Nanci Olesen | Director |
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 third year as director of Mayflower Early Childhood Center. I love this work. I love being with the children and assisting the parents and staff in developing a high quality preschool which is connected to its neighborhood. 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. I've lived in the Kingfield neighborhood for 31 years.
Ally Enz | Business Manager |
I have a B.S. in Business Administration and a M.A. in Educational Psychology, both from the University of Minnesota. My love of learning new things has allowed me a rich and varied career path, and I am so delighted to be part of Mayflower ECC to use my accounting and business background in a nurturing and positive environment that is supportive of all families. I live in the Lynnhurst neighborhood near the creek with my husband and our two children, and enjoy creative writing, crafty home projects, yoga, practicing mindfulness, and learning guitar and piano with my son and daughter—all things that help me to live more fully in the present moment.
Leah Popova | Parent Outreach Coordinator |
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 third year working closely with all the parents. I live in St. Louis Park with my husband and daughter who will be attending the Toddler Community here at Mayflower ECC!
Stephanie Melander | Administrative Assistant |
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 second year at Mayflower and I love this school! I was lucky to spend the past year as the assistant in Children's House 2, and I look forward to continuing my work at Mayflower as the administrative assistant this year. I am a native Minnesotan, runner, nutrition facts lover, and animal lover. I live in Saint Paul with my husband, Chris, and our two old rescue dogs, Nellie and Tucker.
Laura Fritz | Lead Guide, Toddler Community |
I have 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 by starting the Toddler Community! In my free time I enjoy 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 |
I am originally from the great state of New Jersey and attended Messiah College in Pennsylvania where I graduated with a BA in Religious Studies and Anthropology in 2009. I studied Environmental Education in Belize for a year as well. After graduation I lived in Arizona where I worked with teenagers in a transitional housing shelter to younger children at Red Mountain Montessori. After a year being exposed to the Montessori philosophy I made the brave move to the Midwest to get my AMI Montessori Primary Diploma in 2013. I am a vocalist at my church, runner, swimmer, and lover of yoga, nature, theatre, and college basketball! I live close to Lake Nokomis and Minnehaha Falls. I am grateful to now be a part of the MECC community after temporary work at Cathedral Hill and Sunny Hollow. I aspire to foster a love of learning, early independence, and encouragement through a balance of freedom and discipline with every child as well as to be taught by them in return.
Dagmar Hoebertz | Lead Guide, Children’s House 1 |
I grew up in the Western part of Germany and earned my Masters degree in Elementary Education at the University of Cologne. Since 2003 our family has lived in Minnesota. First I taught German to children and adults at the Germanic American Institute. Through my own children I got interested in Montessori education and took the Montessori Primary Training for children ages 3-6 in St. Paul. After leading a Children’s House at Cornerstone Montessori School in St. Paul for three years, I took the opportunity to open Mayflower’s Children’s House 1 in 2011. I am excited for my fourth year here at Mayflower! I live with my family in Lino Lakes; our oldest son is starting college at the University of Madison this fall. Now it’s our twin boys age 14, my husband, our dog Otis and I. I am looking forward to the year with all of you here at Mayflower!
Tiffany Heaver | Assistant, Children’s House 1 |
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 |
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!
Nicole Duggan | Assistant, Children’s House 2 |
I grew up in a small town in Central Wisconsin (yes, I am a Green Bay Packer fan). Upon graduating from college I moved to the Twin Cities where I taught students with special needs for ten years in the public schools. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and have completed graduate course work in Gifted Education and Montessori Education. I earned my primary certification through the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota in the Spring of 2014, and I cannot wait to start my new journey in the Mayflower community! In addition to my love of working with children, I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, fishing, gardening, yoga, biking, and dancing.
Molly Petracca | Lead Guide, Children’s House 3 |
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 third year as a guide of CH3! I currently dwell in Minneapolis with my husband and our two cats: Kuro and Shiro.
Deborah Getsug | Assistant, Children's House 3 |
I grew up in St. Paul and live in West St. Paul with my husband, John, and our cat, Lucca. 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 as well. 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 have a BFA in illustration and make jewelry, spin yarn, and knit in my spare time. I also enjoy cooking and taking explorative walks.
Kelli Michel | Lead Guide, Children's House 4 |
I'm incredibly passionate about learning, and have been in pursuit of a medley of interests ranging from my degree in Interior Design, vocal training in Opera Performance at the UNI, as well as Early Childhood Arts coursework at the University of Iowa. For several years I thoroughly enjoyed acting, and writing at various community theatres in Iowa. Once I started teaching drama to youth in 2007, I knew education was where I belonged. In 2010, I made the decision to leave the state of Iowa for Minnesota to earn the A.M.I. Primary diploma at the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota. I began my Montessori journey as the Extended Day Coordinator at Cathedral Hill in 2011. I look forward to continuing to be a part of the Mayflower community!
Gaby Orozco-Delmont | Assistant, 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. 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 |
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 |
I am a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College. I am a dual citizen of the United States and England, where I attended school for a short spell and visit as often as possible. A majority of my primary years were spent in a Montessori setting. I attended Lake Country and Seward Montessori before becoming a Southwest student. Currently I am involved with the YMCA’s Youth Development programs and am a first year staff here at MECC. I have also worked as a Personal Care Assistant to adults and children with pervasive developmental disorders. South Minneapolis has been my home since my earliest memories and I have cherished living along Minnehaha creek. I am honored to partake in the journey these children are on from an “unconscious Absorbent Mind” and creating themselves by exploring their environment and being given opportunities to choose activities that will facilitate their natural behavioral tendencies.
Emma Jo Lackie | Nap Room Coordinator |
I have been a member of Mayflower Church for 32 years and involved with the various children's programs at the church for over 27 years, both as an instructor and as an assistant. Three years ago I completed the AMI Children's House Assistants Course and performed as an assistant in Children's House 1. This is the second year I will serve as nap room coordinator and afternoon aide. I love working with children and their excitement for life. My husband and I live in Richfield where I spend summer in my garden with our over demanding cat.
Tamira Omer | Aide |
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 |
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.