OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

President/CEO

Christine Holmes is the President/CEO of Penfield Children’s Center and a long-time leader in health and human services with a focus on children and families. Penfield Children’s Center is a provider of Milwaukee County’s Birth-to-Three program, early childhood education and therapies to more than 1,600 children located in Milwaukee. Prior to Penfield, Ms. Holmes spent 14 years with Children’s Hospital and Health System as Director of Community Ventures and Advocacy where she provided oversight for the development of community social service initiatives.

Ms. Holmes’s community engagement extends to her service with several organizations including: National Birth-5 Peer Advocate Roundtable, Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare Partnership Council, Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health, Wisconsin Early Learning Coalition and the United Way Teen Pregnancy Prevention Oversight. In 2013, Ms. Holmes was honored with two awards including a scholarship from the Harvard Business Club of Wisconsin to attend a week-long session on Strategy Perspectives for Non Profits at Harvard. The Penfield board nominated Ms. Holmes and she was also awarded a “Women of Influence” award by the Milwaukee Business Journal.

At the national level, Ms. Holmes previously worked as Public Relations Director for the Alliance for Families and Children and Prevent Child Abuse America. Ms. Holmes has her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

James BurnettIn his role as Director of Public Relations for Kane Communications Group, James brings his experiences as a storyteller and relationship builder to a point.

Public relations done right involves thought leadership. It involves telling clients’ stories in any and every format and style that makes them relatable and demonstrates the benefit of their service or product. Yes, there are press releases and media advisories. But understand the sky’s the limit. Also, think narrative written features, blog posts or social media entries, podcasts, even speeches and public convening.

James’s 21 years in communications work includes 16 years as an award-winning journalist for major news outlets including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Miami Herald, and the Boston Globe. At the Journal Sentinel, James was part of a team that won a National Headliner Award for reporting on urban redevelopment in Milwaukee. At the Herald, James co-authored an investigative story recognized with an Associated Press Sports Editors Award because it may have helped exonerate a college baseball player accused of a crime. And at the Globe, James was a writer in the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings. He has also been a magazine and broadcast contributor to O: The Oprah Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, CNN and NPR.

Born and raised in Southeastern Virginia – with a detour to Sicily as a child, James first moved to Milwaukee in the fall of 1998 to write for the Journal Sentinel. After 14 years away in South Florida and Boston, he and his wife and children moved back to Milwaukee to be near family in 2018.

When he is not in family-man mode or being a so-so gardener, you can find James walking his black lab Leo at any number of North Shore parks, playing basketball at the Jewish Community Center, volunteering with his son’s Cub Scouts troop, or working on his version of the great American novel.

In his professional and personal lives, James insists that relating to and accepting as many people and as many types of people as possible is the key to effective communications.

I am a Client Advisor with J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank in Milwaukee. In my role, I focus on helping high net worth clients address their complex wealth management needs. Leveraging the resources at J.P. Morgan, I can address all aspects of financial planning, including banking, credit, estate planning, philanthropy, and wealth transfer.

Prior to the Private Bank, I worked at both Stark Investments and Racon Capital, spending much of my career as a macro analyst and product specialist respectively. Both experiences laid the foundation and provided a framework for my current work.

But my career actually started as a teacher. I was trained in Canada, spending time as a researcher prior to moving to Milwaukee, focused on the micro-interactions that take place in the classroom. During my time in the field, I published numerous articles and a spelling text book, Nelson Spelling 2.

I was born in Toronto, Canada. I have a B.A., B.Ed., and M.Ed. from the University of Toronto. In 2000, I made Milwaukee my home and currently reside in Cedarburg with my family. All three of my children have attended Montessori schools.

Bio coming soon

Julie holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana and a Masters Degree, In Human Resources, from the Graduate School of Business at Loyola University Chicago. She has 20 plus years of working experience in the field of Human Resources/Talent Development; specializing in training and recruiting.

In addition to her professional endeavors, Julie is a dedicated community volunteer serving on a variety of boards and committees over the years. Most notably, she served as the President of the Junior League of Milwaukee as well as serving eight years as Vice-President on Kappa Alpha Theta’s International board.

