry both in media management, design and photography. His two sons are former EMAS students and Rob has been a supporter of the school since it’s opening in 2006.

An avid outdoorsman, Rob guides our weekly hiking expeditions. He enjoys rock climbing and mountaineering with students as well as delivering weekly photography sessions which often end up taking place outdoors.

Rob is responsible for much of the photography on the EMAS website; always endeavouring to involve students from taking the pictures to editing and presentation.

Allison Doig

Visiting Adolescent Guide; Occupations Projects

Allison hails from sunny California where she gained her Bachelors Degree in General Science and Teaching credentials in Sciences and Maths. Following her studies of Montessori Adolescent education at Hershey Farm School in Ohio, she went on to set up and co-teach a Montessori middle school program in California.

Allison is passionate about supporting the work and characteristics of the adolescent developmental plane. She is visiting Occupations guide, providing project design and delivery for our middle school cohort.

Specialist Educators: Whole School

Romina Mazzotta

Outdoor Educator


Romina joined the EMAS team in 2021 as Outdoor Educator and Montessori Trainee. With a background in Community Education and Forest School, Romina coordinates and oversees the work in our gardens and paddock with all age groups – developing our outdoor spaces and the learning opportunities they offer.

Jenny Messer

Paddock Custodian

With a wealth of experience of enthusing children about the outdoors and engaging people in the community into gardening and growing projects, Jenny takes care of our extensive outdoor spaces and is special keeper for our seven loud and quacky ducks.

Jenny has completed a Children in Permaculture training, a Forest Gardening course, and did her Permaculture Design Course and Practitioner training in Edinburgh.


Russell Burbush

Music Co-ordinator and Piano, Guitar/Ukulele Teacher


Russell is a seasoned musician with an extensive background in school and community music. Working across all age groups, Russell collaborates with our teachers, students and artists to provide a smorgasbord of musical opportunities. He hold a Bachelors degree in Music and Masters in Community Arts.

Lindsay Anderson

Music Educator, Drumming Teacher


Lindsay Anderson holds an Honours Degree in Music from Edinburgh Napier University and a Masters Degree from Birmingham Conservatoire where she specialised in Percussion Performance. Lindsay has worked with children in many different settings and at EMAS since 2014. She works with our Elementary and Teens groups on a wide range of musical inspiration. Lindsay also runs our popular after-school Rhythm Club.

Irene Michelena Vega

Spanish Educator

With a background in Primary Teaching (BAHons) and Speech Therapy (MA), Irene joined EMAS from Spain in 2023. She works with our elementary and teens classes, inspiring interest and engagement in Spanish language through games, drama, props and conversation.

Irene is passionate about sharing her love of languages and is studying and learning how to implement the Montessori approach at all levels.

Rachel Treloar

Art Therapist

Rachel oversees the art therapy service that EMAS providing bespoke support to students who need it. Rachel has an Honours degree in Fine Arts Sculpture. She also holds an MSc in Art Psychotherapy and is registered with the British Association of Art Therapists and the Health and Care Professional Council.


James Chincharo

Ceramics and Technologies Artist

James holds a Masters in Ceramics and Glass and a Bachelors degree in Fine Art Sculpture. James maintains his own practice in both Ceramics and Fine Art which underpins his approach to creative arts workshops. Within the EMAS art studio James works alongside elementary and teen groups fostering the development of their creative curiosity.

Support Team

Laura McKinlay

Chef Extraordinaire

We are honoured to have Laura with us cooking up a daily feast for (and often together with) the children. Inimitably cheerful, Laura has a smile and kind word for all. The children are regular visitors at her kitchen door, checking what’s on the menu and giving feedback and ideas.

When asked for examples of important women on International Women’s Day, our nursery children nominated Laura – “because she makes yummy food for the children who don’t bring packed lunch!”

Mo Murray

Facilities Coordinator

Mo is an experienced caretaker and mother of three grown-up children. She is organised, approachable and is especially passionate about helping others.

We are delighted to have Mo with us from mid morning to end of school each day. You will no doubt enjoy getting to know her – if you can indeed find where she is – sitting down is not in her skillset, but my goodness the EMAS spaces have never been so organised!

Liam Rocks

Multitrades Specialist

Liam is a multi trades craftsman of over 30 years experience and is central to keeping our wee school fixed up and looking great. While he does so, he is sharing his wealth of knowledge with our elementary and teens pupils.

Nick Rattigan


Quietly organising the accounts and making sure things run smoothly, Nick coordinates the school’s finance and billing.