Our Teachers/Staff

5Y5E6019

 

Mrs. Kelly Adams

Classroom: AM Preschool

Mrs. Adams began teaching at MCH in 1999. She has worked four years in the Early Preschool room and the remainder of the time in the Preschool room.

More

Kelly holds a degree in business from AIB and has attended ongoing Montessori staff training. She worked for three years at a Montessori school in Texas before coming to MCH. Kelly lives in West Des Moines with her husband Kent, daughter Taylor, and son Lakota.

Mrs. Connie Allen

Classroom: Full Day Preschool

Mrs. Allen began teaching at MCH in 1981. She has her Elementary Education degree from Iowa State University,  her Montessori certification for the 3-6 year old age group, and her International Diploma.

More

Connie lives in West Des Moines with her husband Bruce. She has two children, Rob and Katie, who attended MCH as preschoolers and who are now at Iowa State University.

Mr. Jesse Bonnette

Classroom: Full Day Preschool

Mr. Bonnette began teaching at MCH in the fall of 2013. Jesse attended Grandview University where he graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and reading endorsement.

More

Jesse lives in West Des Moines with his wife, Shelby, and dog, Iko.  Jesse is currently working towards completing his Montessori teacher certification.

Mrs. Liz Brennan

Classroom: Full Day Preschool

Mrs. Brennan began as a substitute teacher at MCH in 2004 and as a part time teacher in 2005. Liz attended St. Olaf College and received a B.A. in French.

More

She also attended the University of Iowa and received an Elementary Education Teaching Certificate with an E.S.L. endorsement. Liz has completed her Montessori certification and her International Diploma. Both of Liz’s children attended MCH.

Mrs. Juliann Cline

Classroom: Half Day Early Preschool

Mrs. Cline began teaching at Montessori Children’s House in August 2008 after being a stay at home mom for 12 years. Juliann enjoyed being an active volunteer in her children’s school.

More

Mrs. Cline grew up in West Des Moines and received her teaching degree from Iowa State. Mrs. Cline lives in West Des Moines with her husband, Peter, and their two daughters.

Mrs. Wendi Henning

Administrative Assistant

Mrs. Henning started at MCH in September 2010.  She has a degree from Iowa State University.

More

Mrs. Henning and her husband have three sons.

Mrs. Karishma Khanna

Classroom:  Full Day Preschool

Mrs. Khanna started teaching at MCH in 2013. Prior to her move to Des Moines in 2012, she taught at a traditional preschool in Atlanta.

More

She has a dual Master of Arts in Finance and History along with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. She is currently pursuing her Montessori certification. Mrs. Khanna and her husband have two sons, ages 9 and 12.

Mrs. Helen Kirby

Classroom: 5-7 Full Day

Mrs. Kirby taught at MCH from 2001 to 2008 and has returned after living out of state for a few years.

More

She has her B.S. in Elementary Education from Louisiana State University, her Montessori certification for the 3-6 year old age group and her International Diploma.

Mrs. Kristine Kirkpatrick

Classroom: Full Day Preschool

Mrs. Kirkpatrick began teaching at MCH in 1983. She attended the University of Iowa and received a BFA degree.

More

She took Montessori training classes in 1985 and worked at Cowles Montessori School with 6-9 year old students.

Mrs. Sue Kozitza

Classroom: Full Day Preschool

Mrs. Kozitza began her career at MCH in 1997. She attended Mankato State University and West Virginia University.

More

Sue successfully completed the Apparatus Workshop. Sue is married and has one daughter, two sons, and a dog named Missy. Sue became a grandmother for the first time in 2006. Sue shares teaching responsibilities with Liz – Sue works five days and Liz works the opposite five days.

Mrs. Kelley Kramer

Classroom: AM Preschool

Mrs. Kramer began teaching at MCH in 2008. Kelly received a degree in PR/Marketing from UNI.

More

When her daughter began preschool and her first son was born, she accepted a position at the Walnut Creek YMCA and became the preschool Gymnastics and Fitness Coordinator. She worked there for eight years before she began working at the Academy. She was their part-time secretary for two years and then became an associate Montessori preschool teacher for another four years. Mrs. Kramer completed her Montessori certification in July 2011.

