Our Staff

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” – Henry Adams

Our Staff

staff_imageAnn Phillips, School Director
Head of School

My name is Ann Phillips and I was trained in the Montessori Method at the Seton Montessori Institute in Hinsdale, Illinois. I began teaching in 1998 at Highland Park Montessori School where I completed my practicum training and then held a lead teacher position. After moving to Libertyville with my family, I founded Village Green Montessori in 2002. The school was named after my childhood street where I grew up the youngest of 6 children in a wonderful neighborhood. My respect of the Montessori method of teaching grew as I witnessed an atmosphere where younger and older children work together forming community much like a family or neighborhood. Developing respect, compassion, self-esteem, grace, courtesy, and kindness are primary goals of Village Green Montessori. VGM was created to provide a comfortable environment where children come joyfully and grow at their own pace to their fullest potential. I have the great privilege of working with an amazing group of loving teachers who are dedicated and enthusiastic making VGM a great place to be a kid! I live in Libertyville with my husband Don, Labrador Morgan and new French Bulldog puppy Payton. My daughter Lauren, 27, is in her final year of her Doctorate Program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Applied Behavioral Analysis. Lauren will work and develop plans for children with behavior issues. My son Sean, 25, works in Des Moines at Gremler Financial, an independent wealth management company. I enjoy photography, yoga, movies, reading, and writing. I love spending time with family and friends and hope to make everyone feel like a part of the VGM Family. Village Green Montessori is a member of the American Montessori Society, and the Illinois Association of Montessori Schools. VGM is a not-for-profit corporation. Welcome To Our School.


Sue Petersen
Head Directress Yellow Room

I am thrilled to be returning to the yellow room for my twelfth year here at VGM.  I am looking forward to seeing old friends as well as getting to know all the children new tour school. Prior to working here, I taught at the Libertyville Cooperative Nursery School. I have enjoyed working with various age groups from 2.5 – 6 years. I received a BS in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Northeastern Illinois University and hold a K-8 teaching certificate. Additionally, I completed my Montessori training in 2009 and became a fully certified Directress through the Seton Montessori Institute. My husband John and I live in Libertyville with our children: Eric (22), a recent graduate of ISU, and Maggie (21) who is currently attending ISU, and my 91 year old father. Our oldest son, Jeff, (26) and his wife Kristen live in nearby Lake Villa. My favorite hobbies include volunteering, knitting, biking, horses and kayaking. I am so happy to have the opportunity to contribute to your child’s Montessori education and to get to know your family.

Peggy Coleman
Head Directress Yellow Room

My name is Peggy Coleman and I am excited to be returning for my eleventh year as a teacher at A Village Green Montessori School. I received my Montessori training at Seton Montessori Institute and have had the benefit of passionate Montessori mentors. Having more than forty years of experience in Montessori classrooms- 35 of those years in Libertyville- I am honored to have the daughter of a former student at Libertyville Montessori in my class at VGM!
I am proud to be part of the Village Green team providing a loving, consistent, motivating environment for children to grown in. I believe in the Montessori principles of a prepared environment, nurturing individual strengths and mutual respect among class participants. I love to watch friendships grow, see children collaborate and mentor other children along the way. Parents, children and I work together to nurture strong, on-going relationships. I am honored that a Golden Apple Teachers Award Nomination was the result of one such treasured family relationship at VGM.
In addition to my teaching days at Village Green Montessori I am thrilled to promote children’s literacy in the community. It’s such fun to have a little Free Library on my front lawn providing books to neighborhood children. A VGM mom let me know that I’m “known in town as The Reading Whisperer-you can teach anyone to read”, inspiring me to create a Summer Reading Club, tutoring programs for emerging readers and book clubs for advancing readers. What a joy it is to continue my relationships with students going forward through the love of books! Look for literacy hints, fun learning tips and book lists at The Reading Whisperer FB page and www.thereadingwhisperer.com.
Thank you in advance for the chance to get to know you and your children at Village Green Montessori! I’m excited to build a relationship with your family.