Currently, she on the board of Impact100 Milwaukee as a Communications Director, is a member of the Whitefish Bay Police Commission, the Whitefish Bay Historic Preservation Commission and the personnel committee at her church. She also is the training chair for the University School of Milwaukee’s Business Internship Program.

Julie and her husband, Brian, feel so lucky to be raising their young children in such a vibrant and wonderful city!

Bio coming soon

Bob Mikulay is the retired Executive Vice President of Marketing for the Miller Brewing Company and has had an extensive and successful career in marketing and branding strategy, consumer and customer insight, sales management, strategic planning and a myriad of other areas. Before joining Miller Brewing Company, he served as Senior Vice President of Marketing for Philip Morris U.S.A. In 2004, he was recognized by Advertising Age as one of the 50 most influential marketing executives in the country. Bob currently advises small businesses and start-up ventures on all aspects of business strategy and development.

Bob serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) and Penfield Children’s Center. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.

Bob graduated from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis with a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1973 and attended the U of M’s Carlson School of Business’ Masters Program from 1973 to 1975.

Bob currently lives in Whitefish Bay with his wife, Susan, a writer and communications consultant. They have one son, David, an actor living in West Hollywood, California.

Bio coming soon

Secretary

As Senior Vice President and Market Executive, Tere Sackerson oversees the client’s team of Global Treasury Management professionals, striving to achieve the highest levels of client satisfaction. Her top priority is that the team not only meets, but also exceeds the client’s expectations.

Tere joined PNC with over 15 years of experience in the Financial Services industry, and over 10 years specializing in Global Treasury Management. Prior to joining PNC, Tere was a Team Leader in National Corporate covering 13 states and managing a team of professionals between Wisconsin and Illinois for U.S. Bank.

Tere volunteers for the Girls Scout of America and St. Mary’s Parish School. She is also an active board member for the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum and PNC Milwaukee Running Festival.

Tere enjoys spending time with her family, running and focusing on wellness.

Bob Schwartz joined Mount Mary University as Dean, Schools of Arts, Design & Business in August 2020. In this role, he oversees Studio Arts, Fashion Design, Interior Architecture and Design, Graphic Design, Music, Movement and Dance and the MBA, BBA and Accounting programs.

He is former Vice President, Global Design & User Experience at GE Healthcare. Having held this position from December, 2007 to April, 2020, he oversaw as many as six studios in five countries, comprised of 60 team members and was responsible for the Global Design function encompassing industrial design, design thinking, human factors, ergonomics, user-interface, environmental design and design research. As a strategic driver of organic business growth, his organization focused on the look, feel, usability and end-to-end, digital-physical experience of GEHC products and services. Bob was also the GE Healthcare Global Executive Sponsor of the People with Disabilities Network and has been a faculty member/advisor to GE Corporate’s Mother & Child initiative in Africa.

Since 2009, his team at GE received 22 medals from the International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) & numerous others & was listed, in 2011, by Fast Company as a Corporate Design Stronghold. In 2015, Bob’s career was cited by Fast Company as among top Chief Design Officers. In 2015, the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) named him among the 50 most notable industrial designers of the last 50 years. In 2019, he was awarded the Diversity in Design Award for Lifetime Achievement in Design, Design Education, Design Management, Mentorship and Diversity by the Design Management Institute. Bob is Board Chair Emeritus of the Design Management Institute.

A 3-term member of the Board of Milwaukee Inst. of Art & Design, he is the former Board Chair & previously chaired its Academic Excellence Committee. He’s a member of the Design Management Advisory Board and adjunct graduate school faculty at Northwestern University and had similar roles at Savannah College of Art and Design and Carnegie Mellon and held a faculty appointment at the University of Cincinnati.

At P&G, Bob was a global design leader working to transform the design function and was VP, New Product Development, at Levolor Kirsch/Newell Brands. At Motorola, he was Director of Design, for Commercial, Government, Industrial and Consumer Products.

