Teachers/Staff

Mrs. Kim Baack

Administrative Secretary

Mrs. Baack began her career at MCH in 2020

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Kim attended the University of Northern Iowa and received a B.A. in Elementary Education.  She is certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions, and Mandatory Reporting. 

 

Mrs. Liz Brennan

Student Services Coordinator

Mrs. Brennan began her career at MCH in 2004.

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Liz attended St. Olaf College and received a B.A. in French. She also attended the University of Iowa and received an Elementary Education Teaching Certificate with an E.S.L. endorsement. Liz has completed her Montessori certification and her International Diploma and is a AMS and NAMTA member. She is certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions, and Mandatory Reporting.

 

Mrs. Rachel Busch

Classroom: Art

Mrs. Busch began working at MCH in 2022.

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Rachel received her B.A. in Elementary Education with an Art Endorsement from Wartburg College and has been teaching art for 23 years.  She is certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions and Mandatory Reporting.

 

Mrs. Juliann Cline

Classroom: Primary 

Mrs. Cline began teaching at MCH in 2008.

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Juliann received her B.S. in Elementary Education with a Reading Endorsement from Iowa State University. She is certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions and Mandatory Reporting.

Mrs. Julie Correa

Classroom: Primary

Mrs. Correa began her career at MCH in 2016.

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Julie holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English with minors in Home Economics and Journalism from the University of Northern Iowa.  Julie holds a State of Iowa Sub Authorization Certificate and is certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions and Mandatory Reporting.

 

Sra. Diana DeSousa

Classroom: Primary Spanish Immersion 

Sra. DeSousa began teaching at MCH in 2022

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Diana earned a BA Degree in Education at Cesar Vallejo University in Lima, Peru and Master’s in Curriculum Design/Management and Learning Innovation at Universidad Femenina del Sagrado Corazon (UNIFE). She is certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions and Mandatory Reporting.

 

Mrs. Sharon Erwin

Extended Care

Mrs. Erwin began her career at MCH in 2011. 

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Sharon is certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions and Mandatory Reporting. 

 

Mrs. Rebecca Evans

Classroom: Primary

Mrs. Evans began teaching at MCH in 2017.

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Rebecca earned a BA Degree in Christian Education from Nebraska Christian College.  She also has classroom management training with Envoy, Love and Logic and Lee Canter.  She is certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions and Mandatory Reporting.

 

Mrs. Kaarin Fasse

Classroom: Lower Elementary

Mrs. Fasse began working at MCH in 2021.

 

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Kaarin earned a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Wartburg College. 

 

Mrs. Jody Gustafson

Extended Care

Mrs. Gustafson began her career at MCH in 2010.

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Jody is certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions and Mandatory Reporting.

 

Mrs. Stacie Hansen

Classroom: Half Day Toddler 

Mrs. Hansen began teaching at MCH in 2019.

Sra. Drea Kang

Classroom: Primary Spanish Immersion

Sra. Kang began teaching at MCH in 2021.

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Ms. Helen Kirby

Classroom: Lower Elementary

Ms. Kirby began teaching at MCH in 2001.

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Helen earned a B.S. degree in Elementary Education from Louisiana State University, her state of Iowa K-6 certification, her Montessori certification for the 3-6 year old age group and her International Diploma. She is also certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions, and Mandatory Reporting.

 

Mrs. Rini Kumar

Head of School

Shyamli (Rini) Kumar started working at MCH in 2002. She taught in the 3 to 6 classroom from 2002 to 2007 before she took over the responsibilities of the Head of School in the summer of 2007.

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Mrs. Kumar has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology and an Early Childhood Montessori Certification from MCI.  She is also a certified teacher trainer for Montessori Centre International. She holds her Montessori Administrators’ Certification through Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and serves on the Accreditation Board of Collaborative Montessori, U.K. Rini is a member of American Montessori Society (AMS), International Montessori Council (IMC), Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and the North American Teachers’ Association (NAMTA). Mrs. Kumar is certified in First Aid, Universal Precautions and Mandatory Reporter and holds the adult, infant, child CPR and choking certificate.

Mrs. Andrea Meraz

Classroom:  Spanish

Mrs. Meraz began teaching at MCH in 2022.

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Andrea attended the Community College of Denver, Colorado. She is certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions and Mandatory Reporting.

Ms. Caitlin Miller

Classroom: Full Day Toddler 

Ms. Miller began teaching at MCH in 2019.

 

Mrs. Tammy Miller

Classroom: Primary Spanish Immersion

Mrs. Miller began teaching at MCH in 2009.

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Tammy received her B.A. degree in Childhood Education from Iowa State University and has also earned her Montessori International diploma. She is an instructor for the Red Cross and a U.S. Synchronized Swimming coach. She is also certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions, and Mandatory Reporting.