Mrs. Kramer is married to Mike and they have three children: Elizabeth, a senior at Iowa State, Michael, a freshman at Iowa State, and Benjamin, a freshman at Urbandale. Their family also includes their pets, Noah, Roo, and Teddy.

Mrs. Rini Kumar

Head Directress

Mrs. Kumar began teaching at MCH in 2002 working as a substitute teacher in various classrooms. She started teaching full time at MCH in 2003 in our 3-6 preschool program.

More

Rini has a B.A. in English and Psychology. In the summer of 2004 she completed the Montessori Apparatus Workshop in Denver, CO. Rini has completed her Montessori certification and her International Diploma and is a Montessori trainer. She became Head Directress in June 2007. Rini has two children.

Mrs. Donna Leffler

Classroom: AM Preschool

Mrs. Leffler has worked at MCH since 2008.

More

Donna is certified by the American Montessori Society in Early Childhood Education and is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Upper Iowa University. Donna is married and has two adult children, one attending the University of Iowa and the other Grandview University.

Mrs. Jodie Lusk

Classroom: AM/PM Preschool

Mrs. Lusk started teaching at MCH in 2000. She has a degree in child development from Iowa Western Community College.

More

Jodie also worked at a Montessori school in Omaha, Nebraska before joining the MCH staff. She has completed her Montessori certification and her International Diploma. Jodie has twin daughters who attended MCH.

Mrs. Bharti Manek

Classroom: Full Day Early Preschool

Mrs. Manek began teaching at MCH in 2005.

More

She attended Gujarat University in India and received a B.A. in Psychology. Bharti has completed the Apparatus Workshop.

Mrs. Elizabeth Mansfield

Classroom: 5-7 Full Day

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Betty Mathers

Classroom: Art

Mrs. Mathers is our art teacher and has worked at MCH since 2001.

More

She has an MFA degree from Drake University and has taught art for many years to all ages, preschool through adult! Betty has done extensive reading in the Montessori philosophy and works to incorporate the same principals in her work with our students.

Mrs. Guelly Mendoza

Classroom: Spanish Immersion

Mrs. Mendoza is a native Spanish speaker born and raised in Bolivia.  Upon graduating from high school in Boliva, Mrs. Mendoza studied business administration.

More

Mrs. Mendoza is the mother of five children who have all mastered Spanish and some have gone on to use their Spanish in their careers.  She has enjoyed working as a respite care provider for Family Inc. where she been extensively trained and is certified to help children with special needs.  She works with the Spanish Immersion program at the Montessori Children’s House.  Mrs. Mendoza is working toward her Montessori certification for ages birth – 6 having already completed the Apparatus Workshop.

Mrs. Tammy Miller

Classroom: AM Preschool

Mrs. Miller began teaching at MCH in 2009. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education from Iowa State University and has been involved in this career field for 25 years.

More

Her experiences lie not only in the early childhood classroom, but also as a Director of a large childcare facility and a Resource and Referral counselor with Polk County. Mrs. Miller lives in Urbandale with her husband and three children.

Mrs. Usha Narayan

Classroom: Full Day Early Preschool

Mrs. Narayan has been associated with MCH since 1983, when her first child, a daughter, enrolled in our school as a preschooler.

More

Subsequently, both her younger children attended our school. Usha volunteered as a parent and worked as a lunch room aide and substitute teacher, prior to joining our teaching staff in 1997. Usha holds a B.A. in English and Psychology from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, and an International Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy from Montessori Centre International in London, U.K.

Usha enjoys gardening, reading and listening to music. She also loves to cook and experiment with new ingredients and recipes.

Mrs. Dawn Rafferty

Classroom: Half Day Early Preschool

Mrs. Rafferty began teaching at Montessori Children’s House in September 2008. She currently teaches in the Half Day Early Preschool classroom.

More

Mrs. Rafferty loves being back at work after staying home with her children for 12 years. Dawn grew up in Des Moines and graduated from Iowa State University with a BA in Journalism and Speech Communications. She has spent many years in her children’s school volunteering in various activities. Mrs. Rafferty lives in West Des Moines with her two daughters, son, and husband, Bob.

