Meet Our Staff

Office Staff

Staff Member Position Bio
OPEN Executive Director APPLY NOW!
Sue Haney-Bauer Sue Haney-Bauer Interim Executive Director I worked for the Rockford Public Schools as principal of the public Montessori School. I spent nineteen years in that position seeing the program through the initial development to the most recent expansion and addition of middle school. Since retiring a few years back, I continued to work with the Montessori program as the middle school developed followed by acting as a substitute principal for varied longer term positions.
Debby Wellbank Debby Wellbank Admissions Director In the summer of 1990, I had recently moved to Rockford and found myself living just a block from MPA, formerly Montessori Learning Center. With five years of Early Childhood teaching experience and looking for a better educational alternative for my son, I called and made an appointment to tour the school. The rest is my history. I had found my calling and was hired that day. After twenty-five years, two moves, and a name change for the school, I am still in awe of Maria Montessori’s insight, and I am so grateful and proud to be a part of Montessori Private Academy.
I attended U of I at the Chicago Campus and did my Montessori training at MMTTC in Evanston. I taught Early Childhood until 2009 and have since been in the position of MPA’s Educational Coordinator, as well as the Admissions Director. I have served MPA as a volunteer member in positions including: board representative (18 years), numerous committees, fund raising, curriculum development, mentoring new staff, and head teacher. Each and every aspect of my MPA experience has been life fulfilling and rewarding.
At home I love reading, taking long walks at the lake, hanging out at the pool with my grandchildren, shopping with my daughter, planning parties with my daughter-in-law and, of course, taking family vacations. These are just a few of my favorite things.
Sue Haney-Bauer Jeanne Marler Business Manager I discovered Montessori many years ago as a young mother with two children ages 0 and 3. Rockford had no Montessori school at that time, but I knew I had to have Montessori for my children. So, I began studying Montessori's writings and applying her ideas to our home environment. This led me to a few like-minded friends, and together we either made or purchased the basic Montessori materials and started a small Montessori school.
As our children moved on to elementary school, I began supporting my husband as his dental assistant and bookkeeper in his dental practice. Then, twenty years ago, I was recruited by a friend, Mary Dunkel, who was then the school’s director, to become Montessori's part-time finance manager. I jumped at the chance to become actively involved with Montessori once again.
It has been so wonderful being part of the stellar growth of MPA. My responsibilities with school business and financial matters have also kept up with the growth. I have learned many of my added responsibilities the “Montessori way”, with the support and friendship of a wonderful staff.
Each day, I experience pure joy watching our children grow in capability and confidence. I love greeting them throughout the day, and I think to myself, "Aren't these the luckiest little children!"
Sue Haney-Bauer Shannon Thruman Office Manager Bio Forthcoming
D Schneider Administration I am eager to continue my tenure at Montessori Private Academy, which started in 2015, as an Elementary Assistant. After graduating from National-Louis University in 2010 with my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, I worked in a daycare for five years and taught a year of pre-k at a private school. However, I have been enjoying learning and seeing the Montessori teaching style these past two school years.
In my free time I enjoy spending time with my husband, Mike and our daughters, Brynn and Emily. I also love baking, spending time outdoors, staying active, and spending time with friends and family.
Janice Sutherland Administration I am overjoyed to be part of Montessori Private Academy for my fifth year as an assistant teacher. I graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education and a minor in Psychology. I have had the opportunity to spend time in multiple settings and schools across a wide age range. Working with children has always been a great passion of mine. I truly enjoy watching them learn and grow!
I have always admired the work of Maria Montessori and incorporated it into our home environment as a mom. In my free time I enjoy hiking and camping with my family, gardening, baking!