 

Mrs. Paula Pollitt

Classroom:  Half Day Toddler

Mrs. Pollitt began her career at MCH in 2021.

 

Mrs. Dawn Rafferty

Classroom: Half Day Toddler 

Mrs. Rafferty began teaching at MCH in 2008.

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Dawn received her B.A. degree in Communication with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism at Iowa State University. She is certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions, and Mandatory Reporting.

Ms. Megan Reinsvold

Classroom: Full Day Toddler

Ms. Reinsvold began her career at MCH in 2020.

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Megan started at Montessori in the After Care program and began teaching this year. She is certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions and Mandatory Reporting.

 

Ms. Toni Robinson

Classroom:  Primary

Ms. Robinson began her career at 2022.

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Toni earned her Early Childhood Teaching Diploma from the North American Montessori Center.  She is certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions and Mandatory Reporting. 

 

Ms. Jodie Scott

Classroom:  Primary

Ms. Scott began teaching at MCH in 2000.

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Jodie earned her degree in child development from the Iowa Western Community College and minored in Sign Language Interpreting. She has completed her Montessori certification and her International Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy. She is also certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions, and Mandatory Reporting.

 

Mrs. Aurora Sontoya

Classroom:  Full Day Toddler

Mrs. Sontoya began her career at MCH in 2022.

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Aurora received her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University.  She is certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions and Mandatory Reporting. 

 

Mrs. Denise Springer

Business Manager

Mrs. Springer began working at MCH in 2006.

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Denise is also the Treasurer on the MCH Board.  She pursued a degree in child development and accounting at Iowa State University and Drake University.  She is certified in First Aid, infant, child and adult CPR, Universal Precautions, and Mandatory Reporting.

businessmanager@themontessorichildrenshouse.net

Mrs. Natalie Steenson

Classroom: Music

Mrs. Steenson began teaching at MCH in the fall of 2013.

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Natalie received her B.A. in music and religion with a minor in psychology from Coe College. She has taught early childhood music for over 18 years and currently teaches with Iowa Youth Chorus( IYC) “Beginnings!” early childhood music program. Natalie also directs IYC’s Primary Choir for 6 and 7 year olds and IYC’s Children’s Choir for 8-10 year olds. She is a rostered artist with Cultureall and Des Moines Metro Arts Alleciance presenting music, movement and musical storytelling workshops for children and adults. Natalie teaches age-appropriate music classes once a week for all the children at MCH. She has been trained as an early childhood music educator and continually seeks to take professional training through seminars, classes and books. She is also certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions and Mandatory Reporting.

Mrs. Teresa Sutton

Classroom: Primary

Mrs. Sutton began teaching at MCH in 2001.

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Teresa attended Des Moines Area Community College. She also received her education through Montessori Centre International where she earned her International Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy.   She is certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions, and Mandatory Reporting.

Mrs. Paula Swift

Classroom: Lower Elementary

Mrs. Swift began working at MCH in 2016.

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Paula received her BS in Elementary Education with an emphasis in math.  She also received her Masters in Effective Teaching at Drake University.  She specializes in math, reading and has prior experience supervising student teachers.  She is certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions, and Mandatory Reporting.

Mrs. Brenda Toth

Classroom: Full Day Toddler 

Mrs. Toth began teaching at MCH in 2006.

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Brenda received a B.S. in Elementary Education from Kent State University, an ESL endorsement from UNLV, and a M.A. in Education Administration and Supervision from the University of Phoenix. She received her early childhood certificate for ages birth – 6 years and up.  Brenda also obtained her Montessori International Diploma. Brenda is also certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions and Mandatory Reporting.

Mrs. Ece Turkmut Dere

Extended Care Coordinator

Mrs. Turkmut Dere began her career at MCH in 2021. 

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Ece earned the following degrees: MFA Performing Arts, Dokuz Eylul University, Department of Performing Arts, BFA Dramatic Writing and Dramaturgy, Dokuz Eylul University, Department of Performing Arts, and BPhil Philosophy, Anadolu University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy. 

Mrs. Monique van der Heijden

Classroom: Primary Spanish Immersion

Mrs. van der Heijden began working at MCH in 2017.

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Monique was born and raised in the Netherlands where she attended Wageningen University and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Household and Consumer Sciences. She came to Des Moines about four years ago. She previously worked as a project manager, consultant and substitute teacher. Monique is certified in courses: Right to Know, Bloodborne Pathogens, Overview of State Requirements Regarding Seclusion and Restraint: Chapter 103, Mandatory Reporter: Child and Dependent Adult Abuse. She is certified in First Aid, CPR, Universal Precautions, and Mandatory Reporting.