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CIS Leadership Team

Beatrice Tierney Stradling
Founder/President, Children’s International School


I founded Children’s International School, located at 4347 Arlington Blvd., in 1985. The goal of CIS was to provide young children from multicultural backgrounds a quality learning environment. CIS opened its second site in Alexandra, Virginia, in 1990. In 2001, CIS was awarded a contract to manage the Foreign Service Institute Child Care Center, initiated by Secretary of State Colin Powell. Our fourth operation, located at 1227 North Scott Street, Arlington, Virginia opened in 2004.

As the owner of CIS and as part of our global outreach efforts, I have traveled abroad providing teacher training and volunteering to help “at-risk” children. I have had the opportunity to work in Romania, Russia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Czech Republic, Italy, and China.

Presently, CIS helps support the Arlington
 Academy of Hope (AAH), a non-profit organization that provides primary education to children in rural Uganda. AAH was founded by one of our former parents. While visiting Uganda, I was saddened by the high rate of children’s illnesses and for this reason, we helped to build two health clinics that currently operate in North Eastern Uganda. CIS also has adopted a “sister school” in Kampala, Uganda called the “Canaan Nursery School.”

CIS is very fortunate to have great Directors, as well as wonderful teachers and assistants at all our sites. I am so proud of all my staff and the expertise, love, and nurturing they offer to our children. 


Monica Tierney 
Education Program Manager & Community Outreach Coordinator, Children's International School


As the Program Manager, Monica helps to oversee our four CIS locations.  She has over 15 years of experience in the education field.  Prior to CIS, she worked at Columbia University, Phillips Van Heusen, and the United Nations focusing on human rights issues, primary education, and capacity building projects in developing countries.  

As the Education Specialist, she creates a Reggio-inspired curriculum that inspires curiosity, creativity, and 21st-century skills.  As an environmental and animal advocate, she enjoys teaching children to become engaged and empathetic social citizens.  She also is the founder of an award-winning toy line, Mio Reggio, which has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Creative Play Magazine and the Patch.  Her products are the recipient of the 2021 Good Housekeeping Sustainability Innovation Award, 2022 Creative Child Top Toy Award, 2022 Creative Child Eco Friendly Product of the Year Award and 2022 Washington Parent Pick Finalist.   

 Most recently she partnered with National Day Calendar to create "National Green City Day" which will be observed annually on October 1st.   This day celebrates the innovations and progress cities are making to become more sustainable.  Mayor Bowser officially proclaimed the holiday in Washington DC during the Fall of 2022.    


Monica holds a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology & Italian from the University of Virginia, a Master's Degree from NYU in International Education as well as certification in Sustainable Business from NYU Stern School of Business.  


Amina Wells Assaadi
Director, CIS Alexandria
25 S. Quaker Lane Alexandria, VA 22314

My name is Amina Wells Assaadi and I am the current Director of the Alexandria location of Children's International School.  I am a Native Washingtonian with deep family roots in Loudon County and I attended George Mason University in Fairfax County.  I grew up in a household where my mother was a family childcare provider and I developed a deep love for supporting the growth and development of young children.  I began my education in Government and Politics but early in my career, I decided to follow my passion for working with young children. While pursuing my degrees I served as both a preschool and elementary teacher, in addition, to working as a Center Director and Assistant Principal for a K-12 International Baccalaureate school.  I love to learn and being in the field of early childhood education I get to marvel at the joy and development as children discover and explore the world around them.  It is an honor to share in the developmental journey of young children and to be a facilitator in their growth and development.


Gayle Gregoire
Director, CIS North Scott
1227 N. Scott Street Arlington, VA 22209


Ms. Gayle has been in the education field for the past 30 years. She has been with CIS for 5 years.  Prior to CIS, she was the Director for ten years at a preschool in Springfield.  She holds a B.S. degree from the University of NC.


Her educational philosophy aligns with the Reggio Emilia approach. Children’s natural curiosity when supported by an environment that provides materials and resources for investigation leads to a child-driven curriculum in which the children can actively be involved in developmentally appropriate learning.  She presently serves on the Northern Virginia Association of Education for Young Children as the Scholarship Chairperson.  She has been a Girl Scout leader for the past five years. She also participates in various community projects such as Potomac Watershed Clean up and Feed My Starving Children events. 




Dr. Wendy Brisley
Director, Children's International at the Foreign Service Institute


Dr. Wendy Brisley, the Director for the Children’s International School at the George Schultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center has been in education for the past 30+ years.  After completing her undergraduate degree. Dr. Wendy began working for the Seneca Nation of Indians, which is a Native American tribe in western New York.  While there she began their Montessori School.  The Montessori method is very similar to the traditional way the Seneca people taught their own children.  During her 5 years as the Director, she was able to become an accredited school and all lead teachers were accredited in the Montessori method.  After working there, she moved on to become a consultant for the county Head Start program.

She moved across the state of New York and became a substitute teacher while raising her three children.  During this time she continued her education.   Then had the opportunity to become an independent contractor for a foundation that worked with Bard College. There, she developed an English language learners’ program.  She developed the curriculum for the college students that were part of this program, as well as the English language learning students that participated. This after-school program assisted English language learning students with academic support and adjusting to life here in the United States. The program expanded into many school districts within the area.  While building this program she undertook the adventure of completing her doctorate.  She has presented at various conferences on this program and the findings of her doctoral study. 

She moved to the DMV area and has had an impact on young entrepreneurs and became a volunteer evaluator with the Cigna program, which accredits schools around the world.  



Maria O'Lenick
Director, CIS Arlington
4347 Arlington Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22203


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