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175 Western Ave S. Saint Paul, MN 55102

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Beth is the founder and Executive Director of MacDonald Montessori. She started in March 1986. "The Infant Toddler centers and preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy have been a constant source of inspiration to me during most of the 25 year life of MacDonald Montessori School. The educators from Reggio Emilia, in particular Amelia Gambetti and the other educators in our country inspired by this approach have supported us in our journey to envision a deeper, richer, more powerful image of children, parents and teachers. The collaboration of all three of these protagonists-children, parents and teachers have created a school that welcomes, encourages and sustains love, learning and creativity. I am grateful for the 25 years and for the every day experiences of this school."

Executive Director

BETH MACDONALD

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Aleena graduated from The University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education.  She started her journey at MacDonald Montessori in May 2017. Prior to MacDonald Montessori, she worked at the University of Minnesota Child Development Center. Aleena has worked with young children in various settings including nature preschool programs, after school programs, and nannying. She has experience working with children from infancy through preschool. Outside of work, she enjoys running, yoga, spending time with her family, and being outdoors. 

Infants

ALEENA CHOUDHRY

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My name is Anna Chapin. I joined Macdonald Montessori beginning of 2018. I studied Philosophy and Mathematics at the University of Minnesota Morris and shortly after began my work with young children. The majority of my experience is working with older infants and young toddlers. When I am not at work I enjoy reading and spending as much time outside as I can.

Infants

ANNA CHAPIN

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Caitlyn graduated from The University of Iowa with a Bachelors Degree in English and has been working at MacDonald Montessori since June 2017. She has experience working with children from infancy through high school as a nanny, city recreation leader, and special education basketball coach. In her spare time she enjoys reading novels, cooking, playing disc golf, and hanging out at the lake with her husband, Travis. 

Infants

CAITLYN TRUHLER

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Kris Taylor joined MacDonald Montessori School in October of 2018. He and his family moved to Saint Paul from Greenville, South Carolina. Prior to joining the MMS Team, Kris worked for Clemson University's College of Education. He earned an MEd in counselor education and BA in history and philosophy from Clemson. Kris enjoys reading, exploring the Twin Cities with his family, and trying out the many area restaurants. 

Infants

KRIS TAYLOR

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Belle Parra joined the MMS community in June of 2016. Before coming to MacDonald Montessori School, Belle worked as an assistant teacher at a Montessori school and as a primary care giver at a childcare center.  Belle has also worked as a program coordinator for a group home serving individuals, children and adults with disabilities. Outside of work, Belle is a Viking’s fan and enjoys spending time watching football games with friends and family. 

Toddlers

BELLE PERRA 

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Deanna Barr began her teaching at MacDonald Montessori in March of 2016. Deanna has a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota. Deanna has experience working with children of all ages as an instructor at several Twin Cities Art Centers. Deanna believes working with children is the best way to make a difference and appreciates all their creativity, energy, and curiosity. Outside of work, Deanna enjoys working on her own art and playing ultimate frisbee. 

Toddlers

DEANNA BARR

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Marissa Jax joined MacDonald Montessori in February 2018. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance and a minor in Psychology from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has a range of care and teaching experience including behavioral therapy with children with autism, community support for a young adult with autism, care provider with adults with disabilities, and teaching a variety of dance styles from ages 3 to 18.  

Toddlers

MARISSA JAX

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Gina Heldberg joined the MMS community in October 2009 and has primarily worked with toddlers. She has a B.F.A in Photography from the Art Institute in Minneapolis and enjoys exploring all artistic medias, particularly painting and drawing. When in college Gina was employed as a nanny by a wonderful family and fell in love with teaching and caring for children. Gina enjoys spending time with her family on the weekends. 

Toddlers

GINA HELDBERG

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Samantha Studwell began working at MacDonald Montessori in April of 2016. She graduated from Saint Catherine University in 2010 with a Bachelors Degree in English and Art History. Sam also holds a Montessori training certificate from North American Montessori Training Center. She has worked with children of all ages for over ten years, doing everything from being a nanny to in home behavioral therapy. 