As Executive Director and COO of IDSA, he forged a relationship with Business Week to publish the IDEA awards. This led to a UN appointment to the People’s Republic of China as Sr. Advisor for Design. Bob testified before Congress on a Bill to establish a US Design Center and was also Director, Science and Technology Programs for AdvaMed, where he lobbied for the medical device industry. Prior to this, Bob was head of Industrial Design/Architecture for the Red Cross. Bob was inducted into the IDSA Academy of Fellows at the 2007 World Congress of Industrial Design, for his outstanding contributions to the industry. He has a Master’s Degree in Industrial Design from Rhode Island School of Design, where he was a Roddy Scholar and held a teaching assistantship. Bob has a BFA in Design from Kansas City Art Institute.

Ronny Thompson

Ronny Thompson, having flunked retirement, became the Founder and Chief Executive Office of PeachyClean, LLC., where he oversees the strategic direction of the company. Mr. Thompson brings 40 years of experience in the cleaning, construction and sales industries to his work. Prior to starting PeachyClean, LLC., Mr. Thompson served as Owner/CEO of White Glove Services, Inc., a commercial cleaning business.

He was Co-Owner of Envirotech Services, LLC, a construction company and he was a Partner/Operator of Nebula Personal Brand Management, a sports image consulting company. Mr. Thompson attended Marquette University where he studied Business Management. He is the proud Executive Director of the Athletes for Autism Foundation which he started in memoriam of his daughter.

Treasurer

Lisa is an Executive Director in the assurance practice at Ernst & Young and has been employed there since 1997. She works with public- and privately-held organizations in the retail, consumer and industrial products industries. Areas of specialization include auditing, SEC filings, financial reporting, audit committees, leadership and development of others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration – Accounting from UW Oshkosh and is a CPA. Lisa serves on the Audit Committee of Penfield Children’s Center and has a passion for children and education.

Vice Chair

Madonna Williams was born in Evanston, Illinois and is the oldest of 14 children. Upon moving to Milwaukee when she was 4 years old, she spent 16 years in local Catholic schools, including St. Eugene, Dominican High School and later attended St. Norbert College to earn a degree in elementary education.

Madonna is an active volunteer and has served on a number of boards including Penfield Children’s Center (17 years), Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, Blood Center of Wisconsin and Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.

She has also been involved with United Way, the Milwaukee Public Museum, United Performing Arts Fund and the Kettle Moraine Garden Club.

Madonna and husband, Jay, have 3 married children and 5 grandchildren.

Susan Sager joined Northwestern Mutual in July 2014 and currently is the Senior
Director of Legal Operations, Strategy & Technology for Northwestern Mutual’s Law
Department. As a member of the Law Department’s senior leadership team, she serves
as the trusted advisor to the General Counsel and is responsible for the business
management function and overall operational effectiveness of the Department. She
guides law leadership through design, delivery, and implementation of long-range
strategic planning efforts; and supervises and manages the day-to-day function of the
Law Administration, Knowledge Management, Technology and Research Services.

Previously, Susan served as the Assistant Director of Strategy Advancement and
Alignment in Corporate Strategy where she worked to help advance the company’s
strategic ambition by helping to shape the strategic dialogue across senior leadership
and the broader organization to align decision-making and engage the organization to
execute against our strategy. Susan began her career at Northwestern Mutual in the
Talent Division of Human Resources where she served as Assistant Director of Talent &
Organization Development-Client Services and a Talent & Organizational Consultant.

Prior to joining Northwestern Mutual, Susan was a practicing attorney for 20 years, most
recently spending 10 years at Michael Best & Friedrich as a Partner in their Litigation
Group. She also served as the firm’s Director of Professional Development with
responsibility for the design and implementation of programs for the integration,
development, and training of associate attorneys.

Sue holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; a Juris Doctor,
cum laude, from Mitchell Hamline School of Law; and is distinguished in the area of
Land Use and Zoning by The Best Lawyers in America.

