Meet Our Staff

Children’s House

Ms. Shelly: Preschool Director & Montessori Lead

Shelly has been a part of the GFMA/Little Scholar Ship Family for more than 26 years. It is an understatement to say she has had a profound impact on the children in our community — teaching, guiding and helping them to be their best and having a positive impact on their futures. Shelly 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: Montessori Co-Lead & Assistant

Joining the GFMA family in 2017, Julie is originally from Houston, TX, and 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. Mare: Substitute Teacher (ND licensed: K-12)

Since 2017, Miss Mare has brought us 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 both the private and public school sectors. She loves the theatre and has directed student productions for 20 years. Miss Mare is also a fantastic seamstress, lending her skills to the classroom and special activities. Professional, diplomatic, and well-liked by all, Ms. Mare knows how to balance and enjoy life; sharing her enthusiasm for learning with all.

Ms. Robin: Children’s House Assistant


Ms. Katie: Montessori Lead Teacher

Ms. Katie has been an asset to our Nido community since she joined GFMA in 2015. She 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. Ms. Katie received her Montessori Teacher Certification in 2018 for children Birth-3, from the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.
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 naturally. She delights in seeing children achieve developmental milestones, and looks forward to watching her own child reach those milestones beginning in 2019!

Ms. Kelsey: Nido Co-teacher

Ms. Alexa: Assistant Caregiver

Ms. Anisa: Assistant Caregiver

Ms. Gabriela: Assistant Caregiver

Ms. Kayla: Assistant Caregiver

Ms. Marissa: Assistant Caregiver


Ms. Trisha: Childcare Director

Ms. Trisha has been a part of the GFMA Family since 2016, keeping everyone informed, organized and happy. 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 feels at home in 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. Carey: Owner

A part of the Montessori family at GFMA since 2007 when it was known as The Little ScholarShip, Carey understands the various roles of what it is like to be a parent, then teacher, and eventually director and owner of a school that has a long history in the community. She is a strong proponent of School Choice and encourages all parents to take an active role in their children’s education, including finding an educational environment that is ‘the right fit’ for each of their children.

Carey holds a Masters in Montessori Educational Leadership and is proud to support the efforts of the great teachers and staff that make GFMA what it is today. She began her Montessori journey nearly 16 years ago, following the birth of her first child. While raising her own five children, she continued with formal Montessori training and guidance from AMS-certified teachers; and received her Montessori Teaching Diplomas for children ages 0-3, 3-6, and 6-9 years. In addition to several published articles, she was selected to present a workshop at the Montessori Foundation’s 19th Annual International Montessori Conference. She has also been a featured speaker at Rotary International Clubs in the United States, discussing Montessori methodology in early childhood education.

Ms. Carey has remained committed to the values and mission of the school for more than a decade. With a team of amazing and talented, dedicated teachers, Carey provides the support, training, encouragement, and most importantly, the autonomy, for them to be able to do what they do best — guiding the child and partnering with parents like you to foster a bright future.

“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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