Get to know the wonderful faculty and staff at Meadow Montessori!
Catharine Calder founded Meadow Montessori School in 1984, but to this day, she claims that her “fall” into the world of independent school administration was unintentional, whereas her “climb” into the world of teaching, thinking, and sharing with fellow human beings is on-going and intentional.
After earning an undergraduate degree in political science and Chinese Area Studies, Cathé traveled to Taiwan to continue her study of Chinese language. At the end of her three-month course work, she stayed on in Taiwan for an additional year, studying Chinese and teaching English, before leaving to spend another six months traveling throughout Asia. She returned home for a brief visit only to find herself married and with two (step)children within six months.
Back home in Michigan, Cathé entered graduate school at the University of Michigan and earned a graduate degree in Chinese Area Studies, while working as a graduate assistant and lecturer in the Women’s Studies Department. For several years, she taught courses at the university level.
After the birth of her second son (the fourth child in the family), Cathé began volunteering at a small Montessori school in Monroe. The administrator urged Cathé to become a trained Montessori teacher. Once Cathé learned that this training was available in Europe, she packed up her three youngest children and headed for Bergamo, Italy. The experience of living in Europe only barely takes second place to the wonderful training she received.
Upon returning to the United States in 1983, Cathé discovered that the local Montessori school was going to close its doors in June 1984, so it was obvious that Meadow Montessori School was ready to be born. MMS opened its doors in the fall of 1984 to twenty-three students.
Cathé continues to teach and administrate, knowing that teaching is the more important of the two tasks. She shares her love of all things Chinese with her students, along with her love of writing, gardening, knitting, art, music and the outdoors. But in turn, she looks forward each and every day with what her students will share and teach her.
Isabel Benedicto has taught Spanish at Meadow Montessori School since 2007. Since then, she has attended Montessori Education workshops, learning the practice of “three period lesson” and putting into practice her training in the toddler room, kindergarten, and preschool classrooms.
In 2010, Isabel continued working on Spanish teaching from lower elementary to high school levels. She is continuing her education by pursuing a Spanish Educator Certification at Monroe County Community College.
Isabel is a native Spanish speaker with a certification in business/administration in Mexico.
Monica was born in Monroe, grew up in Rochester and lived in Chicago for time. A native of Monroe, she returned to her hometown to be close her family. She truly values her time and relationships with her parents, siblings, grown daughter and her extended family.
Monica enjoys cooking, gardening, canning, and embroidery and loves to share the fruits of those efforts which she often enters in Monroe County Fair open classes for domestic arts. Her sweet pickles, lavender jelly, violet jelly, and embroidery have all earned blue ribbons. Monica collects books and antiques. She enjoys hunting for interesting treasures to add to her special collections.
Yaleni is originally from Venezuela and has made Temperance her home for over twenty years. She holds a BA in Business Administration and currently teaches in Children’s House while aiding students with Spanish immersion. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband to Aruba to visit family.
Lourdes teaches in Children’s House East while also aiding children with Spanish immersion.
Heidi has lived in Monroe all her life, less the eight-year period when she lived and worked in Houston, Texas.
Heidi is a graduate of St. Mary Academy and Albion College where she received a Bachelor of Arts in both Economics & Management and Spanish. During college she also attended La Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, when she studied the Spanish language.
Heidi has worked in the area of finance for more than thirty-five years including the banking and insurance/financial service industries. Heidi joined the Meadow staff in 1998.
Heidi and her husband Mike have two children, Hollie and Elizabeth, a 2013 MMS graduate.
Rebecca has been a member of the MMS community since 2001 when she enrolled her oldest son, Bryce, in the Nest. She has been the directress of Lower Elementary East since 2004, one of our two lower elementary classrooms.
Rebecca is certified by the State of Michigan in elementary education, language arts and biology. She received her Montessori certification at MMTEC in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Rebecca earned her Masters of Arts degree in Education from St. Catherine University and completed her undergraduate degree at Siena Heights University.
Jodi joined the early childhood staff at Meadow Montessori in 2022. She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education from Monroe County Community College and has been working with children since the age of fourteen. Jodi works in Children’s House East and is the lead in our afternoon ETC program for Early Childhood.
Jodi lives in South Rockwood with her four children. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, camping, walking, biking, and reading.
