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.

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!

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.

Melissa Murray

Melissa Murray is a mother, wife, daughter, volunteer and business owner/real estate investor. She navigates the delicate balance between work and family every day. Melissa manages the purchase, ownership, management, rental and/or sale of multi-family and commercial property holdings for her real estate investment business.

Melissa is originally from New York and relocated with her husband Ron to the Milwaukee area seven years ago to work for Kohl’s Department Stores. She was a Product Manager in Men’s Apparel, responsible for product creation, merchandising and sourcing. Melissa’s team building skills enabled her to lead direct reports and develop strong cross-functional partnerships.

Prior to joining Kohl’s, Melissa was a Vice President of Sales at Smart Apparel headquartered in New York City. She was responsible for managing and growing the men’s private and licensed brand apparel businesses. Melissa worked with leading U.S. retailers, Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Belk, Kohl’s, JCP, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Saks, Costco.

Melissa’s twenty year career in the men’s fashion business included extensive international travel to Asia and Europe to strengthen retail/vendor relationships and facilitate product/supply chain development.

Melissa enjoys spending time with her family, friends, traveling and playing sports. She resides in Shorewood, WI with her husband Ron and her five year old daughter Sloane. Sloane currently attends Montessori school.

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.

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.

Deanna L. Tillisch retired in 2020 as President & CEO of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF), the largest arts funds in the country. Under her leadership, UPAF raised more than $100 million to ensure the sustainability of the arts in Southeastern Wisconsin. Tillisch spent almost two decades at Northwestern Mutual serving in various leadership roles: Vice President of the Foundation, Directors of Corporate Affairs, Market Development and Public Relations. Tillisch is a board member of Milwaukee Institute for Art and Design, Burke Foundation, Penfield Montessori Academy, Imagine MKE and Independence First. Active in the special needs community, the Tillisch family was recognized as the Life Navigators Challenger Honoree in 2017. Tillisch was named University of Wisconsin Badger of the Year — Milwaukee Chapter in 2020, Milwaukee Business Journal’s Women of Influence in 2016 and Women and Girls Fund’s Women of Distinction in 2014. Tillisch holds a Master of Business Administration, graduating with honors, from Marquette University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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.

LEADERSHIP

Head of School

“We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.” ― Maria Montessori

Hello PMA Family! I am elated to serve as your new Head of School to support children, families, staff, and community stakeholders in achieving the highest level of excellence in our Montessori Educational Method. The Montessori approach to learning welcomes individuals as they are and teach young minds the strategies for independence to help them determine their place of “help and hope” in this world.   

As a 27-year veteran educator, I take pride in facilitating a learning environment that boasts a belief in diversity; differentiation; technological advancement; standards-driven curriculum; clarity of instruction, high expectations; and, a wealth of knowledge to provide multiple ways of knowing and interacting with each other, our community, and world. Additionally, I aim to nurture effective, caring educators who possess patience, respect, empathy, dedication, and rapport building skills to encourage strong family partnerships.

COORDINATORS AND SPECIALISTS

Enrollment Specialist

Amy holds a degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She started at Penfield Children’s Center shortly after graduation and quickly realized her passion for working with families of children with special needs. For more than 15 years, Amy held a number of positions at Penfield, most recently Director of Family and Community Engagement during which she supervised the Parent Mentors, Family Programs, Community Outreach, and Volunteer Services.

In the spring of 2016, Amy took on the role of Enrollment Specialist for Penfield Montessori Academy. As the school was preparing to open, Amy created a comprehensive parent engagement component that mirrors the work being done with families at Penfield Children’s Center. Amy also serves as the Vice President for the Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee Chapter.

Amy is married, has a beautiful daughter, and two very loved yellow labs. Her family lives in Milwaukee, but their favorite place to be is in Alaska, Wisconsin with family and friends.

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

Biographical information coming soon.

Community and Engagement Specialist

Angela Kingsawan is committed to empowering communities of culture through decolonized education and reconnection to all-natural living. Angela has successfully maintained strong, diverse teams by fostering collaboration and effective communication. Dedicated and highly ethical, Angela is committed to helping create healthy and vibrant families.

Student Support Coordinator

Colleen Marchant Williams is our Student Support Coordinator. 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, art therapy, and art classes.

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.

MONTESSORI GUIDES

Short Term Montessori Sub

Ms. Froze is one of Milwaukee’s most beloved Montessori teachers with over 30 years experience. She has studied under well-known Montessori expert, Hildegard Solzbacher and has two Montessori-educated children.

Lower Elementary Montessori 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 Montessori 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 Montessori 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!

Montessori Guide

Michelle’s passion for teaching started when her first son was born. When he joined the 0-3 Montessori program, her questions led her to complete the American Montessori Internationale primary course and then went on to complete her dual degree in Special Education and Elementary Education, followed by a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction. 

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. As a Montessori teacher, she believes that her role is a directress there to guide the child. 

She loves to spend time with her spouse and three children, going on long nature walks and road trips. She loves to read, sing, and cook.

Montessori 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 Guide

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.

MONTESSORI ASSISTANTS & PARAPROFESSIONALS

Montessori Assistant

Bio coming soon!

PEP Lead Teacher/ Special Education 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.

Children’s House Montessori Assistant

After spending 13 years teaching Preschool at Kindercare Learning Center, Maria became a Montessori Assistant with Penfield Montessori Academy in 2018.  She has an associate degree in Early Childhood and continues to learn  Montessori education and sign language. 

