Meet Our Staff

Meet our staff, the people who work hard every day to make sure our students are being the best learners they can be.

Maya Verjovsky, Head of School

Staff - CHMS

Maya Verjovsky was the founding guide of Children’s House 2 at Cathedral Hill Montessori School (2013-2016), and is honored to serve the community once again as the Head of School (since July 2018). She is a native of Saint Paul, a graduate of Saint Paul Public Schools, holds a BA in Religious Studies, an AMI Primary diploma, a Masters in Education, and is the mother of two fantastic Montessori children!

Maya’s own research in undergraduate studies and her child’s early experience in Montessori education led her to complete her AMI training in 2012, and she soon after took on the task of gradually building a second Children’s House at CHMS over a period of three and a half years. Watching children develop independence, mastery, and peacemaking skills is an inspiration to Maya, and she hopes to continue to create cohesive partnerships with families in support of their children.

Maya is an active member of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), Minnesota Montessorians for Equity, and Montessori Administrators Association (MAA). She has served as an album reader and oral exam volunteer for teachers-in-training at the Montessori Center of Minnesota (MCM) and is an active participant in the AMI Minnesota Heads of School Group and the Minnesota Montessori Network (MN MN). Maya is passionate about continually doing the necessary inner work to examine biases and racist beliefs, and seeks to transform CHMS into an organization that is more welcoming, inclusive, accessible, equitable, and anti-racist.

Sam Mickle, Administrator

Staff - CHMSSam was born and raised in Canajoharie, New York for the first nine years of his life, then moved with his family out to North Mankato, Minnesota.  He earned his B.A in History at Saint Olaf College, where his experience working with children in the Northfield community sparked his passion for working in education.  He’s been at it ever since, with stints in Minnesota Math Corps and Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, and is excited to see what he can do in a Montessori setting.

When he’s not at school, Sam enjoys playing board games with his friends, walking around the lakes, reading, watching movies, and enjoying all the diverse food the Twin Cities has to offer.  Currently, he lives in Saint Paul.

Amanda Wooden, Children’s House 1 Guide

Amanda’s initial introduction to Montessori began seven years ago as an assistant at the toddler and primary levels of a small Montessori school in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was enamored by the beautiful environment and the amazing potential of the children. Soon after, she pursued primary training at the Montessori Center of Minnesota and a Master of Education from St. Catherine University.

She is also trained as a birth doula and prenatal/postpartum yoga instructor. These experiences have affirmed her sense of personal connection to the daily work of guiding children in a Montessori environment.

She has recently relocated to Minneapolis where she lives with her husband Levi, a restoration ecologist and arborist, and their dog Juniper and cat Pidge. She enjoys reading literature at all age levels and weaving on her rigid heddle loom.

Clara Iwaszek, Children’s House 1 Assistant

Staff - ClaraClara has been a member of the CHMS community since it was founded in 2011. She is Saint Paul native who lives with her husband Geoff and two daughters, Mirabelle and Phoebe.

In her spare time, Clara enjoys spending time with her family, riding her bike, arts and crafts, traveling, trying new recipes, and supporting the local music scene.  She earned a B.A. in Child Psychology from the University of MN and Clara plans to pursue an advanced degree in Family Psychology.  She also completed the AMI Assistants Course training from the Montessori Training Center of MN.

Elyse Lennington-Chaffee, Children’s House 2 Lead Guide

Elyse was born and raised in Saint Paul. While studying Anthropology at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, she learned that Maria Montessori too was an anthropologist. Inspired by Dr. Montessori’s philosophy and teachings, Elyse’s interest shifted specifically towards Educational Anthropology – particularly on education and multiculturalism, educational pluralism, culturally relevant pedagogy and native methods of learning and socializing.

Elyse spent four years working at Cornerstone Montessori School on the East Side of Saint Paul. During her time at Cornerstone she worked at both the Primary and Elementary levels as an Assistant, Spanish-Speaking Aide, and Special Education Paraprofessional.

