VANESSA KOCH began her career with MCH as an assistant at the CASA (our child care center) in 2012. Inspired by the children and seeing Montessori in action, Vanessa developed an interest in seeking training at the infant/toddler level. This interest heightened with the birth of her son. Through her own experience and training, Vanessa's commitment to this stage of development has continued to grow. Vanessa offers great care, love, acceptance, patience, and understanding - all wonderful characteristics which will help her establish and lead our toddler community.

Vanessa has her Bachelors of Social Work from Central Michigan University, Associates in Secondary Education, and received her Association Montessori International (AMI) Assistants to Infancy training through the Montessori Training Center of St.Louis, MO.


VALRIE BROOKS received her initial training with the International Montessori Council in Early Childhood Education in 2010. Valrie completed her internship with and came back to assist Patty Blackburn for several years. Valrie returned to training and will receive her A.M.I. Primary credential. She is taking the lead role in the classroom following Patty's retirement.

Valrie holds a Bachelors of Business Education from Northwood University. She is certified through the International Montessori Council in Early Childhood Education and earned her A.M.S. Primary credential. She is currently completing her A.M.I. Primary credential with the Training Center of New England.

CANDY VOIGT believes Montessori is a transformative, creative process of development where learning is based on one's meaningful engagement in context of the social life of a caring community; all belong. Candy enjoys being out in the beauty of nature, especially by the water. She loves music, art, reading, and travel.

Candy has a BA from Michigan State University in Elementary Education with endorsements in Child Development and Literacy. She has a Master’s degree from Walden University in Elementary Reading and Literacy. Candy has her Montessori Primary Level credential through AMI and AMS. She is certified in Primary Level Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Additional training: LINDAMOOD-BELL language processing. In July 2014 she was one of five teachers in the U.S. awarded by UNICEF to travel to Tanzania.

WENDY KOPITSCH has been actively involved with MCH since 2001 as a parent, volunteer, Director of After School Program, and a primary level Assistant. She has been teaching yoga for more than 12 years. She recognizes that one of the parallels between yoga training and philosophy with that of Maria Montessori is individualized teaching and respecting the spirit within each of us.

Wendy has a BA in Education from Olivet College and is certified through the Adrian Dominican Montessori Teacher Education Institute in Michigan.

Lower Elementary 

MARIE CRUTCHER began her journey with Montessori education as a parent at Children's House and soon became a staple of our community. Marie has been working with the lower elementary program for many years now and takes the lead position in her classroom from retiree, Claud Agnello. Marie completed her A.M.I. training with the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee. In her down time, Marie enjoys reading, nature walks, and the hunt for a great antique.

Marie holds a Bachelor of Science, Integrative Studies from Ferris State University, AMI Elementary training from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee, and she is currently pursuing her Masters of Education from Loyola University of Maryland.
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MINDY BANKS was working as a Naturalist at the Woldumar Nature Center developing environmental education programs for children when she began to realize that she wanted a deeper connection with the children. During that time a group of 3rd graders from MCH would visit once a month. She heard about an open position as an assistant in one of the classrooms. She took that position and has been with us ever since.

Mindy has a BS in Parks and Recreation from Michigan State University. She is certified through the Michigan Montessori Teacher Education Center at the Primary Level and through the Center for Contemporary Montessori Programs at the Elementary Level. She has a Master’s Degree from Michigan State University in Literacy Instruction. She also has a K-8 Teaching Certificate from Michigan State University. Additional Training includes LINDAMOOD-BELL – Seeing Stars Literacy Program


ALBERT "JAV" CANIFF has an enthusiasm for learning that is clearly evident. With a patient desire to help others discover for themselves, Jav is well suited for the upper elementary classroom. Jav has previous teaching experience in Grand Rapids and Florida. His intersts include raising and tagging Monarch butterflies, the arts, and camping/backpacking.

Jav has a BS in Education from Grand Valley State University and his Montessori credential from Seacoast Center for Education.


Left to right back row: Danielle Fink, Palak Beri, Cindy Zajic, Travis Farlow, and Peggy Wydo Front row: Luanne Ferguson, Rafia Waraich, and Sherie Mason

Left to right back row: Danielle Fink, Palak Beri, Cindy Zajic, Travis Farlow, and Peggy Wydo Front row: Luanne Ferguson, Rafia Waraich, and Sherie Mason


See the scientist, artists, musicians and others who lead our extended curriculum classes in the arts and sciences.

Administrative Staff

MCH Head of School, Mo Newton, and Assistant, Renee Dvorak (Left).

MAUREEN “MO” NEWTON, our Head of School, grew up in Chapel Hill, NC, then settled in Michigan in 1985. Her work has always involved experiential education. Her favorite things to do with children involve anything in the outdoors, cooking, and music. Her involvement at MCH began when her oldest son enrolled in 1990. She has a BA in Literature from St. Andrews College, a Master’s Degree in Education from Virginia Tech, and Postgraduate level training in Counseling from Michigan State University. 

RENEE DVORAK, Administrative Assistant, joined the Montessori family as a parent in 1994. Her son and two daughters attended MCH through the 6th grade. She was an assistant in the elementary program for 13 years and joined the office staff in 2007. She holds a BS in Marriage and Family Studies from Brigham Young University - Idaho and is currently enrolled at Louisiana State University - Shreveport pursuing a Masters of Science in Non-Profit Administration.

KRISTI TAYLOR has been involved with MCH since 1999 when her son and daughter started in Primary. She began working at MCH as a Substitute and later became an Assistant in the Lower Elementary with Claud and then in Primary with Maggie. She currently assists Mo and Renee in the office as the Bookkeeper. Kristi received her degree in Marketing and Management from Western Michigan University after which she worked as a Financial Consultant for ten years until the birth of her son. When she is not at school she enjoys riding her horses, helping her garden grow, sailing the seven seas, and researching her family history.


SUE HUSBAND has been with MCH since the beginning. In 1975 she became the first head of school and remained in that role for 33 years. Even after her official retirement, Sue’s involvement with MCH continued. She has worked with many children on conflict resolution and mediation. She serves as a key advisor and mentor for the staff. She received her BA from Marygrove College in Detroit. She has a Master’s degree in Education from Loyola University and completed her Montessori training at Denver’s Montessori Institute. In 1998 she was awarded the Crystal Apple Award for excellence in education from MSU. In 2010 she received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Marygrove College.