Meet Our Staff

“Happy, engaged, and inspired staff, are an essential ingredient to a successful children’s environment.”


Miss Carey

Center Director & Elementary Principal

Carey began her Montessori journey over 13 years ago, following the birth of her first child. While raising her own five children, she continued with formal Montessori training and received her Montessori Teaching Diplomas for children ages 0-3, 3-6, and 6-9 years. Carey was asked to take over The Little Scholar Ship Montessori Preschool in 2013 by Miss Gorthea Noll, who in 1983 began a legacy in the community with top-notch Montessori education for children. Carey’s own children attended The Little Scholar Ship beginning in 2007, and on occasion Carey substituted in the Children’s House. Once the children ‘aged out’ of the preschool program, and with no other Montessori options in the region, she continued educating her children using Montessori methods in a homeschool setting. Upon taking over the school she immediately worked towards expanding the program to include Elementary as well as Infants and Toddlers, to provide families with a Montessori approach to education beginning at birth through the elementary years. She enjoys immersing herself in all-things Montessori, and participates throughout the year in Childcare and Montessori Leadership Programs, as well as staying involved with multiple Montessori groups including the American Montessori Society, The Montessori Foundation and The International Montessori Council. She was selected to present a workshop at the Montessori Foundation’s 19th Annual International Montessori Conference, and travels throughout the year to meet with other Montessorians and Childcare experts to discuss program & curriculum development, family-school relationships, professional development, and whole school management. In her spare time she likes to catch up on sleep, eat breakfast in bed, squeeze in a good book, and watch historical dramas/romances complete with accents and costumes.

Miss Trisha

Assistant to the Director

A graduate of UND, Miss Trisha had extensive coursework in Elementary Education before realizing that the public sector in education was not the direction she wanted to go. As a people person who enjoys connecting and learning in non-traditional ways, Miss Trisha found herself drawn to the hospitality industry and worked for many years overseeing staffing, daily management, and customer relations. Her many years experience as a manager of the Hilton Garden Inn and the CanadInn provided Miss Trisha with valuable experience working not only with guests and staff, but also safety and health regulations that foster healthy environments for people of all ages. Miss Trisha is happy to return to the education field where she can apply the level of professionalism only gained through experience, as well as work with both children and adults as they grow in supportive learning environments. The Montessori Method has captured her heart, and she continues her professional development in the fields of Early Childhood and Montessori Administration.

Miss Shelly

Children’s House - Preschool Director & Montessori Lead

Miss Shelly has been a part of the GFMA/Little Scholar Ship Family for 25 years. She previously worked at the YMCA after attending UND for Elementary Education. Shelly holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a minor in Visual Arts, and acquired her Montessori Teaching Diploma in 2001. She participates in ongoing Montessori training through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies for both professional development and to mentor others, and enjoys remaining actively involved with the Montessori community nationwide. An avid volunteer, she has developed numerous skills volunteering with the Boy Scouts, and continues active volunteer work with Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. Shelly can also be found helping her husband with his business at Pro-Tec Powder Coating.

Miss Julie

Children’s House – Co-Lead (Montessori-credentialed teacher)

Miss Julie, from Houston, TX, attended the Children’s House as a young child. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a teacher. She received both Montessori credentials from the AMS training center in Houston, TX and the AMI training center in London, England, in early childhood for ages 3-6. She spends several early mornings a week teaching high schoolers scripture study at her church. Julie loves living in Grand Forks with her husband, Derek. Together with their Basset Hound, Eugene, they enjoy walking the downtown area and going to the dog park. Miss Julie loves discovering new restaurants and finding cool items at thrift stores. She has a passion for retro furniture, especially big lamps. Welcome Miss Julie to North Dakota and the GFMA Family!

Miss Mare

Children’s House – Assistant (ND licensed teacher: K-12)

Miss Mare comes to us with a unique skill set. With degrees in Elementary Education, Music Education, and a background in Spanish language education, Miss Mare has taught at preschool, elementary, and high school levels in the private school sector. A fun fact is that she loves the theatre and has directed student productions for 20 years. She even acts on stage herself! Welcome Miss Mare to the GFMA Family!

