...the teacher’s task is first to nourish and assist, to watch, encourage, guide, induce, rather than to interfere, prescribe or restrict.
— Dr. Maria Montessori


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Taryn Rice
AMI Guide

B.S. in Education

Masters in Education 

AMI Certified

Taryn loves to be outdoors.  Lake life is her life on the weekends. Camping, campfires & live music are her loves. She has a beautiful niece and nephew whom she adores.




Maria Libra
AMI Guide

AMI Certified


Maria enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, spending time with her family and sharing her Spanish language and culture with the students & their families. 

With over 20 years of experience in both traditional and Montessori education settings, Maria found a home at JMS for over 10 years.  One of her special interests is to continue learning about children with special needs so she can better help them. She enjoyed being part of the Orton Gillingham Program as well as ADHD courses, as it is important for her to stay up-to-date on anything related to child development.

Kasey Meyer
AMI Guide

AMI Certified

Kasey has been at JMS since 2010. She loves to paint, do arts & crafts, and spend time with family & friends. She's an avid reader, enjoying historical fiction. In the summer you'll find her tending to her community garden.


Megan Wylie
AMI Guide

AMI Certified since 2004

B.S. Elementary Education

Emphasis in Early Childhood Education from SUNY Geneseo

Masters in Education from Loyola University, Maryland

Megan's third child just entered Children's House, and she couldn't wait to be a part of the committed staff at JMS!  As a previous AMI Guide at other schools she noticed quickly that JMS is not just about the children, but the whole family.  

Her passion for Montessori started prior to having children and now she sees how it has built her children's confidence, their ability to empathize and their ability to be inclusive.  

As an avid reader herself (when she's not busy with work, three kids and a husband) she loves that the Montessori Philosophy fosters a love of learning.


Emily Leskee
Assistant Head of School

BFA in Art Education

Masters of Educational Technology

Emily is the mother of three children; two who attend JMS. She has a love and passion for teaching which shows in her decade of working with thousands of children in art education. Her passion for Montessori emerged from a co-worker who introduced Emily and her husband to the Montessori philosophy in 2009. Since that time, Emily has incorporated Montessori into her home and workplace and is thrilled to be immersed in the authentic Montessori environment at JMS is known so well for.

Mindi Dahl
Assistant Teacher

B.S. in Elementary Education

Masters in Educational Leadership: Education Administration Specialty

Mindi is a dog lover! She likes her kids too! She really enjoys their sporting events and taking them camping.  On the weekends you can find her in the garden, during the week you can find her in JMS' garden.



Pamela Longtine
Assistant Teacher

B.S. in Early Childhood Education

Pamela graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead with a degree in Early Childhood Education and a minor in Art. Previously, Pamela  worked as an Americorps Reading Tutor in Minneapolis public schools. That experience confirmed her love of teaching young children and inspired her to become a teacher. In 2017, Pamela was the recipient of a traditional arts grant to create programs for children about fiddle music for schools and libraries. In Pamela's free time, she loves to garden, bike and play fiddle music. 


Beth Lucero
Assistant Teacher


Ka Xiong
Administrative Assistant

Hmong, Lao & Thai

Ka is the mother of four, very busy, little ones! She loves art and drawing portraits.  Born in Laos, Ka speaks Hmong, Lao & Thai!

Ka has been working in Montessori environments for three years and is passionate about the Montessori method.

Photos taken by Brown Sparrow Studios

Nada A-Khouja
Infant Teacher

Bachelor’s Degree in Child Education
University of Damascus

For the past 20 years, Nada has worked with Montessori and traditional schools. In addition, she managed a daycare center for five years. Nada continues to strive to keep learning and further her education about children.

She has a wonderful husband and four amazing children. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her family, cook new and traditional foods, and entertain guests.