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Faculty and Support Staff

Nido

Britny Tollstam

Britny Tollstam, Nido Guide

B.A. Family Relations, Spring Arbor University, Spring Arbor, MI
AMS Infant-Toddler Montessori Certification, Seton Montessori Institute, Chicago
AMS Primary Montessori Certification, Michigan Montessori Teacher Education Center, Rochester, MI

The Children's House experience (2003- present):
Primary Classroom Guide
Young Children's Community Guide
Nido Guide
Britny@traversechildrenshouse.org 

Britny has been with the Children’s House for over 15 years, both as a parent and as a guide. Her two children had the privilege of attending TCH for many cherished years. Britny is passionate about being a life-long learner. She is constantly in search of new classes to attend, hobbies to adopt, or music to listen to. She also enjoys traveling, hiking, camping, and afternoons at the beach.

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Annie Botsford, Nido Guide 

AMI Assistance to Infancy Diploma, Montessori Northwest, Portland, OR

Annie has worked at the children’s house since the spring of 2018. She recently completed her AMI Assistants to Infancy training through Montessori Northwest and is now co-teaching in the Nido with Britny Tollstam. When she is not with the babies, Annie enjoys traveling, eating, and spending time outside with her dog. 

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Grace Bishop-Schaub, Classroom Support


Katelin Murphy Nido Traverse Children's House

Katelin MurphyClassroom Support

Katelin has been working at The Children's House since 2013. When she and her husband moved to TC, she left a career in chemical engineering to follow her passion of working with children. In her free time, she enjoys playing sports, crocheting, reading, and spending as much time as possible outside adventuring with her husband and their vizsla!


Young Children's Community 

Jenny Lamble, YCC Guide, The Children's House

Jenny Lamble, YCC Guide

B.S. Family Studies, University of New Hampshire
MEd Montessori Education, Loyola University, Maryland
AMI Assistance to Infancy Certification, Montessori Center of Minnesota, St. Paul

The Children's House experience (2016- present)
Nido-YCC Guide
Jenny@traversechildrenshouse.org

Jenny grew up in Leelanau County, but lived in Colorado for 12 years where she learned to fly fish, row whitewater and skied her heart out. There, she found Montessori and her passion for working with toddlers. She moved back to the area in 2016 with her husband, Jacob, two children, Evelyn and Henry, and dog, Ada. In her spare time, she enjoys downhill and XC skiing, sewing, cooking, gardening and spending time outside.

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Emily Palmer, Classroom Support

Emily has two children at TCH and enjoys motherhood more than anything else. When she has time for herself, it usually involves running or some other form of exercise. Her other passions involve animal rights and veganism. Her motto in life is, "In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

Emily Walton, YCC Classroom Support 

Emily Walton, Classroom Support

Emily started working at The Children's House in 2019. While working she is also studying to get a B.S. in Allied Health Sciences with a goal of becoming a pediatric physical therapist. Emily loves finding joy in movement and exercise, reading, and making music any chance she can!

 

Katie Burley, YCC South Classroom Support

Katie Burley, Classroom Support

Katie has been married to her husband, Patrick, for over 24 years. Together they have three daughters, Kaylie, Taylor & Anna, who are all nurses and/or in nursing school.  Katie grew up in Glen Arbor, love animals, and her happy place is the beach.

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Jeanette Kania, YCC Guide 

A.A. Science & Arts, Early Childhood emphasis
Continuing student in Family Life Education, Bachelor of Arts, Spring Arbor University 
AMI Assistance to Infancy Certification, Montessori Institute –Denver

The Children's House experience (2015- present)
Nido-Young Children's Community Support
Young Children's Community Guide
Jeanette@traversechildrenshouse.org

Jeanette has been working with children for over ten years having previously worked as a nanny for a few families in Traverse City. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting, volunteering at the Old Town Playhouse, practicing Spanish and German, and camping with her husband and their rambunctious dog, Powell.