LEADERSHIP

Principal

Michelle’s passion for teaching started when her first son was born. When her son joined the 0-3 Montessori program, her questions led her to complete the Association Montessori Internationale Primary Licensure in 2010. Moving from India to the United States with her husband and their three children in early 2017 she started her career in the United States as a Montessori Guide at a Primary Montessori School and moved to Penfield Montessori Academy in 2019 as one of the Primary Guides. Michelle spent four years teaching before accepting her first principal position here at PMA. 

Michelle feels that every child learns and develops differently and she chooses the Montessori Method as she believes it offers differentiation and self-paced learning. She sees herself currently a Principal, a teacher, a coach, and a team player. Michelle believes that an effective educator needs to be an educator for change. Someone who believes that ‘knowledge can be socially constructed’ As an educator for change, she believes that she needs to have high expectations for all students. She needs to develop talents for them, ignite their curiosity with culture-rich content, use parents as partners in their education, cultivate a love for learning, and most importantly be a guide for their learning. Michelle is an advocate for inclusion and looks at each child as an individual, following the child and meeting them where they are at. 

Michelle has received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from India. She returned to education when she completed her dual degree in Elementary Education and Special Education followed by a Masters’s in Curriculum and Instruction and dual Administration licensure for Principal and Director of Instruction. Right now she is focused on completing her Doctorate by doing research in Urban Education focusing on equitable assessment practices in Montessori Schools. She loves to spend time with her family, going on long nature walks and road trips. She loves to read, sing, and cook.

COORDINATORS AND SPECIALISTS

Family and Community Engagement Specialist

Bio coming soon

Selena Cotto is our School Psychologist. She works with the Penfield Montessori community by providing social emotional learning services, special education evaluation services, behavior interventions through Child Study and 1:1 counseling, and serves as a member of the Administration Team. 
 
Selena believes that all children have a right to learn and be successful in school. In the role of the School Psychologist, she believes the importance of looking at the whole child, meeting them where they are at, providing them with the support they need, and collaborating with the child, teachers, and families are the most essential aspects to their success. 
 
Selena has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with minors in Spanish and Criminology and Law Studies. She has a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology (School Psychology) and is working towards receiving her Educational Specialist Certification. She has worked with Penfield Montessori for 2 years as a Lower Elementary Assistant and is excited to step into this new role and to continue to grow with the Penfield community. 
 
Selena grew up in Milwaukee and enjoys hikes and walks with her significant other, going to the gym, and spending time with her family and friends. 

 

Student Support Specialist

Colleen Marchant Williams is our Student Support Specialist. She works with the Penfield Montessori community on the provision of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) services and the variety of other services related to SEL, including student “problem solving” meetings in The Bridge room, recess and art therapy.

Colleen believes children want to know how to be successful in their classroom, relationships and society, and that children may need more instruction in certain areas to get them to that success. In the role of Student Support Coordinator, she believes collaboration with these awesome Penfield Montessori teachers and students is one of the most powerful ways for her to foster this success.

Colleen has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Pathology and Master’s Degree in Counseling from Gallaudet University. She is fluent in American Sign Language and specialized in work with Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. In past professional positions, she provided direct counseling services as well as program development in non-profit settings. She is proud to have collaborated with Mount Mary University to provide Art Therapy interns a placement with Penfield Montessori.

Colleen grew up in Wisconsin and is married with 3 children and a dog. She enjoys playing tennis, reading, long hikes, music and a good joke.

Administrative Coordinator

Kara’s passion for inclusion is what led her to work at Penfield Children’s Center as an Early Childhood Teacher, where she stayed for over ten years before moving over to Penfield Montessori Academy. She started her journey as a Montessori Assistant, then moved up to the Programs Coordinator, and is currently enjoying her role as the Administrative Coordinator. 

In her free time, she enjoys organizing, being in nature and spending downtime with her husband and dog. She is extremely grateful for the many opportunities Penfield has given her and looks forward to the adventures that lie ahead!

