Having been born and raised in both Milwaukee and Brookfield, Wisconsin, with family all over the state, Jennifer is no stranger to the city. While she began her schooling at Carroll University to earn her Doctorate Degree in Psychology, she took some time off and found herself working here at Milwaukee Montessori.
While she does plan on returning to finish her schooling, she also plans on continuing to be a Toddler Teacher here at our school. Having a daughter herself and plenty of children in her family, she’s always loved working with kids and hopes to do so for a long time.
Along with her love of children, she also has a love for animals, music, nature and spending time with family.
Before bringing her teaching talents to MMS, Kendel worked in Menomonee Falls in their childcare program and was the Life Enrichment Director in memory care at an assisted and independent living center for more than 8 years! Speaking on her passion for working with children, Kendel says, “it’s a beautiful thing to have a part in their world view; to be one of the people guiding them in their development.” She not only brings her care knowledge to the classroom but also her artistic talents! Kendel performs live around Milwaukee and you may have even heard her on the radio performing songs that she has written and recorded. She was nominated for Artist of the year and song of the year recently, and loves to cook, write poetry, hike, be in nature, and bring all of her passions into the classroom every day!
Saniya Davis joined our Toddler Team in August of 2022. She considers herself a “daycare” kid, meaning that she spent several years in daycare herself, and wants to bring all of the best parts of her experience to the children she works with at MMS! Saniya loves watching the children grow at MMS, and says that she is fascinated by the Montessori method and the way her students are learning. Outside of work, she’s recently earned her CNA certification and has several passions that she’d like to share with her students, such as dancing and creating art, and because she is a toddler teacher substitute, she gets to share them with all of the Toddlers at MMS!
Ariana Pollard joined the Stepping Stones North team in November of 2022. She loves interacting with children and watching them learn as they grow. She has a nurturing spirit and enjoys music, traveling, and her sweet kitten. Outside of work, she spends her time cooking and playing the clarinet, which has taken her all over the world, including Germany, for performances!
Caroline Cassidy is a recent transplant to Milwaukee, moving from Minneapolis, Minnesota where she received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies. She is no stranger to Milwaukee though, having grown up visiting her grandparents on the east side and spending her freshman year at Marquette.
Before joining the MMS team, Caroline worked as an optician repairing people’s glasses, as a student archivist in her university’s library, and much more. Throughout all of this, she has consistently returned to childcare, having experience babysitting, being a camp counselor, and nannying full-time. MMS is her introduction to formal education.
Outside of the classroom, Caroline can be found with her friends & family, spending time outside, reading, knitting, and petting every dog she meets. She looks forward to getting to know everyone in the MMS community.
I graduated from Concordia university with a BA in elementary and special education, as well as early childhood and youth yoga teacher certifications.
Working with children is m passion as I believe children are the future. I take pride in having the luxury to be able to help shape their minds and build on their interests. I enjoy watching each individual child learn and grow. I am thrilled to be a part of MMS and have my daughter attend as well.
My faith, family and friends are important to me. I spend a lot of time outdoors hiking, playing hockey, doing yoga, painting, and building.
I come from a big family with lots of kids, so I grew up babysitting a lot. I’ve always been fond of children. Now that I’m part of the team here, I can’t wait to positively affect the children and be the best role model I can be for them. I’m also hoping to get to know the staff more and looking forward to building relationships with everyone here. In addition to that, a few more things about me are that I love to bake and when I’m not in the kitchen, I spend time with my dog or hanging out with friends.
Her name is Alexandra but everyone calls her Alexa. Alexa was born and raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico. She moved to Milwaukee 4 years ago and lives with her mother, stepfather, and little brother. She had the opportunity to make her first experience working in a daycare in Big Bend, WI which was super exciting for her. Alexa‘s favorite hobbies include cooking, painting, singing for God, and baking. Few know it, but she loves to make cakes among other desserts. She is very excited about the experience she will have working here at MMS!
Julie joined Milwaukee Montessori School to take on the role of A/R and Payroll Specialist in the fall of 2022. She has worked in different work settings, but this is her first time at a school. The MMS environment and community is exciting to her! Every day, she gets to see smiling and happy young children that are eager to learn. Julie is very involved with two award-winning barbershop a cappella choruses: Crosstown Harmony Chorus for 25 years along with being a founding member of Forward Harmony Chorus (established 08/22). You may also see her walking, kickboxing and stair climbing. She is also a lifelong animal lover and has two rescue cats.
Monica Van Aken Ed.D. has served as the Head of School at Milwaukee Montessori School since 1999. In 1926, her grandmother completed her training with Maria Montessori and taught as a Montessori teacher in Germany until the time that Hitler closed their school because it was filled with children from Jewish families. Monica’s mother took her Montessori training in Germany with Montessori’s proteges, along with Mario Montessori in England. Monica attended Whitby Montessori School in Greenwich, CT from Children’s House through 8th grade.
During the summers, Monica would visit her grandparents in Germany. Because she was familiar with the Montessori method and materials, Monica’s grandmother regularly had her sit with the students in her school to help with their lessons. In return, she was paid in chocolate! She says that she vividly remembers taking the first bite of her first day’s pay and deciding right then that she would be a teacher when she grows up.
I am excited to be a part of Milwaukee Montessori as a toddler teacher. I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where I graduated from Hope Christian high school. I always had a passion for working with toddlers and infants. I was a youth worker for about 10 years at Siefert elementary school. In my spare time, I love being with my daughter and going to the park and I am a big basketball fan!
My name is Hannah Sadler and I am very excited to have recently rejoined MMS!
A little about me. I was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI and in 2018, I received my Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. I have been consistently working with children since then. I love to watch them learn, grow and flourish in the classroom!
In my free time, you can usually find me reading, cooking homemade meals, studying holistic health, or spending quality time with my partner. When the weather cooperates, I love to be at the beach, riding a bike or kayaking.
Karin graduated from Waukesha County Technical College with an associate’s degree in Restaurant Management. She spent many years in a variety of restaurants, in such positions as a catering coordinator, junior sommelier, and restaurant manager. After restaurants, Karin moved to retail operations where she trained and executed the standards and best practices throughout the store.
Karin is a parent of two girls who has been attending MMS since 2018 (MMS class of ’30 and ’31). Away from school, she enjoys being outside with her family, snuggling with her dog Cosmo, cooking, listening to podcasts, thrifting, and discussing her reality TV shows with whoever will listen.