Mrs. Kandy Reddy

Classroom: Full Day Preschool

Mrs. Reddy started working at MCH in 1991 in a 3-6 year old room and later moved to the 5-7 year old room.

More

During this time, she earned an International Montessori Diploma from MCI. Prior to teaching at MCH, she taught first and second grade in the Davenport Public Schools. She has also worked with infants in the Des Moines Public Schools’ daycare center. She did substitute teaching for the Bettendorf and West Des Moines schools.

Since she works part time now, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two grown children and seven grandchildren.

Mrs. Sandy Sheldon

Classroom: Full Day Preschool

Mrs. Sheldon began teaching at MCH in 1979!

More

She has her Elementary Education degree from Simpson College and her 3-6 year old Montessori certification from St. Nicholas. Sandy is married and has three children and two grandsons. Sandy works Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for Teresa and Thursday afternoon for Connie.

Mrs. Pam Sotelo

Classroom: Spanish Immersion

Mrs. Sotelo began teaching at MCH in 2008. She has over 14 years of Montessori teaching experience.

More

She started her career as an assistant teacher at a Montessori school in Mexico while studying “Intervencion Educativa” at the National Pedagogical University Campus 081. Pam completed her Montessori training at “Centro de Capacitacion Montesorri” in Chihuahua, Mexico.  Pam is married to Hem Kolli and has two children, Shreeya and Alonso.

Mrs. Denise Springer

Business Manager

 

 

 

 

Ms. Kim Springer

Classroom: Full Day Early Preschool

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Natalie Steenson

Classroom: Music

Mrs. Steenson began teaching at MCH in the fall of 2013.  Natalie received her BA in music and religion with a minor in psychology from Coe College.

More

She has taught early childhood music for over 16 years and currently teaches with Iowa Youth Chorus (IYC) “Beginnings!” early childhood music program. Natalie also directs IYC’s Primary Choir for 6 and 7 year olds and IYC’s Children’s Choir for 8-10 year olds. Natalie is a rostered artist with Cultureall, Metro Arts and VSA Iowa presenting music, movement and musical storytelling workshops for children and adults.

Natalie enjoys singing and playing her lever harp for church, school and community programs. Natalie is married and has two children.

Mrs. Teresa Sutton

Classroom: Full Day Preschool

Mrs. Sutton began teaching at MCH in 2001. She attended Des Moines Area Community College.

More

Teresa started working at MCH in a Half Day Preschool classroom after staying home with her sons. Teresa has earned her Montessori certification course and International Teaching Diploma. Teresa’s husband is Travis and they have two sons, Jake and Josh.

Mrs. Brenda Toth

Classroom: Full Day Early Preschool

Mrs. Toth began teaching at MCH in 2006. Brenda received a B.S. in Elementary Education from Kent State University, an ESL endorsement from UNLV, and a M.A. in Education Administration and Supervision from the University of Phoenix.

More

Brenda is currently working on her Montessori certification. Originally from Ohio, Brenda taught second grade in Las Vegas for eight years before moving to Iowa in 2001. Brenda has two sons and a daughter who attended MCH.

Mrs. Marsha Wiggins

Classroom: AM Preschool

Mrs. Wiggins began teaching at Montessori Children’s House in 1992.

More

She earned a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago, her Montessori certification for children ages birth – 6, and her International Diploma. She currently holds an Iowa teaching license for grades K – 6. She has three grown children who attended MCH.

Ms. Briana Williams

Classroom: Full Day Early Preschool

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Jocelyn Beltroy

Classroom: Spanish Enrichment

This is Mrs. Beltroy’s first year teaching at MCH. She was born and raised in Peru and received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from UNIFE University in Lima-Peru in December 1996 and worked as a preschool teacher there for 2 years.

More

Mrs. Beltroy and her husband, Eduardo, moved to the US in 1998, when he got a position for his Pediatric Residency. Mrs. Beltroy was a stay-home mom until her family moved back to Peru in 2009. Then again she worked as a preschool teacher for 2 more years until July 2011 when she and her family returned to Iowa. Mrs. Beltroy started working at Montessori Children’s House in September 2012 as a Spanish teacher for specials. She and her husband have three sons, Mateo, Gonzalo and Rafael. Their son, Rafael, attended Montessori Children’s House.