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, three children, and puppy playing board games, going for walks, and going camping.

Lower Elementary Montessori 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.

Lower Elementary Montessori Assistant

Selena’s passion for working with children in an educational setting began when she worked as a youth sports coach and summer camp counselor. She graduated from Marquette University with specializations in child psychology and Spanish and is currently continuing her education in Educational Psychology. 

2020 is her first year as a Montessori Assistant and she looks forward to meeting and building connections with the wonderful students, families, and staff.

In her free time, Selena enjoys spending time outdoors, cooking, playing tennis, and spending time with her friends and family.

PEP Lead Teacher/ Learning Strategist Assistant

Supporting children and helping them find their path has always been an interest of Christine’s. After receiving her degree in Elementary Education from UW-Whitewater, she spent several years working in childcare leading classrooms of children ranging from birth to preschool age. Working one-on-one and in small groups is her specialty.

Since 2017, Christine has found her niche at Penfield Montessori Academy as a paraprofessional in primary. She also has the role of Lead Teacher in PEP. She strives to help all students that she works with be successful in their own way.

Her hobbies include painting, gardening, sewing, and spending time with her kitties at home.

Paraprofessional

Bio coming soon!

Carly first learned about Montessori while pursuing her Art Education certification at UW-M, and has been a huge fan ever since. She believes the same principles that help children learn and become independent in the classroom are equally beneficial in the art room.

Since 2018, Carly has been part of the Penfield family. She has loved getting to know staff and students while working in different classrooms, and is very excited to continue to grow the art program at our school!

In her free time, she enjoys sewing, yoga, and adventuring outdoors.

Children’s House Assistant

Brenna is honored to join the team at PMA! An educator at heart, teaching has always been her dream. After receiving her BA in Theatre Arts from UW-Parkside, she dedicated many happy years to First Stage. As Associate Academy Director, she oversaw the curriculum for students ages 3-9 and created engaging after-school and extra-curricular programming. Her greatest joy at First Stage was serving as Director of Next Steps, a program designed for students ages 8-21+ on the autism spectrum. Brenna left First Stage in 2018 to pursue education in yoga, having the opportunity to study in India. For the past three years, she facilitated community meditation circles and yoga classes (including sensory friendly sessions) for children and adults.

Throughout 2020, Brenna reflected on how much she missed being in the community of a classroom. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Education and Montessori credentials through UW-River Falls. In her time outside of the classroom, Brenna is usually cooking, enjoying nature, and planning her wedding with her fiancé, Robby.

Elementary Montessori Assistant

Sabrina Lombardo is passionate about empowering our future generations. She has worked with youth of all ages for several years. Sabrina has an extensive art background and is a certified Community Health Worker, which has informed her creative and trauma informed approach when engaging with children. She will receive her bachelor’s degree in Apparel Design from Edessa School of Fashion in 2022. Sabrina is excited to move into the next stage of her teaching journey as part of the Penfield Montessori Academy team.

Elementary Montessori Assistant

Bio coming soon!

Montessori Assistant

Justine is returning to Penfield for her third year, however this time in an assistant position. 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.

LEARNING STRATEGISTS & THERAPISTS

Claire
Speech Language 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.

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.

Learning Strategist

Bio coming soon!

Elementary Learning Strategist

Kyle started at Penfield Montessori Academy as a Montessori assistant and then transitioned to the position of Elementary Learning Strategist. You may have seen him biking to school last year! Before coming to Penfield Montessori Academy, he was a special education teacher at another Milwaukee charter school and at a residential rehabilitation center. Many of his students there were overcoming severe trauma and he so much cherished the opportunity to bring joy into their lives through education.

Besides education and biking his other passion is music. His dad taught him guitar and they still play gigs together. It is his hope that he can pass on something meaningful to his students in the same way as his father did for him.

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

Casandra received a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Science and a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Concordia University Wisconsin – Mequon. Prior to starting at Penfield Montessori Academy in 2018, she was a special needs nanny and worked on an Oncology/Hematology Unit at a local hospital. This year, like in years past, she is fulfilling not only the Occupational Therapist role at Penfield Montessori Academy, but also in the Classroom Support role. She is looking forward to providing a nurturing and safe environment for your child to grow and learn in.

Casandra is a single mother of her daughter, whom she loves to travel and go on adventures with. One of their favorite activities to do together is try out the different playgrounds/parks and splash pads  throughout Milwaukee and the surrounding cities. They also enjoy trips to the Zoo and shopping at thrift stores.

SUPPORT STAFF

Art Therapy Intern

Brieanna Harris is a third year Graduate Art Therapy Student at Mount Mary University. Upon graduation, she is interested in using art-based therapeutic techniques in academic and community settings.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, cooking, DIY projects, and staying active.

Substitute Teacher

James is returning to Penfield Montessori Academy for a second 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.

Bio coming soon!

Custodian

Joyce Thompson-Love is returning to Penfield! She is looking forward to reconnecting with and meeting all of the members of PMA. In addition, Joyce is eager to help in any way she can in keeping things clean, organized and sanitized. She is recently married and has been enjoying life with a positive attitude. She believes that Penfield can help make the world a better place for our kids.

In her spare time, she enjoys time with her family and husband and doing absolutely nothing! She believes in doing a little bit of everything to make our world a better place.

Kitchen Aide

Biographical information coming soon.

Custodian

Biographical information coming soon.

Facilities Specialist

Biographical information coming soon.