Miss Sarah

Children’s House – Assistant 

Miss Sarah grew up in the small, rural North Dakota town of Cavalier. After Sarah’s first trip to Europe in 2005, her view of life was significantly broadened. She thereafter jumped at any opportunity to travel, spending time in Bosnia, Yugoslavia,  England and Wales, Ontario, Italy, and Australia. After graduation Sarah pursued an education in pregnancy labor and childbirth. Sarah graduated from Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA) as a Certified Labor Doula (CLD) in 2009 and served the women and families within her community for four years. Sarah also worked part time for a small children’s publishing company, Bethlehem Books, printing “literature to feed the imagination”, and as a home-school co-operative teacher for seven years. As much as Sarah enjoyed witnessing the miracle of childbirth, she found working with children after they were born to be even more fulfilling. Sarah happily discovered Maria Montessori and started researching her life and work. “As I read Maria’s writings I knew this was the form in which I desired to work with children. Montessori’s philosophy about the life of the child speaks to my heart and corresponds powerfully with my own experience and beliefs about the human person.”

Sarah loves being active and outdoors–from playing basketball to flower gardening–as she says, “If it’s outside and involves movement, I’ll probably want to try it at least once.” Some of Sarah’s joys in life include wood carving, dancing, poetry, cooking for loved ones, spending time with children, going to the races, crocheting, and Sunday football.

Miss Jenny

Education Coordinator (ND licensed teacher: Birth – 6th)

Miss Jenny was born and raised in rural Hutchinson, MN. She attended Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, and graduated with a B.A. in Elementary Education in 2009; after which she received both her ND State Teaching License (PK-8th grade) and her MN State Teaching License (PK-6th grade). Prior to moving to Grand Forks in 2011, Jenny taught Kindergarten at New Discoveries Montessori School in Hutchinson, MN. She also was a Lead Toddler Teacher at Hope Lutheran Church in Fargo, ND. When Jenny moved to Grand Forks, she started working for All About Kids as a Lead Preschool Teacher for a few months before becoming a paraprofessional at Century Elementary in Kindergarten. During the 2012/2013 school year, Jenny worked for the Encore program, a Grand Forks district after-school program, at Wilder Elementary. She began the 2013/2014 school year as the Assistant Director for Encore before joining the staff at Grand Forks Montessori Academy in January  2014. For over a decade, Jenny has spent the summer months as a nanny for numerous families. With a passion for teaching, Miss Jenny enjoys being a role model for all ages. In 2015 she completed her Montessori Elementary Teacher Training and is now pursuing additional Montessori training through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies, with a focus on children birth to age 3. In her spare time, Miss Jenny enjoys fitness pursuits, playing and writing music, visiting family and friends, as well as spending time with her daughter and husband.

Miss Alexa

Elementary Teacher (ND Licensed Teacher: Birth-8th)

A native of Grand Forks, Miss Alexa graduated from UND with a double major in Elementary Education and Psychology, with an emphasis in Education and Learning Psychology as well as Cognitive Psychology. Miss Alexa also keeps busy working towards her Elementary Montessori Teaching Certification through The Center for Guided Montessori Studies — a program involving an additional 26 months of training, internships, and teaching and learning experiences nationwide. In her spare time, Miss Alexa enjoys reading, yoga, pilates, running, and spending time with family. She also loves to travel and cook.

Miss Katie

Nido Community – Montessori Lead Teacher

Miss Katie graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Child and Adolescent Development, with a minor in Psychology from North Dakota State University. Prior to joining Grand Forks Montessori Academy, Katie assisted young children with developmental disabilities with fine motor, social and life skills at the North Dakota Autism Center in Fargo. In addition, she enjoyed helping with various summer camps for school-aged kids through the NDSU 4-H Youth Development Center. Katie has begun her Montessori teachers training and plans to graduate in 2018 from the Center for Guided Montessori Studies with full certification.
Katie grew up in Grand Forks, in a large and musical family. During her free time, she enjoys playing piano, reading, being outdoors, traveling and spending time with her husband, family and friends. Working with children has always come natural, and she delights in seeing children achieve developmental milestones.