Bhawna was born and brought up in Chandigarh, India. She earned her Bachelors in 2010 and Masters in 2012 degrees in Electronics and Communication Engineering. She was a professor at M.M University, Haryana, India in the Department of Electronics and Communication for three years. She has research papers published in IEEE and other journals. She collaborated actively with other researchers on the application of Digital signals and applied mathematics.
Later, in 2016 she moved to the United States. She worked with YMCA as a School age group leader for Hamilton School District, WI. Bhawna resides in Brookfield and outside of work, she enjoys spending time with kids, traveling, and doing yoga.
Natalie Lange was born and raised in the Mount Pleasant, WI area on a family farm. She graduated from Carroll University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Fine art and Psychology. With that degree, she has worked in administrative, teaching, and behavioral health roles. Natalie also enjoys traveling; and spent a semester abroad studying in New Zealand and Australia. In her free time, Natalie is an avid pottery and art collector, often searching for treasures at flea markets and thrift shops. Natalie’s many hobbies include cooking and baking, gardening, and creating ceramic and fiber art pieces.
Julie Christensen is the director of Co-Curricular Programs at MMS. She received her bachelor’s degree in Exercise and
Sports Science in 1997 at the University of Wisconsin-La-Crosse. She started as the Physical Education teacher in the fall
of 1997 and continued to teach in the position for 11 years. She earned a coaching emphasis that she has put to good use
starting Milwaukee Montessori’s after school sports programs. Those programs included basketball, volleyball, and track
and field. She continues to coach Track and Field and Volleyball to this day.
After serving as a Physical Education Teacher, she became the Director of Co-Curricular Programs, in which she has
served ever since. She has also gone back to teaching Physical Education where she team teaches with Jon Mohr and
One of the signature events Julie runs at school is “Jump Rope for Heart”. In serving as the coordinator
since 2001, she has brought many students and faculty together to raise money for the American Heart Association. The
school has raised thousands of dollars and in 2014, the school raised $11,600! MMS has built their sports program over the
years, and in 2021, the 8th grade girl’s volleyball team won the SETON tournament at the division 2 level.
She is the mother of two boys, Nathan and Cooper and is married to her husband Rob. She enjoys cheering on all
Wisconsin sports teams, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends. In her spare time, she also
volunteers for COTA, which is the Children’s Organ Transplant Association.
Before emigrating to the United States in 1998, Jelena worked as a middle school English
language and literature teacher for several years in Serbia. She completed an undergraduate
degree in Novi Sad, Serbia, and finished graduate studies in the methodology of teaching
children in elementary school in Belgrade, Serbia. The theme of her graduate paper was
“Incorporation of Cultural Elements in Teaching English as a Second Language.” Last May,
Jelena has completed her master’s degree program in Montessori education through UW-River
Falls. The theme of her master thesis was “The Importance of Studying Poetry in a Lower
Elementary Montessori Classroom.” Jelena has also completed all the requirements for the
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction teaching license. Last school year, she worked as a
lower elementary lead teacher at the Montessori School of Waukesha.
Jelena loves reading and her favorite children’s authors are Roald Dahl, Patricia Polacco, Kate
Dicamillo, Katherine Applegate, and Cynthia Rylant. Jelena is also a Serbian author of several
books of short stories and one novel. One of her books of short stories won a major prize for
literature in Serbia in 2013.
Jelena is a proud mom of four grown children.
We are delighted to announce that Leslie Jones will be a Lead Teacher in the Children’s House this Fall. Leslie graduated from UW Whitewater with a degree in Early Childhood Education & Development and a minor in Fine Arts. Before joining the MMS team in the Fall of 2021 to complete her Montessori teacher training, Leslie worked for an educational non-profit as a Parent Educator making home visits with families to foster healthy child development. Leslie has now been teaching in our Children’s House program since 2021 and she looks forward to welcoming back returning and new students in the Fall.
Catie Barksdale received her degree in Teaching for the Deaf from ISU. Catie utilizes her teaching experience here at the Milwaukee Montessori School where she has been involved for over 15 years. Catie’s four children have all attended MMS with two being graduates and two still attending.
When she is not at MMS, Catie enjoys gardening, bonfires, and spending time with her family.
Courtney Gebhardt was born and raised in Rochester, MN and moved to WI after completing her undergraduate degree, double majoring in Psychology and Criminal Justice. She then went on to receive a Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership. Throughout her youth she was heavily involved in sports and continued with that passion by competing in collegiate athletics, playing volleyball and softball. After graduating in 2015, Courtney continued in collegiate athletics, working as both an Assistant Coach for different volleyball and lacrosse programs. Most recently, Courtney comes to MMS after working as a Special Education Paraprofessional, primarily with 4K-1st grade students.
In her free time, you can often find Courtney crafting with her Cricut machine, reading through massive piles of books she has checked out from her local library, or out and about at various thrift stores seeking unique treasures to bring home! Oftentimes on weekends, you can find her and her husband out on the water.
Kara, a Directress in the Children’s House since 2008, received her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and mass communication from the UW- Milwaukee in 2005. After graduating, Kara joined the MMS staff as an Administrative Assistant and was quickly impressed with the level of work the students were doing in their classrooms. Her interest in the Montessori philosophy grew when she became an Assistant Teacher in a Montessori classroom in 2005. Soon after, she began Montessori Early Childhood training at the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston, Illinois. In 2008, Kara completed her Montessori training as well as Orton-Gillingham training to provide multi-sensory literacy instruction to young children.
She has enjoyed leading her own classroom, and sharing in the growth and learning the children experience there each year. In her free time, Kara enjoys biking, hiking, and attending Brewer and Packer games. She is always looking for a good book to read and new restaurants to try in the area. Kara loves to travel, and her favorite place to visit is her grandfather’s childhood home in Switzerland. Kara’s two daughters are also students here at MMS!
Kathryn is excited to spend her days observing the boundless energy and engaging curiosity of toddlers. She is truly delighted in watching every new discovery they make within the classroom, and is happy to guide them as they thoroughly explore each new experience that comes their way.
Before joining the faculty at MMS, Kathy Maki worked in the summer recreation department at Milwaukee Public Schools teaching games, crafts, and group activities to four, five, and six-year-olds. It was there that she discerned a love of teaching, and she went on to earn an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Milwaukee Area Technical College. Upon graduation in the summer of 1989, Kathy began working at MMS in the Toddler Program and remained there until the fall of 2021 when she decided to semi-retire. Because of her deep love of children, Kathy decided to return to MMS in the role of a substitute teacher. In this role, Kathy is able to work with every program level, and gets to enjoy learning and spending time with all students. She especially loves subbing in the toddler classroom where she spent so many of her years. She is so happy to be back!
