Faculty and Staff
Founder/Head of School
The Journey School is a private, non-profit, middle school founded by Christina Thomas in 2015. Christina recieved her Bachelor of Arts from St. Mary's College of Maryland and a Master of Arts in Leadership in Teaching with a Maryland State Teacher Certification from College of Notre Dame of Maryland and has over 25 years of teaching experience. She left her Howard County middle school teaching position to pursue her dream of opening her own Montessori-based middle school. Having experienced Montessori as a mother of two Montessori educated girls and seeing the impact that a deep, meaningful, and developmentally appropriate program had on them, she wished to see this continue into the middle school years. Dr. Montessori's method for elementary-aged children rang true for Christina as an educator, and she desired to see it used for older children who would benefit from the freedom, independence, and responsibility of being thoughtfully engaged in their own learning. Noting that most Montessori programs end at the upper elementary level (grade 6), she saw an opportunity for one that focused on the middle school years and developed a program that would attract a variety of students from all backgrounds - Montessori, public, private, and home schooled. Christina received her certificate from the AMI Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies and opened The Journey School, a Montessori Middle School in 2015, that expanded to include an elementary school in 2019. In addition, she completed an Elementary Assistant's Workshop in July 2021 from the Institute of Advanced Montessori Studies.
Christina is honored to be the recipient of a 2023 Women Making History Award presented by the Montgomery Commission for Women and Montgomery Women that recognizes outstanding women in Montgomery County who are making significant contributions to their vocations and to the community.
Lower School Director
Mrs. Carrie Weitzman holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Drexel University in Philadelphia. She holds an American Montessori Teaching Certificate in Elementary Education from the Princeton Center for Teacher Education. She served as Montessori head teacher for five years as well as a Director of Admissions for 4 years. Her volunteerism includes serving as President of Mater Amoris Montessori Parent Teacher Organization and Room parent. Carrie is dedicated to spreading the Montessori method of education that teaches the whole child, developing a love of learning, independence, and a deep understanding of the world around us. Because of her deep appreciation for the Montessori pedagogy, Carrie has been a member of The Journey School board since its inception and now joins as a faculty member serving as the Director of the Lower School. She lives in Fulton, Maryland with her husband and 2 children. In addition, she loves traveling, cooking and spending time with family and friends.
Classroom assistant, Environmental Educator, and Microeconomy Manager
Ms. Linda has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from The University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington and holds an AMI assistant certificate. She is an experienced Montessori classroom assistant and has worked as an environmental educator at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium and Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center in Seattle, Washington. Ms. Linda has worked at TJS since the Fall of 2018 as a substitute teacher and chicken wrangler. In addition, she volunteers to take Willow, her Reading Education Assistance Dog (R.E.A.D.), to the Onley Library to read with children. She enjoys helping students increase their own personal resilience, harmony, confidence, and sensitivity by being tuned in to the natural world. She is the mom of 4 boys, including 1 TJS Alumni!
Lead Upper Elementary Guide
Ms. Kristin Ingram is a counselor, facilitator, and upper elementary guide at The Journey School. In her undergraduate time at American University, she studied art and business, but found her real passion for education in South Korea where she taught English for three years. Although she won Teacher of the Year and expected to spend her entire teaching career in Asia, her work with stressed students and staff inspired her to refocus on mental health and wellness. Ms. Ingram returned to Maryland to earn her graduate degree in counseling from Johns Hopkins University and promptly started work as an Alternative Education Teacher for Howard County Public Schools, where she provided therapeutic learning environments to students with exceptional needs. Through her training and experiences all over the world, she found the Montessori pedagogy to be the most conducive to positive and productive learning for students and looks forward to enhancing her practice as a lifelong learner and supporting students in their work at The Journey School. In her free time, she loves to make zines, talk about education, get her ego checked in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and figure out ways to entertain her one-year-old, Cyrus.
Mehran Divanbaigyzand (Mr. Zand)
Middle School Math
Mr. Zand joined the TJS staff in the fall of 2020. He has over 20 years experience teaching high school math.
His first teaching experience was in Montgomery County, helping AFDC recipients fulfill their requirements for a high school diploma. Next, Mr. Zand taught at Ballou Mathematics Science Technology Academy, where he became part of an effort for the first conversion of a public school academy to a charter school in Washington D.C. He then joined César Chávez Public Charter High School for Public Policy as the math mentor teacher and worked there for 10 years. Mr. Zand has worked for District of Columbia International School since 2014 as a math and chess teacher. He has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, and has done graduate work in the same subject and Economics.
Excitingly, Mr. Zand holds the title of Expert in chess by United Sates Chess Federation and received his International Master title in 2010 by International Correspondence Chess Federation. Mr. Zand's personal areas of interest are philosophy and history of Islam and Iran.
R.E.A.D. Therapy Dog
Willow is a certified R.E.A.D. therapy standard poodle. She is under the direction of Ms. Linda at all times and is a patient and calming member of our community.