Our enthusiastic and nurturing classroom staff are committed to providing a safe, stimulating, and carefully prepared environment to foster your child's development and growth.
Toddler Community – Preethy Goonetilleke, teacher and Head of School for both schools
Preethy, the founder and Head of School, is one of those unique and rare Montessorians who holds all three levels of training in the Montessori Method. She received her AMI Primary (3-6) training from Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1978, her Assistants to Infancy (0-3) training from London, U.K. in 1998, and her Elementary training (6-12) in Minnesota U.S.A. in 2006. She is the Toddler Community teacher at the Plymouth school. She also has a Master's degree in Education.
Preethy passionately believes in the Montessori Method. She has been teaching for over 30 years and says that she hasn't found a method to beat it.
When she is not in school she loves spending time with her family. She finds time to read, entertain friends and volunteer in different programs in the community.
Her favorite quote: "Be the change you want to see in the world." – Mahatma Gandhi.
Casa 1 – Staci Friedman, lead guide
Staci was born and raised in Minnesota, just blocks away from Little Flowers Montessori School. She received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, the AMI Primary Diploma from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota and has a Master's degree in Education from Loyola College in Baltimore.
Previously, Staci lived in Chicago where she worked in event marketing/planning. Yet, she always knew that she wanted to work with children. Fulfilling a dream, Staci feels lucky to be back in Minnesota and working with children. Staci fell in love with Little Flowers Montessori School when she did her student practicum there in 2005. She then joined the Little Flowers Montessori School staff in 2006. Staci truly loves being a part of the Little Flowers Montessori community.
Staci is passionate about the Montessori philosophy and is dedicated to helping the child cultivate independence and a desire to learn. Outside of school, Staci enjoys spending time with her family including her son who was born in January 2010. She is excited to have him be a part of Montessori experience. She also likes to practice yoga, travel, and spend time with her friends.
Casa 1 - Courtney Thorson, assistant
Courtney was born and raised in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. She moved to Minnesota in 2003. She graduated from Normandale Community College in 2009 with an Associate degree in Liberal Arts. She continues to take classes and pursue her dream to become an elementary school teacher.
In her free time she loves to read, draw, and bake. She hopes to write and illustrate her own children's book in the near future. On weekends, she sings on a worship team and serves the children as a teacher at her church. In the fall, Courtney loves to spend time with her husband hiking the Minnesota State Parks.
For Courtney, there is no greater joy than to watch children learn and discover the beautiful world around them.
"We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today." Stacia Tauscher
Casa 3 – Brenda Hanlon, lead guide
Brenda began her Montessori Primary training in August 1998 when her son was three months old. Her previous career was working with children with developmental disabilities. She has a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and a Master of Arts in special education both from the University of Minnesota. She has been teaching at Little Flowers Montessori School in Casa 3 since the fall of 2000. Her daughter was born in 2002. Both of her children began in the Toddler Community and graduated from Little Flowers Montessori School after their kindergarten year. Brenda spends her free time with family and working on creative activities such as producing videos, taking photographs, making greeting cards and scrapbook pages.
Casa 3 – Carly Eggert, assistant
Carly grew up in St. Michael, Minnesota where she currently lives now. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science in 2010. Carly is passionate about health and fitness and believes strongly that taking care of all the different “healths”, physical, mental, emotional, and all others, is critical for being successful in all that one may pursue throughout life. She loves to be a part of so many young children’s lives; to witness such a strong and healthy foundation being laid for them to build on. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, running, and many other outdoor activities. Carly loves to continue to learn new things about life and feels inspired to continue to grow in many ways as she is surrounded by so much growth and learning at Little Flowers Montessori School.
Kristina Larson – assistant
Kristina holds a Bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State University where she studied Literature and Child and Family Studies. Her passions include geography, other cultures, and the arts. In her spare time she enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with friends and family, especially over coffee. Kristina and her husband had their wedding in Dhaka, Bangladesh in late December of 2012 and she adores dressing up in all of her new Bangladeshi outfits from her in-laws. Kristina has always delighted in working with young children and strongly believes that it is the early years that are the most beneficial and beautiful in a young child’s development. Kristina is thrilled to assist the children at Little Flowers Montessori as they grow and make new discoveries dail
Missy Hanlon – Office Administrator
Toddler Community – Anne Estes, teacher
Anne received her AMI Primary diploma in 2005 in St. Paul, Minnesota, continuing on to complete a Master’s in Montessori Education in Baltimore, Maryland. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degree, both in English (writing and literature) from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. She also had the opportunity to spend her freshman year abroad in Paris, France, where she attended the American University.