Kathy and her husband, Chris, have two wonderful children. Alexandra is attending the University of Wisconsin – Madison in their Nursing school and is an MMS alum, and Jack, is attending MSOE in Computer Engineering. Kathy loves to travel with her family and hang out at home reading and binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy.
Lizz Loder has been a Montessori Directress for more than three decades. She received her undergraduate degree from Lawrence University and her American Montessori International (AMI) Montessori training from The Midwest Montessori Institute where she studied under the late Hildegard Solzbacher. Lizz was a Children’s House directress at Milwaukee Montessori from 1992-2019.
After retiring from classroom teaching in June 2019, Lizz continues her work coaching and mentoring new faculty, while also serving as a support and resource for the entire Children’s House faculty. She also works closely with the Head of School, Admissions Director, and Director of Development in carrying out a number of administrative duties. Lizz has attended The National Association of Independent Schools Summer Leadership Institute as well as Leading the 21st Century Elementary School presented by Independent School Management. Lizz has served as a visiting team member in the accreditation process for the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and as the faculty representative from Milwaukee Montessori. She also served a three-year term on the Professional Services Committee for ISACS helping to develop and create professional development opportunities for faculty and staff at member schools.
Lizz is active in her faith community where she has led book discussion groups on parenting and family issues. She has also volunteered with her alma mater and a number of arts organizations in Milwaukee. Lizz is firmly committed to the mission and life of Milwaukee Montessori School and she enjoys attending school events, seeing them as opportunities for a more casual, relaxed time to get to know the families of Milwaukee Montessori. She is married to Bruce Loder and they have two adult children, Kaity MMS ’02 and Will MMS ’05.
Ian Anastas has been a primary educator in digital and analog creative mediums for over 12 years. He has taught elementary through high school students in subjects ranging from computer science, programming, video game design, robotics, 3D modeling and printing, 2D and 3D animation, as well as fine art subjects such as drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, and art history. He has also led several continuing education seminars and lectures for adults and educators covering educational technology, game design, programming, and animation. Ian has also worked extensively as a freelance artist in the fields of illustration, graphic design, comics, animation, and tattoo design. Ian is also currently pursuing his MFA through the Savannah College of Art and Design. He lives in the city of Milwaukee with his wife and two children.
Alona joined the MMS team in August 2019 as a Children’s House Assistant Teacher. Being a Milwaukee Montessori parent for nine years, she was excited by the opportunity to be a part of a great team and to contribute to the Children’s House Program.
Alona attended university in Kiev, Ukraine, where she received her bachelor’s degree in engineering. Previously, Mrs. Repikova worked in early learning programs in the New Berlin School District and a daycare program in Elm Grove.
In her free time, Alona enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors with her family.
Cheryl Kelly has been the Director of Admission at Milwaukee Montessori School since 2000. Cheryl has lived in the Milwaukee area her entire life and knows how difficult it can be for parents to choose the right school for their children. She enjoys helping parents work through the process and looks forward to answering questions about the MMS experience and independent schools in general. Cheryl regularly participates as a member of the Accreditation Team for the Independent Schools Association of the Central States to help guide other private schools through the seven-year accreditation process. All of Cheryl’s four children graduated from MMS, starting in the Toddler or Children’s House Program. Every day, she and her husband are thankful they found MMS years ago for their family. Outside of school, Cheryl loves to cook, travel, spoil her dog and spend time with her family (especially her grandson!).
Zachary Weil came to Milwaukee Montessori School at the end of the 21-22 school year from the Chicago Free School where he grew from a long-term substitute to a permanent part of the team. Zachary is a long-time Chicago resident and only just recently moved to Milwaukee. He earned his B.A. in Secondary English Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has pursued creative avenues in both music performance and teaching in the time since. A world traveler and a lifelong student, Zachary has devoted his life to continuous self-improvement; trying his hand at everything from writing zines and short stories, to leading his band on international tours, to cooking extravagant and complex meals. He is a proud caretaker to his beloved pitbull Blanche, a staunch, but not annoying, vegetarian, and a lover of 70’s prog rock, jazz, and classical music.
Keona joined our Toddler Program in 2022.
Prior to working for MMS, Keona worked as a mobile technician and babysat in her free time. The majority of her education was spent in a Montessori school and then graduated from Rufus King in 2019, going on to begin an Associate’s Degree at Alverno College. She says she is overwhelmed with excitement to work at MMS, has a huge passion for caring for others, and finds enjoyment in supporting children in their independence. Outside of working with children she really enjoys bike riding, hiking new trails, and photography!
Mike Searing came to Milwaukee Montessori School in March of 2022 in the role of Office Support Specialist. Mike grew up in Wauwatosa and continues to live there with his wife and three children. His most recent work experience includes financial planning, office management, and bookkeeping. Mike is excited to work in a learning environment, close to home, with friendly co-workers around every corner.
Olivia Newcomer came to Milwaukee Montessori School in December of 2021 to take on the role of playgroup teacher. Originally from the Milwaukee area, Olivia has lived her whole life in the city. She is a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee with a degree in Early Childhood Education.
Olivia has always loved the Montessori approach to learning and was intrigued to find out about Milwaukee Montessori School. She is honored to be a part of the MMS community and is excited to continue to build relationships with the families. In her life outside of MMS, Olivia loves spending time with her family, exploring nature, traveling, and reading.
Allison started in our Toddler Program in October of 2021. She went to school for Speech Therapy and was working at a school for children with special needs before starting at MMS.
Now that she’s here at Milwaukee Montessori School, she’s looking forward to connecting with the toddlers and staff members! When she’s not at work, she spends a lot of time with her dog Maisie, going hiking, and spending time outdoors.
After moving to Milwaukee from Seattle, Daony joined our team in 2021. In Seattle, she worked at another Montessori school and fell in love with it, so she knew exactly what to look for when she started the job hunt here.
Daony is very family-oriented, spending most of her time exploring her new city and trying out new restaurants (she’s a foodie!) with her fiance. Daony is the perfect fit in our Toddler program and is able to sub in any room in our building because of her extensive Montessori experience.
