Little Hands Montessori Team
Director, Lead Guide & Music Teacher
Spanish Speaking Assistant / Secretary
Literacy Support Specialist
Little Hands Housekeeper
Megan Salvano- Gunter
Lee Sanchez is an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) Montessori guide for 3-6-year-olds. Lee received her Bachelor’s degree from Hope College in Children's Ministries and Music and graduated magna cum laude. She has a Masters in Education in World Language Instruction from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and has written her thesis on simultaneous bilingual literacy development in children ages 3-5
Lee graduated from the Maria Montessori Institute in London, England in 2010. She taught in bilingual Montessori schools at the primary and elementary levels in the Dominican Republic for over three years. She has also taught at the first Montessori school in Guatemala and helped to initiate and develop their bilingual program. She volunteered at The Montessori School in 2017 and began working there as a Lead Guide soon after; loving the community and the families. Additionally, Lee created "Hands and Feet Family Music" in Hastings, Michigan, where she is from, in 2016 and has directed and taught Music Together® and/or Canta y Baila Conmigo® (a nationally recognized music and movement Spanish program) since.
Beata Guerra has experience as a teacher, a paraprofessional and an assistant. She’s had a lifetime of working with and caring for younger children (a number of them being younger siblings!). Beata is currently a student at Western Michigan University earning her bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She has a heart for meeting all children where they are at. Beata was a lead teacher at Curious Kids for three years and has also worked with the Great Start Readiness Program and the Summer Learning Camp in Portage, MI. Additionally, Beata embraces culture and heritage, celebrating some wonderful Mexican traditions, such as La Posada, that will enrich Little Hands Montessori immensely! At Western, she served as the Vice President for the Latino Student Alliance leading efforts to unite Latinos and showcase rich culture with the student body. When Beata is not working with children, she loves spending time with family and making Cakepops!
Margaret has her B.A. in Language Arts from Hope College. She earned her teaching certificate for K-9th grade at the same time. After graduating and getting married, she worked at a Montessori Children’s House in Conroe, TX, where she received hands-on instruction and then took over a class. Once in MI again she substitute taught. She’s one class short of a Masters in Early Childhood Education from WMU. When her daughters were preschoolers, she worked as head teacher at a parent cooperative in
Saranac for a year. She home-schooled them for three years. Margaret has 3 children, 2 daughters, who are 32, 30; and a son who is 20 years old and one grandchild, Rebecca Sanchez. She lives in Hastings. When her son was in middle school she went back to substitute teaching, from preschool to high school Spanish classes for 4 years. Since then, Margaret has received her intensive AMI Montessori assistant training certification from the bilingual trainer, Brenda Gonzalez, at Greenville Montessori Institute. She enjoys traveling; having her husband around more now that he’s retired; and having a daughter in education.
Sandy is an exceptional housekeeper and person. We are blessed to have her and we are excited that the children will have the chance to know her! She will come in at lunch time every day! Sandy has a great deal of experience cleaning from Montessori schools to being the Lead Housekeeper at Kellogg Biological Station for over 6 years. She also worked as an Environmental Service Assistant at Borgess Medical Center for many years and was blessed immensely by the people there. In addition to working with us, Sandy works as a Dietary Aide at Life Care Center of Plainwell. She enjoys spending time with her family, her five dachshunds, and redoing old furniture. Also, traveling, especially our Great State of Michigan, baking and photography for fun are things Sandy enjoys in her spare time.
Victoria volunteers Mondays and Fridays at LHM. Taking four years of Spanish through high school, she graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy with a Creative Writing degree in 2016. She went on to an environmental science seminar in New Zealand, then lived and worked in Peru and Costa Rica before earning her Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing and Spanish from Knox College. She also studied French and Korean and volunteered as a Reading Buddy at the local elementary. During her junior year she lived in Spain through a study abroad program at the University of Barcelona and taught English in her spare time to private families. In the summers between her college years, she nannied for children ages 5-12 and in 2015 took an internship with Youth 4 African Wildlife in South Africa raising awareness for poaching. Later, Tori worked at Interlochen as the Creative Writing department assistant for summer camps. In her spare time, she loves to knit, go to comedy shows, play with her cats, and travel everywhere to investigate all the delicious food the world has to offer.
Paula Park is a board member of Little Hands Montessori who assists with the Marketing committee and the Fundraising committee. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from NC State and an MBA from UNC Greensboro. Paula came to Michigan in 2019 when her husband accepted a job with Stryker. While searching for preschools for her children she met Lee Sanchez, who was in the process of setting up Little Hands Montessori. Excited by Lee's dream and the hope that her children could attend a bilingual Montessori school, Paula jumped in and began helping out where she could. She now volunteers 2 days a week in the school assisting with snack and material preparation and social media content. Her son, Raphael looks forward to beginning school in the fall 2021.
Erick Arriaga holds and a Bachelor's in International Business from Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. He also has completed a 5-month Entrepreneurship PENAMICE Program from the University of North Dakota. He has a great deal of experience starting a business, as he created Force Dance Competition with a partner. He was the commercial director, working with marketing, customer service, staff management and negotiating with suppliers. He has also worked with 6 other companies serving in sales, inventory control, demand planning, and other roles. He is a native Spanish speaker, fluent English speaker and knows basic German and Italian. Erick has been instrumental in creating documents and helping us to organize this initial start-up process. Gracias Erick!
Megan Salvano- Gunter
Megan has volunteered quite a bit of time off-site to help us create out start-up documents and gett settled. Thank you Megan! She received a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Northern Michigan University, and a master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern Mississippi. She obtained her American Montessori Society certification for 3-6 years old from the Montessori Educational Institute of North America. She was a Lead Guide in Jackson, MS at a public Montessori school, a Lead Guide at The Children's House of Nashville in Nashville, TN, and a Lead Guide in the aftercare program at The Montessori School in Kalamazoo, MI. In addition to teaching Montessori she has also taught traditional kindergarten and first grade. When she is not working with children, Megan loves to spend time with her family, go hiking, and traveling.
Board of Directors
Andrea Zerilli / Chair (Fundraising Committee)
Lindsey Koch / Treasurer
Maren Uggen / Vice Chair (Fundraising Committee)
Holly Belt / Secretary (Fundraising Committee)
Michelle Oswald / Marketing & PR Chair
R. Lee Sanchez / School Director and Teacher (Fundraising Committee)
Paula Park (Marketing Committee)
Ashley Kloote (Marketing Committee)
Natalie Buckhout (Fundraising Committee Chair)
The board normally meets monthly the fourth Wednesday of each month. Contact Andrea Zerilli, Andrea.M.Zerilli@gmail.com, to learn of the time, location or zoom link for a given month (it changes). Anyone is welcome to visit and contribute to the conversation!