Primary Staff

Carol Butler- Team Lead

Carol Butler is originally from Vermont and moved to Southern California when she seven.  She knew since high school that teaching was chosen career.  She attended California State University, Chico where she earned a Bachelor’ degree and later her California Professional Clear Multiple Subject teaching credential.  She has been teaching for over ten years and have taught grades K-6.

Ms. Butler realized early on that the traditional educational model didn’t fit with her educational style.  She began working with families that home schooled their children, she even home schooled her own kids, with a local charter school.  During this time, she was first exposed to the Montessori teaching philosophy.

Ms. Butler joined BMMA at the end of their inaugural year (2013/14) as a lower elementary teacher then moved to Primary this past year (2014/15) as a co-teacher.  During this year, she learned more about the Montessori philosophy and how the students blossomed into independent learners.  She chose to get her Montessori Certification and spent this past summer completing coursework toward that goal.

Ms. Butler is a single mother of two exceptional children, one a high school junior and the other a sophomore in college.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time in nature, hiking, going to the beach, traveling, reading, going to movies, writing, and spending time with her family.


Lili Sannino

Lili Sannino  grew up in Bulgaria and came to the USA in 2004. Before coming to California  she lived in Chicago for two years, and in Colorado for nine years. She has been teaching for more than 20 years on two continents. She owned her own tutoring business and taught English language from 1st through 12th grade in Europe. She has worked as a Primary lead teacher in a Private Montessori school and a Charter Montessori school for eight years in Colorado.

She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and English language in the most prestigious university in Eastern Europe. She holds a Masters of Science in Mathematics Education from University of Colorado Denver.  She has a Professional Teacher License (K-6, k-12 ELL) and Primary Montessori Teaching Credential from the Montessori Center of the Rockies (AMS). She also speaks a few foreign languages.

She is a self-published author of a children’s book titled “My Montessori Friends”.  Cultural works, foreign languages, art, and mathematics are some of the things she loves to teach her students daily.  When she am not at school she enjoys the outdoors, traveling, spending time with her family, her children (a college and a high school student), her husband who is a native Italian, and her black lab and red dachshund.


Jessica Welch

Jessica grew up in southern California. She graduated from California State University, San Marcos in 2010 where she was part of an accelerated program that allowed her to earn her Bachelors degree in Liberal Studies and teaching credential at the same time. For the past five years, she has been working on Camp Pendleton with preschool age children. This will be Jessica’s first year teaching in a primary classroom and she is thoroughly excited to be working with your children in a Montessori setting. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys spending time with her husband and rambunctious young son, Tristan. She also enjoys reading, writing, and singing.


Becky Crowder

Becky was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico where she attended the Academy Montessori School at a young age.  She loves elephants, crocheting, and her fiancé. She graduated in May, 2014 with her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Multicultural Education from the University of New Mexico. During her degree program she worked as a nanny. “Being a nanny was one of the most rewarding jobs of my life, until becoming a full-time teacher. I love coming to work every day, and making a child’s life a better, richer, one.” After graduating, she began her first year of teaching with Albuquerque Public Schools, where she took over her own first grade classroom. Becky is enthused to have the chance to work at a Montessori school, where she aims to create a caring environment that facilitates the development of all individuals in her class. She aims to provide a psychologically constructive class where the students will be provided with hands on, child centered, and engaging activities. Becky cannot be more thrilled to be joining the Bella Mente team!


Elizabeth Grant

Ms. Grant graduated from Chapman University with a B.A. in Psychology. Upon graduation, Elizabeth worked in various educational settings, including tutoring (all subjects, grades K12), leading afterschool programs, volunteering at a children’s shelter, and teaching English to adults in Argentina. Finally, Elizabeth decided to return to school and become an elementary classroom teacher. In 2016, she received her Master’s degree in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction and Multiple Subject teaching credential from the University of San Diego. Ms. Grant is passionate and driven, and pours all of her enthusiasm into teaching. She constantly strives to learn more about education in order to improve her methods, because she believes that learning is a lifelong journey and there is always room for growth. Most importantly, Ms. Grant welcomes every student into her classroom with an open heart and open mind. Her goal is to create a classroom environment in which every student feels valued, capable, and respected. Ms. Grant was born and raised in San Diego, but is an avid backpacker and has traveled to six continents. Her love for travel is founded in her desire to learn about new cultures, and she believes that her broad worldview contributes to her efficacy as an educator. Ms. Grant also enjoys gardening, cooking, fly fishing, painting, and surfing (i.e., floating). The more time outside, the better! She is always looking for a new adventure, and loves to share her enthusiasm.


Instructional Aids:

Christine Ebling (with Ms. Carol)

Coming Soon..
Martha Huerta (with Ms. Jessica)

Coming Soon..
Susan Cronsier (with Ms. Lili)

Coming Soon..


Marianna Bacher (with Ms. Becky)

Marianna is a Southern California native who currently resides in Carlsbad with her husband, two daughters and two Australian Shepherd dogs. She enjoys spending time with her family and taking long walks on the weekends along the beach. Family summer vacations typically include visits to US National Parks for adventures in hiking and camping. While her children were growing up, Marianna devoted her time as a classroom volunteer, PTA Board Member and Co-President, Girl Scout leader and arts program coordinator. She continues to support the performing arts and track programs at her younger daughter’s school, and enjoys cheering on her older daughter during intercollegiate lacrosse games.

For the past six years, Marianna has thoroughly enjoyed teaching children in a variety of classroom settings. She has experience as a Teaching Assistant in the Carlsbad and San Marcos Unified School Districts, as well as working with young and school age children at a full day care center. In addition to a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California, she also holds a Child Development Assistant Teacher certificate and an Associate Teacher Child Development permit. As Marianna has always loved encouraging young children to achieve their potential, she is excited to be working in a Montessori environment and looks forward to getting to know the Bella Mente children and families.