Señorita Ángela Gutiérrez is back to teach Children’s House and Lower Elementary!
Her time at MMS started fresh out of college, after graduating from UW-Madison, as a classroom assistant teacher in Lizz Loder’s room and soon afterwards she began immersing the younger students in the wonderful world of Spanish! She has always reflected fondly on her time here at MMS (2010-2013), and upon seeing a position opening, she was eager to return to the heart of where her teaching career began.
With nearly a decade of experience under her belt and continual extensive research on the best foreign language teaching practices (CI, AIM & TPRS) Señorita Gutiérrez is known for building healthy brain habits in her classroom as well as allowing artistic expression with students. Examples include: 1) utilizing American Sign Language to provide visual support, solidify comprehension, increase retention and scaffold options for participation without English use, 2) incorporating Animated Short Films to engage learners via the storytelling method: Movie Talk, where students listen, write, & verbally respond to prompts about sequencing, accuracy of detail recall, inferencing and their own lives, 3) emphasizing the importance of the phonetic nature of the language and using exaggerated facial expressions to attain accurate pronunciation til it becomes more natural for learners and is no longer necessary to ‘act it out and 4) embodying song and literature where one rapidly acquires vocabulary, perfects their pronunciation and finely tunes his/her eyes and ears to a new language.
When not singing, dancing, acting or laughing with students or creating holiday art installations around the educational grounds, she can be found creating art at coffee shops, attending live music shows, bouldering (climbing walls in a gym or actual rock faces in outdoor competitions), as well as soaking up the sun at Bradford beach.
Carlie joined MMS at the beginning of the 21-22 academic year in our Toddler Program. Before coming to MMS, she spent time working at a restaurant in Racine, as well as running an in-home daycare. She loves spending time with children and is so looking forward to her new career with our toddlers!
Outside of work, she likes to power lift and spend time with her dog, Linus.
Since graduating from MMS in 2011, Nate has done many things, including being in a band, working with his brother at his commercial painting company (they paint our halls every summer!), and playing solo music gigs.
Nate is super excited about his MMS career. He learned how to play guitar from the one and only Allen Cote and had Mrs. Shergill and Ms. Pearce as teachers! His time at MMS as a student was wonderful, and we can’t wait to see what he does here as an adult!
Lubna is originally from Pakistan, where she taught elementary and middle school. And after finishing her Master’s at the University of Northampton in England, she worked with the university’s elementary program. Before coming to MMS, she spent time in the Oshkosh school district as a substitute teacher, and now she has joined us to be a CH Assistant!
Outside of work, Lubna enjoys cooking all different types of cuisine, spending time with her pets, and volunteering her time to underprivileged students.
Debbie has been our Business Manager since 1999 when she moved to Milwaukee with her family from Ohio, where she worked in the Development/Business office of another school. Her three sons, Greg, Steve, and Jordan all attended MMS, and her youngest son is now working with us in the Marketing department!
Debbie’s strong accounting background and understanding of parents make her a great fit for our school, where she loves the multi-faceted position she holds, almost as much as she loves her co-workers!
Outside of the Business Office, Debbie loves her hobbies of archery, golf, and gardening. And she’s really good at them, too!
Ryan Burden earned his PhD in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2021 and joined our team as an Upper Elementary teacher in the summer of 2021.
Originally from New Jersey, he has lived in Milwaukee since 2016. He is an active fiction writer, with short stories published in a number of literary magazines for adult readers. Having taught college composition and creative writing courses for the past five years, he is excited for the opportunity to work with younger students.
In his free time, Mr. Burden enjoys fishing, hiking, and camping with his wife and three-year-old son.
Greg joined us as the Director of Educational Technology in the summer of 2021.
The academic year of 2020-2021 was his first year teaching after graduating from UW-Milwaukee with a Physics and Chemistry Education degree. While in school, the Montessori approach to education was always at the forefront of his practice. Greg believes that the use of technology in education is crucial in order to keep continuity between the classroom and society.
Greg enjoys learning and growing with his surroundings. He considers himself a lifetime student and treats his classroom and students with that mentality. He is constantly going down rabbit holes with his curiosity, trying to figure out how things work and why. He enjoys woodworking, structural design, and photography and is regularly impulse buying the latest physics or chemistry toys.
Greg is married to Katie and they have two children, Penelope (5) and Lennon (2), as well as their dog Lani, with who Greg spends almost all his free time with.
Hannah works in our Toddler program and has a very caring spirit, both for our youngest students and for animals! She has several different pets ranging from cats to birds and even ferrets! In her free time, she enjoys doing art, photography, and getting together with friends and family.
Before working at Milwaukee Montessori School, she was the store manager at Pet World where she took care of all kinds of animals and even helped to train the staff on how to care for the animals at the store. She came to MMS because she loves kids and is eager to help them grow and learn new things and is looking forward to watching every little one grow to take those next bigs steps in their lives!
Betzy, with over 15 years of customer service and case managing experience, has managed to build her career through hard work and dedication. With her solid sales skills, she has driven her teams to success while exceeding her own goals.
Being a native of Milwaukee, WI, Betzy enjoys being outdoors and discovering hidden gems that include food and great drinks in the local area. If Betzy is not at home spending time with her two sons and daughter, she is catching up on reading or listening to her favorite podcasts. Betzy is a community leader through the Salvation Army and volunteers as a Crisis Chaplain bringing Spiritual and Emotional support to families and victims of trauma or violence in the city of Milwaukee. She also takes part in other community events throughout the year.
As an extension of her inquisitive personality, Betzy enjoys an eclectic mix of music as well as movies. Eventually, Betzy’s goal is to one day travel to Israel and Italy.
Sierra Falkowski was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, and grew up traveling yearly to different parts of the country. She later moved to, and worked in, the bustling heart of downtown Milwaukee, and has now happily rejoined suburban life in the city of West Allis. She completed a rigorous International Baccalaureate accredited education and has spent the last four years tutoring literacy and teaching children in Preschool and Lower Elementary.
Sierra specializes in the Creative Arts, working with multiple mediums and formats such as painting, ceramics, and illustration. She enjoys bringing children the chance to try a variety of educational artistic experiences, and likes to fill a classroom with their accomplishments, and celebrate their progress and individuality. She currently spends her time making many of the artistic material components of the Montessori Curriculum. When not at school, Sierra also enjoys reading, traveling, cooking, and has a passion for the environment and volunteering; having previously worked with Homeless Connect, The Wisconsin Humane Society, and local community cleanup projects.