Anabella joined the Early Childhood Staff in the fall of 2022 – she is the daughter of Ana, who works in the Nest! She works in our Children’s House program as an assistant, and does Spanish Immersion for our preschool and Extended Day students. Anabella is a native Spanish speaker and always has a positive attitude!
Meg Fedorowicz taught at Meadow Montessori from the time she and Catharine Calder opened the school in 1984 until her retirement from the classroom in 2020. She has been a 3-6 teacher, an art teacher, and an Upper Elementary teacher at Meadow. Meg has Montessori certification for 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12 year olds. Meg transitioned to her role as Curriculum Coordinator, working closely with the teachers at every level, with the start of the 2020-2021 school year. She has a BA in Studio Art and an MA in Education. Her state certification is in Art K-12, Social Studies K-8, with an Early Childhood endorsement.
Meg is passionate about science and has written a book titled Nurturing the Young Scientist. She has trained 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12 teachers at Seton Montessori Academy, and has given workshops all over the country. She has also been to Cuba, Brazil, and Slovenia training Montessori teachers. Her children attended Meadow Montessori for 30 years, collectively.
Robyn Foisy has been a parent at Meadow Montessori since 2015 and joined the staff full-time in 2019. You’ll find Robyn in The Nest, Toddler House, or at the main office desk.
Robyn and her husband Steve live in Monroe with their boys Calvin and Conner. She loves to spend her time reading, baking, listening to all types of music, dancing, camping, and being outdoors with her boys.
Pat is an assistant in the Early Childhood Building, working in both Toddler House and Children’s House. She received a BA from Wayne State University and, prior to joining the Meadow staff, taught for fifteen years with a focus on Art.
Pat is married and has five children and six grandchildren. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, doing arts and crafts, reading, and gardening.
Pietrina Guy joined the Meadow staff in 2022 as the Director of Admissions and Advancement. Pietrina is certified by the State of Michigan in Secondary Education, receiving her Master’s Degree in Career and Technical Education from Western Michigan University in 2012. She has a background in classroom teaching, fundraising, and event planning. She will be studying through the Cincinnati Montessori Secondary Education Program (CMStep) where she will receive her Secondary Montessori credentials in 2024.
Pietrina is a lifelong Monroe native, living in Monroe with her husband, Cory, and two children, Cash and Mercy. She is a dog lover, especially her American Pitbull Terrier, Pepper. Pietrina has a creative, energetic soul and boundless energy. She is an avid sewer and seamstress and is known for her font-like handwriting. She enjoys cooking and baking, spending time with her family, sudoku and crossword puzzles, watching history and crime documentaries, trips to the craft store and Starbucks, bowling, going to the movies, kayaking, and road trips.
Whitney has been the lead teacher in our Middle School program since 2012. Whitney is certified by the State of Michigan in Secondary Education, and received her Secondary I-II Montessori credential from the Cincinnati Montessori Secondary Education Program (CMStep).
Whitney lives in Monroe with her two children, Keelyn and Liam. She enjoys gardening, cooking, woodworking, reading, being outdoors kayaking, hiking, camping, and skiing with her family.
Rebecca is a graduate of MCCC with an Associate in Early Childhood Education. Rebecca has worked as an assistant for Head Start, and was also a lead toddler teacher at Pathway Childcare and preschool before finding her way to Meadow Montessori. Rebecca has had a lifelong passion for working with children and enjoys being a part of their growth and development.
Carrie joined Meadow in 2018. She attended Monroe County Community College and completed the Medical Assistant Certification program. She spent 20 years of her professional career as medical assistant, office administrator and surgical coordinator in family practice, general surgery and urology.
Carrie is a lifelong native of Monroe. She has one daughter, Layla , who is a Meadow high school student. She also has a chiweenie dog named Major. She enjoys camping, hiking, traveling and spending time with family and friends. She is equal parts homebody and adventurer. Laughter is a big part of who she is and she believes if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.
Tatiana Ivanovna Howard comes to us from Voronezh, Russia. She holds degrees from Voronezh State University, with majors in world history and education. She also holds a masters degree in child psychology from the same university.
Tatiana moved to the USA in 1999 and began working at Meadow Montessori in 2000. Tatiana has experience in Toddler, Children’s House and lower elementary. Tatiana has been a teacher’s assistant in Lower Elementary East since 2007.
In addition to Tatiana’s responsibilities in the classroom, she also heads up our Knitting Club, taking on eager knitters (young and old) from November through April each year.
