Our Staff

Nanci Olesen | Director | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I have a B.A. in Theatre from Gustavus Adolphus College, the AMI Montessori Primary Diploma, and M.Ed from Loyola University.  This is my fourth year as director of Mayflower Early Childhood Center. My husband and I have raised three Montessori children who are now wonderful adults.  Before I began my work in Montessori education, I worked in public radio, primarily reporting on issues related to parenthood.  Every other Tuesday morning at 7 AM I can be heard on KFAI's Morning Blend, talking about issues related to early childhood.  I've lived in the Kingfield neighborhood for 32 years.  I love to ride my bike,  swim, garden, cook, camp, travel, and hike.

Julia Coskran | Assistant Director | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I have a B.A. degree in Economics from Carleton College and a M.S.A. in Accounting from DePaul University.  I began my Montessori experience at Lake Country Montessori as a Development Coordinator and Parent Liaison.  After 7 years at LCS the Minnesota Association of Independent Schools needed an Executive Director, and I happily took the position.  Indirectly, this lead me to MECC, where I am beginning my first full year.  I live in South Minneapolis with my husband, twin daughters and two small dogs.  When I am not at MECC you can find me walking around the neighborhood, baking or reading.

Leah Popova | Parent Outreach Coordinator | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

One of my greatest passions is to support other individuals through their own life journeys.  Parenting is certainly one of these adventures!  I have a B.S. degree in English Literature from the University of WI-River Falls, the AMI Primary Montessori Diploma, and a M.Ed from Loyola University.  I spent 8 years as a Children's House Lead Guide at Children's Workshop Montessori, after which I took time off to explore other paths of involvement in the Montessori community.  This led me to Mayflower Early Childhood Center, and I am excited to be here for a fourth year working closely with all the parents.  I live in Edina with my husband and daughter who attends the Toddler Community here at Mayflower ECC!

Stephanie Melander | Business Manager | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I have 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. This is my third year at Mayflower, where I have worked both directly with the children in the Children's House, and also in the administrative capacity. I am a native Minnesotan, runner, nutrition facts lover, and animal lover. I live in Saint Paul with my husband, Chris, our son James, and our rescue dog, Nellie.

Laura Fritz | Lead Guide, Toddler Community | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I 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.  I truly enjoy changing the world and working for peace through children and the Montessori community and am excited to continue at Mayflower for a second year in the Toddler Community!  In my free time I love singing, cooking, gardening, reading, and camping.

Zara Idris | Assistant, Toddler Community
I am from Ethiopia but I have lived in the United States for 23 years.  In Seattle I worked for 9 years as a homecare aide and as a daycare provider.  I was a nanny for 7 years.  I have lived in Minneapolis for 6 years.  I have 3 boys, ages 29, 22, and 19.  In my family of origin, I am one of 11 children, so I am very comfortable with children and families.  I love children and I love working with them!  I am the Assistant in the Toddler Community in 2014-15, having completed my AMI Montessori Assistant Training at the Montessori Center of Minnesota in summer 2014.  This is my 5th year at Mayflower Early Childhood Center.

Kori Shelden | Assistant, Toddler Community | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I am originally from the great state of New Jersey. I attended Messiah College in Pennsylvania, where I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Religious studies and Anthropology. I also lived in Tempe, Arizona before moving to Minnesota in 2011. I was fortunate enough to be apart of my two nieces’ lives in Arizona, and heavily due to this time with them, I discovered my passion for children! Also while in Arizona, it was the first time I ever heard of the Montessori philosophy. So, I moved here to pursue the AMI degree and graduated in 2013. I am delighted to now be joining Laura and Zara in the new Toddler Community, after working as a support staff the past 8 months! Montessori is truly a peaceful revolutionary movement which I am honored to be a part of. Outside of work I run, bike, dance, sing, practice yoga, and I am a lover of nature (animals:), the arts, my family, and college basketball!

Kokila | Assistant, Children’s House 1 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I was born in India.  I completed the Montessori Primary Training at the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota in May 2015.  I worked as a software engineer for 7 years in India and I have a Master's degree in Computer Science.  It is through my son that I realized my inner passion for working with children. My research on child development introduced me to the world of Montessori.  This is my first year at Mayflower and I am so excited and thrilled to work with the children as an assistant in Children's House 1. I live in Eagan with my husband, Senthil and our five year old son, Ghirish.

Tiffany Heaver | Assistant, Children’s House 1 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I grew up in the Twin Cities and hold 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. Before coming to Mayflower, I taught for three years as an assistant at Cornerstone Montessori School. I’ve also tutored ESL students, coached gymnastics, and interned in Ghana. My pastimes include writing, biking, and spending time outdoors with my family. It brings me great joy to join the Mayflower team!

Erin Haapala | Lead Guide, Children’s House 2 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I am the guide in Children's House 2 and proud to say that I helped to grow Mayflower's Montessori program when it all began in 2009.  I have my Masters in Education (Loyola University Maryland) and received my Montessori AMI Primary Diploma in 2009. Before my Montessori career began I graduated from the University of Minnesota with degrees in Anthropology and Archaeology. One of my favorite things about being a Montessori guide is getting to see how all these very different children develop into independent, life long learners.  And I get to dust off the old sewing machine every once in a while!

