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Meet Our Teaching Team

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Alanna N.

Head of School/Director

Joined Sunshine: Fall 2000

Alanna is in her twentieth year at Sunshine Montessori! She began her work at Sunshine while finishing up as a student at the University of Minnesota, majoring in Early Childhood Education. After graduation, she enjoyed several years as the lead teacher of the Toddler House prior to taking the role as Sunshine's Head of School. Alanna worked in small businesses from the age of sixteen and put herself through college by working as an office administrator before gaining experience as an assistant at Sunshine. The blend, between education and business administration, in the role of school Director naturally fit her in 2009 and has been both challenging and rewarding ever since! Her favorite thing about Sunshine is the community relationships and lasting friendships. Watching these develop, in both students, parents and staff, over the years has been just one of the highlights. Alanna has loved working with the various parent volunteers, on Sunshine Board of Directors, to create a strong vision for Sunshine that includes ensuring we are a unique and close-knit group of individuals who ensure we provide a positive, caring, beautiful and educational environment for both the children and the teachers to enjoy each day.

​Alanna grew up in the metro suburbs and resides just outside of St. Paul with her husband and two teenage daughters, who are both Sunshine alumni! She loves to cozy up with a good book, baking and getting away to travel or to relax at her family’s cabin in Wisconsin.  Her favorite childhood memories include playing with her two sisters, her cabbage patch kids, riding bikes with neighborhood kids and spending summers in upstate New York at her grandparents’ lake cabin.

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Melanie K.S.

Assistant Director
Summer Program - Lead Teacher
Joined Sunshine: Summer 2006

I hold a Bachelor of Science Degree in Speech/Language Pathology with a minor in Special Education from Florida State University. I enjoy working with children because they are delightful and inspiring; I am grateful to have a job where I can support their growth and nurture their love of learning. There isn't a day that passes which doesn't include a hug, a silly story or even a smile which makes my work day! I believe as Early Educators that we help build a strong foundation which positively supports the child's educational and human journey throughout their life. Sunshine is a special place because the teachers are forward thinking educators who strive to be leaders in our field. We are constantly pushing ourselves to grow in all aspects of programming, such as how we develop and present curricula. Our small community is a wonderful nurturing place and I so enjoy my time with the children and my co-workers.

 

I was born in Iowa but moved to a retirement community in Florida with my parents when I was thirteen. I attended high school and college in the South. After graduation, I relocated to Minneapolis where multiple family members lived. I now live in Minneapolis with my husband, three children, and two dogs and one snake. I am an avid hockey fan, gardener, reader, and crafter! My favorite childhood memory is camping with my whole family.

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Jenny W.

Todder House - Lead Teacher

Joined Sunshine: Fall 2009

I hold a degree in Elementary Education with a Pre-Primary emphasis from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. I decided on a career in education because I am passionate about creating an environment for children that supports and encourages a love for learning from a young age. I will often say "Toddlers are my people" because I truly enjoy what I do and appreciate each unique personality that I meet in our toddler community. The toddler years go by quickly and it is a privilege to have this opportunity to support each child during a time of incredible growth. Just like the children, I love Sunshine! I look forward to each new partnership with families, as together we support and encourage the children. Sunshine is a place where we gather to dedicate our time, thoughts, and love into this common goal and value: The children.

 

I grew up in MN in a large family; two sisters and one brother. I am very close with and proud of my family. Each of us chose a career path that enables us to make a positive impact and care for others; from teaching to coaching to healthcare. I now live in Lakeville, MN with my husband our son and our puppy. When I am not caring for children, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. My husband and I most enjoy the fall season, from foliage to bonfires and football; we love it all! We also enjoy traveling, our favorite places are Grand Marais and Oregon. While I enjoy seeing new sights and exploring, my favorite spot is our backyard, playing yard games or relaxing on our back deck watching soccer games on the fields behind our house. I grew up playing and coaching soccer on the same fields! Many of my favorite memories from childhood have to do with my first love, soccer, and I have the fun privilege of sharing this game with the Sunshine Kickers each summer.

