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.
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 all programs at MSLF’s Laurel Drive Campus and in the Adolescent Program.
As the Adolescent Program Director and World History teacher since 2015, Steve has rooted the adolescent community’s distinctive land-based curriculum and weekly routines in Dr. Maria Montessori’s plan for expansive study and purposeful work. Steve works closely with Montessori teachers and specialists, parents, and students to foster independent learning, community responsibility, civic awareness, creative inquiry, and purposeful, noble work among the adolescent students. He teaches classes in World History, Italian Civilization, and History of the United States, while fostering bread baking and culinary arts.
To integrate Montessori’s philosophy with a long career in university education and teaching, Steve completed the NAMTA AMI Orientation for Adolescent Studies (Sweden, Summer, 2016) in order to understand the development of the adolescent’s curious intellect, volatile personality, and inquiring moral spirit. Having established professional links with the global community of Montessori educators and their students, the Adolescent Program is formulating plans for future international school exchanges in Germany, Austria and Mexico.
Steve holds a BA and MA in Art History from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. While teaching the history of art and architecture at Lake Forest College and the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology, Steve anchored his teaching in critical thinking, analytical writing, visual analysis, primary texts, and collaborative thinking. Steve graduated in 2015 from the French Pastry School’s Artisanal Bread Baking Program in order to teach the science, methods, and history of bread baking.
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.
Claire Willis holds a BA in Anthropology, Art and Education from Hampshire College. Claire completed her 3-6 certification at Seton Montessori Institute in 2015. There she worked in both half day and all day classrooms, and with a variety of ages since attending her first parent child class in 2013. She and her partner Jake have a six-year-old son who will be attending Elementary at MSLF in fall 2016. Claire enjoys music, dance, yoga, observing animals, being in nature and working with clay. Working with children reminds her that life is fundamentally beautiful, joyful and full of adventure. She recently published an article in Montessori Life titled, Clay in the Montessori Classroom where she was able to explore the confluence of her passion for Montessori philosophy and her life as a potter and ceramics educator.