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Classroom Staff

Nido North

Britny Wade Britny Wade, Nido Guide

B.A. Family Relations, Spring Arbor University, Spring Arbor, MI
AMS Infant-Toddler Montessori Certification, Seton Montessori Institute, Chicago
AMS Primary Montessori Certification, Michigan Montessori Teacher Education Center, Rochester, MI

The Children's House experience (2003- present)
:
Primary Classroom Guide
Young Children's Community Guide
Nido Guide
Britny@traversechildrenshouse.org 

Britny has two children, both have been through The Children's House since they were babies. Her son Asa (16) is in High school at West Senior High, and her daughter Sterling (11) is a sixth year at TCH.

Britny loves learning, she continues to take classes that interest her on a regular basis, most recently a woodworking course. She also enjoys hiking, camping, and afternoons at the beach. 

jennifer Patanella

Jennifer Patanella, Classroom Support

Jennifer enjoys outdoor activities, camping, hiking, and snowshoeing with her husband and three children. She has worked at TCH since 2011.

Leslie Lederer

Leslie Lederer, Classroom Support

Leslie has been working since 2015 as Support Staff in the Nido.
She has three boys aged 27, 26 and 21 that continue to amaze her as they pursue their interests from Turkey, the Galápagos Islands and Nepal! Her daughter will graduate from CHS in the spring and attend a Michigan college.

Emily Send

Emily Send, Classroom Support

Emily was born and raised in Suttons Bay. She started working in Britny's Nido room last spring. She has taught English in multiple Spanish speaking countries including The Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. She tries to speak Spanish with the babies as often as she can.

Nido South

Jenny Lamble

Jenny Lamble, Nido Guide
B.S. Family Studies, University of New Hampshire
MEd Montessori Education, Loyola University, Maryland
AMI Assistance to Infancy Certification, Montessori Center of Minnesota, St. Paul

The Children's House experience (2016- present)

Nido Guide
Jenny@traversechildrenshouse.org

Jenny is new to The Children's House. She grew up in Leelanau County, but has been living in Colorado for the last 12 years. She recently moved back with her husband, Jacob, two children, Evelyn and Henry, and dog, Ada. In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, whitewater rafting, sewing, cooking, gardening and spending time outside.

Jeanette Kania

Jeanette Kania, Classroom Support

Jeanette has been working with children for over ten years having previously worked as a nanny for a few families in Traverse City. She is working on her Assistants to Infancy AMI diploma through The Montessori Institute in Denver, CO. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting, volunteering at the Old Town Playhouse, practicing Spanish and German, and camping with her husband and their rambunctious dog, Powell.

Emily Palmer

Emily Palmer, Classroom Support

Emily has two children at TCH and enjoys motherhood more than anything else. When she has time for herself, it usually involves running or some other form of exercise. Her other passions involve animal rights and veganism. Her motto in life is, "In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

Sandra Besselsen

Sandra Besselsen, Classroom Support

Sandra joined the staff at TCH in 2016, but has been a part of the community, in a parent role, for many years.  Sandra has a Bachelor's Degree from Hope College, holds a Michigan Professional Teaching Certificate (K-8, Language Arts), and a Master of Library and Information Science.  Before beginning her work at The Children's House, Sandra was Director of Libraries at Interlochen Center for the Arts for 6 years and the K-12 Librarian at Glen Lake Schools for 3.  She works with the Junior High, Primary and Nido programs at TCH and loves the variety!  When she is not at work, she loves spending time working in her yard, cooking for friends and family, playing games, taking lots of camping trips in the summer and just goofing around! 

Taylor Fielding

Taylor Fielding, Classroom Support

Taylor’s journey with TCH began working part-time with Agnes and Carol in YCC.  She later began working with Jenny and Jeanette in Nido. Taylor plans to continue her schooling and finish her degree in Childhood Development. Her enthusiasm for working with children started with her younger siblings who inspire and challenge her to be better and do more. Her hobbies include playing the ukulele, making origami boxes, staying active, painting, and catching sunrises for her weekly post on Instagram!

YCC North

Marie Voss

Marie Voss, Guide
Elgin Community College, child development student
AMS Infant-Toddler Certification, MECA-Seton, Chicago

The Children's House experience (2008- present)

Young Children's Community Classroom Support
Young Children's Community Guide
Marie@traversechildrenshouse.org

When she is not sharing her time with the children at school Marie enjoys spending time adventuring outdoors with her husband, her son Braiden and her daughter Kora. She also enjoys cycling, reading and cooking. She is grateful to explore and experience the beautiful area we live in!

