Bev received her Elementary Montessori Teaching Diploma in 2007 from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee. While earning her diploma, Bev 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 Bev 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 both the attitudes 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 an MS 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, CO. 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. She also teaches the Parent Infant class. Ann is MSLF’s Executive Director.
Devon is originally from Oregon & graduated from the University of Oregon with a BS is 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 Associate’s degree in Education at College 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. This year Monserrat will join the Adolescent Program in the afternoons to teach Spanish.
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, OH, Ellen completed the Assistants to Infancy (Birth-3) training at The Montessori Institute in Denver, CO, during the summer of 1996. She began working at MSLF in the Toddler Full Year program in 1993. Over the years she has also served in the Parent Infant, Toddler, and Parent Information programs, as Admissions Director and Director of Education. Ellen’s daughter, Mari, is an MSLF alumna, attending from Parent Infant through Upper Elementary.
Known for his MSLF committee work and his Chicago architecture tours for the Adolescent Program students, Steve was selected as the new 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. Steve works closely with student advisors and parents to foster independent learning, creative inquiry, 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 adolescent curriculum. Steve graduated in 2015 from the French Pastry School’s Artisanal Bread Baking Program in order to expand the Adolescent Program’s food occupations and community market economy. In addition to teaching culinary arts and bread baking at the Adolescent Program, Steve will work 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 will complete 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, move-at-your-own-pace course in fitting with the Montessori philosophy and the vision of the Math department. Danna feels that her experience and the philosophy of learning that has developed in her have exceptionally prepared her to be a Montessori teacher. She looks forward to completing her Montessori training in the near future and is exceedingly glad to be part of the family at the Blue House.