Betsy Flitton

Betsy Bloomquist, YCC Guide

Elgin Community College and NW Michigan College
AMS Infant-Toddler Certification, MECA-Seton, Chicago

The Children's House experience (2001- present)
Young Children's Community Support
Young Children's Community Guide

Kate Maas

Kate Maas, Classroom Support

Jasymne Kaggwa, YCC Classroom Support

Jasmyne Kaggwa, Classroom Support

Madison Christenson, YCC Classroom Support

Madison ChristensonClassroom Support

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Agnes Woynarowski, YCC Guide

B.S. Krakow University, economics
M.A. Krakow University, business administration
AMS Primary Certification, Midwest Montessori Center, Evanston
AMS Infant-Toddler Certification, MECA, Chicago

The Children's House experience (2010- present)
Young Children's Community Support
Young Children's Community Guide
agnes@traversechildrenshouse.org

Agnes and her husband live on a farm with Icelandic sheep, Nubian goats, chickens, ducks, peacocks, two dogs, three cats and a tortoise. She loves reading mystery stories and classic literature. She is interested in art and history, especially in how people used to live a long time ago. She strives to preserve forgotten skills such as spinning wool and making soaps pioneer style. She likes baking and working in her flower garden.

Heidi Benvin, YCC Classroom Support

Heidi Benvin, Classroom Support

 

Rachel Goodman, YCC Classroom Support

Rachel Goodman, Classroom Support

Brian Thelen, YCC Classroom Support

Brian Thelen, Classroom Support

Primary

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Alison Breithaupt, Primary Guide

B.S. Western Michigan University, Family Studies 
AMI Montessori Primary Certification, Montessori Training Center of St. LouisSt. LouisMO

The Children's House experience (1996- present):
Classroom Support
Primary Guide

Alison@traversechildrenshouse.org

Alison is a native of Traverse City. She knew when she graduated from college and met her husband, Eric, this is where she wanted to stay to raise her family. She enjoys all of the outside amenities this area has to offer. Alison has three sons who have all attended The Children's House and feels so fortunate to have found the Montessori philosophy and this school. It has played a big part in her life as an educator and a mom.

Taylor Fielding

Taylor Fielding, Classroom Support

Taylor Fielding has been with The Children’s House for about 6 years and has enjoyed calling Northern Michigan her home since childhood. Her passions include child development, exploring new ways being creative, and plant studies. 

Marisa Farr

Marisa Farr, Classroom Support

Marisa moved to Traverse City after graduating from Western Michigan University in 2014. In 2019 she joined the Children’s House community and began working in Alison’s classroom as a primary assistant. In her spare time she loves to take her dogs to the beach, paddleboard, rock hunt, hike, travel, garden, and tend to her business, TC Picnic Co. 

Taylor Vancil, Primary Guide, The Children's House

Taylor Vancil, Primary Guide

Taylor graduated from Florida State University in December of 2012 with a degree in Social Sciences. During her time at FSU she played on the Seminoles nationally ranked soccer team. In her time away from TCH she enjoys spending as much time as she can hiking, kayaking, or road tripping to the Upper Peninsula.

Bnnar Taymour, Primary Northeast Classroom Support

Bnnar Taymour, Classroom Support

Bnnar has been working at The Children's House Since 2022.  She has been teaching Montessori for over 23 years. Her passions are cooking, music, traveling and spending as much time with her family as possible.

Grace Muma, Primary Northeast Classroom Support

Grace Muma, Classroom Support

 

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Megan Fellows, Primary Guide

B.S. Boston University, Early Childhood Education
M.A. Saint Catherine University, Education
AMI Montessori Primary Certification, Montessori Center of Minnesota, St. Paul

The Children's House experience (2015- present):
Summer Primary Classroom Guide
Primary Guide

Megan@traversechildrenshouse.org 

Megan spent her childhood moving around South America and spending summers in Suttons Bay.  She enjoys speaking Spanish, cooking, and practicing yoga. Megan moved to Traverse City in June 2016 and has enjoyed getting to know the area with her Daschund Terrier, Molly. 

