Faculty & Staff

Anne Estes – Guide, Nido-Infant Community

Anne received her AMI Assistants to Infancy diploma in spring of 2015 from the Montessori Center of Minnesota, hosted right here at CW, and her AMI Primary diploma in 2005. She also has an M.Ed in Montessori education and is working toward a doctorate in education from Hamline. She plans to write on the benefits of a Montessori Nido. Anne has worked in the field of education for almost twenty years in classrooms and conducting Montessori Parent/Infant classes throughout the Twin Cities.  Anne is thrilled to be a part of the CW team and provide an authentic Montessori experience to infants in the Twin Cities.


Jessica Settles – Assistant, Nido-Infant Community

Jessica graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in Child Psychology and Art with a minor in French. Jessica loves spending time with children and has worked as a nanny for 2 years before joining Children’s Workshop. She enjoys creating arts and crafts of all kinds, running, canoeing and movie nights with friends and family.


Cady Gulbranson – Guide, Juniper Toddler Community

Cady earned her AMI Assistants to Infancy Diploma from The Montessori Institute in Denver, Colorado, her AMS Primary Diploma at the Center for Contemporary Montessori Programs and her Masters of Education from St. Catherine’s University. She joined CW in the fall of 2009 as an assistant in the Toddler Community and is now the Toddler Guide in the Juniper Community at Children’s Workshop. She enjoys living healthy, drinking green smoothies and working out, but would have no problem devouring a cupcake (heavy on the frosting) any day of the week.


Rachel Ivascu – Assistant, Juniper Toddler Community

Rachel graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Kinesiology. She earned her AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Center of Minnesota. She has nine years of experience working in Montessori at various levels and in various roles. She and her husband are Montessori parents of twin boys, who attend CW Montessori. Rachel really enjoys cooking, baking, and chasing her two boys.


Youngmi Kim – Assistant, Juniper Toddler Community

Youngmi Kim holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Art and Art History from Kun-Kuk University in Seoul, South Korea. In addition to her undergraduate degree, Youngmi holds an AMI Montessori Primary Diploma and has over fifteen years of experience working in Montessori schools in Toddler and Children’s House communities. Around Children’s Workshop, Youngmi is known for her calm, gentle nature and her incredible gift for working with children of all ages.


Lynn Beuning – Guide, Willow Toddler Community

Lynn earned her AMI Assistants to Infancy Diploma from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota. She was raised on a beautiful 300 acre third generation dairy farm in central Minnesota. She was welcomed by a family of five, and a herd of Holsteins and has been working alongside of children since she was able to babysit. As Lynn grew so did her passion for early childhood, especially 0 to 3 years old. When Lynn’s not at the children’s level in the classroom she is active within the community volunteering for various organizations.


Sheena Lor – PM Guide, Willow Toddler Community

Sheena received her AMI Assitants to Infancy Diploma from Montessori Center of Minnesota in 2015. During her training, she gained a greater appreciation for the importance of early childhood development. Sheena is has worked in the CW Nido and looks forward to nurturing the individual growth and independence of children in the Toddler Communities. Outside of work, she enjoys her hobbies such as beekeeping, cooking, crafting, and creating beautiful Montessori materials.


Edily Sanchez – Assistant, Spanish Specialist, Willow Toddler Community

Edily hails from Caracas, Venezuela.  Edily has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Actuarial Science, but realized that her passion is working with children. For this reason Edily studied childcare, and received her Child Care Training and Staff Credential Verification on July of 2013. Before joining Children’s Workshop, Edily worked in a Reggio Emilia school in Miami for four years.


Melissa Norton – CW Assistant Director and Assistant, Birch Room, Children’s House

Melissa Norton grew up enjoying the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean in North Carolina. She graduated from Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C. with a BA in Theater Studies and Political Science, with a minor in German. Melissa lived in Boulder CO enjoying the Rockies before landing in MN in 1995.  Melissa worked with children in several capacities, including as an Assistant in a Montessori School, for five years before taking the AMI Montessori Training. Melissa holds an AMI Primary Montessori Diploma an M.Ed in Education from Loyola University. Melissa’s AMI Montessori journey includes being a Primary Guide at Children’s Workshop for six years, and at White Bear Montessori, a Primary Guide for five years, a Basic Skills Tutor and Elementary Assistant for two years and Admissions and Programming Coordinator for three years. In her free time, Melissa spends time loving her cuddly Golden Retriever and two silly kitties, cooking and baking, being active and practicing yoga, reading being with friends and spoiling her beau.


Jackie Edman – Guide, Birch Room, Children’s House

Jackie was born and raised in Oakdale, MN and has grown up around Montessori since she was young. She graduated from Winona State University with a B.A. in Advertising and a minor in Photography. After graduating she spent a few years as a full-time nanny, including working as a live-in au pair in Limerick, Ireland, before realizing that being with children is what she loves to do. Jackie was AMI primary trained at the Montessori Center of Minnesota and is working towards her Masters in Education at Saint Catherine University. In her spare time she loves taking long walks, cooking, reading, and drinking coffee.


