Bev received her Elementary Montessori Teaching Diploma in 2007 from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee. While earning her diploma, she was gaining hands-on experience in the MSLF Adolescent Program with its founding faculty, Linda Davis and Ann Jordahl, and all the adolescents. In the Adolescent Program, Bev has taught Latin and History and overseen the Adolescent Lunch Program. Bev taught World Theater and Theater History at DePaul University, Barat Campus. Prior to teaching, she worked in manufacturing doing Inventory Production Control. Bev holds an MA in Theater History from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; an MA in Ancient Greek and a BA in Classical Studies from Loyola University, Chicago. Bev’s daughter Rania graduated from MSLF’s Adolescent Program in 2011, attended the Chicago Academy of the Arts and now attends Oberlin Conservatory & College.
Eric became the Prairie Crossing Learning Farm’s Farm Manager, and the Adolescent Program’s Farm Teacher, in March, 2009. Before that, he worked on farms in various parts of the country and served as crew leader for Sandhill Organics, the certified organic farm that sits on 40 acres of Prairie Crossing land. Eric received an MA in Religious Studies at Chicago Theological Seminary, in Hyde Park, in May 2011 and plans to eventually help churches grow food for their surrounding communities. Eric came to farming through working with homeless people and witnessing their lack of access to healthy food. At Prairie Crossing, Eric works with young people to help them understand how communities and individuals can become more resilient. As Farm Teacher, his role is to teach and model the complex use of intelligence and attitudes of resourcefulness that make farmers good citizens, and to teach students basic ways of participating in our economy.
Ann holds a BA in English and Theatre/Dance from Smith College, and a Master of Science in Counseling and Guidance from the University of Wisconsin. She also completed her Assistants to Infancy (Birth-3) training at The Montessori Institute in Denver, Colorado. Her daughters, Brianna and Hille, both attended MSLF. On the faculty since 1998, originally as a Toddler teacher, Ann then joined the Adolescent Program in 2002, becoming Adolescent Program Director in 2010. Ann has been Executive Director since 2012. She also teaches the Parent Infant class and Human Development in the Adolescent Program.
Devon is originally from Oregon & graduated from the University of Oregon with a BS in Biology in 1993. She then attended the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she received an MS in Biology with emphasis in Marine Invertebrate Zoology in 1996. After moving to Chicago in 1997, Devon worked for 5 years at the University of Chicago as manager of a research lab focusing on genes important to early vertebrate brain development. In 2003, she moved to Prairie Crossing and began teaching college level biology courses at the College of Lake County. Her daughter, Hollis, is currently in Lower Elementary at MSLF.
Monserrat joined the MSLF teaching staff during the 2009-10 school year as a Toddler assistant. She is completing her Bachelor’s degree in Education at the University Center of Lake County and has completed the academic phase of her 0-3 Montessori training at Seton Montessori Institute in Clarendon Hills, IL. Previously, Monserrat worked with infants and toddlers at the Mundelein Montessori School. She brings her fluency in both English and Spanish into her work with children, and is currently teaching Spanish in Upper Elementary and in the Adolescent Program.
Colin Palombi, who teaches Art as well as Culture and Expression, joined the Adolescent faculty at MSLF as a video specialist in 2003. He holds a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and completed his Assistants to Infancy (Birth-3) training at the Montessori Institute in Denver, CO in 2007. In 2008 he completed a MEd in Montessori Education from Loyola College in Baltimore, MD. In addition to teaching at the Adolescent Program, Colin has produced a number of videos for promotion. Outside of MSLF, Colin teaches printmaking at Spudnik Press, a community printing studio in Chicago, and serves as a project coordinator for Homeroom Chicago, a non-profit arts organization.
A graduate of Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, Ellen completed the Assistants to Infancy (Birth-3) training at The Montessori Institute in Denver, Colorado during the summer of 1996. She began working at MSLF in the Toddler Full Year program in 1993. Over the years she has served not only as a teacher, but also as MSLF’s Director of Education. Ellen’s daughter, Mari, is an alumna of MSLF. She attended from Parent Infant through Upper Elementary, and graduated from Harborside Academy in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 2015.
Known for his MSLF committee work and his Chicago architecture tours for Adolescent Program students, Steve became Adolescent Program Director in May, 2015. He and Executive Director, Ann Jordahl, have been engaged with Montessori education as parents and teachers since 1995 while enrolling their daughters, Brianna and Hille, at MSLF and the Hershey Montessori Farm School. Steve holds a BA and MA in Art History from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. While teaching at Lake Forest College and the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology, Steve centered his writing, teaching and youth mentoring upon the architectural and cultural history of Chicago. In the Adolescent Program, Steve works closely with student advisors, parents, and students to foster independent learning, creative inquiry, and purposeful goal setting skills among the adolescent students. Steve works with faculty to plan off-campus learning trips so that students may engage with local, national and global topics aligned with their Montessori curriculum. Steve graduated in 2015 from the French Pastry School’s Artisanal Bread Baking Program in order to expand the Adolescent Program’s food studies and community market economy. In addition to teaching culinary arts and bread baking at the Adolescent Program, Steve works with the Prairie Crossing Farm to bring farm produce to daily lunches prepared by students.
Danna came to the MSLF Adolescent Program in April 2014 as a Teaching Assistant/Resident Tutor in Math. She subsequently was delighted to join the faculty as a Math Teacher in the fall of 2014. Danna holds a BA in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago and completed a Masters in Math Education at DePaul University in May 2015. Her own educational journey has been a relatively long and winding one, resulting in a cache of knowledge that is broad and diverse. While pursuing her degrees, she has worked a variety of jobs including chef, barista, tutor, skating coach and dance instructor, as well as becoming a certified EMT. When she felt the call to become a math instructor, Danna’s mission statement became: “I don’t want students to just understand Math, I want them to love Math!” She is currently creating a Geometry curriculum for the Adolescent Program that will be a self-driven course in keeping with Montessori philosophy. Danna feels that her experience and philosophy of learning have exceptionally prepared her to be a Montessori teacher. She completed the Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies in the summer of 2015, and is exceedingly glad to be part of the family at the Blue House.