Our teachers and staff work hard to make Montessori School of Duluth an exceptional learning environment for all our students.

Meet Our Staff

Kris Shimmin

Interim Head of School, Director of Administration

Kris earned her BA in French from UMD, and a certificate in French Language and Civilization from the Sorbonne in Paris. Growing up overseas in Africa and Indonesia inspired her love of languages, and she speaks Indonesian along with her French.

Kris is a former Montessori School of Duluth Parent of nine years as her two children, now in high school, both attended the school. Her family shares many happy memories of their time at MSD.

When not at MSD, Kris is immersed in photography, restoring her old home, cooking, volunteering, and spending as much time as she can with her kids.

Meet Our Teachers

Catherine Bauer Photo

Catherine Bauer

Children’s House Guide

Catherine was born and raised in Duluth. She took her AMI training in the Twin Cities and spent over ten years of her career there. She worked with her Mentor and friend Udi Perera, helping her start three of her Miniapple International Montessori schools. Catherine decided to move back to Duluth when her mother died and her father needed her help. She started working at MSD in the spring of 2000.

Catherine and Mark have two children, Ike and Joe. Ike graduated from MSD as a sixth grader and Joe started Children’s House at age 3 and is in the Elementary classroom now.

“I was living and working in the Twin Cities when I found the Montessori Method of teaching. I was able to work in several different environments and I realized I knew that this is what I was meant to do.

“Montessori School of Duluth is a wonderful place for our children.”   ~ Catherine

Daphne Amundson Photo

Daphne Amundson

Child Development Lead, Assistant Guide

Daphne Amundson came to MSD after previously serving as a Lead Teacher in Montessori Primary environments, as well as several years working with children, youth, and families in both school and church settings.

Daphne holds Bachelor’s degrees in Elementary Education and History from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She attended the Montessori Center of Minnesota to receive an AMI Primary Diploma in 2009.

Daphne, her husband, and their three children enjoy exploring the area’s many beaches and parks in all seasons and often end the day with a good board game — with varying degrees of competition!

“I’m thrilled to be a member of the staff at Montessori School of Duluth. As I’ve been researching my family history and discovered roots right here in the Hunter’s Park neighborhood, it’s only made me more excited to be part of this next chapter in the school’s history.

“As a parent and as an educator, I’m passionate about the Montessori method and its power to draw out each child’s capabilities. I look forward to being part of this process for our students at the Montessori School of Duluth!”  ~ Daphne

Alex Eck Photo

Alexandra Eck

Children’s House Guide

Alex grew up in Duluth. She completed her AMI Montessori training at the Montessori Center of Minnesota, located in St. Paul. She also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of Loyola.

Before learning about the Montessori method of education, she spent years working in the great outdoors. This included time as an intern with Hartley Nature Center and working for the Minnesota Conservation Corps.

“I am hoping to bring some of my ‘nature knowledge’ into the classroom environment. Outside of school, I enjoy being outdoors, especially when it involves cross country skiing or rock climbing.”  ~Alex

Laura Prasek Photo

Laura Prasek

Elementary Guide

Laura is a native Minnesotan and earned her AMI Elementary certification at Montessori Northwest in Portland. She has a bachelor’s degree in Geology from Augsburg College in Minneapolis and also received an Environmental Education Certificate from UMD.  She is currently finishing her Masters in Education at Loyola University in Maryland.

Laura has taught in a variety of natural settings, including Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, MN.  Before that she explored a wide range of life experiences including: organic farming, environmental consulting, leading a crew for the Minnesota Conservation Corps, driving for UPS, working on a volunteer fire department, and exploring the western United States on a 3-month self-supported bicycle tour.

Although I have had many grand adventures and experiences in my life, I have no doubt that stepping into the classroom is the greatest.