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Melissa V.

Children's House East - Montessori Guide/Lead Teacher
Joined Sunshine: Fall 2018

I hold a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Minnesota and attended the Montessori Center of MN to receive my AMI diploma in 2006. What I enjoy most about working with young children is their innocence and love for learning! The phrases they use and their conversations with their peers are sometimes hilarious, too. I believe that early childhood education is so important because it is the time when the child is shaping his/her personality, routines, and has a drive to learn. What I enjoy about working at Sunshine is that it is peaceful. The teachers are truly devoted to the children's well-being, and it's like a family.

 

I grew up in MN and live out in the suburbs with my husband and our two kids. We also have a dog, rabbit, and fish. I'm passionate about chimpanzees and apes, and volunteered for the Jane Goodall Institute for Primate Studies at the U. My favorite childhood memory is going to my grandparent's cabin and feeding the horses.

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Bryan E.

Children's House West - Montessori Guide/Lead Teacher
Joined Sunshine: Winter 2016

I hold a Bachelor's degree in Child Psychology from the College of St. Scholastica. I also have my AMI diploma from the Montessori Training Center of MN. I decided on education as a career path because I have a profound love for helping others learn and grow to be the best they can be. Children are the future and Montessori education provides a solid educational foundation for children to build off of. I believe it is a method that will carry them throughout the rest of their lives. What I like most about working at Sunshine is its focus on providing a strong parent community for families. It has a very welcoming atmosphere with passionate teachers and administration.

I was born in the midwest, but have spent the majority of my life in Minnesota. I currently enjoy time with my wife and two dogs. My other interests include flying my Mavic Pro drone, building and fixing almost anything, home theater audio, reading my Montessori albums, and watching reruns of Threes Company. My favorite childhood memory is when my parents brought home the Apple computer.

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Isaac K.

Children's House West - Assistant Teacher
Aftercare Program Lead Teacher

Joined Sunshine: Summer 2016

I hold a Bachelor's degree in Theater with a concentration in Acting from Augsburg College. I've always enjoyed working with children and grew up with my Mom running a home daycare for twelve years. When I was old enough, I would help my Mom after school. Then in high school and college, I worked at a self-esteem camp for middle schoolers. Both of these experiences helped me realize my love of working with children. I love watching how young children's minds work; they are amazing! I enjoy seeing them excel in the Montessori environment by gaining independence and confidence. What I most enjoy about working with young children is the relationships I have been able to build with them and their families. Sunshine has a wonderful sense of community.

 

I grew up in outstate MN and moved to the Twin Cities for college and I have lived here ever since. My interests and hobbies include: Power walking, reading, singing, binge-watching Netflix shows, and spending time with my family and friends. My favorite memory from my childhood is putting on performances with my brother for our parents every Friday to kick off the weekend. They were usually songs we liked or plays we made up.

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Amanda M.

Toddler House - Assistant Teacher
Joined Sunshine: Summer 2019

I hold a degree in Child Psychology and Spanish from the University of Minnesota. What I most enjoy about working with young children is observing how they think about and process the world around them. They are just little sponges soaking up all the information that they can. I believe in early childhood education because it is essential in children's social, emotional, and academic development. It helps children to become independent and confident in their own abilities, and foster a love of learning to help them in future schooling. This is also why I enjoy Montessori education. I love working at Sunshine because of its focus on community- and Sunshine is such a kind, wonderful, and fun community to be apart of!

I grew up in WI and moved to Minneapolis for college. I currently live iwith my partner and our dog. When I'm not at Sunshine, I enjoy hiking and I also love baking. My favorite memory from childhood is going up to my grandparents' cabin during the summer with my siblings and cousins. 

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Seng Y.