Toddlers

SAM STUDWELL

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Kari started working at MacDonald Montessori School in March of 2019. Her family has recently relocated to the Twin Cities. She is excited to become a part of the MacDonald Montessori family.  Kari has been in the field of education and family support services since 1992. Over the years, she received a Montessori certification for preschoolers, a Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education and a graduate certificate in Infant Studies. Kari enjoys being a life-long learner as well as reading novels, kayaking and hiking.

Preschool

KARI AUSTIN

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Brianna started working at MacDonald Montessori School in October of 2018. She has a background in music, including a Bachelor's degree in Vocal Music Education (K-12) and numerous years of music teaching experiences as an early childhood music enrichment specialist. Brianna lives in Roseville, MN with her husband, dog, two cats and too many aquariums. 

Preschool

BRIANNA KURKOWSKI

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Mallory Thompson joined the MacDonald Montessori School community in August of 2013.  Since then, Mallory has worked primarily in our Preschool Program, but has spent some time working in our Infant Program as well.  Mallory has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Urban Elementary Education with a minor in Child Psychology from Metropolitan State University.  Mallory has also completed a Preschool Montessori Training program through North American Montessori Training Center. She has experience working with school-aged children through 6th grade. Outside of work, Mallory enjoys spending time with her family. 

Preschool

MALLORY THOMPSON

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Tara Shaffer lives in St. Paul. She is a graduate of the College of Visual Arts with a BFA degree in the Teaching Artists program with an emphasis on Illustration. Tara joined MacDonald Montessori in January of 2015. Tara has worked with toddlers through preschool, and as a studio teacher supporting all three preschool classrooms (River, Reflection, and Tree Top) with the children’s and teacher’s use of materials and project work.

Preschool

TARA SHAFFER

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Support

HALLI SEVILLA

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Amy has been a teacher for 15 years in Saint Paul and taught Language Arts and art to students K-8th. She joined the MacDonald Montessori School community in July of 2018. She is a professional artist and shows her work at the AZ Gallery in Lowertown, Saint Paul. She has a BA in Liberal Arts from Metropolitan University and a Master in Education from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. 

Support

AMY CLARK

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Anna graduated from Cornell College with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education in 2006 and taught music in public and charter schools in Chicago and Minneapolis prior to joining the MMS community in 2013 as a member of the Collaboration Team. I love singing songs, playing the ukulele, cooking and exploring the outdoors with children of all ages. 

Support

ANNA WIESER

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Brady MacDonald attended MacDonald Montessori as a child and began as an employee in June of 2017. He enjoys working with all of the various age groups of children at MacDonald Montessori.  

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BRADY MACDONALD

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Austin Studell began working at MacDonald Montessori School in April of 2018. She has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in Studio Art from Macalester College. Austin has experience working with children as a Substitute Teacher in the Minneapolis school district, and as a rock climbing instructor. She enjoys being with children because of their natural curiosity and their open minded views. In her free time she enjoys rock climbing and working on her art which includes wood working and metal sculpture. 

Support

AUSTIN STUDELL

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Julie Matye started at MacDonald Montessori School in April of 2019. When not working with children at MacDonald Montessori School she is a Registered Nurse at Regions Hospital.

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JULIE MATYE

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Paige has worked at MacDonald Montessori School since May of 2013.  Paige has worked with Infants and Toddlers primarily.  Currently, Paige is an administrative assistant and also works with the Pedagogical Team to support the classrooms.  In her free time she enjoys spending time with her friends and family as well as riding her horse and hiking with her dog and boyfriend.  She also loves Disney movies, Marvel, anime and reading books.

Administrative Assistant

PAIGE MACDONALD

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Lori joined MacDonald Montessori School in September of 2007. Lori has worked with Infants, Toddlers and Preschool aged children. Currently, Lori is a member of the Administration Team and part of a Pedagogical Team that supports classroom educators in project work, documentation, and in promoting partnerships with families. Prior to working at MacDonald Montessori School, Lori has 22 years experiences working in early childhood education. She has studied Child Development at the University of Minnesota and lives in the Minneapolis area with her husband and children. 