Ella Gill is so excited to be apart of the Milwaukee Montessori School Family! She’s always loved working with kids and has been babysitting since she was a teenager. She thinks kids are so fun to be around every day because nothing is ever the same. When she isn’t working, you can find her with her head in a book, specifically fictional novels. She also enjoys eating out with friends and family and playing with her cat, Sapphire. Fun fact! Before taking this job, she worked as a security officer at a hospital. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Parkside with a degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice. She’s so looking forward to getting to know all of the parents, staff, and students!
Alesa Weiss came to Milwaukee Montessori School in the summer of 2015 to take on the role of Front Desk/Development Assistant. In May of 2016, she was promoted to the Director of Development position. Originally hailing from Tulsa, OK, Alesa has lived in Milwaukee for the past decade. For most of her professional career, she worked at the YMCA managing the Day Camp Program Business Office. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Education & Engagement from UW-Milwaukee.
The thing that drew Alesa to the school was the unique and exciting way Milwaukee Montessori School approaches learning. She loves being a part of the MMS community and is grateful for the relationships she has built with the families here. She feels privileged to do the work she does with and for your students – it doesn’t feel like work to her! In her life outside of MMS, Alesa loves spending time with her husband and son (MMS class of ’33!), doing escape rooms, reading murder mystery books, and drinking tea (read: pretending to be British).
Eliza graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with degrees in Business Administration and Musical Theatre. She has been teaching dance classes to students ages 3-22 and is excited to be joining the Milwaukee Montessori School staff as a teaching assistant for Mrs. Shergill. Her favorite part of teaching, whether it be in a classroom or in a studio, is seeing the student’s excitement as they learn something new!
Ms. Alyson Berg is no stranger to Upper Elementary, spending the majority of her MMS career teaching UE students History and Science.
She earned her degree in Animal Science from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls, complete with a minor in Chemistry, holding true to the Berg Family tradition! Her parents own a dog breeding business and her sister is an Astrophysics professor at the University of Texas.
In her younger years, Ms. Berg grew up in Minnesota, where she developed a love for the outdoors and animals. She often helped her parents take care of their breeds of English and Irish setters. And when she wasn’t puppy-sitting, she was training for a competitive equestrian career. Her beloved horse is now retired and spends his days eating the most excellent grass and hay Minnesota has to offer.
She’s known for many things, including her love for animals, every single type of candy, and an excuse to make a costume. Need to look like a fish or Greek Goddess by tomorrow? Ms. Berg’s got you covered.
Alex Flood graduated from Milwaukee Montessori School in 2011. He then went on to attend Pius XI Catholic High School just down the road. After graduating in 2015 he attended Northern Michigan University in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and graduated in May of 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Management with a minor in Psychology. Alex began working at MMS shortly after graduating 8th grade as a CIT (Counselor in Training). He then became a part-time employee working during the summers and over various breaks throughout the school years. This past MMS school year was his first year as a full-time employee. When he isn’t at work, you can find Alex in the woods hunting, hiking, camping, or on the Mississippi River fishing with his father. “I am extremely grateful to be working full-time at the school that has helped me so much over the years. I really enjoy watching the children learn and grow and I consider myself lucky to be able to help them along the way.”
Evan Lane is a professional studio musician, songwriter, singer and performer. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Evan started his classical training on the viola in 1999, not long after starting he worked with his first private teacher, Nathan Hackett of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. After successfully graduating from Milwaukee High School of the Arts, Evan attended the Conservatory Program at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI., under the direction of Matthew Michelic of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra. From there, he transferred to Roosevelt University in Chicago and attended the Chicago College of Performing Arts under the direction of Li-Kuo Chang and Roger Chase of the Chicago Symphony as a Viola Performance Major. In between each year of school, Evan served as Associate Program Director for Camp Timber-Lee in East Troy, WI for nearly 10 years where he managed all musical facets of Summer and the school year, as well as developed, implemented and executed 5 ‘specialty’ art camps that exist today all while being an active musician in the local community. In addition to his love of coaching young people to unlock their individual talent, Evan is actively growing as a solo artist in the Milwaukee area and invites you to the many opportunities to see him perform all year long along with hearing his first single, ‘Milky Way.’
Anoma Wijenayake has been a Directress in the MMS Children’s House since 2002. In all, she has almost three decades of experience teaching and mentoring three to six-year-old children. Anoma earned a college degree in Early Childhood Education from the Open University of Sri Lanka and a Casa dei Bambini Montessori Diploma for ages 3-6 from the Association Montessori International. In 1986, she began working as a lead Montessori teacher in Sri Lanka, and in 1988, she moved to the United States after accepting a position at the Montessori School in Mauldin, South Carolina where she taught for three years. Anoma then taught at the Montessori School of Yorbalinda in Anaheim, California for three years before coming to Milwaukee.
Anoma lives in New Berlin, with her husband and three children who have all graduated from MMS. She is actively involved in the Wisconsin Sri Lankan community’s cultural activities throughout the year, including teaching the Sinhala language to children. Anoma enjoys outdoor activities, reading, sewing, and traveling, as well as watching football, basketball, volleyball, and Cricket with her family.
David Swanson grew up in Chicago. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and biology from Northland College in Wisconsin in 1998. Soon after, he began teaching at the Nature’s Classroom Institute and Montessori School in Mukwonago. There, he combined his love of the outdoors with his love of math and teaching. As he worked within the NCI’s experiential classrooms, David began working toward his Elementary Teaching Diploma from the American Montessori Society. In 2009, he began teaching math and science at MMS.
David is a lifelong learner dedicated to his growth as an educator, and he truly values the curricular depth available to students at MMS. He strives to foster community learning in the classroom: where students help and teach each other. Outside of school, David spends most of his free time in the natural world kayaking, paddle-boarding, hiking, fishing, camping, gardening, and spending time with his daughter and son. He is an adventurer who continually seeks the experiences and challenges inherent in being in the wilderness.
Amy is a Children’s House Playgroup teacher. Prior to joining MMS, she worked at New Horizon Daycare Center in child care for roughly three years. After working there, she moved to the Green Bay Avenue School and worked as a Paraprofessional with K4 and K5 students for about a year and a half. Her college degree was from Concordia University Wisconsin in early childhood education.
Amy loves the environment at MMS, and she says that it is much calmer and different, in a positive way, then her prior places of employment. When not working, she loves to spend time with her family while going roller skating or bowling.