Ashley Bachi

Ashley Bachi, Classroom Support

Ashley Bachi has an associates degree in Science and Arts from Northwestern Michigan College and is currently in the Social Work Program through Ferris State University. She has been with the school since 2013. She has worked with children in Primary, Nido and YCC. She enjoys spending time with her family, rock hunting at the beach, star gazing with her children, and anything related to science or nature.

 

Callie Kostrzewa

Callie Kostrzewa, Classroom Support

Callie attended TCH through the 6th grade and decided to come back and work here! She graduated from Hope College in May with a social work degree. She loves the outdoors, spending time with her family, and working with the people that once taught her. 

YCC South

Agnes Woynarowski Agnes Woynarowski, Guide

B.S. Krakow University, economics
M.A. Krakow University, business administration
AMS Primary Certification, Midwest Montessori Center, Evanston
AMS Infant-Toddler Certification, MECA, Chicago

The Children's House experience (2010- present)

Young Children's Community Support
Young Children's Community Guide

Agnes and her husband live on a farm with Icelandic sheep, Nubian goats, chickens, ducks, peacocks, two dogs, three cats and a tortoise. She loves reading mystery stories and classic literature. She is interested in art and history, especially in how people used to live a long time ago. She strives to preserve forgotten skills such as spinning wool and making soaps pioneer style. She likes baking and working in her flower garden.

Carole Wolf

Carole Wolf, Classroom Support

Christy Burich

Christy Burich, Classroom Support

Christy has been singing, dancing and making music with children and their families since 1999. Before moving to Traverse City she was a Music Together center director in Chicago, IL, an entertainer performing at children’s birthday parties, and was involved in her local community theatre. She has produced and recorded 2 children’s CD’s. Christy is active with the Old Town Playhouse having played the role of “Mary Poppins” in the Mary Poppins Broadway Musical and “Sarah” in Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Company." Christy holds a B.F.A in theater performance from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling.

Primary Community

Alison Breithaupt Alison Breithaupt, Primary Guide
B.S. Western Michigan University, Family Studies
AMI Montessori Primary Certification, Montessori Training Center of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

The Children's House experience (1996- present):

Classroom Support
Primary Guide

Alison@traversechildrenshouse.org

Katelin Murphy

Katelin Murphy, Classroom Support

Katelin received a Bachelor's of Science in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biochemical Engineering in 2009. At that time, she began working for the Department of Defense developing countermeasure pyrotechnics for the U.S. Navy as well as working for the Explosives Safety Office. In 2012, she and her husband moved to Traverse City.  She left the engineering world and began to pursue her passion of working with children here at TCH! Her hobbies include all types of activities like...biking, hiking, paddleboarding, ANY team sport (she played volleyball and basketball in college), reading, and crocheting to name a few!

Allie Cole Allie Cole, Classroom Support
Allie is passionate about the Montessori philosophy and has received her AMS Primary training certification from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies. She has worked in both toddler and primary environments at TCH and is excited to be finishing an early childhood education degree through the University of Massachusetts. She loves the outdoors and is thrilled to call beautiful northern Michigan home.

Melissa Cole

Melissa Cole, Primary Lead Guide
B.S. Western Michigan University, Graphic Design
AMI Montessori Primary Certification, Ohio Montessori Training Institute, Cleveland

The Children's House experience (2004- present):
Primary Classroom Support
Primary Guide

Melissa@traversechildrenshouse.org

Julie Shearer

Julie Shearer, Primary Guide
B.S.W. Ferris State University, Social Work
AMI Montessori Primary Certification, Ohio Montessori Training Institute, Cleveland

The Children's House experience (2001- present):

Primary Classroom Support
Primary Classroom Guide

Julie@traversechildrenshouse.org

taylorvancilsized.jpg

Taylor Vancil, Classroom Support
Taylor graduated from Florida State University in December of 2012 with a degree in Social Sciences. During her time at FSU she played on the Seminoles nationally ranked soccer team. In her time away from TCH she enjoys spending as much time as she can hiking, kayaking or road tripping to the Upper Peninsula.

