Meet Our Staff

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


Ms. Carey

Head of School

Carey began her Montessori journey more than 14 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, and is currently completing a Masters in Montessori Leadership. 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 professional organizations including the American Montessori Society (AMS), The Montessori Foundation and The International Montessori Council (IMC), the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), as well as state and local childcare leadership and advocacy groups. In addition to several published articles, she was selected to present a workshop at the Montessori Foundation’s 19th Annual International Montessori Conference. Ms. Carey 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.

Ms. Trisha

Childcare 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.

Ms. 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.

Ms. Julie

Children’s House – Montessori Co-Lead

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 American Montessori Society (AMS) training center in Houston, TX and the Association Montessori Internationale (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.

Ms. 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.

Ms. Alexa

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

A native of Grand Forks, Miss Alexa graduated from UND in 2017 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.

Ms. 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!

Ms. 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.

Ms. 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 at a licensed daycare center in her hometown 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.

Ms. 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.

Ms. Ashlee

Part-time Assistant Caregiver

Welcome back Ms. Ashlee! We are pleased to have Ms. Ashlee return to the Nido since returning from Basic Training to continue her Doctor of PT studies at UND.

Welcome our new summer team!

Nido Assistant Caregivers
Welcome Stacy, Courtney, and Marissa! We look forward to sharing more about our newest team members!

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

— Maria Montessori

Want More Info?