Our Staff

Stephanie Melander, Interim Director & Business Manager  

Stephanie is incredibly proud to work at Mayflower!  She is passionate about the school’s mission to serve an economically diverse community and to provide high quality Montessori learning environments that meet the developmental needs of the whole child.  This is Stephanie’s sixth year at Mayflower, where she has worked directly with children in the Children’s House, and also as a member of the Admin Team. She has a B.S. in Business Administration from St. Catherine University, a Graduate Certificate in Holistic Health Studies from St. Catherine University, the AMI Primary Diploma from the Montessori Center of Minnesota, and a Masters in Education from Loyola University Maryland. She is a proud native Minnesotan, runner, and animal lover. Stephanie lives in St. Paul with her husband and two young children.

Angharad Picton Menne, Admissions & Interim Assistant Director

Angharad Picton Menne was born in Saundersfoot, Wales, United Kingdom. Angharad earned her AMI Primary Montessori Certification in 2006 at the MMTO in London, UK. In 2012, she relocated to the Twin Cities and provided support in the Montessori community as a Substitute Teacher. Angharad established herself at Mayflower in 2015 both in an administrative and instructional role. She is passionate about alternative holistic health and works as a Lifestyle and Embodiment Coach both locally and internationally. Angharad loves to travel, learn about cultures, and has lived on four different continents. She enjoys spending time with her daughter, a 10 year old MECC alumna. Angharad is grateful to be a part of the MECC community where the mission of the school, and the vision of Dr Maria Montessori is to provide all walks of life the opportunity to experience their highest potential, and to share that with the world.

Leah Popova, Director of Outreach and Communications

This is, proudly, Leah’s 6th year as Parent Outreach Coordinator at MECC. She has a BS Degree from UW-River Fall (majoring in English Lit) and a Masters in Education from Loyola, Maryland. After completing her AMI Primary Certification in 2003, Leah worked as a Primary Guide at Children’s Workshop Montessori where she stayed for 8 years. She is so happy to be a part of the MECC community, where her two daughters, Olympia and Bilyana, also spend much of their day.

Kelli Michel, Administrative Coordinator

Kelli grew up in Wisconsin, Montana and Iowa, and earned a degree in Interior Design. Prior to moving to Minnesota, Kelli was an actor and Youth Theatre Educator and Director in Iowa. While working on her AMI Primary Certification in 2011, she also directed students at Stagecoach Theatre Arts School. In 2011, Kelli launched the After Care Program at Cathedral Hill Montessori School. Kelli has had multiple roles at Mayflower, beginning in 2012 as the After Care Coordinator, then as a Children’s House guide and now as the Administrative Coordinator for the third year. She is grateful to support staff and families in her administrative role. Kelli is also an actor, writer, and artist who is passionate about music, animals, nature and friendship.

Tiffany Heaver, Guide, Children’s House 1

Tiffany first experienced Montessori education as a child at a West Saint Paul Montessori school. Later as an adult, she reunited with the pedagogy, convinced that it helps families and affords new opportunities. This is her fourth year as a guide at Mayflower and eighth year working in a Montessori environment.  Tiffany holds a Masters in Education from Loyola University, an AMI primary diploma from The Montessori Center of Minnesota, and a B.A. in English from St. Olaf College. She enjoys 3-6 year olds because they radiate the best of humanity. These children help others spontaneously, challenge themselves, and work joyfully in the present. Similarly, they are coming into their own unique personalities, which are endearing and fun to be around. Other meaningful moments in Tiffany’s life have included interning in Ghana, studying religions in India, and coaching gymnastics. When not at Mayflower, Tiffany enjoys writing/reading, biking, traveling, and exploring the Twin Cities with friends and family.

Maggie Jenkins, Assistant, Children’s House 1

Maggie graduated from Colorado College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art.  In 2013, Maggie earned her AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Center of Minnesota and since then, she has gained experience working in Primary, Toddler and Elementary levels.  This is now Maggie’s 3rd year as the Assistant in Children’s House 1.  In her free time Maggie enjoys yoga, cooking stew and the great outdoors.

Elisabet Roth, Guide, Children’s House 2

Elsabet is a proud, homegrown Minnesotan. She lives in Minneapolis and feels very happy to be a part of the local Mayflower community for the second year! Elsabet received her B.A. in Art and English from the University of Minnesota. She completed the AMI Primary training through the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota in 2014 and received a Masters in Education from St. Catherine University. Before coming to Mayflower, Elsabet spent two wonderful years as a guide at Children’s Workshop Montessori School. Elsabet is a former art, dance and gymnastics teacher as well. In her free time she loves spending time in nature, traveling, making art, and going out for dinner!

Alex Link, Assistant, Children’s House 2

Dagmar Hoebertz, Guide, Children’s House 3

Dagmar grew up in Germany and earned her Master’s degree in Elementary Education at the University of Cologne. She taught 1st -4th grade in Germany and German language classes at the Germanic American Institute in St. Paul. Her three sons, who attended a local Montessori school, introduced her to the Montessori way of education from a parent perspective-and she got hooked! Dagmar earned an AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Center of Minnesota in 2007. Since then, she has worked as a lead guide at Cornerstone Montessori in St. Paul and here at Mayflower Early Childhood Center. After two years of continued Montessori training and work as a substitute teacher at local AMI schools, Dagmar is excited to return to my second year as the guide in Children’s House 3.