Tatiana has also hosted a Russian Club in years past.
Gregory Lansingh is in Upper Elementary West. His favorite subjects are social studies and science. He has spent six years overseas including teaching in China, educational consulting in Russia, studying at Oxford in the UK, and traveling to over 30 countries, including at least a month each in Vietnam, Japan, France, and Germany/Austria. These experiences lend perspective to his history courses, while years spent as science director at Friends School in Detroit plus teaching outdoor education in California, Wisconsin, and Michigan inform his approach to science instruction. After graduating from T. Jefferson HS for Science & Technology in Virginia, Gregory completed his BA at Wheaton College, IL with dual majors and dual minors, and later became involved in Montessori education, which he has taught at both the elementary and secondary levels.
When not teaching, Gregory loves to enjoy free time with outdoor activities such as kayaking, canoeing, hiking, backpacking, and winter sports, plus less active pursuits such as stargazing and bird watching. Indoor hobbies include reading, cooking, and enjoying restaurants, concerts, and Wings games, along with searching for ethnic art, foreign coins, and geologic specimens.
Gregory is also involved in scouting and youth group activities, and has led high school trips to New Mexico, Tennessee, West Virginia, and the Adirondacks. His favorite travel experiences include an ultra-low-budget round-the- world trip through parts of Asia, Europe, and North America, as well as completing a 2,167 mile solo hike of the Appalachian Trail.
Khadeja works as a classroom assistant in Toddler House. She was a Monroe County Library System volunteer prior to joining the Meadow staff in 2022. She has a has a background in nannying and assistant teaching. Khadeja loves thrifting, gardening, the study of sustainability and her cat, Carlos.
Sandy Lentner has been music director at MMS since 1988. A native of Lebanon, Ohio, she holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Capital University in Columbus and also earned an elementary teaching certificate from the University of Michigan. With a major in piano and minors in string bass and voice, Sandy loves the opportunity at MMS to teach in all her areas of training.
Prior to 1988, she taught vocal music from kindergarten through ninth grade in Columbus, Boston, Portland (Oregon), and Monroe Public and parochial schools …..but not all at the same time
Outside of school, Sandy plays bass in the MCCC College-Community Band and accompanies her church choir. Her hobbies include gardening, genealogy, traveling, and bridge. She and husband, Tim, have three grown children (one who is also a music teacher) and six granddaughters.
Alyssa joined the Meadow team in January 2023 as our General Music and Strings teacher. An accomplished musician, Alyssa is the Assistant Concertmaster for the Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra and a highly respected and beloved private teacher in Saline and Ann Arbor. She is married and mother to son, Owen.
Rob Peven has worked with the Farm Program at Meadow Montessori since 1998. He has a BS in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan and a MS in Landscape Architecture from the University of Wisconsin. His main goal with the program is to get children outside so they can learn to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, develop outdoor skills and gain an understanding of the environment. During the course of Farm Program, the students develop a true appreciation for farming, food, and nature.
Rob has led groups on hiking and canoe trips and on numerous field trips to local natural areas and parks. He has traveled with MMS students to Wyoming, New Hampshire, Colorado, Ontario, and northern Michigan. Students in the program have conducted a variety of service projects, visited area farms, collected seeds and restored natural areas, completed wood working projects, used scientific equipment in the field, and have learned a wide variety of practical crafts, cooking techniques and camping skills.
Rob has completed training programs in wilderness leadership, first aid, fire safety, and outdoor education. In his spare time Rob serves as the Monroe County Planning Director. Rob’s wife, Lucie Fortin, formerly taught French at MMS. Their two sons, Joel and Michael, are both MMS alumni. They are currently college students, Joel at Michigan State and Michael at Johns Hopkins.
Polina received her Bachelor of Science – Business Administration from John Carroll University. She is an alumnus of Meadow Montessori and after developing an interest in nonprofit work, she was excited to return to MMS in May of 2022.
Polina enjoys reading, live music, learning through listening to an obscene amount of podcasts, the arts, and spending time with her family and friends.
Elizabeth earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Instrumental Music Education from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with piano as her major instrument and clarinet as her secondary instrument. After graduation, she was employed as a full-time music teacher in the public schools for twelve years, teaching instrumental and vocal music. Elizabeth earned her Master of Arts degree in ChoralMusic Education from Eastern Michigan University.
