OurSchool_Quintych_2019

Our Teachers

Micki Sausen – Head of School

Micki in classroomMicki holds a BA in English, an MA in Education, and has been a credentialed AMS Montessori teacher since 1980. She has been a Montessori educator, leader and mentor for over forty years. She was chosen in a nationwide search as one of several lead teachers to transition an underperforming Milwaukee public school from a traditional teaching system to a Montessori curriculum. She has been responsible for implementing learning plans in the Montessori classroom for differently abled children and established a hybrid Montessori / Head Start program in inner city Chicago. Micki has worked in small independent schools in Minneapolis and New York City as well as large public school districts in Milwaukee and Chicago. Her roles have been varied, from assistant teacher to lead teacher to program administrator. Throughout it all, her focus has remained steadily on the growth and empowerment of the children under her care.

Micki has profoundly influenced the lives of her students and their families. In the words of a former parent “Micki is absolutely wonderful!! She was my oldest daughter’s first Montessori teacher, and I had the pleasure of spending many hours working with her as a parent volunteer and in school committees. My husband and I used to joke that she was an oracle: ever calm, incredibly insightful and wise.”

In describing her own journey, Micki says “for over 40 years I have been inspired by Montessori education. I have been the parent of children in Montessori schools and am the grandparent of a Montessori child. Throughout this journey I continue to find proof that Montessori education works for children of all cultural, socioeconomic and developmental backgrounds. This is what inspires me. When I am in the classroom with children my heart is happy and my mind is stimulated.”

Lindy McGrail Younis – Head of School

Lindy with childrenLindy McGrail Younis attended a Montessori school as a young child and has never forgotten the joy that was present as she built the pink tower, explored the various continent maps, and made connections among all the materials and other children in her Montessori classroom. This visceral memory of her earliest learning experience is what drives her each day to help guide young children in their self-formation through a meticulously and thoughtfully prepared environment at Dandelion Montessori.

Previous to her work with Dandelion and the Wildflower Network, Lindy worked in a variety of educational settings. As an undergraduate student at Fairfield University, Lindy researched the implementation of Montessori preschools in post-Soviet educational systems to help aid the development of global citizens and critical thinkers. This led to a Fulbright Scholarship in Martin, Slovakia as a guest lecturer at a public secondary school. Lindy’s love of Montessori philosophy and lifelong learning grew when she returned to the U.S. and worked at Walnut Park Montessori School in Newton, MA. She received her primary Montessori certification through the New England Montessori Teacher Education Center in 2012 under the direction of Bonnie LaMothe.

Lindy helped found and open Dandelion Montessori in September 2015 and is continually inspired by the passion of those she works with to use Montessori education as a catalyst for local and global change. Her personal mission is that every person who walks in or out the doors at Dandelion is able to witness and embrace the amazing faculties of children who have an incredible amount to contribute to the world.

Iva Kaladjieva – Teacher Leader

Iva first learned about the Montessori method when she was looking for a preschool for her oldest child who is now 15. The method spoke to her right away and she was impressed with the results. At the time, she was on a different career path, completing her MS in Accounting. While working as an accountant, she started to explore her interest in education by teaching first grade on weekends in the Bulgarian School in Boston.

These teaching experiences made Iva realize that she had always wanted to be a teacher, and the Montessori method was what she truly believed in. She decided to complete her Montessori training and just received her primary Montessori certification from Northeast Montessori Institute in May 2019. Iva has 5-year old twins who are also currently in a Montessori school in the Wildflower Network. Iva truly believes that the Montessori philosophy brings out the best in young children and the adults around them.

 

Caroline Carreras – Teacher Leader

Caroline is a recent graduate of Bates College where she earned her BA in psychology with a concentration in learning and teaching. She fell in love with the Montessori method while in a research internship in a Montessori environment at the Early Development Lab at The University of Virginia. She believes that children should have agency and the freedom to explore their interests from a young age, and Montessori is an environment that highly enables one to do so. In her free time, Caroline loves to sing with her Boston based a cappella group The Eight Tracks and do theatre/film locally.

 

Aryana Mohammed – Teacher Leader

Originally from Portland, Maine, Aryana holds many identities as a facilitator, teacher, poet and artist. Aryana earned their bachelor’s degree from Clark University in 2018 with a focus on community development, social-justice based education and racial equity work. They believe that youth power is central to any kind of radical social change. They are thrilled to have a role in facilitating children’s growth into change makers at Dandelion.

 

Kaitlyn Kallimanis – Teacher Leader

Kaitlyn has a BA from Lesley University where she studied Creative Writing and Art Therapy, with a minor in Psychology. She has been working in the field of education & childcare since graduating in 2017. Some of her other interests and work include creative writing, visual art, and playing guitar/singing.

Family Involvement at Dandelion

At Dandelion Montessori, family involvement in the classroom, in family education and community events, and in committee work support a learning environment that moves fluidly between school, home and community.

Families will be invited to attend at least one in-class observation session (9:30am-11:30am) over the course of the school year. These sessions provide an opportunity for parents or family members to witness the Montessori environment in action, act as a guest of their child, and practice the art of Montessori observation.

Family education meetings with the teachers provide the opportunity for families to deepen their understanding of Montessori philosophy and how it informs their child’s experience at school and at home.

Each Dandelion family is also asked to participate in the life of the school to the extent that they are able. We recognize that families bring their own unique skill sets to our community, and we want to encourage them to either participate in a standing committee (technology, marketing & outreach, physical space, community building, board of directors) or share a talent, occupation or family tradition with the children during the school day. There is a rich tradition of this type of family participation at Dandelion and it is highly valued!

Community Program

Dandelion families are invited to participate in optional parent-led activities and discussions throughout the year to support open communication, to nurture and celebrate our shared passion for this school, and to strengthen our sense of community. Past events have included potlucks, after-school and weekend park meet-ups, community education evenings, and group visits to the Museum of Science. Dandelion families are also invited to participate in an optional community online discussion platform, giving families the opportunity to be a resource for each other and to support each other as our children develop and grow throughout the year.

Our goal is to provide opportunities for children and parents from different families to interact and bond with each other, and transforming our community into a big, extended family where we all care for each other. We also hope to create opportunities for families to support the Dandelion teachers and the school space itself, encouraging a community sense of ownership and stewardship of the school.

This program includes both formally scheduled events and spontaneous activities, guided organically by the interests and input of Dandelion families. New ideas are always welcome!