“I had no idea Montessori education existed until I first walked into a Montessori classroom to observe.  I knew in that first moment that I had found my life’s purpose.  This is what I was looking for.  This is how I had always wanted education to look.  This is the contribution that I want to make to the world.”  ~ Laura Prasek

Sarah Kreuger Photo

Sarah Krueger

Elementary Guide

Sarah moved to Duluth from her hometown of Eau Claire, WI in 2005 to attend the University of Minnesota Duluth.  It was there that she earned a degree in Teaching Secondary Communication Arts and Literature. She spent the next six years teaching English, Marketing, and Computer Literacy in the Hermantown School District, as well as teaching reading to 7th graders at Lincoln Park Middle School in Duluth. She has also completed her AMI assistant’s training.

When she’s not at school you can find her enjoying gardening, sailing, biking and foraging for wild edibles, as well as writing songs, performing, and recording.

“Despite my love for learning and teaching, I felt discouraged by conventional schooling and almost gave up teaching altogether to pursue a career in music. A lovely twist of fate lead me to the Montessori School of Duluth, and I was blown away by Maria Montessori’s methods and the energy I felt within the school.  I feel very fortunate to have been asked to join the MSD team. ~ Sarah

Brienna Kightlinger

Children's House Assistant

A native Minnesotan but new Duluthian, Brienna graduated from Wellesley College in 2016, where she earned degrees in Spanish and Elementary Education. She is excited to be back in Minnesota after college!

Outside of spending time at MSD, Brienna enjoys running, reading, cooking, playing the piano, and spending too much time (and money!) at coffee shops. Her latest goal is to pursue outdoor winter activities because she is sick of her treadmill.

Lynn Wistrom

Before-Care Supervisor, Hallway Supervisor

Lynn opens the school for Before-Care each morning and also serves as Hallway Supervisor for our Children’s House classrooms. Lynn is originally from Two Harbors and attended the University of Wisconsin-Superior, where she majored in Elementary Education.

Becca Bryan

After-Care Supervisor

Becca is a native of the Twin Cities who spent several years in Alaska, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Alaska – Fairbanks, before returning to Minnesota. She is in the Master’s degree program for Environmental Education at UMD.

Meet Our Board of Directors

You can reach all of the members of the school’s Board of Directors at once by using the Board@MontessoriDuluthMN.org forwarding address.

Board Members

Jim Goodman, Board President
Project Manager at Enbridge, parent of MSD students
Contact Jim at JimGoodman@MontessoriDuluthMN.org

Luke Peterson, Treasurer
Business analyst at Allete, parent of MSD students
Contact Luke at LukePeterson@MontessoriDuluthMN.org

Dan Nolan, Board Member
Assistant Professor in Russian Language and History at UMD, parent of MSD student
Contact Dan at DanNolan@MontessoriDuluthMN.org

Mia Thibodeau, Board Member
Attorney at Fryberger, Buchanan, Smith & Frederick, parent of MSD students
Contact Mia at MiaThibodeau@MontessoriDuluthMN.org

Nicole Bakken, Board Member
Nurse Practitioner, parent of MSD student
Contact Nicole at NicoleBakken@MontessoriDuluthMN.org

Justin Steinbach, Board Member
Co-owner of Vista Fleet, parent of MSD students
Contact Justin at JustinSteinbach@MontessoriDuluthMN.org

Jim Keith, Board Member
Admin Center Director at UMD’s Medical Center Duluth
Contact Jim at JimKeith@MontessoriDuluthMN.org

Jake Miller, Controller
Accounting analyst at Allete
Contact Jake at JakeMiller@MontessoriDuluthMN.org

Michelle Nephew, Webmaster
Co-ower of Atlas Games, parent of MSD students
Contact Michelle at Webmaster@MontessoriDuluthMN.org

Committees

Help make MSD an even better place, by volunteering on one of our committees. Contact us now!

Building and Grounds Committee
Managing the maintenance/optimization of the building and grounds.

Compliance Committee
Ensuring the school and its staff is continually compliant with all safety and operational guidelines and statues.

Family and Community Relations Committee
Fostering the best communication between the school, its parents, and the community.

Finance and Budget Committee
Planning for capital improvements as well as operations.