Faculty - The Children's House

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Jeanette Kania, Nido 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
Nido Guide


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.

Young Children's Community


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 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.


Annie Botsford, YCC Guide 

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

The Children's House experience (2018- present):
Young Children's Community Support
Nido Guide
Young Children's Community Guide


Annie has worked at The Children’s House since the spring of 2018.  When she is not at school, Annie enjoys traveling, running, reading, cooking, and spending time with her dog, Willow. Annie was born and raised in Traverse City but spent time living in the Upper Peninsula and Georgia before returning to the area in 2018. She also spent a summer in Portland Oregon, where she completed her Montessori training in 2021. Annie has been a guide in both the Nido and Young Children’s Community and continues to be very passionate about the first three years of life.


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


Betsy has always loved interactions with toddlers and started babysitting at a young age. Betsy has been a part of The Children’s House family for over 20 years, as a consistent and positive role model to our Young Children’s Community. She feels fortunate to belong to the TCH community as an employee and a parent. Betsy loves spending time with her children, Eva, Estelle and Ephrem, at the beach, at the park and dancing in the living room! Betsy also enjoys running.



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):
Primary Classroom Support
Primary Guide


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.


Chelsea Seals, Primary Guide

B.A.  Alma College, Elementary Education and Early Childhood Development  

AMS Montessori Primary Certification, Center for Montessori Teacher Education, Charlotte, NC 


I was born and raised in Traverse City and then moved away to complete my B.A. and Montessori training.  After meeting my husband and getting married, life took us from coast to coast and back again.  We have spent the last six years living in Ohio and made the jump this summer to move back to the Traverse City area.  It has been such a gift recreating our favorite memories here with our three children - Avery, Piper, and Ollie.  As this next chapter unfolds, we are elated to be a part of The Children’s House family.  


Kristi Johnson, Primary Guide

AMI Montessori Primary Certification, Montessori Training Center North East (MTCNE), Hartford, Connecticut  
AMI Montessori Assistant Certification, Montessori Training Center North East (MTCNE) 
B.A. University of Hartford, Montessori Studies  

The Children's House experience (2023- present):
Primary Guide



Kristi has been in Montessori for six years, with three years of experience as a Lead Guide. Kristi recently moved to Michigan in the summer of 2023 from Massachusetts. Prior to her time in New England, Kristi grew up in South Carolina and Georgia. She enjoys backpacking, mountains, flyfishing, thrifting, and playing board games with her partner Taylor Vancil, and their son Steven. 


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 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. 


Taylor Vancil, Primary Guide

AMI Primary Diploma, Montessori Training Center North East (MTCNE), Hartford, Connecticut 

The Children's House experience (2014- present):
Primary Classroom Support
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.

Lower Elementary

Jaime Janiszewski, Upper Elementary Classroom Support 

Jaime Janiszewski, Lower Elementary Guide

AMI Montessori Elementary Certification, Montessori Institute of North Texas 
B.A. in Speech Communication from East Central University 
AMI Elementary Assistant Certification   

The Children’s House Experience: (2020 – present):
Substitute - All Areas
Elementary Classroom Support 
Elementary Classroom Guide


Jaime is a part of the TCH community as a parent and teacher. She enjoys spending time with her children, Mollie and Maxon, her husband, Ed, her basset hounds, Maria and Wanda, and her cat Bella. She loves exploring Northern Michigan and its abundant beauty on hikes, at the beach, camping, and riding bikes. Jaime enjoys improv, theatre, learning new things, and documentaries. She also delights in a good book and a cup of tea. 

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
Lower Elementary Guide


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!

Upper Elementary


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
Elementary Classroom Guide


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.


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
Upper Elementary Guide


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.

Compass Junior High


Kristina Weidenfeller, Junior High Guide
Compass Junior High

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 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 adults are encouraged to as well.


Treenen Sturman, Junior High Guide
Compass Junior High

B.A. College of the Atlantic, Maine, Human Ecology
M.S. University of Delaware, Public Horticulture
AMI Montessori 12-18 Diploma

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


Tree started his career in environmental education and conservation, working for non-profit organizations in his native New York City, then Chicago, central Vermont, and, finally, Northern Michigan. The son and grandson of teachers and principals, Tree has had a passion for education going back to his first internship on the lower Hudson River. Shortly after moving to Traverse City, Tree was invited to join in the development of the Children's House Jr. High program. Co-founding and collaborating on Compass Montessori's innovative curriculum has been the culmination of a lifelong dream, which continues to inspire him each and every day. When he is not teaching, Tree enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, rock hounding, hiking, cooking, and sampling as many kinds of cheese as his travels (and the US Postal Service) can provide!


Tori Craig, Junior High Associate Guide
Compass Junior High

B.A. Psychology, Portland State University
C1 French Language Diploma, Université Lumière Lyon 2
AMI Montessori 6-12 Diploma, Centro Internazionale Studi Montessoriani

The Children’s House experience (2021-present)
Primary Classroom Support
Junior High Associate Guide


After a decade working with nonprofits and farms for food justice, Tori realized being with young people was the common feature of her favorite jobs and decided to pursue teaching. She is energized by the potential for creativity and change she finds in the classroom. The Montessori method felt like home right away. Her favorite of Maria Montessori's books is Education for Peace. Tori grew up in Cincinnati, OH and Portland, OR where she learned to love the northwoods. She lives in Maple City at the end of a dirt road.