Katie started at Milwaukee Montessori School in 2013, bringing ten years of previous work with children. Before coming to MMS, Katie worked at the West Allis West Milwaukee Recreation department. During her time working there, Katie ran her own playground field house, as well as arts and crafts, sports and many other fun activities. Katie also ran a dance program and was also a co-director for a gymnastics program. Katie attended MATC where she studied psychology and business before focusing on education. She is currently in the process of completing her NAMC Infant/Toddler Certification. Katie looks forward to using her past experiences to help the toddlers gain much new knowledge. She is very excited to be a part of the MMS community and everything that goes along with it.
When Katie is not at work she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to new places, attending softball and baseball games. Katie recently bought her first home in West Allis and is getting married in October of 2015. Working with children is an great opportunity to watch them grow and it is also a great joy to see their smiling faces each and every day.
Cece Sullivan has been a Montessori teacher for many years and taught at a number of different Montessori schools in the Milwaukee area. Cece happily joined the staff at Milwaukee Montessori School in 2009. One of the reasons Cece enjoys working at MMS is the feeling of community and working closely with parents, students, and staff which continues to bring new experiences every day. Cece also worked at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center for 16 years as the Program Registrar and Building Rental Coordinator. During that time, she was instrumental in helping to develop the live raptor program, helping to establish the nature preschool at the Center, and implementing a speakers’ bureau for outreach programs. In addition, Cece has worked at a quilt store, designing and stitching quilt tops, and teaching quilting classes. She currently works part-time at a natural pet food store.
Ms. Sullivan received her Montessori training at the Midwest Montessori Institute in Milwaukee. During that time, her children were attending MacDowell Montessori School. Cece received her bachelor’s degree from Ashford University, graduating Magna Cum Laude.
Cece is an active member of Immanuel Presbyterian Church and has served as a deacon, usher, Girl Scout troop leader, Sunday school teacher, and member of the special events committee. When she has the opportunity, Cece enjoys designing and making quilts, working in her gardens (flowers and vegetables), cooking and reading. She lives in South Milwaukee, has two daughters, two grandchildren, a great-grandson, and a Sheltie, Peanut.
Montessori Teacher, Shabnam Shergill, was raised in Chandigarh, India, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degrees in Education and World History and a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Punjab University. She taught at the high school level in India for fourteen years, and moved to the United States in 2000. She joined the MMS faculty in 2001 as a Toddler Teacher and then a Lower Elementary Montessori Teacher, after earning her Montessori Teaching Certification from Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston, Illinois. Outside of school, Shabnam enjoys traveling, cooking for friends and family, and handwork such as knitting and embroidery.
Ron Saari was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where he attended Northern Michigan University. In 2011, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in elementary education. In 2013, Ron started teaching at MMS, where he found his second home/family and now wife. He has had the pleasure of working with all age groups in academics or after-school programs. You can also catch him at the front desk, as he is a part-time administrative assistant.
In 2018, Ron earned his Lower Elementary Montessori Certification from NAMC. Ron is in the 3rd generation of teachers from his family and has been working with children since he was in junior high. He enjoys being able to help foster the needs of all students, while also guiding them to reach high yet achievable goals. Ron loves having the opportunity to work with all age groups of children at MMS and be a part of their puzzle of success. In his spare time, he loves to laugh and create memories with his wife and daughter, fish, write poetry, watch sports (especially the Detroit Lions) and eat different spicy foods.
Ben Riggs is a teacher, writer, and raconteur who has spent many years teaching in America, Egypt, Japan, and China. A lover of the humanities, he studied English and history at Boston University with an eye on becoming an educator. He furthered his studies at Alverno College, receiving a Masters of Education in 2011. In addition to teaching, Mr. Riggs had a brief stint in Hollywood working on Cities of the Underworld for the History Channel and is a published author. He is still a passionate advocate of the humanities in the classroom. His students have won multiple Scholastic Golden Key Awards and have had their work published in The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Sarah came to Milwaukee Montessori School in the fall of 1975, to start a new Lower Elementary class. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Albion College in Albion, Michigan. Sarah earned her Montessori Elementary Teaching Certificate from the Association Montessori International in Bergamo Italy. She has taught Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary and helped start MMS’ adolescent program with Margaret Novak-Brown in 1982. Sarah is a member of the North American Montessori Teacher’s Association. She has served on the board of Wisconsin Quilters and was a member of the education committee of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee.
During the summer, Sarah enjoys traveling, quilting and other needle arts. She has been a docent at the Milwaukee County Zoo, studied at several archeological sites including Crow Canyon and has sailed Lake Michigan and around the coast of Florida on the Schooner Denis Sullivan. While at Milwaukee Montessori, Sarah organized MMS’ participation in environmental education programs at McKensie Environmental Center, Upham Woods and Nature’s Classroom. She began the Montessori Model United Nations program at MMS, Odyssey of the Mind and has co-led several student trips to Europe that included living with families, going to local schools and sightseeing.
Carina started at Milwaukee Montessori School in September of 2019 as a Playgroup III Teacher. She was born in Monrovia, Liberia West Africa but spent most of her teenage years in Madrid, Spain.
She had the privilege of becoming a foster parent to juvenile girls while accomplishing an internship from the Eastern Michigan University Social Work Program at the Ennis Center for Children in Metro Detroit. She also attended Oakland Community College and the American Red Cross in Michigan. Carina’s passion has always been helping people of all ages which is why she worked as a Critical Care Technician at Sinai Grace Hospital in Detroit.
Carina is married with two amazing children. When she is not at work, she spends time with her family traveling, volunteering, exploring different restaurants, and walking her four-year-old Labrador Retriever who thinks he’s human!
John began playing the violin when he was two years old and hasn’t stopped since. Born and raised in Mequon, Wisconsin (a suburb of Milwaukee), John learned the art of performance at a young age through his involvement with both the Milwaukee Youth Symphony and the Homestead High School Orchestra.
At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Patek continued performing and studying the violin. He’s had the opportunity to work with notable teachers such as Joan Rooney, Vartan Manoogian, and Stefan Muhmenthaler. After graduating from UW-Madison in 2004 with a degree in violin performance, John continued his studies at the Conservatory of Neuchatel in Switzerland, where he earned his master’s degree.
John continues to perform actively in Switzerland, Italy and in the Midwestern United States. He also teaches several group and private lessons.
