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

Amy Shen

Head of School

Born and raised in China, Amy Shen took residence and was educated in six countries. As an educator, Amy is passionate about instilling in students a global mindset and building informed and responsible 21st Century global citizens — ideas central to Montessori education. Minnesota holds a special place in Amy’s heart as she obtained her B.A. from Carleton College. She also obtained a Master of Arts in Teaching from the School for International Training, and a Master of Education from Columbia University. Amy specializes in curriculum design and independent school development.

Kris Shimmin

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.

Claudia Gisonda

Elementary Guide

Claudia is a nationally renowned AMI educator and instructional coach who specializes in classroom behavior issues, academic plan development, and strategy development for elementary communities.

Claudia hails from New York. She has her BA in Geography from Villanova University, and her Master of Education in Special Education from Hofstra University, with a focus on teaching elementary-age children with neurological impairments (ages 6-12). She has her AMI Elementary certification from Ohio Montessori Training Institute, and her AMI Primary certification from Washington Montessori Institute.

As well as having decades of classroom experience, Claudia also accepts speaking engagements, organizes AMI conferences, and works as an AMI Elementary Album Reader for Hershey Montessori Training Institute, reviewing the text and illustrations in teaching albums created by AMI-teachers-in-training. She has been on the Board of Directors of several Montessori schools.

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.

Cora McGlauflin

Children's House Guide

Cora comes to us from White Bear Montessori in the Twin Cities, but she’s no stranger to MSD. Cora began her Montessori career at MSD in 2010 & 2011 as an Assistant Guide to Catherine. Cora completed her Teacher Training at the AMI Montessori Teacher Training Center of Northern California. She served as primary guide at the Western Montessori Day School in Mountain View, California, and assistant guide at White Bear Montessori and Crescent Montessori in California. Cora holds a Graduate Teaching Licensure from St. Scholastica and a Bachelor of Science, Recreation — Outdoor Education (Psychology minor) from UMD. Cora is an avid rock climber and outdoor adventurer.

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!

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.

Carmen Climent

Bilingual Elementary Assistant

Carmen is from Valencia, Spain. She has a BA in Elementary Education, Physical Education and Special Education; a MA in Educational Psychology; and is working on her PhD in Educational Psychology and Development. She has twelve years of experience teaching, eight in elementary grades. Carmen is looking forward to taking her Montessori training while at MSD

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.

Coral Stephens

Childcare Assistant

Samantha Simonson

Before Care Specialist & Hallway Monitor

Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors steers MSD into the future, using their various expertises to benefit our students.

Board Members

Jim Keith, Board President
Admin Center Director at UMD’s Medical Center Duluth

Luke Peterson, Treasurer
Business analyst at Allete, parent of MSD students

Mia Thibodeau, Board Member
Attorney at Fryberger, Buchanan, Smith & Frederick, parent of MSD students

Nicole Bakken, Board Member
Nurse Practitioner, parent of MSD student

Amy Shen, Ex-Officio Board Member
MSD Head of School

Key Volunteers

Jake Miller, Controller
Accounting analyst at Allete

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


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

Montessori Advisory Committee
Providing advice and recommendations regarding Montessori philosophy, principles, and practice.

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.