Miss Meghan

Nido Community – Co-Lead Teacher (Toddlers)

Miss Meghan was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2012 with a Bachelors degree in Childhood Education. After graduation, she moved to Dillon, Colorado where she worked as a preschool teacher for three years. Her time outside of the classroom was spent reading, skiing, hiking, rock climbing, and camping. This past year she finally achieved a dream of hers— she packed up her car and hit the road. For six months Miss Meghan traveled the American West. She camped out the majority of the time and spent her days hiking and mountain biking.

Miss Sarah O.

Nido Community – Full-time Assistant Caregiver

Miss Sarah is a sophomore in college who has recently moved to Grand Forks, ND. She previously attended St. Cloud State University for her generals and is continuing with those here at UND. She graduated high school from Moorhead, Minnesota and during her time there she participated in philanthropy and youth, and was a part of the tennis team. Sarah’s mother was a Montessori teacher at an academy in Fargo, ND and therefore Sarah was raised with Montessori values. She is very excited to pass on those values to new generations. Miss Sarah has experience working with children from her church nurseries and in her free time she loves to volunteer, go on adventures, and enjoy the outdoors.

Miss Mallyssa

Nido Community – Part-time Assistant Caregiver

Miss Mallyssa is a second-year student at UND who is a Rehabilitation and Human Services major with a minor in psychology. She graduated from Andover High school, a suburb of the twin cities in 2015. During her time in high school she enjoyed being a part of both the Dance Team and soccer teams. She has experience working with children as she worked in a licensed day care center in her home town as well as babysitting her neighbors. In her free time she likes to hang out with her friends, study, and travel. Upon graduating college she hopes to work with children who have mental and intellectual disabilities.

Miss Becca

Part-time Assistant Caregiver

Miss Becca is currently majoring in Elementary Ed with a minor in Special Education. While she loves spending time at GFMA sharing her passion of working with children, she also keeps busy as a member of the Team North Dakota Synchronized Figure Skating. Having been a figure skater since the age of 3, she knows what hard work and dedication is all about and last year the team went to Nationals! Miss Becca is also involved in the Red Cross Club, which involves frequent traveling to help smaller communities outside Grand Forks, as well as the Environmental Restoration Club, whose focus is to make the UND campus more environmentally friendly.

Miss Abbi

Part-time Assistant Caregiver

Miss Abbi is a senior at UND where she is working on a double major in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, with an endorsement in Teaching English Language Learners. She plans to student teach near the Twin Cites where she is from. In her free time Miss Abbi enjoys spending time at the lake, watching sports—especially hockey and volleyball—and spending time with her friends and family. She has four younger sisters, with whom she is very close.

Miss Abby

Part-time Assistant Caregiver

Miss Abby grew up in Devils Lake, North Dakota always staying busy as she is an only child. Participating in sports such as basketball and becoming a team captain in her high school Cross Country and Track and Field teams occupied much of her time and also shaped her personality and work ethic. Once graduating high school in 2015, Miss Abby began college at UND and is currently majoring in Occupational Therapy with minors in Rehabilitation and Human Services and Psychology. After working the last five summers teaching swimming lessons, Miss Abby is very excited to be working with children again at GFMA.

Miss Robin

Owner of Arioso Music Academy & Master Signing Time Instructor

Singing and signing… it is no mistake that the letters are the same in both words. The brain is stimulated by music in the social, emotional, cognitive, physical, language and musical development. Put that together with signing and you have put the icing on the cake. The fine and gross motor, as well as the muscle memory that comes with singing and signing at the same time is a most valuable educational tool. We don’t always have to sing when we sign or sign when sing, but done together with a child, it creates a sort of musical hand dance that the child responds to very well and can remember and build more paths on which the brain functions. We start with babies because the brain builds more by the age of 3 then any other time. In fact, there is research to support that hearing children who are taught sign language from an early age have better reading and spelling skills, and yes, even higher IQ scores when tested later on. Teaching sign language to your child may also increase your child’s visual acuity skills and join attention skills, both of which are very important in both learning and social interactions. Grand Forks Montessori Academy is fortunate to have Miss Robin, Master Signing Time Instructor from Arioso Music Academy join us twice a week to work with the students, providing Suzuki-based music education and sign language instruction.

“Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities.”

— Maria Montessori

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