Faculty & Staff

Sheena Lor – Guide, Nido-Infant Community

After beginning her career in medical administration, Sheena found a new outlet for her passion for helping people through Montessori education. Sheena pursued this passion by obtaining her AMI Assitants to Infancy Diploma from Montessori Center of Minnesota. During her training, she gained a greater appreciation for the importance of early childhood development. Sheena is has worked in both the Toddler and Nido Communities at Children’s Workshop and enjoys supporting and nurturing infants through their development in order to prepare them for their next stage in life. She views her work as both a responsibility and privilege and could not think of anything else she would rather do. Outside of work, Sheena enjoys her hobbies such as beekeeping, cooking, crafting and creating beautiful Montessori materials.

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 worked as a nanny for several years before joining Children’s Workshop five years ago. Jessica has worked with all levels at Children’s Workshop and shares her passion for child development with the children and families at CW. She enjoys creating arts and crafts of all kinds, running, canoeing and movie nights with friends and family.

Alexandra Smith – Experienced Aide, Nido-Infant Community

Alex has worked at Children’s Workshop for five years in every level of the school. After working with every age group she has found her passion in Nido, spending her days with the infants and wonderful co-workers. Alex enjoys creating art, spending time with her friends, family and pets.

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. 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 ten 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 Children’s Workshop Montessori School. Rachel really enjoys cooking, baking, and chasing her two boys.

Anne Estes – Guide, Willow Toddler 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. 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 and toddlers in the Twin Cities.

Debbie Hutton – Assistant, Willow Toddler Community

Debbie holds an AMI Montessori Primary Diploma from the Montessori Center of Minnesota. She has worked for many years in classrooms as an assistant and a lead teacher. For the last three years Debbie has acted as a nanny for two wonderful children. Debbie was born and raised in Minnesota and enjoys living less than a mile from her childhood home with her husband, daughter and dog. (Her oldest child now lives in Colorado.) In her spare time, Debbie enjoys spending time at her cabin, reading, or knitting.

Sudevi Mossé – Assistant, Willow Toddler Community

Sudevi Mossé was a born and raised in Iowa and holds a B.A. in Media and Communications. Since teaching has run in her family for generations, she’s always had an interest in the profession. In 2016, Sudevi decided to finally explore her interest in education as an assistant teacher at the Maharishi School in Fairfield, IA. She believes that Montessori is one of the most inspiring educational philosophies. She’s looking forward to further exploring her family trade and deepening her understanding of Montessori principles. Sudevi loves spending her days with wonderful children.

Melissa Norton – CW Assistant Director and Guide, 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 silly cat, cooking and baking, being active and practicing yoga, reading being with friends and spoiling her beau.

Vanessa Padua-Evans – C0-Guide, Birch Room, Children’s House

Vanessa, a native New Yorker, originally joined the CW community as a parent to a CW graduate and then was CW’s administrative assistant. She has since earned her A.M.I Primary diploma from the Montessori Center of Minnesota, her Masters of Education from St. Catherine’s University, experience as a guide and an additional child who is joining CW’s Toddler Community. She also enjoys dancing and laughing with children, friends and family.

Natalie Friesen – Assistant, Birch Room, Children’s House

Natalie holds a B.A. in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Theater and Music, an AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Center of Minnesota, and in currently completing her Master’s in Education. Natalie has seven years of experience working with children in both Montessori and non-Montessori settings and has enjoyed the privilege of working as a Montessori guide at two schools before finding her home at Children’s Workshop. Natalie enjoys sharing her love of music, handcrafting, yoga and travel with all of those around her.

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 both in Minnesota and abroad as a Montessori educator and English as a Second Language instructor. She is passionate about supporting children on their individual paths of development, and believes 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 and complete her M. Ed at St. Catherine’s University. Sienna 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 high quality children’s literature, music and the natural world.

Jane Hwang – PM Guide, Maple Room, Children’s House

Jane was born and raised in South Korea. After graduating college she moved to the United States to start a new journey with her husband. Jane has over 10 years of experience as a RN in a hospital setting  before she decided to follow her passion for helping and guiding children. She worked as a paraprofessional in the public schools for six years before completing her AMI Montessori teacher training at the Montessori Center of Minnesota. Before joining Children’s Workshop, Jane spent two years working at Cornerstone Montessori School in St. Paul, MN.  She excited to be a part of Children’s Workshop community and feels blessed to be a part of the Maple Room team. Jane has three grown children and enjoy traveling with her family. During her free time she love nature walks, sewing and playing piano.

Natalie Henderson – Assistant, Maple Room, Children’s House

Natalie graduated with her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Miami University and started her career in early education in a non-Montessori setting in Pittsburgh, PA. After her initial experiences with early education, she was searching for something more and discovered Montessori.  She moved from Pittsburgh to St. Paul to enroll in the AMI Primary Training Course and earned her diploma in 2017.  She is currently enrolled at St. Catherine’s University to finalize her Masters of Art in Education.  When not at CW, Natalie enjoys watching hockey or attending games, trying new food, being on the water, and traveling the world.  Even though she lives in a state that loves hockey now, Natalie will always be a Pittsburgh Penguins fan at heart.

Olga Brower – Assistant, Spanish Specialist, Willow Toddler Community

Olga originally hails from Colombia, South America where she earned her undergraduate degree in education from the University of Cali. Olga has worked in the field of early education for over eight years and loves bringing her passion for language and learning to the students and Children’s Workshop. Olga loves dancing, art, good food and spending time with her family.

Youngmi Kim – Floating Assistant

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.

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 enjoys combining 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, sewing, 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