Special Education Coordinator

Bio coming soon

MONTESSORI GUIDES

Children’s House Guide

Bio coming soon

Guide In Training

My name is Maria Castro. I have had the privilege of being part of Penfield Montessori Academy since 2018. After spending 13 years teaching the Preschool class in Kindercare Learning Center, I was excited to take the opportunity to be the Montessori Assistant in the Red room classroom, in Children House  for the past 3 years, where I had  enjoyed being part of the classroom. This school year 2022-2023  I’m excited to start my new journey as a Montessori Guide in training in the Purple classroom. I am thrilled to work with you and your child this year. I want to extend a warm welcome to all the new families and a big welcome back to the returning families. I have been in Early Childhood for most of my career. I have an Early Childhood Education  associates degree and continue learning Montessori education, I am currently a student in The Center For Guided Montessori Studies. I also enjoy learning sign language. During my free time I love spending time with my family which includes my husband Art, our oldest son Diego who is 20 years old, a Junior in college, our middle son Hugo who is 18years old just graduated form High school and starting his journey as an Electrician student, our youngest daughter Sophia who is 7 years old and will be a 2nd grader this coming Fall,  and our puppy Maui, Maui is a Shih Tzu and he is 3 years old. Together we enjoy playing board games, going for walks and going camping. I look forward to a great 2022-2023 school year.

Upper Elementary Guide

Bio coming soon

Upper Elementary Guide

Bio coming soon

Lower Elementary Guide

McKenzie’s love for learning began as a young child in Lodi, WI during her elementary school. Originally from Lodi, WI, McKenzie followed her passion for learning and education by pursuing her Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood education in La Crosse, WI. While there, she was able to work in various school settings as well as spend her summers focusing on nature education at a local goat farm. This summer she began her Montessori training and will graduate in May of 2024. She is looking forward to joining the PMA family and is grateful to become a part of the community!

In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, reading, listening to music and trying various art projects.

Elementary Guide

Emily is a graduate of Carroll University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies with an emphasis in Elementary Education and a Minor in Fine Arts. Emily’s passion for Montessori Education began through a classroom observation while completing her undergraduate degree. Upon graduation she enrolled in a Montessori training program and obtained her Montessori teaching credential for grades 1st-6th. Emily is joining the PMA team this year from another Montessori school in the greater Milwaukee area. She is excited to collaborate and contribute to the growth of the school and uphold PMA’s school mission through the teachings of Maria Montessori.

Outside of work, Emily loves anything that involves art and nature. She enjoys spending her time either at the ceramic studio or hiking and kayaking with her significant other and their dog.

Lower Elementary Guide

Dani graduated from Butler University in Indianapolis with a degree in Elementary Education as well as minors in Special Education and Reading Intervention. After graduating, Dani went on to complete her Montessori training and her Masters in Montessori education from UW-River Falls. She has been with the Penfield family since 2014 and with Penfield Montessori Academy since 2016.

Dani believes strongly in personalized and inclusive education, which is why Penfield Montessori Academy is the perfect fit for her. She loves being able to try new things and find what works best for each child, while working closely with an incredible team of educators and parents. 

In her free time, Dani enjoys playing tennis, reading, listening to music, doing puzzles and being around friends and family!

Children’s House Guide

Sonia believes that every child is deserving of an enriching education delivered with respect. Her goal is for children to independently reach their fullest potential. As a parent with a special needs child, she fully understands the patience, love, and extra attention that is needed to help students exceed in everyday life.

Prior to becoming a founding member at Penfield Montessori Academy, Sonia worked as a paraprofessional for two years at Maryland Avenue Montessori School. She majored in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She earned her Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) Montessori Certification at the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee and is currently pursuing a Masters in Education degree through Loyola University of Baltimore.

Sonia is married with two daughters, an eight year old who attends Maryland Avenue Montessori School and a two year old who attends Penfield Children’s Center. Her hobbies include spending time with family and friends, working out, cooking Mexican and Puerto Rican cuisine, gardening, rock climbing, and practically any outdoor activity.