A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Anne was first introduced to Montessori when she was three years old, as a student at Lake Country School. She has vivid memories of learning to write in cursive, read, sew quilts for her dolls, polish silver, and work with the golden beads.
Anne has worked with children since she was eighteen years old, starting out as a summer camp teacher at her high school, Southwest, in Minneapolis. After a roundabout post-college path that explored the literary/publishing world along with a year in Kyoto, Japan teaching English to adults, while in graduate school she was a nanny for two children whom attended a Montessori school. Walking into the school and remembering the materials and loving community she had had as a child was the “Aha!” moment that brought everything full circle for Anne. Shortly thereafter, she signed up for the AMI training and has been working in Montessori schools ever since. Before joining the Little Flowers staff, she taught in a bilingual Montessori classroom in Argentina, where she lived for one year.
Anne enjoys the vibrant arts and theater scene found in the Twin Cities as well as spending time in nature, traveling, reading, and writing.
In the summer of 2012, Anne began taking the Assistants to Infancy course through AMI at The Montessori Institute in Denver. She is also pursuing a Doctorate in Education at Hamline University in St. Paul.
Jeni Crabtree, assistant
Jeni was born and raised in the small southern Minnesota town of Saint Peter. During her high school years, she was privileged to travel to Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, and Mexico. After high school, she went on to College at North Central University in Minneapolis. It was here that she fell in love with the Twin Cities and found her soul mate whom she married a month after graduating. While in college, Jeni began to nanny and found how much she enjoyed teaching children. The last family she nannied for attended Little Flowers Montessori and she became intrigued by the Montessori Method. After 6 years of being a nanny, Jeni was excited to get the opportunity to work for Little Flowers and has been loving it even since.
Casa 1 – Nadine Edgar, lead guide
Nadine grew up in Anoka, Minnesota (the Halloween capital of the world). Her favorite childhood memories include spending summers at her grandparents' farms and camping with her family. She attended the University of Minnesota, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Child Psychology. During her second year in college she began working for Preethy. She has been teaching at Little Flowers Montessori for 18 years now. Nadine received her Montessori Training in Minnesota in 1995 and continued on to receive her Master's degree in Montessori Education from Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland.
Nadine resides in Edina, Minnesota with her husband, two daughters and their dog, Sammy. She enjoys running and hopes to do another marathon in the near future. She also enjoys reading, gardening and taking family bike trips.
"I can honestly say I love coming to work everyday! The environments are beautiful and the staff is great. The best part is being a witness to the method and how amazing children really are. The look on their faces is timeless when they realize they are reading for the first time or counted up to a 1000 or even tied their first bow.”
Casa 1 – Jessica Bowen, assistant
Casa 2 – Jessica Ostrov, lead guide
Jessica has been working in Montessori schools for ten years. She earned her AMI primary diploma from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota in 2005. After graduation, she spent two years as a Montessori guide in Japan as well as teaching in Montessori schools in St. Paul. She holds a Bachelor's degree of Science in Applied Studies from the University of Minnesota, focusing on Horticulture and the importance of the outdoor environment for the development of children. She has a son, Nico, who is in his Kindergarten year at Little Flowers Montessori School. She and Nico have spent the summer teaching gardening and art at a family camp near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Jessica enjoys spending time outside with her son, sewing, writing, and traveling.
Casa 2 – Wing Yee Tsui, assistant
Wing Yee was born and raised in Hong Kong. She spent three months in New Zealand for a high school exchange program in 2005. She also went to McKinney, Texas for high school exchange program in 2006. In 2007, she came to Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin. As a child, Wing Yee competed on a swim team for 10 years. She was also a swimming coach for five years for children ages 3 to 10 years old. She likes to cook, travel, read books and watch movies. Wing Yee is newly married. She and her husband live together in Minneapolis. She is passionate about children and loves to help children learn. Wing Yee likes the Montessori Method because it helps children to explore and develop themselves in their early childhood.
Jillian Syverson, assistant