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 travel 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 
Program Manager & Community Outreach Coordinator, Children's International School


As the Program Manager, I oversee our four CIS locations.   I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology & Italian from the University of Virginia and a Master's Degree from NYU in International Education. Prior to CIS, I 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.   I have also worked at NYU Center for Brain Health focusing on cognitive development research.  


Implementing a Reggio inspired environment that inspires curiosity, creativity, and collaboration among our students and teachers is my passion as well as teaching children to become engaged and empathetic social citizens.  During my spare time, I like to write picture books for children addressing multiculturalism, the arts, and respect for others.   My first picture book titled, Books Need Love, Too! launched in May 2018.   



Saskia Swider
Director, CIS Alexandria
25 S. Quaker Lane Alexandria, VA 22314


I have been working with CIS for 20 years, and I feel fortunate to be a part of the well-known and respected organization. In 1991, my family arrived in Alexandria from overseas and my eldest child was ready to start pre-school. Subsequently my son started at CIS in Alexandria, and as a parent I always felt that the CIS staff was excellent and their love for the children in their care is amazing!

Finally, in 1993, I decided to make the switch from parent to CIS employee! Although, many years ago, I worked with older children teaching them English as a Second Language, and then even went on to obtain an International Law degree and work in the legal field, I continue to truly enjoy working with preschool age children because here I have the opportunity to have a direct and positive influence on their future success n school and life.

I have seen CIS grow from two locations to four and always felt that the ‘hands on approach’ of the CIS leadership has truly made a difference in children’s lives. To this day, we have alumni visit us and volunteer for us, and it is wonderful to see that the children fondly remember their days here at CIS!



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


I have been in the education field for the past 30 years. Most recently I was the Director for ten years at a preschool in Springfield. I have a B.S. degree from the University of NC. My educational philosophy aligns with the Reggio Emilia approach. Children’s natural curiosity when supported with 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. I am presently serving on the Northern Virginia Association of Education for Young Children as the Scholarship chairperson. I have been a Girl Scout leader for the past four years. I participate in various community projects such as Potomac Watershed Clean up  and Feed My Starving Children events. 




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


Maria O’Lenick, Children’s International School Director, is responsible for fostering an environment that allows children, their families, and the staff to develop to their full potential. Maria has a long career in Early Childhood Education starting in 1972 in Peru her native country as a Teacher and Center Director, in USA she was Teacher and Director from Head Start, Director for Children’s International School, Assistant Director and Director at Bright Horizons Family Solutions at the IDB and a Childcare Centers Consultant. This long career working with children, became a passion to keep Maria for many years to came in the field.

Maria holds a Bachelor's Degree in Education from Pontifical Catholic University from Peru and Professional Childcare Certificate from The School of Child Care. She feels very proud working for Children’s International School.