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My parents opened Riverside Montessori Academy in 1982. Over the past three and a half decades, RIVMA has remained a staple in the Riverside Community with its innovative curriculum, skillful teaching practices, inclusive leadership, positive behavior techniques and family and community partnerships. 


Prior to joining my parents as Executive Director at RIVMA, I served as the Associate Director for the Children, Youth, and Family Services at Alliant International University where I supervised and trained doctoral students who were providing mental health services for children, adolescents, and families in the Alhambra Unified School District. As an adjunct professor, I taught graduate courses in Human Diversity, Child Development, and Adolescent Psychology Classes. In addition, I served as clinical psychologist at a youth detention center through the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. 


Much of my focus in psychology has been on children and adolescents, both as a clinician and a supervisor. Childhood is one of the most integral parts of an individual’s life and its imprints are evident in adulthood. In a rapidly changing world, parents and teachers play an enormous influence and our partnership is an essential part of helping our children grow. 


As Executive Director of Riverside Montessori Academy, my goals for our children are to become confident, caring, inquisitive individuals who are able to appreciate differences, love the process of learning, and make a positive influence in the world years from now. 


Historically RIVMA alumni excel beyond their counterparts in most schools. We believe this is due to our unique approach to learning through a strength based pedagogy with individualized programs allowing for children to progress through the curriculum according to their own skills and abilities.  


A school’s environment greatly shapes the way a child learns for the rest of their lives. As a family, no decision is more important or more intensely personal than choosing a school for your child. When a child is a part of our school, we honor the faith and trust you have placed in our hands and take on this role with care and responsibility. Our teachers are well trained in early childhood development, and are creative, patient, pragmatic, and invested in instilling a spirit of inquiry in your child. It is my honor and privilege to work with such a talented and dedicated and adaptive team.


The COVID-19 pandemic has raised numerous questions among students, teachers, parents, and administrators about the pandemic’s impact on education. None of us could have anticipated the changes faced in the world in the last 2 years and students of all ages have experienced a disruption in their education.


As we navigate these unfamiliar times, our top priority at RIVMA is to bring back a balance of social-emotional learning with intellectual curiosity and growth for our children. We will continue to build the capacities of confidence and resilience, encourage play and movement, and provide multi-sensory learning experiences guided by Montessori principles. Most importantly, we will be leaning into the challenges of this new landscape together as a community of caring individuals, committed to raising the children in our care. 


I am a strong believer that all hardships lend us some form of learning and am confident that we will emerge from this moment stronger than ever. Our team is full of gratitude for your partnership.  






Dr. A. Chandrapala

Executive Director, Riverside Montessori Academy


Dr. A. Chandrapala

Riverside Montessori Academy






  • PSY.D., Clinical Psychology
    California School of Professional Psychology

  • MA, Clinical Psychology
    California School of Professional Psychology

  • MA, Marriage and Family Theraphy
    Antioch University

  • BA, Psychology, 
    University of California, Riverside

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Our History

Mrs. Lalitha Chandrapala received her AMI (Association Montessori International) certification in 1979. She began her first Montessori School in 1979 with 15 children and has been at the Pachappa Location since 1982. Her love and passion for children, inspired her husband, Mr. N. H. Chandrapala, to join her and together they have managed our two locations for 30 years.
They have dedicated their lives in the education and nurturance of generations of children. Although retired, they continue to remain an integral part of the training and development of both locations. 

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