Educational Coordinator

LORI SCOTTRUSSEL

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"The parent has the obvious role of nurturing, shelter, love, education, and a million other essential tasks. The one task that parents struggle with the most is letting go…allowing the child to explore, create, and make mistakes on their own. I’ve noticed that children transition and adapt to change a lot easier and quicker than the parents. Whenever a child moves to a new classroom, they tend to be more ready than the parents. It is a difficult challenge for the parents to let go, but an important one."

Director

AARON MACDONALD

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Amy has been at MacDonald Montessori since 2011.  Working with children is her greatest passion!  She has worked with all ages but her favorite has always been with the infants and toddlers.  She has three amazing boys and her family really enjoys spending time in the great outdoors - biking, kayaking or jogging. Getting to know the children and their families puts a smile on her face everyday!

Infants

AMY STRUNK

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Lyn Wolf joined the MacDonald Montessori School community in July of 2019. She recently moved to Saint Paul from Saint Joseph, MI. She has over 20 years of experience in education from preschool to higher education. She has a BA in Communications from Purdue University and Masters in Sustainability from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI. But her real education came from raising 6 children. She enjoys reading, movies, playing games and exploring nature. 

Infants

LYN WOLF

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Ruth began working at MacDonald Montessori in 2013 and has primarily worked with infants. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Photography from the College of Visual Arts.  One of Ruth’s favorite groups to photograph is infants, and she is eager to explore all different sorts of art materials with them. Currently she reside in Saint Paul with her boyfriend Forrest, and their fur-baby, Sheldon. 

Infants

RUTH ABEND

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Robyn joined the MMS community in August 1999 and has worked with infants - preschool age children. She has 18 years of experience working in the field of early childhood with an educational background in Child Development and Early Childhood Studies.  She resides in Saint Paul with her husband Scott and son Jonah and our two Birman cats, Zsu Zsu and Itty.

Infants

ROBYN SPICER

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Ann joined the MacDonald Montessori School community in October of 2018. Ann has teaching experience in a variety of settings including Early Childhood Education, English as a Second Language, and Special Education. She has worked with children as a Kindergarten Assistant, a Camp Crafts Director, and as a Nanny for 3 children while living in Shishmaref, Alaska, a remote village in the Chukchi Sea, five miles off the mainland. Ann has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in German Studies with a Minor in Theater from Macalester College.

Infants

ANN STROMGREN

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Nicole joined MacDonald Montessori School in August 2016. Nicole has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota and is working towards getting her Montessori Training Certificate from North American Montessori Center.  Nicole has previous experience as a teacher working with children of all ages, her favorite age being toddlers. When not at work, Nicole likes to read and spend time outdoors.

Toddlers

NICOLE DEHAAS

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Marley Ritchie began working at MacDonald Montessori School in July 2019. Marley has previous experience with school aged children as a director and choreographer of school musicals. She also worked as a nanny and working with fun kids at summer camps ages 8 & 9! When Marley isn't with children she enjoys playing with her puppy Wanda and doing theater around the twin cities.

Toddlers

MARLEY RITCHIE

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Malorie McColley joined the MMS community in June of 2019, and has worked with primarily toddlers in various setting for over 10 years. she went to the University of St. Thomas for psychology and has always had a passion to work with children. Outside of work, Malorie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors, and traveling. 

Toddlers

MALORIE McCOLLEY

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Hannah started at MacDonald Montessori in March of 2019. Hannah has been working in childcare consistently for nine years, and has loved every moment! Growing up with an in-home daycare in her household, Hannah has been nurturing her passion for childcare from a young age, and her greatest joy is involving children in creative and expressive activities. Her childcare experience ranges from many years of nannying, to directing students in musical theatre productions, to household managing for a family in Hawaii. Hannah is currently studying holistic health, and when she is not with children, you can find her cooking, writing, traveling, and participating in the Twin Cities theatre community.

Toddlers

HANNAH KUDUK

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Jess Vetter joined MacDonald Montessori School in August 2019. Jess has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communications and English from the University of St. Thomas. Jess has previous experience with children ages 1-15 as an English teacher and Tutor. Also as an Assistant Teacher at a Montessori School and a Teacher at a creative engineering camp using Legos. Jess lives in Minneapolis. 