MONTESSORI ASSISTANTS & PARAPROFESSIONALS

Paraprofessional

Emily Behrendt  started her career as a licensed crisis stabilizer from 2013-2016, working with children and youth who had endured trauma as well as mental health struggles. She has also served as a camp counselor at Royal Family Kids, a camp for children who have been in foster care,  a nanny, and a youth leader at her church.

Emily worked at Penfield Children’s Center previously and enjoyed working with children who have diverse abilities & backgrounds. She was interested in working in a school setting that followed inclusion and transferred over to Penfield Montessori Academy in 2017. She started as a paraprofessional in Children’s House and assisted in PEP. She has since been the PEP K3 teacher and after school child care teacher. She values the Montessori principle of seeing how each child can learn at their own pace and choose their own work.

Emily says she is forever grateful to be a part of a school that is so unique and diverse and looks forward to many more years and to continue to be a consistent part of our student’s lives.  She enjoys art, nature, traveling, and singing.

Upper Elementary Assistant 

Bio coming soon.

Paraprofessional

Bio coming soon.

Paraprofessional

Briana Cross is our Special Education Paraprofessional. She works 1:1 with students at Penfield Montessori Academy, ensuring they are reaching their full potential in the classroom. Briana loves how Penfield allows for students to learn through touch and observing their peers. 

Briana believes that children are the future, therefore we must continue to guide them in the right direction as educators. Everyday at Penfield the students become better independent thinkers and develop stronger intellectual, social, emotional, and moral skills. 

Briana Cross has a Bachelor’s degree in Educational and Communication studies from Marquette University. She has worked with children with special needs ranging from behavioral to intellectual disabilities for over 5 years. 

Briana is also a pole vault coach at her former high school. She also loves to bowl, travel and hang out with friends/family.

 
 
Lower Elementary Assistant

Donna was inspired to be an educator because she is the youngest of six and was inspired by her older siblings who took on the roles of teachers. Her passion for education escalated during high school when she was part of the Wellness Program, engaging with students of different abilities in wellness games and activities. Through the program she  learned, “Just because some of the students’ abilities were limited, did not mean they should be treated as such. They had a voice and it was my responsibility to ensure that their voice was loud and clear.”

She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Community Engagement and Education and certificate in Youth Work. She has been within the educational system since 2013 and has worked with a diverse group of students, as a K5 Instructional assistant and a therapy technician working with students with autism and learning differences. She’s now a Montessori Assistant at Penfield Montessori Academy, where she is excited to add a little bit of brightness to the student’s imagination.

In her free time, she loves to read, enjoy the sunshine, and spend time with my family.

Children’s House Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Paraprofessional

Bio coming soon!

Lower Elementary Assistant

Bio coming soon!

Upper Elementary Assistant 

Bio coming soon.

Paraprofessional

Bio coming soon!

Montessori Guide Assistant

Kym found her enthusiasm for working with children as a child volunteering in her church’s nursery and then babysitting for some of the families. She has worked in a variety of professions from food service and auto shop to child care and early intervention (Birth to 3) and found she is happiest when helping children learn and connect with others in a positive way.

She started at Penfield Montessori Academy in May of 2018, a month before her daughter was born. She loves the family atmosphere and spirit of love and gratitude for all. She says her favorite part of being an educator is watching children find their confidence and seeing their excitement when they complete a new activity.

Kym looks forward to her daughter beginning her education at Penfield Montessori Academy. In her spare time, she likes to play outside, dance, visit with friends and family when possible, and watch movies.

Children’s House Assistant

Justine loves Penfield and feels that it is such a magical place. The love each child at PMA is shown is like no other place.  She loves to see children flourish and feels honored to be a part of their journey. Justine is a mother to three girls and would like to further her education. In her free time, Justine enjoys spending time with family and friends, dancing, listening to music, as well as taking walks and reading books.

Upper Elementary Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Paraprofessional

Bio coming soon.

LEARNING STRATEGISTS & THERAPISTS

Claire
Speech Pathologist

Claire began working with children when she was in high school and taught figure skating lessons. She became introduced to the field of speech pathology several years later and her passion grew when she volunteered at Penfield Children’s Center during college. Claire earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree in speech pathology from Marquette University. 

