Alanna has been a part of Sunshine for 14 years. She began her work at Sunshine while a student at the University of Minnesota, majoring in Early Childhood Education. After graduation, she enjoyed several years of teaching in the Toddler House prior to taking the role as Sunshine's Director.
Head of School/Director
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 Clinton, 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.
Assistant Director Summer Program - Lead Teacher Joined Sunshine: Summer 2006
I hold a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Minnesota. I love working with children because they perceive the world and their environment in such a unique way. They always remind me of the little joys and curiosities in life with the questions they ask, the way in which they share their thoughts and ideas, and the observations they make. I believe that the most important aspect of early childhood education is fostering growth in children’s social and emotional development. When educators create early childhood environments that support and nurture this in a variety of ways, there lies a foundation for further learning and future success. What I love most about Sunshine is that it feels like a second home in the best way possible. When you join the Sunshine community as a teacher, child, or parent, you gain a strong support system and friends that feel like family. Sunshine makes creating and maintaining this type of culture a priority.
I grew up in Southwest Minneapolis and currently still reside here with my husband and my cat. My other interests and hobbies include reading, watching sports (especially soccer, hockey, and volleyball), listening to podcasts and music while cooking and baking (very specific), exploring new places and new foods, hiking, and being active. My favorite childhood memories include all of the simple things: playing sports, conjuring up imaginary play scenarios in my backyard, walking to the corner store on the weekends for a snack and a VHS rental, and building forts in my living room.
Aftercare Program & Summer Program- Lead Teacher Joined Sunshine: Spring 2013
I hold a degree in Elementary Education with a pre-primary emphasis from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. Go Cobbers! 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, encourage, and appreciate the children. Sunshine is a place where we gather and dedicate our time, thoughts, and love into this common goal and value: The children.
I grew up in Burnsville, 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, Tony, and puppy, Riggins. When I am not caring for children, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. My husband and I love 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 at the park 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. My favorite soccer memory might be scoring a goal that broke the back of the netting!
Todder House - Lead Teacher
Joined Sunshine: Fall 2009
Toddler House - Assistant Teacher Joined Sunshine: Summer 2019
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 Plymouth, MN near Medicine Lake and attended Wayzata High School. I currently live in Chanhassen with my husband, Paymon, our two kids, Cameron and Katrina. We also have a dog, rabbit, and fish. I'm passionate about chimpanzees, 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.
Children's House East - Montessori Guide/Lead Teacher Joined Sunshine: Fall 2018
I hold a Masters of Education degree from the University of Minnesota where I also obtained my Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. Working with young children is special to me because I love seeing that "aha moment" where they discover what they can do on their own and when they have learned something new! I believe early childhood education is so important because it sets the foundation to a life of and love for learning. Sunshine is a special place to be because of the relationships that form with the parents, staff, and children to make a community that works together to help teach to the whole child.
I was born in Minneapolis, MN and moved around the metro area growing up. First, I started off in Northeast Minneapolis, then Inver Grove Heights and the Oakdale area. My home away from home growing up was camping and boating on the St. Croix River. Some of my favorite memories as a child were exploring outside and camping at islands on the river. I ended up settling down in Northeast Minneapolis with my husband, Rob, just ten blocks away from my first childhood home. When I am not at Sunshine, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I love to dance, hike, kayak, ski, camp, attend concerts, draw, write (my own books someday), and cook.
Children's House East - Assistant Teacher Joined Sunshine Fall 2019
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 it's focus on providing a strong parent community for families. It has a very welcoming atmosphere with passionate teachers and administration.
I was born in Huntington Woods, Michigan but have spent the majority of my life in Minnesota. I currently reside in Robbinsdale with my wife, Andrea and two dogs, Willie Dog & Oskar Dog. 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.
Children's House West - Montessori Guide/Lead Teacher Joined Sunshine: Winter 2016
I hold a Child Development Associates Degree and will be working towards a degree in Elementary Education in the spring 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 it's focus on developing the whole child and it's 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 Maplewood and St. Paul, MN. I now reside in St. Paul; 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.
Children's House West - Assistant Teacher Joined Sunshine: Fall 2018
I hold two Bachelor's of Arts degrees in Communication and Spanish Studies from the University of Minnesota. I also graduated with my American Montessori Society (AMS) degree in 2019. I love and value Montessori Education because the children develop for themselves. We provide opportunities for them, but the children do the rest. Children are so capable and constantly surprise me! I find early childhood education to be so valuable because the children develop socially, emotionally, AND academically. It sets them up for a successful future! I enjoy working at Sunshine because it's community is so special, making it an amazing school to work at.
I grew up in Roseville, MN and have been living in Minneapolis off and on since 2013. I currently live in the Linden Hills neighborhood. My favorite childhood memories include growing up in an incredible neighborhood with lots of kids- playing in the woods and playing night games in our yards!In my free time, I love to travel! Also, I enjoy anything outside- running, hiking, swimming, skiing, and more. I love spending time with my family and the family dogs!
Children's House West - Assistant Guide Joined Sunshine Fall 2019
I hold a Bachelor's degree in Theater with a concentration in Acting from Augsburg College. Growing up, my Mom ran 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 Mankato, MN and moved to Minneapolis in 2010 for college; 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.
Aftercare Program - Assistant Teacher, Children's House Joined Sunshine: Summer 2016
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 with my grandparents, brother, and dog Teddy. I currently live in Uptown Minneapolis with my boyfriend, Michael, and our Ivy Plant Verny. 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!
Aftercare Program - Assistant Teacher, Toddler House Joined Sunshine: Fall 2019
I hold a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in Industrial design from University of Wisconsin-Stout and am interested in pursuing a Masters degree in Education and/or Fine Art. What I most enjoy about working with young children is seeing their joy and growing independence. I believe early childhood education is important in fostering a child's sense of self. What makes Sunshine a special place for children and families is the sense of community and the supportive, creative, and inclusive environment.
I grew up in the Madison area, south-central Wisconsin. While living in Menomonie, I became friends with people from Minneapolis and heard of opportunities and communities I wanted to experience. Ever since, I have lived in Minneapolis. My other interests include: traveling, nature, creating, singing, and writing. My favorite memory as a child is a recurring dream I had: A playground made of rainbows!
Aftercare Program - Assistant Teacher, Children's House Joined Sunshine: Fall 2018
I hold a 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. I now currently live in South Minneapolis. 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.
Aftercare Program - Assistant Float Teacher Joined Sunshine: Fall 2019