Preschool

JESS VETTER

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Bailey joined MacDonald Montessori School in November of 2018. Prior to joining our community, Bailey work as an Assistant at a school age care program, as a Literacy tutor, and as an Assistant Testing Coordinator. Bailey has a Bachelor of Science in English, with a Literature Emphasis and a Professional Writing Minor from University of Wisconsin, River Falls. 

Preschool

BAILEY MILLIGAN

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Caitlyn Ruen has been working at MacDonald Montessori School since 2015. Caitlyn has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Macalester College and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Teaching at the University of St. Catherine’s. Caitlyn also holds a Montessori Teaching Certificate from The North American Montessori Training Center. She lives in St. Paul with her husband, two children, and two cats. 

Preschool

CAITLYN RUEN

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Brittany Hauser has been teaching at MacDonald Montessori School since March of 2015.  Brittany has a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Minnesota State University-Mankato. Brittany has also completed a Preschool Montessori Training program through North American Montessori Training Center. Brittany has experience working with children ages 3-12 as a preschool and Kindergarten teacher and also as a Private Art Lesson instructor.  When not at work, Brittany enjoys painting, renovating old furniture, and spending time with her family and dog. 

Preschool

BRITTANY HAUSER

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Leah started her journey at MacDonald Montessori in June of 2009. Leah's background is in Child Development from St. Paul College. She has experience working with children from infancy through school age and has worked in all of the age groups at MacDonald Montessori School. Outside of work, Leah enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters. 

Support

LEAH GOLDEN

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Madelaine Elling joined MacDonald Montessori School in April 2019. Madelanie attended Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis and has several years of experience working with children as a photographer and as an assistant teacher at other preschools. Madelaine enjoys drawing and painting.

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MADELANIE ELLING

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Em started working at MacDonald Montessori School in February of 2018. She has a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from the College of Saint Rose in New York. Emily has experience working with children ages 2 years through 8th grade as a nanny, a camp counselor, and as a substitute Art teacher. She is excited to bring her creative, out of the box thinking to the preschool classrooms. Em lives in Saint Paul with her husband and in her free time she loves to play games and video games. She also works as a Freelance Artist and Writer and as a Special Effects Makeup Artist.

Support

EM DUNN

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Mackenzie Jensen started at MacDonald Montessori School in June 2019. Mackenzie has previous experience with children ages newborn through school age as a photographers assistant, a Worship and Church Leader, and as a Nanny.  When not working, Mackenzie enjoys listening to music, singing and learning to play the guitar.

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MACKENZIE JANSEN

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Justine started at MacDonald in January 2019. I’ve been a paraprofessional for special education students, and a literacy tutor for kindergartners. I have a degree in English: Literature from North Central University. I live in Minneapolis and I have two cats (Sgt. Pepper only has one eye!). In my free time I like to rock climb and read and listen to podcasts-- 

Support

JUSTINE KOPISCHKE

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Liz has worked at MacDonald Montessori School since September 1999. Liz has worked as a classroom teacher with Infants, Toddlers and Preschool aged children. Currently, Liz is the School Coordinator, she works directly with parents. Liz oversees enrollment, licensing, staffing and overall organization of our school.  In her free time she enjoys spending time with her friends and family. 

School Coordinator

LIZ WATZL

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Joni joined MacDonald Montessori in June of 1999 after receiving a bachelors degree in Mass Communications, with an emphasis in Advertising and a minor in Graphic Design. She began working in an infant classroom and later worked with toddlers and preschoolers. After 10 years working directly with children, Joni joined the Administrative team and is currently a Program Coordinator, supporting the entire school and classroom teams in project work, developing classroom environment and materials, documentation, and promoting partnership with families.   Joni lives in Eden Prairie with her husband and two daughters. 

Educational Coordinator

JONI REYNOLDS

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Karen joined MacDonald Montessori School in August of 2007. Karen has worked with Infants, Toddlers and Preschool aged children. Currently, Karen is the Studio Coordinator working to strengthen the use of materials used by children and adults and supporting the teachers in all nine classrooms. She is a graduate from University of River Falls with a degree in Psychology and a Minor in Art. She lives in Cottage Grove with her husband and two children. 

Studio Coordinator

KAREN POTYONDY