Teaching Staff

Director & Assistant(s) Classroom / Subject Bio
Roxanne McCarren
Amber Senn
Young Child
(2 Year Old)
I discovered Maria Montessori by reading her work, The Absorbent Mind, over thirty years ago, and I have been hooked and inspired ever since. I am certified as both an assistant and a Montessori directress in Early Childhood, and I completed my Montessori training at Seton Montessori Institute. This is my eighth year in the Young Child class, and I am amazed by these two year-olds every day.
I have been married for over 40 years and have a son and daughter who both attended Montessori through the sixth grade.
I enjoy spending time with family and friends, gardening, reading, writing and escaping to just about any coast to collect sharks' teeth and sea glass.
Julie Jamison
D Schneider / Janice Sutherland
Early Childhood
(3-6 Year Olds)
I have been teaching in the Montessori 3-6 classroom since 1984. I am a certified Montessori teacher and received my American Montessori Society credential from Seton Montessori Institute in 1983. I started at MPA, but I took a year off when I gave birth to my first child. I returned to teaching the following year at Montessori Learning Path and spent 22 years teaching there. I rejoined MPA in 2011, and I thoroughly enjoy my time here. I like the outdoors, gardening, travel and spending time with my husband, Jeff, my two married children, Josh and Meghan, and our four grandchildren.
Angelica Villafuerte-Prosser
Courtney Strobel
Early Childhood
(3-6 Year Olds)
I have been with MPA since 2009. I hold a Bachelors in Education from Illinois State University. I must say every year I am amazed to see how the children grow. They are able to do so much, if we just give them the tools they need. I have worked with children since I was 15 years old, from babysitting nieces and nephews, to teaching dance, and I am still doing what I love today. This summer I am finishing my AMS 3-6 certification as a self-directed teacher of Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Institute. I have been married to my husband Ryan for eight years, and we have one beautiful girl, Shonterria. I love spending time outdoors. My family and I enjoy hiking, camping, and whenever possible, traveling to our beautiful National Parks.
Danielle Prisby
Megan Flosi
Early Childhood
(3-6 Year Olds)
I am so excited to begin my second school year at MPA! In the summer of 2018, I began my journey towards Montessori Certification at the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center. The philosophy is very near and dear to my heart and I take pride in creating a classroom environment where the children will always be the center.
I graduated from Illinois State University in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in Family and Consumer Sciences, with a focus on child development. It was at Illinois State where I met my husband, Joseph. I enjoy cooking, reading, and spending as much time as I can outside.
Shelly Todd Elementary I
(1st-3rd Grade)
My 13 years of Early Childhood experience served me well getting acclimated into my new role as an Elementary I Directress. My daughter is a Montessori child and I first began volunteering in her classroom many years ago where my love of the Montessori method began. I received my AMS certified Early Childhood Credential from the Florence School District Montessori Teacher Education Program in Florence, South Carolina. I went on to complete my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in Psychology from Limestone College in South Carolina. I am in the process of completing training for the Elementary I certification and am eager to finish.
I was born and raised in Illinois and have lived in Florida and South Carolina. I have two adult children; one son, Travis and one daughter, Reagan. I enjoy cooking, gardening, and reading. I also enjoy spending time with my family, friends, and rescue dog, Jake. I am so looking forward to this school year and having a positive impact on the students I will be guiding!
Betsy Rhodes Elementary I
(1st-3rd Grade)
I am so excited to be working full time at MPA again this year! I have been working with children for many years and have loved every minute of it. I graduated from Northern Illinois University in December of 2016 with my Bachelor's in Elementary Education. After graduating, I worked as a substitute teacher in the St. Charles School District. Since 2016, I have spent my time at Montessori working in the aftercare program and in Elementary I.
I have always known that I wanted to work with children, but it wasn't until my junior year in high school when I came back to MPA to visit one of my old teachers that I realized being a Montessori teacher was my dream. I am really looking forward to getting to know all the students and families this year.
Noah Elrod Elementary II
(4th-6th Grade)
Bio Forthcoming
Cooper Simon-Tobin
Katie Gorzek
Middle School
(7th-9th Grade)
I have been with MPA since I graduated high school in 2003, when I started working in the after care program. In 2008, I helped develop the middle school program and implemented it that fall with MPA’s first middle school class. I have been teaching the middle school program since and am most proud of adding a self-designed 9th grade curriculum to the program in 2013, completing Montessori’s vision for a three-year cycle.
Currently I live in Belvidere, where my father and his family have lived since the late 1800s. I have been married since 2007 to my wonderful husband, and I am having fun keeping up with my young daughter, Emerson, who attends MPA. Montessori impacted me at a very impressionable age. I was so excited by what I saw, that after 2 years of college, I changed my major to education because I knew I wanted to be a part of the school. I earned a Bachelor's in Elementary Education with a middle school endorsement from Rockford University in 2008. I also earned my Masters in Montessori education in 2012 from St. Catherine University. I love teaching adolescents, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
In my spare time I love cooking, reading, and writing. In the future I would like to publish a book on early adolescence. (I have more than enough writing material! :))
Katie Gorzek Art I am enthralled to return to Montessori for another year with the school! I enjoy this program for many reasons, but in particular I am fond of its emphasis on developing the whole child.
In 2018, I graduated from Augustana College with majors in Art History (with a focus on African American Art) and English, as well as a minor in Studio Art.
I have been working with children since I was old enough to be trusted to — be it babysitting, working as a camp counselor, etc.! Over the summer I nannied for an awesome family and volunteered with Winnebago County 4-H.
I thrive when communing with nature, reading, or engaging in the arts. What I look forward to the most this year is watching the children continue to develop and grow into themselves!
Dave Gustafson Math Bio Forthcoming
Shannon Englert Music There was not a time I can remember when I was not immersed in music. My formal training began at the age of four with piano lessons, and I have been learning ever since, receiving a Bachelor of Music Education from Wheaton College. I have spent time since then teaching general music classes at Rockford Public Schools, as well as private piano and violin lessons. I love being a part of the MPA staff, and it is my deep desire to actively engage students in music making each time classes meet.
I live in Byron with my husband and three young children. In my spare time I enjoy playing the piano and violin and gardening.
Treslyn Doetch Science I grew up in Michigan and earned my B.S. in Elementary Education from Central Michigan University in 2013, where I majored in Integrated Science as well as minored in Mathematics and Middle Level Education. My teaching experience includes a range of middle school math and science classes as well as a K-4 STEM program. I have also worked on projects including curating online educational resources and developing curriculum and am passionate about the student-centered mindset that is shared by Montessori and middle level education philosophy.
After living in a couple different parts of Illinois, my spouse Troy and I have now settled into our new home in Poplar Grove, where we can raise our one year old child, Clark, close to family. In our free time, I enjoy spending lots of time outside with Clark and our two dogs, Scout and Stella, and I love crafts, yoga, reading, and vegan baking. I am very excited to start my first full year at MPA and look forward to the fun and joy of doing science with a wide range of students.
Lynn Glovsky Reading Specialist I started working at MPA in 2010 and have worked as an Early Childhood Assistant, classroom substitute, and reading specialist. However, my first exposure to Montessori education was as a parent when my two sons attended MPA. I am so happy to have the opportunity to continue to work with this wonderful group of children who make me laugh and touch my heart every single day I am with them. I have earned the Wilson Reading System certification, enabling me to provide assistance to children who struggle with reading, including those with dyslexia. I have a Bachelor's in Spanish from the University of Illinois. Prior to working for MPA, I was employed in the Human Resources field for 10 years. In my free time, I am an avid reader and also love movies and gardening.