Every Polis World School classroom is a Montessori “prepared environment,” carefully stocked with materials and opportunities targeted to reflect the natural interests of children of your child's age.
The Polis World School Manhattan team is a talented group of educators, advisors, and administrators working together in a welcoming and inspiring community. Our team is passionate about education, and passionate about serving New York children and families.
Mandarin Lead Guide, Elementary
A native Mandarin speaker, Andrea Cui is deeply passionate about teaching and working with children of varying age levels. She was inspired by the Montessori pedagogy after joining the first Association Montessori International certified elementary school in China. Andrea obtained her AMI elementary certificate in 2016 from the Montessori Institute of San Diego, and began working as a Mandarin speaking elementary guide in a bilingual school in California. Andrea spent the school year planning her own Chinese Montessori curriculum and implementing Montessori methods in teaching Mandarin to her non-Chinese students.
Andrea Cui attended Purdue University from 2008-2012, where she completed her Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts, majoring in Sociology and Communication. She also attended high school in Germany, where she learned to speak German. She has extensive experience in advertising and marketing from her past careers as well.
In her spare time, Andrea enjoys singing and reading Chinese and Japanese literature. She is looking forward to joining Polis World School and hopes that her diverse background will influence her students not merely academically, but also by showing them how to live with integrity and independence while immersing oneself in a new culture.
Mandarin Lead Guide, Children's House
Xinting Lu began teaching Mandarin in 2010 and has since received her Master’s of Education in Teaching English as a Second Language and Special Education from Adelphi University. Xinting has worked with children from 1½ through 13 years old, and has taught in language schools, Montessori schools, and general education schools. After seeing many different types of schools, Xinting finally found her passion in Montessori education. She received her AMI Primary certificate at the Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies in Phoenix, Arizona, and is currently completing her AMI Assistants to Infancy training for children from 0–3 in Beijing.
Xinting is extremely excited about working at Polis World School, and she is particularly looking forward to developing materials and curriculum in Mandarin in response to her student’s interests and passions.
Art Education Specialist
Luc Travers is the author of Touching The Art: A Guide to Enjoying Art at an Art Museum. He received his B.A. in Art History from the University of Memphis in 2003. Since then he has taught and created curriculum in art appreciation and literature for students of all levels with an emphasis on elementary and junior high students. He worked for eight years at VanDamme Academy, a classical education-based elementary/junior high school, where he developed an innovative art appreciation curriculum and trained fellow teachers in the approach. For the past four years, Luc has put together curriculum and taught classes for the two online education companies he created, Touching The Art and Literature At Our House. Along with teaching online and in the classroom, Luc has shared his passion for art through tours at dozens of art museums all over the U.S. and abroad. In his spare time, Luc loves to play soccer and to spend time with his niece.
Mandarin Lead Guide, Children's House
Asia Wang believes deeply in Montessori education and has spent many years working with children both in China and abroad. She has successfully completed the Association Montessori International 3-6 training in Shenzhen, China. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language from Beijing Language and Culture University and is a certified preschool teacher in Hong Kong. The Montessori approach has had a profound impact on Asia’s teaching philosophy and it has provided her with a new perspective on how she sees and embraces the world. Her experience working in Thailand and Hong Kong helped her to acquire an effective approach to teaching Mandarin in a Montessori prepared environment. Asia firmly believes that language plays an important role in the pathway to achieving love and peace. She is extremely excited to join the Polis World School community, to work with Polis' families, and to fully meet each child's developmental needs so that each child maximizes his or her potential.
Dr. Matt Bateman
Director of Content
Dr. Bateman earned his bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College in 2004. While there, he worked in their Child Development Center researching the nature of early personality development in children. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 2012 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied the history of thought in philosophy and psychology, as well as conducting research in cognitive science. He taught and continued his research at Franklin and Marshall College in the Department of Psychology, on topics ranging from neuroscience to evolutionary theory to philosophy. Dr. Bateman left his academic position in 2014 to join LePort Schools as its Director of Curriculum and Pedagogy. There, he oversaw research and development of the school’s approach to education. This included working closely with teachers and other members of the Academic Department to write curriculum, developing pedagogical training for teachers and school leaders, overseeing the design of new programs such as language immersion, and redefining the organization’s guiding pedagogical principles. He also acted as a key representative of the school's educational philosophy, writing position papers and engaging with the larger educational community. In 2016, Dr. Bateman became a founding member of Higher Ground as the Director of Content, where he is responsible for intellectual and pedagogical oversight across the organization.
Head of School
As Head of School, Alia draws upon her extensive experience as an international educator and mentor for students of various ages. Alia is AMI-trained at the elementary level, a graduate of the first Australian Montessori teacher training with Association Montessori Internationale. In addition to working with children and families, Alia has carefully guided and mentored over one hundred language teachers at the university level as a guest lecturer in Australia and South Korea. She has inspired and trained educators to successfully implement the communicative approach in bilingual and monolingual contexts. Additionally, Alia served as the Communications Director at Metropolitan Montessori School in New York City, where she drew upon her leadership skills to coordinate thoughtful, open communication with parents and prospective families.
Originally from Sydney, Australia, Alia has worked in Montessori settings in Honolulu, Sydney, Hong Kong, and New York and considers herself a citizen of the world. She first moved to New York City while interning as a policy analyst at UN Women Headquarters. Trained in the fine arts, Alia immediately appreciated the wealth of cultural and artistic offerings present in NYC; as an educator, she quickly recognized these as unique opportunities to learn beyond the classroom.
Alia's qualifications include a Bachelor of Education from Charles Sturt University, Australia and Montessori certification for Elementary (six to twelve years) education from the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), and a Graduate Global Leadership Certificate from Macquarie University.
Alia has a passion for learning and can be found in libraries, galleries, museums and getting her hands dirty with urban farming and cooking. She's thrilled to welcome new families to Polis World School and is truly looking forward to working alongside parents to support the growth of their children.
National Director of Admissions
Monna Istranyi has extensive experience in Mandarin immersion, early childhood education, school administration, project management, and communications. She is excited to bring her wide-ranging experience to her role as the National Admissions Director for the Polis World School network of campuses. She will assist in launching the first Polis campus in Manhattan and then will shift her focus to expanding the Polis network within the U.S. and ultimately around the world.
As the former Assistant Director at HudsonWay Immersion School in New York City, Monna was responsible for the overall operation of the school, working closely with administrators, teachers, and parents to ensure that the school met and exceeded growth goals. Monna's experience as a Mandarin Head Teacher, teaching students from nursery through kindergarten, is the basis for her enthusiasm for the Montessori approach to immersion language learning. Monna has also worked as a Project Specialist at Tory Burch and Royal Caribbean. In these roles, she helped the Chief Information Officer and the IT Executive Leadership Team define each organization’s mission, vision, and strategies, and was involved in all IT communications and organizational design activities at each company.
A Shanghai native, Monna holds an M.S. in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from Touro College (New York, NY) and an M.Ed. in Language Education from Rutgers University in New Jersey, as well as a Professional Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Special Education in New York State. In her leisure time, Monna enjoys art, movies, and exploring new restaurants in New York City.