Megan Andrews Megan Andrews, Primary Guide
B.S. Boston University, Early Childhood Education
M.A. Saint Catherine University, Education
AMI Montessori Primary Certification, Montessori Center of Minnesota, St. Paul

The Children's House experience (2015- present):

Summer Primary Classroom Guide
Primary Guide

Megan@traversechildrenshouse.org 

Megan spent her childhood moving around South America and North America. She has lived in twelve cities, including the capitals of Chile, Mexico, Argentina, and Spain. She enjoys speaking Spanish, cooking, and reading mysteries. Megan moved to Traverse City in June 2016 and is excited to get to know the area!

Psaria Dennison Psaria Dennison, Classroom Support
Norie Warnke

Norie Warnke, Classroom Support

Norie grew up in central Michigan and moved to Traverse City in 2004. She enjoys crocheting, hiking and kayaking, and being at the beach. She is a self-proclaimed rock hound. She has been married for nine years and has two dogs (“her kids”). She loves all animals. Norie began working at TCH in 2011 and has supported the school in almost every department.

Amy Routzahn

Amy Routzahn, Primary Guide
B.S. Eastern Michigan University, Early Childhood and Science
Reading Recovery Certification, Oakland University
AMI Montessori Primary Certification, Montessori Training Center of St. Louis

The Children’s House experience (2009 – present)
Primary Guide

Amy@traversechildrenshouse.org

Anna Foulkrod Anna Foulkrod, Classroom Support
Sandra Besselsen

Sandra Besselsen, Classroom Support

Sandra joined the staff at TCH in 2016, but has been a part of the community, in a parent role, for many years.  Sandra has a Bachelor's Degree from Hope College, holds a Michigan Professional Teaching Certificate (K-8, Language Arts), and a Master of Library and Information Science.  Before beginning her work at The Children's House, Sandra was Director of Libraries at Interlochen Center for the Arts for 6 years and the K-12 Librarian at Glen Lake Schools for 3.  She works with the Junior High, Primary and Nido programs at TCH and loves the variety!  When she is not at work, she loves spending time working in her yard, cooking for friends and family, playing games, taking lots of camping trips in the summer and just goofing around! 

Elementary Community

Jill Borre Jill Borre, Lower Elementary Guide

B.S. Grand Valley State, Accounting
B.A. Michigan State, Elementary Education
AMS Montessori Elementary Certification, Center for Montessori Teacher Education, New York

The Children's House experience (2004- present):
Lower Elementary Guide

Jill@traversechildrenshouse.org

Jill is married to Bill who is a regional manager for Jamieson Ranch Vineyards of Napa Valley. They have a daughter, Betsy, who attended TCH and is now an undergraduate in the James Madison College at Michigan State University. Jill lives in a historic stone farmhouse in Leelanau County where she enjoys gardening, cooking, reading, and a variety of outdoor activities. She enjoys traveling and experiencing the cultures of the places she visits.

Jodie Tasch Jodie Tasch, Classroom Support

Nadine Elmgren

Nadine Elmgren, Lower Elementary Guide
B.A. Marylhurst College, Portland, OR, Education
AMI Montessori Primary Certification, Northwest Montessori Education Center, Portland OR
AMS Montessori Elementary Certification, Ottawa, Canada

The Children's House experience (1988- present):
Young Children's Community Guide, Primary Classroom Guide, Teacher Mentor & Elementary Classroom Guide

Nadine@travesechildrenshouse.org

Nadine lives in Suttons Bay with her husband David, their son Patrick, a TCH alumni, and their Golden Retriever, Sally. She loves being active outdoors year around by enjoying cycling, hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing and skiing. In the summer Nadine spends time in the gardens of Omena Cut Flowers, as the bouquet maker.

emily_modrall

Emily Modrall, Classroom Support

Emily grew up in Suttons Bay and is an alumna of TCH. Before returning to northern Michigan, she received a PhD in Mediterranean archaeology and worked in higher education and as an archaeologist in the US and Europe. She now lives in Traverse City with her husband, Matt, and daughter, Jane.

Angela Petty

Angela Petty, Classroom Support

Angie’s first role at TCH was that of classroom assistant when she moved to Traverse City from Indiana in 1992.  She and her husband, Frank, have been parents at TCH since 1998.  Angie has a BS in Elementary Education, an Early Childhood Education ZA Endorsement and a Reading Recovery Certification.  In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking in the woods,  walking the beaches of Leelanau County and sailing with her boys.

