Nancy Inganni, Head of School


I grew up on a farm in Connecticut and went to a small women’s college in Boston. Between then and now I attended the Boston Museum School, learned to cook at the Cordon Bleu, opened a London business, taught at an after-school program in Boston and a kindergarten in California, got my undergrad and graduate degree at Boston College, and raised five mostly Montessori children. Now I am delighted to head DMA and in my spare time teach English at Antelope Valley College and cat wrangle.

Lucinda Inganni, Administrator and Montessori Practicum Student


Hi there, I'm Lucinda Inganni. I was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts in a large Italian/Swedish family. I attended The Cambridge School of Weston where I received a college-level degree in English/Creative Writing and Art. I also attended the Museum School with a painting major. I moved to California in 1998 and attended University of Redlands. I lived in Los Angeles before discovering DMA and moving to Lancaster. I have one 8-year-old son. We love animals, art, the outdoors and everything Montessori! 


Viviana Hynds, Harris House

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Hello, I'm Ms. Vivi. I have 3 wonderful children and a puppy. I love children and working so close to my own is a dream come true. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, and my husband and I just bought our first home here in Lancaster! I love being a part of the Desert Montessori team.

Carolina Garcia, Harris House

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Hello, I'm Ms. Caro. I have 3 of my own children and I love having them close to me at DMA. I am so committed to the Montessori Method and I love my time spent in the classroom.

Maria Cardenas, Bambino House


Hello, I am Ms. Maria. I’ve learned so much here at DMA. I love having the opportunity to teach all these wonderful children.

Tiroma Ekanayake, Children's House

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I am Tiroma Ekanayake. I was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and had my O/L and A/L education at St. Johns Girls school in Colombo. After finishing my A/L I joined the Woodlands Montessori Teacher Training Center and earned my Montessori Diploma. I migrated to the United States in 1984 and stated working at Sunflower Montessori. I attended Los Angeles Valley College and UCLA Extension for my Child Development education. I got married in 1985 and have 3 children. In 1992, I moved to the Antelope Valley, and joined DMA in 2000.

Amber Rodriguez, Children’s House


Hello, I’m Amber! I love being around the children and helping them learn and grow!


Kathy Knettel, Aide

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Hi, I’m Miss Kathy. I was born and raised in Minnesota. I lived in Minnesota my entire life until moving to California in 2015. After college, when my husband, Tom, and I had our two children, Garrett (now 23) and Cassidy (now 20), we decided I would be an at home mom. It was the best decision we ever made. That’s how I became involved in education. I started volunteering at my children's school, then became a substitute teacher, then I got hired for a part-time position. In 2007, I became Supervisor of the Before-and-After School Program. I loved being with the kids. What I then thought would be a "couple  of years" job turned out to be my calling. I stayed there until we moved in October of 2015. I can’t explain where the passion for working with kids came from, but I have it and I love it. It is the most challenging yet rewarding job I’ve ever had. This is my first year with Desert Montessori Academy and I’m grateful to be part of a team where children are taught with love, understanding and caring. They are the innocence and best of what is.

Emily Lentini, Gessel House

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Hello all, I am Emily Lentini.  I was born in Hot Springs, AR., but my family moved frequently while my father finished his education.  Eventually my family settled in a small Texas town just outside of Waco where my mother and I owned and operated a magical flower shop for over 20 years.  I moved to CA in 2009 to be with my husband and to finish my undergraduate degree in English and Linguistics.  In the past 8 years, we have had two wonderful girls and have made the Antelope Valley our home.  My oldest daughter has been a student at DMA since 2016. I joined the DMA team in 2017 as a Gessel House teacher and have loved every moment spent teaching your kids!

Aislinn Berlanga, Gessel House

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Hello, I'm Miss Aislinn! I was born in Granada Hills and raised in Lancaster for the past 19 years. My passion for teaching evolved through my mother’s influence. Ever since I've attended school, my mother has followed me through the journey. She has worked for the Lancaster School District for the past 16 years as a volunteer, bilingual para educator, teacher aide, and office clerk. She once told me that the greatest satisfaction of teaching is when children personally thank you years after for being a positive role model in their lives. This will be my 3rd year of teaching and my 2nd year here at DMA. I am excited for the journey we will embark together in our quest to learn.