Jon has enjoyed coaching and teaching physical education at Milwaukee Montessori School since 2003. He holds a degree in sports management along with certifications in Center Creative Leadership, NFHS Master Coach, USA Impact, and Minnesota Volleyball Instructors. He has spent many weeks working and learning alongside great Olympic, and college coaches including Hugh McCutcheon, Karch Kiraly, and Bond Schymansky. These experiences have helped him develop his coaching philosophy. On top of coaching Volleyball at MMS, he also coaches track and field. When he is not teaching or coaching you can find him on the water, skiing as the acting Show Director for the Pewaukee Lake Water Ski Club.
While attending MATC and working toward her Associate Degree in Accounting, Pat Mehling joined the MMS administration team part-time in 2004. Upon receiving her degree in 2007, she joined MMS full time. She works as the Assistant to the Business Manager, handling many responsibilities including accounts receivable, billing and payroll, as well as numerous other duties in the Business Office. She takes great joy in her children-a biological daughter and a bonus son that came into her life when she met her husband. She appreciates every moment spent with her five grandchildren, four of whom live in California. During her free time, she enjoys riding Harley motorcycles with her husband and their friends.
Marie Cisse was born in Senegal, West Africa, and she is trilingual in French, Spanish, and English. She holds a bachelor’s degree and has trained in the High Scope Curriculum, the Socio-Emotional Foundation For Early Learning, and the Creative Curriculum. Before joining the MMS faculty in 2013, Marie had 18 years of experience working in Head Start and also worked at the Urban Day School where she planned and implemented developmentally appropriate activities to promote the children’s learning and social skills. She works to engage each child’s individual needs and learning styles and enjoys watching children grow into avid and independent learners.
Outside of school, Marie is interested in religious studies and meditation. Additionally, she and her husband are active members of their church where they volunteer at the local soup kitchen. Marie also enjoys traveling and hopes to participate in service trips that will take her to other parts of the world.
Catherine Lee has been working professionally with children for the past two decades. After earning a bachelor’s degree in early childhood Education from the UW-Milwaukee, Catherine started her career at MMS in 2000 in the Nighthawks afterschool program. Then, she served as an assistant teacher in the Junior High, Upper Elementary, and Lower Elementary classrooms. In 2002, Catherine earned a Montessori Elementary Teaching Certificate from the Association Montessori International and became a Lead Teacher in Lower Elementary. After ten years of teaching at both Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary, she assumed a position in the after-school child care program.
In March of 2014, she became the Director of Child Care and Extra-Curricular Programs. Catherine’s two young children proudly attend MMS. She and her children enjoy movies and travel. A member of Mensa since 2007, Catherine greatly enjoys crosswords and solving puzzles and riddles as well as playing trivia and board games. She is also an enthusiastic reader and food lover.
Kari grew up in Waukesha and attended the Montessori School of Waukesha for her primary years. She received her bachelor’s degree from Carroll College in 2010. She decided to get her Montessori training after she went to the MSOW 50th-anniversary party. After a conversation with one of the teachers at the party, she was inspired her to go back to school to be a Montessori teacher. Kari went on to earn her primary Montessori diploma from the AMI Montessori Institute of Milwaukee in 2015. She loved her year of training at the institute and loves being in the classroom even more. She is very passionate about the Montessori way of education. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, playing games, and traveling.
The fourth of twelve children, Lower Elementary Teacher Jane Keuler says her mother in many ways was like a Montessori teacher, keeping everyone working and busy in their home. Drawn to artistic fields, Jane earned a BA in Art and Music from UW-Milwaukee where she also continued post-graduate work. Jane obtained her Montessori Teaching Certification in 2003 and began teaching in the lower elementary at New World Montessori. In 2007, Jane joined the MMS Lower Elementary faculty where she has been ever since. Jane is an accomplished musician; she played violin with the UWM Orchestra for fourteen years and plays the piano. She also designs logos and has had illustrations published. Jane enjoys working in the garden and crocheting. If you wake up before the sun rises, you might find Jane out on the road. Every day in the summer, she runs or rides her road bike for miles. In the winter, she rises at 4 AM to run, doing this five or more days a week.
Micha Johnson teaches Junior High Science with a focus on chemistry and laboratory experiments. For the past five years, Micha was at STEM Middle Academy in Springfield, MA, where she taught 6th-8th grade Earth, Space, Life, and Physical Sciences. There, she was also named the Science Department Chairperson and a member of the Instructional Leadership Team. Previous to STEM, Micha taught for five years at Putnam City High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, teaching Biology and Environmental Sciences to 9-12th graders.
Micha is from Cushing, Oklahoma, where she spent her entire childhood and graduated from Cushing High School in 2003. In 2008, she earned her undergraduate degree from University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma. In 2017, Micha earned her Master’s Degree from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut in Teacher Leadership with a focus in Literacy.
In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and daughter, Sutton. She is a big college football fan (Oklahoma State… Go Pokes!) and enjoys attending hockey and basketball games. She also loves to spend time with her Boxer, Thunder.
Zahra Hirani was born in the small town of Marion, North Carolina, but grew up right here in Milwaukee. Zahra always wanted to be a teacher, and in high school, she submitted lesson plans to the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America competitions, winning gold and silver medals statewide. Zahra earned a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from University of Wisconsin Madison, and while there, Zahra worked at the UWM Childcare Center to learn more about the field. During her last year of college, Zahra began working with young children in the MMS Milestones room, and the following year Zahra became an assistant teacher in Mrs. Wijenayake’s Children’s House classroom. Zahra finished her AMI Montessori teaching certification in the summer of 2014.
MMS Art Specialist, Karen Gorecki, works with the Children’s House and Lower Elementary to provide vital foundations for artistic growth within each student. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Karen earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from the UW-Milwaukee in 2001 and was the recipient of the prestigious Logan Travel Scholarship in 2000. Ms. Gorecki’s clay sculptures and paintings are known for their “brooding and humorous symbolism,” and she has had them shown extensively in the Milwaukee area as well as Washington D.C.
Prior to joining the MMS faculty in 2007, Karen demonstrated her artistic talents in the field of Visual Merchandising, which included window and store displays at Saks 5th Ave. and Nordstrom’s, as well as renowned holiday installations in Milwaukee, Chicago, New York City, Newark, NJ, and Clinton, CT. Outside of teaching, Karen enjoys painting, sculpting, and absorbing inspiration from traveling, music, witty shows, and movies. She cherishes time with her dog, Charlie, and her family and friends.
