Get to know the wonderful faculty and staff at Meadow Montessori

Catharine Calder
Catharine CalderHead of School

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.

Whitney Bednarz
Whitney BednarzMiddle School

Whitney Bednarz 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.

Isabel Benedicto
Isabel BenedictoSpanish Language

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.

Yaleni Brown
Yaleni BrownEarly Childhood Assistant

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 Braunlich
Lourdes BraunlichChildren's House

Lourdes teaches in Children’s House while also aiding children with Spanish immersion. More coming soon!

Heidi Burroughs
Heidi BurroughsDirector of Finance

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 Collum
Rebecca CollumLower Elementary

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 Cooley
Jodi CooleyEarly Childhood Assistant

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 lives in South Rockwood with her four children.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, camping, walking, biking, and reading.

Meg Fedorowicz
Meg FedorowiczCurriculum Coordinator

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.

Presley Feezell
Presley FeezellHigh School

Bio Coming Soon!

Robyn Foisy
Robyn FoisyEarly Childhood & Office Assistant

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.

Dawn Forter
Dawn ForterPhysical Education

Dawn Forter became a member of the Meadow Montessori staff as the Physical Education teacher in 2008. Dawn has spent time as an assistant in the upper elementary classrooms and has served as the athletic director here at MMS. She is a certified teacher with seven years of experience in an elementary classroom setting. She is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy where she completed her undergraduate studies and was a member of the softball team. Dawn continued her education at Eastern Michigan University and earned K-12 Physical Education Certification. 

Dawn has been an instructor at clinics such as Y.E.S. (Youth Education through Sports) sponsored by the NCAA, the One World: Connecting Communities, Cultures and Classrooms Program sponsored by the NFL and several youth softball clinics in the community.  She has spent time as a Division I College Assistant Softball Coach and has been the Head Varsity Softball Coach at Ida High School since 2004.

Patricia Fox
Patricia FoxEarly Childhood Assistant

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.

Alexia Galloway
Alexia GallowayEarly Childhood Assistant

Bio Coming Soon!

Katelyn Gilbert
Katelyn GilbertMusic

Katelyn Gilbert is the music teacher at Meadow Montessori. She graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor Degree in Music Education, and completed her Masters Degree at University of Michigan. Katelyn grew up in Monroe, but has taught strings in Louisville, Kentucky and in Detroit.

When Katelyn is not teaching she enjoys playing her violin, reading, baking, and spending time at home with her children. Her sons, Scott and Oliver, attend Meadow. She also has a black Labrador named Guinness.

Pietrina Guy
Pietrina GuyDirector of Admissions

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.

Rebecca Heath
Rebecca HeathToddler House

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.

In her free time she enjoys photography, being out in nature, riding her bike, baking, and doing DIY projects.
Carrie Hickman
Carrie HickmanAdministrative Director
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.

Coming soon!

Tatiana Howard
Tatiana HowardLower Elementary Assistant

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
Gregory LansinghUpper Elem. & High School

Gregory Lansingh works with high school students at Meadow Montessori, focusing largely on his favorite subjects of 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.

Jeff La Roux
Jeff La RouxHigh School

Meadow Montessori High School Director Jeff La Roux became a Meadow Montessori parent in 2007 when his daughter Lydia was enrolled in the intermediate program.  He has taught at Meadow in the high school, middle school, and also taught band.

Jeff graduated from the University of Michigan, studying English, history, and instrumental music.  His master’s degree was in school administration.  He was a public school teacher and middle school principal in Michigan before working at Meadow.  He also taught at an international school in China, was the Head of School at an independent school in Saipan, and taught English at Vilnius University in Lithuania.

His wife Emilie is a trained Montessori infant/toddler teacher and an instrumental music teacher.  They both play in bell choir and work in their gardens at home.  Jeff also hosts community trivia nights in Monroe, is working on learning the Lithuanian language, and practices piano in his leisure time.

Sandy Lentner
Sandy LentnerMusic

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.

Ana Lopez Rivas
Ana Lopez RivasEarly Childhood Assistant

Bio coming soon!