Elizabeth played piano and keyboard in the pit orchestras for several local and regional Broadway productions, also serving as rehearsal pianist, and/or music director. She annually serves as a piano accompanist for the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association’s Solo and Ensemble Festivals at the district and state levels, and continues to play piano at a variety of local and regional events.
Karen Torio joined the Meadow Montessori teaching faculty as a Children’s House assistant in 2015 and has been a member of the Meadow Montessori community since 2009.
Karen received her M.Ed. in school psychology from Bowling Green State University in 1989. She has many years of experience working with children of all ages (preschool through age 21) and abilities. She worked as a school psychologist in Ohio for 15 years before “retiring” to be a stay at home wife, and later on, mother. She decided to take Montessori coursework when she began homeschooling one of her children. She received her International Montessori teaching diploma for lower elementary in July of 2012 from the North American Montessori Center. She also currently maintains her school psychologist licensure in Ohio.
Karen is passionate about horses and finds relaxation in caring for and riding horses. She also enjoys cooking, gardening, jigsaw puzzles and board games. She and her husband, Coady, have two children who attend Meadow Montessori.
Stefenni joined Meadow in 2005 where she worked in The Nest. After graduating from MCCC with a teacher paraprofessional degree and phlebotomy degree, she chose a career in healthcare that lasted 13 years, until her return to Toddler House and The Nest in 2022. She attributes the way she conducts herself personally and professionally to the principles and teachings she learned in those early years at Meadow Montessori.
She and her husband have two amazing boys who keep them very busy!
Her passions include caring for the mind, body, and soul of all those around her. She is a fitness and wellness enthusiast who also loves cooking, reading, the outdoors, and spending time with her family and friends.
Shannon joined the Meadow staff in 2023 as the Administrative Director of Early Childhood programs. Shannon has been a Montessori assistant, a Montessori lead teacher, a Montessori parent, and is now a Montessori teacher educator for adults. Her greatest learning experience has been raising her three children, but second to that she has earned her bachelors in psychology with a concentration in child development, her early childhood Montessori credential and her master’s in education with a concentration in Montessori.
She also serves as an Early Childhood Coordinator and instructor at the Michigan Montessori Teacher Education Center as well as an instructor for the Montessori Teacher Education Institute of Atlanta where she gets to live out her passion talking about Montessori philosophy and child development with adults working toward earning their Montessori credential or training to become a Montessori paraprofessional. Shannon works regularly with different schools in Michigan as an early childhood administrator and consultant. She is also a board member on the Michigan Montessori Society, involved in school affiliations, work shops and advocacy.
Naomi is an assistant in the Early Childhood Program, working in Toddler House.
Naomi has six children, four of whom attend Meadow Montessori. She also has a pet snake, Henrietta.
Kristin has been an MMS parent for several years, but recently made the move to staff member in 2023! Kristin is mom to 3 – Nathan, Landon, and Jillian. She is excited to join the Montessori family, and plans to pursue infant/toddler Montessori training. Kristin radiates positivity!
Paulette is the lead teacher in Children’s House West, with over 30 years of experience as a trained Montessori teacher.
Wendy Willis joined the Meadow Montessori teaching faculty as a Lower Elementary Teaching Assistant in 2017 and, with the 2019 school year, became the Lead Teacher in Lower Elementary West . She has been a member of the Meadow Montessori Community since 2008.
Wendy graduated from Old Dominion University with a BS in Psychology and received her Montessori credential (6-12) through the American Montessori Society. Wendy lives in Monroe with her husband Bill, and two children, Nicholas and Kira. Wendy enjoys cooking, running, and going to the beach with her family.
Alexandria, who goes by Allie joined our staff in Children’s House North in the spring of 2023. Allie graduated from University of Toledo with a degree in Communications Studies and previously worked as lead teacher in Bedford Child Development Center.
She is married and has two children who attend Meadow.
In her free time, Allie likes to draw and do digital multimedia. She enjoys reading and spending time with friends and family, especially outdoors.
Chelsea is an MMS parent, and long-standing varsity softball coach in the local community. She brings her extensive knowledge and enthusiasm of organized sports to Meadow, which will greatly benefit our students.
Zelda is new to the MMS staff this school year. Her favorite things include getting endless back rubs from our students, Milk Bones from Ms. Robyn, and napping in the high school.