Anna Davis | Assistant, Children's House 2 |  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I was born in Bogota, Colombia and adopted when I was 6 months old. I grew up in south Minneapolis.  I've worked with children who have come from all different backgrounds and I enjoy every minute of it.  I worked with children in crisis at the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery for 6 years and stumbled upon the greatness of Montessori working at Discoveries for Children Montessori for 5 years. I graduated with my AMI diploma in 2014 and I am finishing my early childhood education degree through Metro state. I enjoy traveling, (specifically to Seattle in the summers to visit family) waterfall hunting, biking, drawing, spending time with family and my pug, Bentley.  I am so excited to join Erin in children's House 2 and thrilled to be a part of the Mayflower community!

Molly Petracca | Lead Guide, Children’s House 3 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
My first Montessori experience was as a preschooler myself in a small school in St. Paul. I became very passionate about everything related to children and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Early Childhood Education. From there I have done various things such as work for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Minneapolis, teach English in France, and assist in a Montessori classroom. In 2012 I received the AMI Montessori Primary Diploma for children 3-6 years of age and I am excited that this shall be my fourth year as a guide of CH3! I currently dwell in Minneapolis with my husband and our two cats: Kuro and Kuma.

Deborah Taillon | Assistant, Children's House 3 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I live in West St. Paul with my husband, John, and our cat, Lucca.  We are expecting our first child this Fall 2015. I graduated from the Montessori Center of Minnesota with an AMI Primary Diploma in the spring of 2013, and my M.Ed from Loyola University Maryland.  I am grateful to be a part of the Montessori community, and I am excited to play a role in helping children develop a love of learning, and build the social and emotional competence needed to be part of the Children’s House and beyond.  I earned my  Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2006 and have a small business called Taillon Made where I sell my handmade jewelery.  I also enjoyspinning yearn, needle felting and taking explorative walks.

Kelli Michel | Lead Guide, Children's House 4 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
My husband, our cat and I relocated to the Twin cities five years ago from the neighboring state of Iowa. In Iowa, I studies nearly everything under the sun; from Interior Design, to Opera Preformance, to Early Childhood Arts at the University of Iowa. I taught for four years in a traditional preschool as well as youth drama workshops with Theatre Cedar Rapids.  This year I am celebrating my third year as an AMI Primary Montessori guide, my fourth year at the splendiferous Mayflower ECC, and fifth year working within the Montessori community. My free time is spent honing my theatrical skills (improvisation!), singing, hiking, biking, reading, watching films, laughing and my favorite...paying bills!

Gaby Orozco-Delmont | Assistant, Children's House 4 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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. I really enjoy my role as an Assistant in Children’s House 4, and look forward to all of the contributions that I can make this coming year.

Tom Bird | After Care Co-Coordinator | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I was born and raised in South Minneapolis. This is my fourth year at MECC and my second as Aftercare Co-coordinator. I received a BA from the University of Minnesota in Spanish/Portuguese and Global Studies. I completed the Montessori Primary Assistant's Training at the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota in 2012. I'm excited to continue supporting children and families by extending the quality childcare and commitment to the Montessori philosophy that children receive in MECC's wonderful Children's Houses beyond the classroom.

Alex Link | After Care Co-Coordinator | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Hello! My name is Alexander Link and this will be my second year at MECC.  I am a Gustavus Adolphus graduate and I am certified in AMI now that I have taken the Assistants Course at the Montessori Center of Minnesota this summer.  I have worked as a PCA with children with pervasive developmental disabilities and have worked in youth development programs through the YMCA.  It is a privilege to work with your children as they actively explore the world and set off on their own road to functional independence.  Have a wonderful year

Mingus Robson| After Care Assistant | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I was born in Minneapolis MN, and have lived here all my life.   This is my second year working at MECC and my first year working as an assistant in the after care program.  I graduated Minneapolis community and Technical College two years ago with my AA Degree in Liberal Arts .  I  worked at Lunds and Byerlies groceries store doing customer service.   I also have worked as a PCA and a Resident Assistant in various homes for people with disabilities. I have completed the Montessori workshops this past summer, and I have always loved children and being able to connect with them as they grow. I am really looking forward to working with these children and all of you as we help to support  and guide them using the Montessori program techniques.

Tamira Omer | Aide | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I have lived in Minneapolis for five years. I graduated from Roosevelt High School in 2011.  This is my first time working with children at a school, but I grew up with my grandma in Ethiopia. When my grandma died, I moved back with my mom.  Here in the United States I have helped care for my cousins, ages 1-5 years old!  I love being with the children at Mayflower Early Childhood Center and being close with the children!

Saleha Asim | Aide | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I earned my AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota. I have been working in the education field for the last fifteen years and am keen to guide and help children in their developmental age. I have two university going children: a daughter pursuing a degree in medicine and a son in finance. My husband and I live in Eden Prairie, MN. I love to do painting, interior designing, and make artistic arrangements in my leisure time. I enjoy traveling around the globe with my family.

Sarah Farley | Aide | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I have a B.A. in English from Earlham College. My introduction to Montessori education came when my children attended Lake Country School in Minneapolis. I started substituting at MECC in 2013, and this is my second year serving as Hallway Aide, while continuing to substitute as needed. I took the Assistants Course at the Montessori Center of Minnesota this summer, and will be AMI certified upon completion of observation requirements this fall. I enjoy biking, canoeing, reading, singing and theater. My spouse Betty and I have 2 children in college.

 

Company Info

 

Our mission is to serve a diverse community and
to provide high quality Montessori learning environments that meet
the developmental needs
of the whole child.

Mayflower Early Childhood Center

106 East Diamond Lake Road
Minneapolis, MN 55419
Tel: 612-825-5914

 

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