Montessori School at Lone Tree Staff
Office & Kitchen Staff
Director & Head of School
Lori Kalisch Bio
My name is Lori Kalisch and I am the Head of School. Before becoming the Director, I was the Directress in the southwest classroom for almost 20 years. I currently am the Directress in the SW classroom where I teach every Monday.
“Following my heart” brought me to The Montessori School at Lone Tree in 1998. I did not know a lot about Montessori when I started, but I fell in love with the Montessori pedagogy! In 1999 I took my training at The Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder, got married, and bought our home in Lone Tree. It was a busy and blessed year for sure! I earned my Early Childhood Credential from the American Montessori Society in 2000, as well as my Director Qualification from The Department of Human Services Office of Early Childhood Education in 2009.
I was born in Chicago but moved to Colorado Springs when I was about 10 years old. I graduated from St. Mary’s High School and attended Regis University on a basketball scholarship. When I graduated, I decided to remain in the Denver Metro area and started working with at-risk youth.
I have a great husband, two children whom I did not birth, but I consider my own. I also have two fur babies; a chocolate lab named Daphney and a black lab named Sophie.
During my free time, I love to read, go on walks, watch movies, and laugh. I wrote a children’s book that I hope to have published someday. It is based on what I have experienced as a Montessori Directress. I have a strong faith and I feel honored to teach the children, every day! I might be biased, but I believe Dr. Maria Montessori was a genius and I am thankful to be called a Montessorian!
Melissa Graham Bio
I have been working with children and administration for close to 25 years. I have been at MSLT since 2016. I have a BS in Elementary Education and also my Director Qualification. My husband and I have lived in Colorado for almost 30 years. Our daughter is in college at CSU and barrel races for their rodeo team. She also runs her own horse boarding facility in Wellington. Our son attends school at ACC for Automotive Technology. I love being a part of the Montessori family!
Sharon Bruner Bio
Hello. My name is Sharon Bruner. I am originally from Lafayette Louisiana but moved here in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina.
Cathy Grodahl Bio
Hello! My name is Cathy Grodahl and I am originally from England. In my previous career, I worked in the world of advertising in London for 20 odd years. I met my American husband, Andy, in England, where we were married and had a daughter (now a junior). In 2005, we relocated to the USA. This summer, we moved from Lone Tree to the Parker area. I have been teaching at MSLT since August of 2020.
My first experience with the Montessori Method was when my daughter attended a wonderful Montessori school. I was so taken with this way of teaching, I knew that was where my future lay! I started as a volunteer at her school and decided to get certified. I gained my International Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy at Montessori Casa in Denver. I have now been teaching for 11 years.
Apart from spending time with my family and rescue dog Coco, my interests are travelling, cooking, painting and gardening. I particularly like doing arts and crafts with children.
Sanju Malik Bio
Hi! My name is Sanju Malik. I am originally from India. I received my Bachelors degree in Arts from HP University and I then went on to complete my diploma in Early Childhood Education in 1999 from India. My family and I moved to Colorado from Kansas in 2010 and since then my family and I have made Colorado our home. I started as a volunteer in my children’s Montessori classroom and my urge to start helping children started from here. I received my International Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy from Montessori Casa International in 2017; and have also received my Early Childhood Education Director’s Certification in 2017. I have 3+ years of experience teaching under the Montessori school system.
I’m also the mother of 2 children; my daughter is in 6th grade and my son is currently in 4th grade.
I enjoy nature, travelling, and spending time with my family on the weekend.
Melanie Salinas Bio
I was born in Chicago but I was raised in Colorado and I absolutely love it here. I have been working around children for about five years now and I wouldn’t change a thing about that!
When I’m not at Montessori I enjoy traveling, hiking, swimming, and most importantly spending time with my friends and family.
Andi Lucero Bio
I’m from Albuquerque, New Mexico and moved to Denver, Colorado in 2017. I’ve been working at MSLT since September of 2018. I began my journey in the Full Day program and moved to an assistant in the NW classroom a year later. I’ve grown to love the philosophy very much and I’m eager to begin my journey as a directress. Previously I had worked at a Montessori school in New Mexico as a full time substitute teacher.
I studied at the University of New Mexico majoring in English and minoring in Italian. I am receiving my Montessori Credential through NAMC.
Outside of work I enjoy rock concerts, camping, hiking and trying new restaurants with my fiancé. I’m a dog mom to a rescue pup named Sierra. I’m also a part time editor for a Private Investigating firm based out of 3 states.
Peggy McCarthy Bio
I started my career at The Montessori School at Lone Tree in the summer of 1995. Before moving to Highlands Ranch, I spent 13 years as a Pre-K teacher in Texas and Colorado Springs.
My job at MSLT is working with the Pre-K students and the Full Day students. I have a Colorado Early Childhood Teacher certification, along with a current medication administration certificate.