Jessica Brown
Head Directress Orange Room

My name is Jessica Brown, and I am delighted to be returning to Village Green for my fourth year as the lead teacher of the Tot Program. I have a bachelor’s degree in English Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction from National-Louis University. Before my children were born, I taught middle school language arts for seven years–there are more similarities between 12s and 2s than you might imagine!–and directed my district’s summer school program for three years.
VGM has been such an important place for our family since my son began as a brand-new three-year-old in 2009. My daughter couldn’t wait to start in the Yellow Room five years later–she’s known Ms. Sue and Ms. Peggy since the week she was born. As a Montessori kid myself (my husband too!), it’s not surprising that we chose Village Green for our children. We were drawn to the school by its warm environment and its respect for the individual needs of each child, and it far surpassed our expectations. It was so gratifying to see my children thrive in this nurturing and supportive setting, and then to watch them flourish in public school once they had finished kindergarten at Village Green.
After several years at home with my kids, I began substituting in the four classrooms in 2014, learning so much from VGM’s fantastic teachers throughout that time. In 2015, following much observation, planning, and preparation, we excitedly welcomed our first class of tots to the Orange Room. I began my Infant-Toddler training at Seton Montessori Institute in 2016, and completed my certification this past May. Having devoted the first part of my career to fostering literacy in older children, I enjoy translating some of these same approaches to toddlers during this critical period of language development. I love being a part of their learning as they explore the world around them!
I live in Libertyville with my husband, Mike, and our kids, Alex (12) and Libby (7). Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, knitting, and reading. I look forward to getting to know your child and your family!

Teiama Sippio-Heath
Head Directress Green Room

I have enjoyed being the Head Directress of the Blue Room for the past three years and co-directing for the Green Room afternoon class. This is my eighth year teaching at VGM! I have worked with students and families for the past 21 years and am excited about getting to know you and your child. Prior to coming to A Village Green, I was a Pre-Kindergarten teacher at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, IL. Previously, I taught Kindergarten at Lion’s Math and Science Academy in Waukegan. I have had the pleasure of studying a variety of interesting subjects; I received a Bachelors of Arts degree with a double minor in Education and Psychology from Columbia College of Missouri. In 2012, I completed Montessori Director Certification at the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston. My goals for children are to guide them towards leadership while focusing on having fun! I am structured but loving, and always enjoy learning from my students. I treat my class as if they are an extension of my own family. Any second of free time I get, I spend it with my family! I have two children, my son Damazz (21), and my daughter Denver (14). My children and my husband Charles are indeed the loves of my life. I enjoy family field trips, attending my husband’s live music gigs around the world, Zumba aerobics, makeup artistry and peaceful nature walks. A Village Green Montessori is an incredible place that I am proud to call home!

Abbey Olson
Head Directress Blue Room

I feel privileged to be a part of the Village Green staff for my sixth school year. I always strive to provide a nurturing, stimulating environment where a child’s natural sense of wonder can lead to meaningful learning experiences. My mission is to foster a love of learning and self-confidence in each child that will last a lifetime!
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in philosophy and a certificate in environmental studies. I attended graduate school at National-Louis University where I earned my Master’s Degree in Teaching and Elementary Teaching Certificate. I spent the past year deeply immersed in early childhood courses at the Seton Montessori Institute, expanding my knowledge of child development and the Montessori approach to education. I am grateful to have studied under experts in the Montessori field and to have had the wonderful support and encouragement from the Village Green community throughout my training. I am proud to share that I am now a fully certified Montessori educator.
I have several years of experience working with children in other school settings as well. I taught third grade in Arlington Heights for three years, and prior to that, I worked in a special education program for three years.
My twins, Catcher and Dakota, are VGM graduates, and from the perspective of both a parent and educator, I fell in love with the Montessori philosophy. The Village Green community holds a special place in my heart, and I truly appreciate the opportunity to get to know each child and parent who walks through our door.
In addition to education, some of my passions include exploring the outdoors, volunteering with a local animal rescue group, and tennis.

Anna Lettenmair
Lead Afternoon and After School Club Teacher Orange Room

My name is Anna Lettenmair and I am so excited to be returning to VGM for my fourth year! Ever since I was young, I have had a passion for working with kids. I received my BS in Elementary Education from Southern Illinois University in 2011 and I have 15+ years of experience working with children, both in schools and as a nanny. I have also been to Africa twice to volunteer in orphanages, teach English and Mathematics to elementary-aged children, and to help start a school. It is my personal goal to create a positive learning environment in which the students in my classroom feel comfortable, confident, and inspired to explore. I am committed to enriching student learning by addressing all learning styles and abilities, and I am a big believer in the Montessori philosophy. Last year, I completed the Seton Montessori Institute Paraprofessional training. I live in Libertyville with my husband, and in my free time I enjoy reading, taking walks, watching sports, and spending time with family and friends. I am really looking forward to working with all of our new and returning students, and I can’t wait to get to know you and your children!