Debra LaMere – PM Assistant, Birch Room, Children’s House

Debra graduated from Sunbridge College in New York with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She also attended an extensive training in Dornach Switzerland. She has taught at various schools within the western suburbs thus experiencing a vast array of early childhood methodology. In addition Debra has experience with school administration as a director. She has been a specialty teacher focusing in the area of art education. Debra is passionate about fostering the love of learning in children.
Debra enjoys and performs music of various genres in creating and performing puppet plays. She is also an accomplished ceramic potter who delights in throwing clay to create functional pottery.


 Crystal Chance – Guide, River Room, Children’s House

Crystal Chance holds a B.A. from the University of Minnesota in Art History and ESL Teaching, as well as an AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota. Crystal has worked with children in both I also have some experience teaching English as a Second Language, both in Minnesota and abroad. I am passionate about supporting children on their individual paths of development, and I believe whole-heartedly in the Montessori philosophy of education.


 Sienna Kuhn – PM Guide, River Room, Children’s House

Sienna graduated from the College of Saint Benedict with a major in art and minor in psychology. The arts; dance, music, and theatre, have always played a large role in her life which lead her to teaching theatre summer camps to children for six years. After college she moved out to Colorado where she worked at a tree farm, selling trees and plants, and continued her passion for art. It didn’t take long for her to realize that working with children was what made her the happiest and moved back to her home state of Minnesota to take the AMI training at the Montessori Center of Minnesota. She is currently working on finishing her Masters in Arts in Education and is glad to be close to family again where she can visit her parent’s alpacas, Bo and Finnegan. Sienna enjoys camping, riding her bike, traveling, learning new things, and anything involving being outside in nature-her favorite place to be.


Jennifer Skaptason – Guide, Maple Room, Children’s House

Jennifer received her Association Montessori Internationale Primary diploma from the Montessori Center of Minnesota in 1991, and has been a Guide in Children’s House Communities for over two decades. Her life has been enriched by many children and families and she is passionate about sharing her life in the company of young people. She finds joy in the small moments of delight that children have throughout their time in a Montessori environment. Jennifer has a deep appreciation for quality children’s literature, music and the natural world.


Sandrine Fortina – PM Guide, Maple Room, Children’s House

In addition to her AMI Montessori Certification, Sandrine holds a B.A. in Psychology as well as a Master’s Degree in Social Work and Human Rights. She has an expertise in serving vulnerable people, which she developed through her career in teaching and social work. This work is furthered by Sandrine’s calm, loving nature and her deep respect for children.


Carmen Rekovvsky – Spanish Specialist, Children’s House

Carmen is the middle child in a vibrant Brazilian family. She has a bachelor’s degree in geography and a master’s degree in human geography. Besides Brazil and the United States, she has lived in Germany and Uruguay. Carmen has been working in the field of early childhood for several years and completed her early childhood AMS Montessori certification in the summer of 2016. Carmen enjoys learning languages, eating a variety of ethnic foods, cooking and gardening. She also loves sharing stories and meals with friends around a table or campfire.


Alexandra Smith – Aide, Nido, Toddler, and Children’s House

Alex works in every area of Children’s Workshop. She has been working with children from birth through age six for the past five years and loves her time at Children’s Workshop. Alex enjoys creating art, spending time with her friends, family and pets.


Anell Brown – Administrative Assistant

Anell is from a little fairy-tale like country in Eastern Europe – Estonia. She studied Marketing and Business Management in Tallinn University of Technology. Anell spent a semester studying abroad in Greece, and that’s where she met her Minnesotan husband. Anell has worked as an au pair and nanny in New York and Minneapolis. She’s excited to combine her love for children and previous administrative experience working at CW. In her free time, Anell loves to spend time with her family and friends and work on home improvement projects.


Donnette Tanner – Financial Administrator

Donnette joined Children’s Workshop as the Financial Administrator in August, 2008. She originally came to CW with her two boys as a parent, volunteer, and soon after treasurer on the board. She has a B.A. in Financial Management from the University of St. Thomas and 16 years of experience in the insurance and banking industries. Donnette enjoys morning tea in the herb garden, biking and hiking with her family at the north shore cabin, fonts, fabrics and paper, traveling, yoga, and a down-the-line backhand smash in tennis.


Katrina Schlude – Head of School

Katrina received her B.A. in Classical Civilizations and Studio Arts from Macalester College, her AMI Primary Diploma from the Montessori Teacher Training Center of Northern California, and her M. Ed. in Educational Leadership from Duquesne University. Katrina is deeply committed to excellent education and working in partnership with parents and children. She acted as an educator and administrator in California and Pennsylvania before returning to Minnesota to join Children’s Workshop as the Head of School. In addition to her love of Montessori education, Katrina enjoys being outdoors, cooking delicious meals, and spending time with family and friends.

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What makes Montessori education unique?

In Montessori, we follow the child rather than follow the curriculum. A Montessori school is completely child-centered -- we teach each child according to their specific needs to help them reach their full potential.
Grace & Courtesy at Children's Workshop

A Parent’s Perspective

"Our experience at Children's Workshop has been fantastic. The program is a true Montessori program, different from the chain programs that call themselves such. The staff is well prepared and loving. The children learn to become a part of a social family, while thriving academically. As parents, we have benefited not only from the school, but also from the fellowship with other parents. It is a joy to have found Children's Workshop Montessori! I highly recommend it!"
Owner's Manual for a Montessori Child