Rogelio Gonzalez (aka Roger) joined the MMS faculty in 2002 as a Jayhawks’ teacher. Since then, he has served in many roles at the school: teaching assistant, coach, mentor, photographer, and videographer. He has an associate’s degree in fire science from the Milwaukee Area Technical College and takes courses in time-based media from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design to support his creation of digital marketing materials for the school.
Rogelio’s true passion is in supporting individual and community health and has a bachelor degree in health and wellness management at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He is a proud veteran of the United States Military, having served on peacekeeping missions in Egypt and Israel where he earned an army commendation medal and medals for good conduct and achievement. The discipline, loyalty, and perseverance he learned from his time in military service are values that guide his work with the youth at MMS. He lives in the Canon Park neighborhood with his wife, two daughters, and dog, Hector. When he is not working, he enjoys playing basketball and football, working on his photography, reading, and camping.
Chris Gauger began working at Milwaukee Montessori School in 2006. He is a Nighthawks teacher and is an assistant gym teacher for the Child Care students. His love for working with young children made this job a natural draw. He finds the youthful energy a great fit for his demeanor and natural energy. Prior to working at MMS he worked at a recycling plant and was working on his plumbing degree from MATC. Outside of school Chris loves to water ski and is an active member of the Pewaukee Ski Team. His other passions include wakeboarding and working out.
Heather Eiden, has been teaching at MMS since 2000. As a current CH Playgroup Teacher, she loves working with toddlers whose work is spontaneous and honest, and she feels it is important not to underestimate what they can learn. Her artistic side remains an integral part of her life. A native of Milwaukee’s east side, Heather grew up immersed in the art community. She started working with ceramics when she was 16 years old and began teaching art at Saint Peter and Paul Daycare Center when she was just eighteen-years-old. Heather went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Fine Art in 1997, a Master’s of Science in Art Education in 2014, NAMC Certified Infant/Toddler teacher, and Montessori certification for 0-2-year-olds. Heather is currently working on a series of tiny clay sculptures inspired by her travel in India, Spain, and Mexico. She is also creating a book documenting the projects her students have done over the last decade. Outside of school, Heather practices and teaches yoga.
Pete joined MMS in September of 2007, as the IT Director, handling many responsibilities including managing, repairing, upgrading and installing the numerous systems within the building. A true jack-of-all-trades, Pete is a go-to person for anything else that that may need to be done. Prior to arriving at MMS, Pete spent 14 years in a corporate environment, holding several positions from Service technician, Loss Prevention Inspector (Cable Cop) and Lan/Network Administrator. Pete has a loving wife and enjoys time with his 8-year-old stepson. In his free time, Pete enjoys spending time outside, hunting, fishing, and motorcycle riding. He has also received training in Eskrima (Filipino Martial Arts); and while currently on hiatus, Pete hopes to continue his training in the future.
Allen Cote is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and multimedia artist, originally from Austin, TX and currently based in Milwaukee, WI. Cote received his Bachelor’s in English at Southwestern University, and spent several years as a fixture in the Austin music scene and a veteran of the SXSW music festival. He has contributed to recordings and performances by Buffalo Gospel, Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds, Peter Mulvey, The Championship, Juniper Tar, Hayward Williams, Pezzettino, Whitney Mann, The Wildbirds, Hugh Bob and the Hustle, Trapper Schoepp and The Shades, and many others. Cote is well-versed in guitar, bass, lap steel, ukulele, mandolin and various percussion; and may be found performing his own original compositions – ranging from folk to avant-garde electronica – solo and with various ensembles. He was awarded the Wisconsin Area Music Industry’s “Specialty Instrumentalist of the Year” in 2011. Allen Cote and John Crockett have twice presented their sound installation “Tonal Motion” at the acclaimed Milwaukee Art Museum, and are in the process of refining the installation for further exhibitions.
A former journalist, Cote’s photography has been featured in The Williamson County Sun and The Austin Chronicle, and was auctioned off for charity at Southwestern University’s “A Day Without Art” exhibition. Currently, Cote composes the music for local culinary show Wisconsin Foodie, airing several times weekly around the state on Wisconsin Public Television. He also provides music to marketing and new media firms, and has taught guitar and ensemble lessons at Milwaukee Montessori School since 2007.
Dana’s passion for working with children started early in high school. During those years she cared for children as a part-time job. After high school, she became a part of the YMCA team in their Before and After School Program and the Summer Program. She is currently a part-time student at MATC and working towards her degree in Human Services. Dana is very excited to start working with a younger student population in our Toddler One Classroom. She is thrilled to gain more knowledge and experience here at MMS.
Dana grew up in the Milwaukee area and in her spare time enjoys spending time with her family, friends and her goofy two Pugs.
Laurie Asch has been teaching piano and voice at Milwaukee Montessori since 2012. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in music education from St. Olaf College with a triple emphasis on piano, voice, and violin. Her master’s degree in Music Education is from UW-Madison. Mrs. Asch is currently directing orchestras ages 5-8 at Bayside Middle School and in Fox Point. She also teaches three violin ensemble classes at Tamarack Waldorf School in Milwaukee. Laurie performs in the Festival City Symphony, noted for its educational concerts.
She also performs regularly in string trios or quartets at weddings. Previously she sang in Master Singers, and accompanied numerous recitals as a pianist. Laurie has taught many facets of music in various school systems including elementary music, orchestra, world drumming, choir, and piano. Laurie has also enjoyed traveling to and performing music in many parts of the world including Austria, India, Mexico, and Tanzania. Laurie is married and has three grown children.
Deepti Arora grew up in India, and after earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the Rajasthan University in 1999, she taught middle school language and moral science at Central Academy School in Alwar, Rajasthan for two years. In 2003, she moved to Milwaukee and joined the MMS faculty in 2005 as a Toddler Teacher. After two years, Deepti joined a Lower Elementary classroom as an assistant teacher, and in 2009, she earned her Montessori teacher diploma through the American Montessori Society.
Deepti is now a Montessori Directress in the Lower Elementary. Deepti continues to develop as a teacher; she studied reading instruction at the Columbia Teachers’ College Reading and Writing Project in New York City during the summer of 2011. She strives to create an atmosphere of calm, order, and joy in the classroom. She sees her role as helping and encouraging children while they develop self-confidence and inner discipline. Outside of school, Deepti enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, biking, and playing board games.