I have been married for 47 years. I have 3 children and 3 grandchildren who all attended MSLT. In my spare time I enjoy being with my family and shopping.
Michelle Gregory Bio
I’m a true Colorado native who enjoys doing all the typical outdoorsy activities: camping, hiking and four wheeling in the summer and skiing/snowboarding in the winter. I am a huge Colorado sports fan and I love attending Broncos, Avalanche and Rockies games.
Dawn Finnegan Bio
Hi! My name is Dawn Finnegan and I have worked for MSLT since June 2013. My first experience with Montessori was when I came and observed Lori K. in her classroom. I was hooked! I fell in love with Montessori and I wanted to be part of it. Taking a leap of faith, I quit my full time job to work part time at MSLT in the summer program, with no guarantee of a job after the summer. At the end of summer I was put on the sub list and for 6 months I subbed in various capacities (classroom, office, full day, and the kitchen). In January, I was offered a full time assistant position. I have always felt and known that MSLT was where I was meant to be. It just took a leap of faith! I am now the Directress of the Southeast Classroom and have my Associate Early Childhood Credential.
When I am not at MSLT I am spending time with my hubby, Scott. We love going to Rockies games, supporting our nephew at his lacrosse games, spending time with our niece, reading, going to movies, traveling and spending time with friends and family. We are so lucky to have all of our family in Colorado!
I feel so blessed to be at MSLT and surrounded by all these wonderful co-workers and children. I’m excited to see what the future holds.
Lisa Place Bio
Hi Ya’ll! I’m Lisa Place and I relocated to Colorado from Georgia in 2013. I first became acquainted with Montessori in high school as a tutor for children with dyslexia. My two children attended a Montessori school in Macon, Georgia at which time I was an active parent and substitute teacher. I then completed the Montessori Foundations (Assistant) training through Montessori Educational Programs International (MEPI) and have taught at the primary level for the past 20 years. In addition, I graduated from Florida State University with a BS degree in Criminology and have worked with several child abuse prevention and advocacy programs. My husband, Robert and I have been married since 1988. Our daughter is a surgical resident in Salt Lake City and our son is an engineer in St. Louis, Missouri. I truly believe their success is rooted in a love for learning which was fostered by their Montessori education.
Being outdoors is a passion and I can usually be found hiking or snowshoeing on the weekends. I also enjoy reading and traveling/exploring Colorado.
I have been with MSLT since 2017 and I am thrilled to be an Assistant in the SE Classroom with Miss Dawn and Miss Ella. Guiding, loving and supporting your children fills me with much joy.
Ella Battalova Bio
In 2015 I started working as an assistant at Boulder Montessori School. After being there for 3 years, I joined MSLT. Now I am an assistant with the wonderful team in the South East classroom and happy to serve such amazing children.
I earned my Masters in Education and Montessori Certification for 3-6 in 2016.
I love spending time with my family, reading and traveling.
Ariel Mueller Bio
Martha Buehner Bio
Hello! My name is Martha Buehner and I have been with MSLT since 1996. I started in the Full Day Program and became a morning assistant a year and a half later. Before moving to Colorado, I was a preschool teacher at a daycare in El Paso, Texas for 4 years. I was also the substitute teacher for the El Paso School District for 2 years. I currently teach Spanish in all 4 of the classrooms as well.
I attended the University of Texas at El Paso and was a Criminal Justice major. While there, I was part of the Drama Program and performed in Dinner Theater. I also completed my certificate as a travel agent years later. After leaving college and working in retail for over 15 years, I realized how much I missed working with children. As luck would have it, I found The Montessori School at Lone Tree and fell in love with the philosophy. Being part of your child’s journey and working with amazing staff, I feel at “home” again.
I am a California native, but I spent my childhood in Texas. I’ve been married for 23 years. I am a step-mom and a step-grandma! I love scrapbooking, camping, singing, and I love to travel. Major Denver Broncos fanatic! Nothing makes me happier than my husband, family, friends, and my pets.
All Day Staff
Vikki Mast Bio
I’m Miss Vikki and I have been with MSLT since October 2017.
I’m no stranger to working with children as I have spent numerous years volunteering in classrooms and coaching soccer.
I have a 24 year old daughter that is the absolute love of my life.
I was born in NY but have been a Colorado girl since I was eight.
I’m an avid sports fan and enjoy being active.
Hannah Lollar Bio
Lina Hong Bio
Hello! My name is Lina Hong.
I was born and raised in Colorado and I will always call it home. Before coming to MSLT, I was a CNA. My passion has always been to make a difference and leave a positive impact. I wanted to broaden my horizons and my journey has brought me here! I have truly loved every moment of Montessori and I am so excited for what the future holds.
In my free time, I love spending time with friends, family, and my dog Boba!