Our teachers provide the dynamic link between the children and the classroom environment.
Our staff consists of loving and highly skilled teachers who have a great passion for the
education of young children and for assisting each child in his or her individual growth. We are
dedicated to following the natural development of each child, to help him or her develop a love
of learning and a sense of independence that allows for exploration and excitement from newly
Amanda Swiger - Director / Montessori Educator
Amanda is the director and lead educator for the Montessori Internationale School [MIS]. She
has a Master’s Degree in Education from Loyola University in Maryland and her AMI certified
Primary Montessori Diploma from the Montessori Institute of Atlanta, now known as the
International Montessori Training Institute. AMI, Association Montessori International, is the
international authority on Montessori Education. AMI trained teachers undergo rigorous
training and examinations to meet the standards of this organization, and teachers attend
regular training and workshops to maintain a connection with AMI and its expectations for
Amanda has worked with children in the primary age group for over 15 years. She is a
dedicated and talented educator with a desire to improve our world through the best possible
education for young children.
Shirin Boghani - Montessori Educator
Shirin is an AMI certified Montessori teacher and has been with MIS since 2012. Shirin has a
Bachelor’s of Commerce degree from Shadan College, Osmania University, India. She received
her AMI certified Primary Montessori Diploma from the Montessori Training Research Centre in
Hyderabad, India. Since her training, she has worked as a Montessori teacher in both India and
the U.S. and offers her rich experience to the children and the classroom as a whole.
Shirin is a dedicated teacher and an active part of our local community, and she gets great
satisfaction from watching the children grow and succeed throughout their classroom
experience and beyond. The success of the children is the greatest mark of success for a
Cortney Hliva - Assistant Teacher
Hi there. My name is Cortney Hliva and I am so thrilled to have the honor of joining the wonderful family of Montessori Internationale. I am married and have two children who both attended Montessori schools through Kindergarten. My daughter graduated from Montessori Internationale in 2016. She loved it here and was so excited when I told her I get to work here now.
I grew up in Charlotte, NC then went on to attend Wake Forest, earning a 4 yr, BA in studio arts, and a minor in Russian. I moved back to Charlotte to be near my family and in 2001, I was called for an interview at Charlotte Preparatory school. Now, I had literally just started a different job which I had applied for at the same time but they insisted I still come for an interview and I am so glad I did. I enjoyed being a Montessori assistant there for 2 years, then a substitute for a year. In between that time, I moved to Portland, OR to get my CELTA (Cambridge University certification to teach English as a second language) then to New York, NY to work for a few months to save money for a flight to Solnechnogorsk, Russia to teach English. I had an amazing experience there but chose to move back to the states.
Eventually I married Todd Hliva, whom I had been dating since 2000 (we met at Wake Forest). We moved a few times for his work and I did various child care jobs, Montessori substitute, and even worked as a flower designer at a shop. I am a very eclectic person and my likes reflect this. I love to try everything and go everywhere, but I always come back to Montessori😊 I love it. It’s amazing. I am a lucky gal to be able to do this every day.
Cheryl Puryear - Assistant Teacher
Cheryl has been with MIS since 2008. She has her Master’s degree in Special Education from
the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the
University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. Cheryl is in constant acquisition of new training,
knowledge, and skills, and has over 35 years of teaching experience at various schools in
Knoxville and the surrounding areas. She has taught a variety of age groups in both the public
and private sector, and continues to work with the surrounding area schools as a substitute in
Special Education classrooms.
Through her years of teaching, Cheryl came to really love working with preschool aged
children. She appreciates the child’s limitless ability to learn at this young age and seeks to
provide children with accurate and interesting information about whatever topic is of interest
to them. Cheryl offers her wealth of experience and love of learning to each student and the
school community as a whole.
Janice Mitchell - Music Educator
Janice first joined MIS in 1997. Janice has a Bachelor’s of Music from Auburn University, AL and
further studies at the Universities of Illinois, Iowa, and Tennessee. She has many years of
teaching experience in public and private schools as well as church choirs, musical theater, and
private lessons in vocal production, piano literature, and brass instruments.
Janice loves watching the “Aha!” moment when a three-year old moves like a tree in the breeze
to music, or a four-year old feels the “eternal” rhythm of his heartbeat, or the five-year old
learns all the lyrics plus motions to a new song. Along with teaching, Janice plays French horn
in two orchestras and two concert bands, and plays organ and piano as well as directing an
adult choir and hand bell choir in Rockwood. She is active in the Knoxville community in
representation of the arts and the revitalization of downtown Knoxville.
Susana Daniel - Spanish Language Educator
Susana moved to Knoxville, TN from La Dorada, Colombia, in 2013. She has a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages and International Business and has a combination of experience in teaching languages and business. She has taught in Colombia, France, and the United States and fluently speaks Spanish, English, and French. With her language work, Susana is pursuing her passion to help kids, teenagers and adults to develop their communication skills.
Lisa Stalnaker - Office Administrator
Born and raised in East TN, I spent a lot of time riding my bike, fishing and exploring my grandparents’ garden. I enjoyed and excelled at Lenoir City Schools and graduated from UT with a B.A. degree in Environmental Studies with a Minor in Wildlife and Fisheries Science. As a working student I did everything from feeding spiders to gluing teeth back into cougar skulls before moving on to an office job after graduation. Years later, after marrying and purchasing a home with my husband, I began a career in environmental compliance. I chose to stay home with our children (now ages 7 & 4), and have just recently entered the working world again in a part-time capacity.
I love the outdoors, hiking, camping, fishing and natural history. I am very passionate about environmental issues and conservation. I love all kinds of music, and play the clarinet with the Tennessee Wind Symphony. I like to cook, read and play board games and I love Halloween and all things spooky!
Our daughter graduated from MIS in 2018 and our son attends now. We love MIS and I am happy to be working to help the school and Miss Amanda!