Claire loves working on communication and has particular interest in assistive technology and social thinking. She looks forward to continuing her teaching journey at Penfield Montessori Academy.   

In her free time, Claire enjoys cooking, fitness, and exploring Milwaukee.

Children’s House Learning Strategist

Bio coming soon

Elementary Learning Strategist

Carrie is a licensed general educator who came to Penfield Montessori Academy in 2017 after spending four years teaching English in South Korea. She began as a Montessori Assistant and transitioned to the position of Learning Strategist in 2019, through the Proficiency Based Licensure Program at CESA #1. Thanks to the excellent professional development opportunities provided through PMA, she has had the opportunity to learn even more about Inclusive Montessori practices, Multi-Sensory phonics instruction, Trauma-Informed teaching, Crisis Prevention, Language Acquisition through Motor Planning, and Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Supports for learners on the Autism spectrum. Working with the great families and supportive staff at PMA has given Carrie the chance to share this learning with the wonderfully diverse group of students at PMA, and to channel her love for the kids into helping each one bloom.

Elementary Learning Strategist

Hi! My name is Alyssa Peterson and I am excited to be joining the Penfield Montessori Academy team. I graduated from Carroll University with a Psychology degree and earned my teaching certification from the American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence. I enjoy traveling and going camping with my family. I also love to spend time with my two year old dog, Lula! When I have free time, I like to read as much as possible. I am looking forward to the school year!

Speech Pathologist

Susan began her career as a school-based speech-language pathologist in 2005. Prior to coming to Penfield Montessori Academy, she worked in two area school districts and a Milwaukee charter school. She is excited to work with children in a Montessori setting at PMA. Susan sees a Montessori school as an excellent environment to foster speech and language development. She has a passion for meeting the individual needs of her students to help them communicate and succeed in and out of the classroom.

Susan lives in Milwaukee with her husband and two children. She enjoys exploring area parks and trails, traveling and cooking, especially pie!

Physical Therapist

Biographical information coming soon.

Occupational Therapist

Ms. Cassie, received a Bachelor’s Degree in Rehabilitation Science and a Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy from Concordia University Wisconsin – Mequon. She started her career at Penfield Montessori Academy in 2018. This year she is continuing to carry out dual roles at PMA, as Occupational Therapist and Special Education Administrative Support. One of her many philosophies she follows is “regulate then educate” – if a child’s whole self is regulated they will gain more from their learning, just the same as if an adult is regulated they will be able to guide that learning more effectively. With this at the forefront of her mind, PMA’s Sensory Room was created in 2019, as well as other calming and regulating areas throughout the school.

Prior to her career at Penfield Montessori Ms. Cassie worked as a special needs nanny and worked in respite, which lends to her special interest in genetic disorders. She is a single mother to a daughter, whom she loves to travel and go on adventures with. They enjoy going on roadtrips, attending Brewers games, and going to the Zoo. Ms. Cassie also loves showing her daughter how to find the best deals, whether it is couponing at grocery stores or finding items at thrift stores.

She is looking forward to providing a nurturing and safe environment in which your child can grow and learn.

SUPPORT STAFF

Art Teacher

Bio coming soon.

Upper Elementary Assistant

James is returning to Penfield Montessori Academy for a third year as a substitute teacher. He is a licensed educator with a master’s degree in Museum Education.  He has spent a 30+ year career working at Discovery World, The Smithsonian Institution, Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, and was most recently the Director of Education at the Milwaukee County Zoo/Zoological Society.

James lives in Wauwatosa with his wife and three daughters.  He is looking forward to exciting Penfield Montessori Academy students about their own amazing abilities to learn, grow and explore our magnificent world.

Custodian

James is retired from the US Army & US Postal Service. He enjoys spending time with his grandkids, watching sports and cooking.

PEP Site Supervisor

Bio coming soon.

Food Director

Biographical information coming soon.

Custodian

Biographical information coming soon.

Administrative Assistant

Bio coming soon.