Karin Church Karin Church, Upper Elementary Lead Guide
B.A. University of California, French, International Relations
J.D. Boston school of Law
AMI Montessori Elementary Certification, The Montessori Training Center of Minnesota

The Children's House experience (2007-present)

Young Children's Community Classroom Support & Elementary Classroom Support

Karin@traversechildrenshouse.org

Karin enjoys spending time with her two children, Marguerite and Nicolas, her husband, Bill, and dog, Dozer, especially on great swimming days at Elberta Beach. She also loves to go on long, slow runs, ride her bike on the TART trail, read good books, hike Pyramid Point and discover new campgrounds around Michigan.

Jamie Schaub Jamie Schaub, Upper Elementary Guide

B.A. Kalamazoo College, psychology and art
Masters of Arts in Education, St. Catherine University
AMI Montessori Elementary Certification, The Montessori Training Center of Minnesota

The Children’s House experience (2012-present)
Elementary Classroom Support

Jamie@traversechildrenshouse.org

Jamie is a lifelong learner choosing to spend her moments dabbling in new art projects, reading books about other cultures, writing poetry in new forms, growing her own food and trying new recipes, picking up new instruments and sports and experimenting with woodworking. She enjoys acquiring new skills and continuing to learn while making time to get outside and enjoy this beautiful place she calls home

Tony Colombo

Tony Colombo, Classroom Support

Anthony has lived in Northern Michigan for over twenty years. He attended Grand Valley State University, majoring in Social Studies and minoring in Elementary Education. Being an avid outdoor enthusiast, he enjoys camping, fishing, hiking, and anything else that includes wooded hills and fresh water. He has worked at The Children's House for five years.

DiAnn Service

DiAnn Service, Classroom Support

DiAnn enjoys spending time with her family outdoors, on bikes, on walks, and at the beach, wherever, together, just enjoying life! She enjoys reading books and often has more than one going at a time. She believes that each day is brand new and has enormous potential. DiAnn has a BA in English, a Michigan elementary teaching certificate, a MA in Education with an emphasis on Montessori Education, an AMS Lower Elementary Certificate and an AMI Elementary Diploma, and an MSU Master Gardener Certificate. She started her work at The Children's House in 1995.

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Junior High

Tree Sturman

Treenen Sturman, Junior High Guide
B.A. College of the Atlantic, Maine, Human Ecology
M.S. University of Delaware, Public Horticulture
AMI Montessori Orientation Programme to Adolescent Studies, Cleveland, OH

The Children’s House experience
(2014-present)
Elementary Classroom Support
Junior High Classroom Support
Junior High Guide

Treenen@traversechildrenshouse.org 

Tree’s interests include the Sciences, US History, and Human Ecology. His hobbies are rock hounding, gardening, ceramics, and hiking. He is married to Elaine Grehl.

Kristina Weidenfeller

Kristina Weidenfeller, Junior High Guide
B.A. Michigan State University, Special Education K-12
M.A. Michigan State University, Curriculum and Teaching

The Children's House experience
(summer 2009- present):
Elementary summer yoga and nutrition class
Kitchen Classroom
Junior High Guide

Kristina@traversechildrenshouse.org 

Kristina has been a parent at TCH since 2006, and an employee since 2009. She has had many roles during her tenure; room parent, summer yoga instructor, coach, Kitchen Classroom, Earth to Table, and Junior High Guide. She enjoys time with her family, outdoor sports of all seasons, reading, and new adventures. Kristina appreciates that TCH community provides so many opportunities for not only students to explore and share their interests, but that adults are encouraged to as well.

Ann Bara

Anne Bara, Classroom Support

Sandra Besselsen

Sandra Besselsen, Classroom Support

Sandra joined the staff at TCH in 2016, but has been a part of the community, in a parent role, for many years.  Sandra has a Bachelor's Degree from Hope College, holds a Michigan Professional Teaching Certificate (K-8, Language Arts), and a Master of Library and Information Science.  Before beginning her work at The Children's House, Sandra was Director of Libraries at Interlochen Center for the Arts for 6 years and the K-12 Librarian at Glen Lake Schools for 3.  She works with the Junior High, Primary and Nido programs at TCH and loves the variety!  When she is not at work, she loves spending time working in her yard, cooking for friends and family, playing games, taking lots of camping trips in the summer and just goofing around! 

This page last updated on 2/1/2017.

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tch_icon.pngThe Children's House - An Independent Montessori School
5363 N Long Lake Rd. | Traverse City, MI | 49685 (p) 231.929.9325 | (f) 231.929.9384 | email: learn@traversechildrenshouse.org