Brooke Houle

Brooke LosekeClassroom Support

Brooke is a parent at The Children’s House and has worked here since 2020. Brooke is dedicated to children inside and outside of the classroom through her parent coaching business, Beyond the Room, as well as YouTube channel where she reads children’s books aloud and they can follow along. It’s called Books with Brooke. 

Merissa Lamie, Primary Classroom Support

Merissa Lamie, Classroom Support

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Allie Bukowski, Primary Guide

B.A. University of Massachusetts Amherst, Early Care & Education 

AMS Montessori Primary Certification, Montessori Education Center of the Rockies, Boulder, CO

The Children's House experience:

YCC Classroom Support (2011-2012)
Primary Classroom Support (2015-2021)
Primary Guide (present)

Allie is passionate about the Montessori philosophy and is grateful to be a part of this amazing community. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time outdoors with her family. Allie is thrilled to have her daughters, Nora and Maeve, close by in the Primary and Nido classroom communities at the school.

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Anna Foulkrod, Classroom Support

Anna has been working at The Children's House Since 2010.  She was born and raised in Italy and has a son named Peter who moved to traverse City 9 years ago.  Her passions are cooking, walking and spending as much time at the beach as possible. 

Katie Avery, Primary East Classroom Support

Katie Avery, Classroom Support

Elementary

Sandra Besslesen

Sandra Besselsen, Lower Elementary Guide

B.S., Hope College, Education-Language Arts Composite
Michigan Professional Teaching Certificate, K-8, Language Arts
M.A., Wayne State University, Library and Information Science
AMI Montessori Elementary Training – Montessori Institute of Milwaukee (MIM)
National Writing Project Fellow, Top of the Mitt Writing Project 2016-2017, Teachers Leadership Institute

The Children’s House experience (2016-present)
Junior High, Nido and Primary Support

Sandra has been a part of the school community as both a parent and teacher. She feels privileged to work in a community that I have valued as a part of our family for so many years. Before beginning her work at The Children's House, Sandra was Director of Libraries at Interlochen Center for the Arts for 6 years and the K-12 Librarian at Glen Lake Schools for 3. When she is not at work, she loves spending time working in her yard, cooking for friends and family, playing games, taking camping trips in the summer and just goofing around!

Jodie Tasch

Jodie Tasch, Classroom Support

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Nadine Elmgren, Lower Elementary Guide

B.A. Marylhurst College, Portland, OR, Education
AMI Montessori Primary Certification, Northwest Montessori Education Center, Portland OR
AMS Montessori Elementary Certification, Ottawa, Canada

The Children's House experience (1988- present):
Young Children's Community Guide, Primary Classroom Guide, Teacher Mentor & Elementary Classroom Guide

Nadine@traversechildrenshouse.org

Nadine lives in Suttons Bay with her husband David, their son Patrick, a TCH alumni, and their Golden Retriever, Sally. She loves being active outdoors year around by enjoying cycling, hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing and skiing. In the summer Nadine spends time in the gardens of Omena Cut Flowers, as the bouquet maker.

Jana Gray

Jana Gray, Classroom Support

Jana graduated from the University of Central Florida with a BS in elementary education in 2001. She has received her Montessori primary certification from The Seton Montessori Institute in Illinois. She has been a part of TCH off and on since 2003, first as a primary guide, a sub and now elementary support staff. She has two children who are current students at TCH. Jana enjoys traveling, reading and rock hunting.

Karin Church

Karin Church, Upper Elementary Guide

B.A. University of California at Davis, French, International Relations

J.D. Boston University School of Law
AMI Montessori Elementary Certification, The Montessori Training Center of Minnesota

The Children's House experience (2007-present)
Young Children's Community Classroom Support & Elementary Classroom Support

Karin@traversechildrenshouse.org

Karin enjoys spending time with her two children, Marguerite and Nicolas, her husband, Bill, and dog, Beckham, especially on great swimming days at Elberta Beach. She also loves to go on long, slow runs, ride her bike on the TART trail, read good books, hike Pyramid Point and discover new campgrounds around Michigan.