Lauren Nelson, Assistant, Children’s House 3

Lauren is very grateful to have joined the MECC staff in October of 2017 and to be working with Dagmar and the wonderful families of Children’s House 3. Born and raised in St. Paul, Lauren returned to the Twin Cities in 2013 after earning a bachelors degree in English from Valparaiso University in Indiana and a masters degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. While working at Cathedral Hill Montessori, she completed the AMI Primary Assistant course in 2014 at the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota and will receive her AMI Primary Diploma from the Montessori Institute of San Diego in the summer of 2019.

Gaby Orozco-Delmont, Guide, Children’s House 4
I was born and raised in Mexico City. After graduating from The Escuela Mundial de Turismo, I lived abroad, studying English and French in Canada for several years. When I returned to Mexico I taught English as a second language to elementary students. My educational work also included teaching Spanish to adult foreign exchange students at the Cemenahuac Language Institute, in the city of Cuernavaca, Mexico.  I have been living with my husband and two daughters in Minneapolis for the past 13 years. I completed the AMI Primary Course at the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota in St. Paul, graduating in 2010. I also worked as a Montessori Assistant at Cornerstone and Little Flowers Montessori in recent years, before finding a great new home at Mayflower one year ago.

Maggie McCaffrey, Assistant, Children’s House 4

Maggie is excited to return to Mayflower for her third year in Children’s House 4. She holds an undergraduate degree in Biology from Smith College, AMI Primary Training Certificate from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota, and a Master’s in Advanced Montessori Studies from St. Catherine’s University. Maggie is originally from New York and before moving to Minnesota lived in Patagonia, Argentina for a year and a half. She speaks Spanish and English.

Laura Fritz, Toddler Community Guide
Laura earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the AMI Assistants to Infancy (0-3) diploma at the Montessori Center of Minnesota, and a Masters in Education from Loyola University Maryland. She truly enjoys changing the world and working for peace through children and the Montessori community and is excited to be doing that at Mayflower in the Toddler Community! In Laura’s free time she loves biking, playing music, reading, and camping.

Zara Idris, Toddler Community Assistant
Twenty-seven years ago, Zara made the long journey from Ethiopia to Seattle, Washington. In Seattle, Zara worked as a homecare aide and child care provider for nine years, as well as a nanny for seven years. After ten years, Zara made the brave decision to move to Minnesota. It certainly wasn’t because of her love for winter! Zara does, however, love family. She is one of eleven children, the mother of three boys, and proud grandmother of two girls. In 2014, she completed the AMI Assistant Training at the Montessori Center of Minnesota. This is her eighth year at Mayflower Early Childhood Center, and is enjoying her fourth year as the Assistant in the Toddler Community.

Megan Barim, Assistant, Toddler Community

Saleha Asim, Aide
Saleha has been working in the education field for over fifteen years, and is keen to guide and help children in their developmental age. Saleha earned the AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota. She has two children attending college: a daughter pursuing a degree in medicine and a son in finance. Saleha and her husband live in Eden Prairie, MN. In her leisure time, she enjoys painting, interior designing, and making artistic arrangements. She enjoys traveling around the globe with her family.

Megan Fortune, After Care Coordinator

Megan is a Los Angeles native, but moved to Minneapolis with her Minnesotan husband in 2016 and fell completely in love with the city. She has a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA, and completed the AMI Primary training through the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota. She is thrilled to be joining the Mayflower community! Megan loves music, hiking, baking, trying new restaurants, and swing dancing.

Daja Barber, After Care Assistant


Gao Xiong, After Care Assistant

Gao Hli Xiong was born in Minneapolis.  She began her journey at MECC in 2015 as a volunteer, then in 2017 as a highly regarded substitute teacher. She graduated in 2018 from Saint Paul Community and Technical College with an AS degree in Child Development. She enjoys traveling and nature, reading books, art, trying out new restaurants and loves to play volleyball.

Tamira Omer, After Care Assistant
Tamira moved from Kenya to Minneapolis in 2008. She worked as a nanny for a family of four, and then as a caretaker for her grandmother. After dedicating years to supporting families and children, she began her work at Mayflower in 2011 as a Hallway Aide and Support staff. In 2015, Tamira proudly earned her GED and one year later received AMI Assistance Training Certificate. She is a mother of two who enjoys spending time playing with her children and reading about the Montessori pedagogy.

Mingus Robson, After Care Assistant
Mingus was born in Minneapolis MN, and has lived here all his life. Mingus enjoys helping and working with people. He worked as a Customer Service member at Lunds and Byerlys grocery store and as a PCA and Resident Assistant in various homes for people with disabilities. In 2015, Mingus earned his AA degree in Liberal Arts from Minneapolis Community and Technical College. This is Mingus’ third year working at MECC and second year working as an Assistant in the After Care program. Mingus completed several Montessori workshops, and loves to connect with children and watch them grow. Mingus looks forward to working with the Mayflower children and parents to help support and guide them using the Montessori techniques.