Children's House West - Assistant Teacher
Joined Sunshine: Fall 2018

I hold a Child Development Associates Degree and am working towards a degree in Elementary Education so I can eventually work with Kindergarten-3rd graders. I also attended art school for two years. I love that children are walking sponges, soaking up everything around them. I particularly love Montessori Education because of its focus on developing the whole child and its emphasis on independence and beauty. I believe that early childhood education is important because it sets up a foundation to love learning and school. It also helps provide children with the tools and basic skills they'll need in the future. I enjoy working at Sunshine because it is a supportive environment and the teachers truly love doing what they do. I also love that the school is small enough where staff can get to know every child. 

I grew up living in the Twin Cities and I have ten siblings! My favorite memory from childhood is buying ice cream from the ice cream truck! Sometimes my siblings and I would get free ice cream! In my free time, I like taking photos - mostly portraiture and some landscapes. I also enjoy hiking, walks in nature, scrap booking, and drawing. 

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Mikah H.

Aftercare Program - Assistant Teacher - Toddler House
Joined Sunshine: Fall 2019

I completed my Bachelors degree in social work and am currently pursuing my Masters in social work as well. What I enjoy most about working with young children is the concept of play as a learning tool in preschoolers and toddlers- anything and everything is an opportunity for growth! I love working at Sunshine because of it's commitment to creativity and expression of self. 

I grew up in Northern Illinois and moved to the Twin Cities for undergrad. I loved the area so much that I stayed after graduation.  In my free time, I love taking walks around Lake Harriet, practicing yoga, and learning new recipes! My favorite childhood memories involve being with my family - making cookies with Grandma, watching baseball games with Grandma, and riding bikes with my brother. 

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Rae I.

Children's House East - Assistant Teacher
Joined Sunshine Fall 2020

I joined Sunshine in the fall of 2020 when I began a career change into education! I am currently working towards my Bachelor's of Education and hope to go on to obtain a Montessori credential. Minneapolis has always been home to me and I feel that I am a part of  a team and enjoy the warmth and support I have found at Sunshine as I build upon my teaching experience.

I have always loved school and learning and have wonderful memories of my first grade teacher making such a positive impact on me.  In my free time, I like running, yoga, hiking, reading non-fiction, playing my banjo, listening to music and spending time with loved ones.

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Erin B.

Aftercare Program - Teacher

Children's House Assistant Teacher
Joined Sunshine: Fall 2019

I hold a Bachelors degree in History from the University of Minnesota. I am currently pursuing a Masters of Teaching for 5-12 Social Studies. What I enjoy about working with young children is the way they think without boundaries. I plan to utilize different aspects, experiences, and principles of early childhood and Montessori in my future as a secondary teacher - it's so exciting and engaging! I believe early childhood education is so important because it gives students the skills and confidence to grow in their future learning environments! Early childhood helps to foster a life-long love of learning- which is a personal goal of mine! Working at Sunshine, I love it's atmosphere and kindness! Every person I have met is genuine and wonderful. Truly Sunshine and magic. 

I grew up in the Northern Suburbs and my hobbies and interests include: Trying new food, experiencing different cultures, hiking, and reading. My favorite childhood memory comes from with I was seven years old. I wanted to convince my grandpa to let us get a dog, so I went all out: I compiled research and a contract in a briefcase, dressed up like a lawyer, and gave a presentation to my family. Needless to say, I got the dog!

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Sarah

Children's House East - Assistant 

Aftercare Program  - Teacher
Joined Sunshine: Spring 2021

I graduated in May of 2020 from Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a BFA in Graphic Design and Art History and first began working with children as an after-school tutor for elementary students ranging from 1st-5th grade when in high school. Since then, I have worked as a nanny, teaching assistant, teaching artist and swim instructor before discovering Montessori.  I loves working in early childhood because of all the growth, changes, and development that happens in these year and when not at Sunshine, loves to cook, spend time in nature, and go rock climbing!