Virginie Kanner, Upper Elementary SW Classroom Support

Virginie Kanner, Classroom Support

Jamie Schaub, Upper Elementary Guide The Children's House

Jamie Schaub, Upper Elementary Guide

B.A. Kalamazoo College, psychology and art
Masters of Arts in Education, St. Catherine University
AMI Montessori Elementary Certification, The Montessori Training Center of Minnesota

The Children’s House experience (2012-present)
Elementary Classroom Support

Jamie@traversechildrenshouse.org

Jamie is a lifelong learner choosing to spend her moments dabbling in new art projects, reading books about other cultures, writing poetry in new forms, growing her own food and trying new recipes, picking up new instruments and sports and experimenting with woodworking. She enjoys acquiring new skills and continuing to learn while making time to get outside and enjoy this beautiful place she calls home.

JJ Janiszewski, Upper Elementary Classroom Support 

JJ JaniszewskiClassroom Support

B.A. in Speech Communication from East Central University
AMI Elementary Assistant Certification – 2021

The Children’s House Experience: (Fall 2020 – present):
Substitute

Jaime learned of the Montessori philosophy through a dear friend when searching for care for her infant daughter.  Over the next five years, as she watched her children flourish at MJ Montessori in Nashville, she grew passionate about the approach and philosophy, implementing it at home as well.  Her experience with The Children's House began as a parent in the Fall of 2019 shortly after moving to Traverse City where she became involved as a room parent and member of CHiPA.  In the Fall of 2020, an opportunity to sub at the school became available, and Jaime jumped at the chance.  Subbing has only intensified her appreciation of this approach to education. In January of 2021, she completed the AMI Elementary Assistant Certification course, and is constantly inspired as she watches each of these amazing children grow and develop daily.  Jaime loves all things theatre, to explore the outdoors in all seasons, and family…especially experiencing the world from the perspective of her two children, Mollie and Maxon.   

Junior High

Treenen Sturman

Treenen Sturman, Junior High Guide

B.A. College of the Atlantic, Maine, Human Ecology
M.S. University of Delaware, Public Horticulture
AMI Montessori Orientation Programme to Adolescent Studies, Cleveland, OH

The Children’s House experience (2014-present)
Elementary Classroom Support
Junior High Classroom Support
Junior High Guide

Treenen@traversechildrenshouse.org 

Tree’s interests include the Sciences, US History, and Human Ecology. His hobbies are rock hounding, gardening, ceramics, and hiking.

Kristina Weidenfeller

Kristina Weidenfeller, Junior High Guide


B.A. Michigan State University, Special Education K-12
M.A. Michigan State University, Curriculum and Teaching
AMI Orientation to Adolescent Studies, Compass Montessori, Golden, CO

The Children's House experience (summer 2009- present):
Elementary summer yoga and nutrition class
Kitchen Classroom
Junior High Guide

Kristina@traversechildrenshouse.org 

Kristina has been a parent at TCH since 2006, and an employee since 2009. She has had many roles during her tenure; room parent, summer yoga instructor, coach, Kitchen Classroom, Earth to Table, and Junior High Guide. She enjoys time with her family, outdoor sports of all seasons, reading, and new adventures. Kristina appreciates that TCH community provides so many opportunities for not only students to explore and share their interests, but that adults are encouraged to as well.

Kristin Spangler, Junior High Classroom Support 

 Kristin Spangler, Classroom Support

Substitutes

Jack Landford, Permanent Substitute Traverse Children's House

Jack Lankford, Permanent Sub

2 Year Vocational – Early Childhood Education
Play-Based Learning PQA Certification
Conscious Discipline – Brain Smart Start Cert

Jack has been working with children for over 4 years. He has experience as a private nanny, in childcare centers as well as internships in various styles of education. He is currently studying child development and education practices through a variety of opportunities. His dream is to make sure every child has access to high quality education. He found The Children’s House through an internship and was interested in Montessori practices. He joined The Children’s House team in October of 2020. In his spare time, Jack can be found in the local gardens and hiking trails or on the bay. Jack also enjoys and participates in the visual arts, botanical studies, public health and education as well as community services. Jack is a lifelong learning who is excited to learn how to aid you and your children through your journey in life!