Holly Morse
Holly MorseUpper Elementary

Holly Morse is the head teacher in Upper Elementary East. She also teaches Latin to upper elementary, middle school, and high school students.

Born in Michigan, Holly was part of a military family. She started her education at South Pacific Academy in American Samoa and continued school in many places, including Kentucky, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio. Her varied experiences in her own education led her to many interests, including music, Classical and Ecclesiastical Latin, and education.

Holly earned a degree in Music Performance and Pedagogy (oboe, English horn, pipe organ) at Alverno College in Milwaukee. A significant focus of her studies was the education of children, particularly in music. She studied for a time in Chester, England and taught students abroad. Music and education have not been her only interests. She was awarded a Master of Library and Information Science degree from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and worked in various academic libraries, helping students conduct research and tending computer databases.

Holly moved with her family to Monroe in 2003. She has worked with MMS students since 2010, teaching a variety of subjects, including music, Latin, and English as a Second Language.

In addition to her many pets, Holly also enjoys photography, science fiction, and visiting all sorts of museums. And figuring that no one is too old to learn, she is currently learning to play the cello. She enjoys seeing her daughter Lucy thrive as a student at MMS.

Beth Patton
Beth PattonChildren's House

Beth opened a State licensed in-home daycare in 1989, providing education, age appropriate activities, and swimming lessons for 12 children. Since licensing was limited to 12 children, in 1998 Beth chose to open a daycare center in Livonia, that was licensed for 60 children. In this larger space there was so much more open for the education and physical development of children. Partnering with Perrinville School, Beth readily welcomed many special needs students that would not ordinarily have had a chance to learn in a mainstream classroom atmosphere.  Beth completed her Montessori Teacher Training program with ADMTEI.

Beth began mentoring in-home childcare providers that wished to open a child care center, through 4C of Wayne County, which is now known as the Great Start to Quality.

Beth currently resides in Monroe and is the mother of five children as well as a grandmother (Grammie) of nine.

Some of Beth’s interests outside of MMS include biking, weight training, kick boxing, yoga, reading, scrapbooking, walking, and visiting her grandchildren whenever possible.

Rob Peven
Rob PevenHigh School

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.

Elizabeth Stewart
Elizabeth StewartPiano Instructor

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.

MacKenzie Swanson
MacKenzie SwansonVocal Instructor
MacKenzie began performing on stage at the age of 3. Her vocal and acting talents led to her selection for “Jimmy Ferrari’s Curtain up Kids” at 7.  She still loves to perform and does occasionally, but her true passion is teaching those who long to be part of the performing arts.
In addition to vocal classes at MMS, MacKenzie offers private vocal and guitar lessons at MMS.
Karen Torio
Karen TorioElementary Assistant

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 Turner
Stefenni TurnerEarly Childhood - The Nest

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.

Naomi Vaive
Naomi VaiveEarly Childhood Assistant

Naomi is an assistant in the Early Childhood Program, working in Toddler House and The Nest.

Naomi has six children, four of whom attend Meadow Montessori.  She also has a pet snake, Henrietta.

Skyler VanEeckhoutte
Skyler VanEeckhoutteEarly Childhood Assistant
Skyler is an assistant in the Early Childhood program.   She is in her second year of college at Monroe County Community College, majoring in Early Childhood Education.
A native of LaSalle, Michigan, Skyler spends her free time babysitting, watching Netflix, and spending time with friends and family.
Shauna Wear
Shauna WearReading Specialist

Bio coming soon!

Dawn Weatherholt
Dawn WeatherholtChildren's House

Dawn Weatherholt started working at Meadow Montessori in 2003. Dawn received her Montessori Certification at MMTEC in Rochester Hills, MI. She completed her internship at Montessori Center of Downriver.

After the birth of her second child, Dawn decided to leave teaching to stay home with her two children. Once her children were in school full day, Dawn returned to teaching, and Meadow Montessori was pleased to welcome her on staff.

Dawn enjoys gardening, cooking, bike riding with her kids, and spending time with her family.

Paulette Wilkie
Paulette WilkieEarly Childhood Assistant

Coming soon!

Wendy Willis
Wendy WillisLower Elementary

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.