In 2019, Elyse pursued primary training at the Montessori Center of Minnesota. While in training, she completed her student teaching practicum at CHMS in Children’s House 2. Elyse had a wonderful experience at CHMS and was thrilled when the opportunity arose for her to become a permanent part of the CHMS community. Elyse currently resides in Saint Paul. In her free time, she enjoys bird watching, canoeing, reading, working in the garden, and spending time with her family.

Paige Henry, All Day Trained Assistant

Paige grew up in Minneapolis, and her mother worked as a Montessori guide for many years. During high school, she began working at a Montessori school as an afternoon aid. She continued to work as an assistant with Toddlers and in the Children’s House while going to school for jewelry design.
Paige completed her AMI primary training at the Montessori Center of Minnesota in 2012. She previously worked at CHMS as the fully trained CH2 morning assistant from 2014-2016. Since then, Paige has held positions as a lead guide, co-guide, and fully trained assistant in other metro area Montessori schools. With over 20 years of experience in Montessori environments, she is happy to be back at CHMS as the All Day Children’s House Trained Assistant.
In her time away from school, Paige is an avid runner, enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and son, and is kept busy with their many pets and quail farm.

Mark Kiperstin, All Day Afternoon Assistant

Mark joined CHMS in 2020, after a career in the legal profession.  Looking to pursue a new adventure supporting, motivating and engaging young, vibrant children, Mark chose CHMS as his landing spot.  Perhaps his natural feel for the children stems from his own family history.  His Mother was a pre-k teacher/director in Minneapolis for decades, and his sister followed suit as a school principal in Chicago and Los Angeles.  The slogan ‘in his blood’ seems appropriate, as Mark has quickly forged connections with so many of the children.
Mark received his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law, and an undergraduate degree in political science and criminal justice studies from the University of Minnesota.
When away from all his school friends, Mark enjoys the full cultural scene the Twin Cities has to offer: Live music, plays, art fairs and museums, nature preserves and many, many, gardens.  And baseball.  Lots and lots of baseball.  Mark resides in Minnetonka.

Molly Hoyt, Children’s House Morning Assistant

Staff - MollyBorn and raised in Saint Paul, Molly attended a Montessori school from ages three to six. Later she went to a performing arts high school where her emphasis was in Theatre. She is a certified postpartum doula. Molly discovered the joy of working with children at a young age, and has been doing so ever since.   Recently, she completed the AMI Montessori Assistants Course, earning her diploma as a Montessori-trained Assistant.

In her free time she enjoys long bike rides and taking advantage of everything the Twin Cities has to offer. She also enjoys cooking unique recipes from all over the world. Molly loves being a part of the CHMS community!

Maegan Schock, Toddler Community Guide

Maegan was raised in Fargo, ND and came to the Twin Cities to earn a B.A. from the University of MN. She earned her AMI Assistants to Infancy diploma from the Montessori Institute in Denver, CO. Maegan went on to complete her Masters in Montessori Education through Loyola University in Baltimore, MD. She is also an active member of the Association Montessori Internationale.

In her free time Maegan enjoys cooking, reading, and working on her home, though a vast majority of this time is spent working toward completing the virtually endless number of sewing or craft projects she has begun and hopes to someday finish.

Laura Tracy, Toddler Community Assistant

Staff - LauraLaura grew up in Elk River, MN and attended Saint Cloud State University to to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She previously worked with adults with Cerebral Palsy and developmental delays while living in Saint Cloud, then moved to Minneapolis and began working in a Toddler Community at a Montessori school, where she served as the lead teacher for a year. Laura approaches her work with calm enthusiasm and is excited to get to know all the toddler children!

 Breanna Wilson, Toddler Community Afternoon Assistant

Breanna is a graduate of Augsburg University with a major in Psychology. Eventually she intends to continue her studies to earn a Master’s degree in child development and forensic psychology. Breanna is looking forward to working with the toddler age group to round out the many years she has tutored and mentored school-age students. Breanna has a keen interest in helping under-served children and has served as a youth counselor and a volunteer advocate.