Roberta Jacobson
Assistant Teacher Yellow Room

My name is Roberta Jacobson, and this is my third year working at Village Green as an assistant teacher in the Yellow Room. I am extremely excited and grateful to be a part of the VGM family! Ever since I can remember I wanted to work with children. Since I was very young, I have cared for children from infants to 10 years old. I also tutored children who struggled in Mathematics, English, and handwriting skills. I have my Associates in Science and Art and I am currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Kendall College. To better my role as an assistant teacher I attended the Seton Montessori Institute Basics Paraprofessional Course. In my spare time, I like to do DIY projects, go running, cooking, baking, read and spend time with my friends and family. It warms my heart to witness the happiness in children while learning. I can’t wait to work with you and your children!

Sara Yost
Assistant Teacher Orange Room

My name is Sara Yost and I am thrilled to start my second year teaching here at VGM. I spent six years as a lead teacher at Celebrations Childcare in Libertyville working with 2 and 3 year olds. I also was an assistant teacher at Crossways Preschool for two years where I worked with 3 year olds. My son, Robby, is currently enrolled at VGM in the 3-6 year old program’s blue room. I fell in love with VGM immediately and thus began my interest and passion for the Montessori Method. I love that I have the opportunity to impact children’s lives, knowing that I have the ability to create a loving, caring, and friendly environment for my students is such a wonderful feeling. Watching children as they learn and explore new things and ideas inspires me. My hope is to learn as much from them as they will from me. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, gardening, cooking, playing tennis, and traveling. I look forward to meeting the newest families of A Village Green and welcoming all the children to our classroom.

Kathy Olson
Assistant Teacher Green Room
and Discover Science Program Teacher

My name is Kathy Olson and I am thrilled to be back for my eighth year at Village Green in the Green Room with Ms. Teiama and Ms. Kelley. I received a BA in Elementary Education with a minor in Early Childhood Education from St. Norbert College. My husband and I spent six years in the Pacific Northwest where I taught second grade in Washington State before we moved back to the Midwest. I completed the Montessori Basics training course at Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in 2011. I live in Libertyville with my husband David and our three children, Matthew (18) who will be a freshman at Dayton University, Katie (16) who is a junior at LHS and worked at VGM summer camp and Nicholas (12) who is in 7th grade at Highland. I enjoy biking, hiking, reading, watching football and spending time with family and friends. I love the nurturing and supportive nature of the VGM community. I believe that children thrive in the Montessori classroom because of the respect given to individual differences and the emphasis on social graces. When a child feels secure and loved, they flourish. I am looking forward to seeing returning families and getting to know new families joining the VGM family.

Analise Cristino
Assistant Teacher Green Room

My name is Analise Cristino and I am so excited to join A Village Green Montessori as an Assistant Teacher! I attended Chapman University in Orange California where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Educational Studies and double minors in Sociology and Language & Literacy. I was first exposed to the Montessori philosophy during my time at Chapman and was intrigued by its practices. During my time in college, I was an after-school tutor for children in Kindergarten through eighth grade at a non-profit organization called The Friendly Center.
I grew up in Mundelein where I babysat and nannied for various families in the area. I also worked at Mundelein Trails Day Camp for the past four summers as a camp counselor. In my free time, I enjoy reading, attending concerts, going on long walks, cooking, and spending time with my family and friends. My passion has always been working with children and I cannot wait to get to know all of the families and children at VGM.

Colleen Weiglein
Support Teacher Yellow and Blue Rooms and K5 Club

My name is Colleen Weiglein and I am happy to be returning to A Village Green for my tenth year. This year I am looking forward to working in the Yellow Room, implementing the Fox and Trove Kindness Curriculum at VGM, teaching yoga and continuing to run the Kindergarten/5 Club with Miss Kelley. I completed Seton Montessori Institute Assistant Paraprofessional course and Yoga Kids International training in 2010, and recently earned my RYT 200 (registered yoga teacher). I know that children need to feel safe, loved and understood to open their minds. It is my purpose to listen to what they are saying in their verbal and non-verbal voices to connect with them and nurture their love of learning. I am delighted to be part of your child’s self-directed learning. It is a privilege to be part of the amazing VGM family and to be affecting the lives of children through Montessori discovery of what she referred to as “ the child’s true normal nature.” I received my BA at the University of Dayton in communications, marketing and psychology. I spent many years in corporate America as a training specialist, stock market radio broadcaster, marketing manager and pharmaceutical sales executive. My husband Glenn and I live in Libertyville. We have three children; Abbey, Elise and Andrew. Away from VGM you can find me teaching yoga at several local studios, spending time with family and friends, traveling and volunteering. I so look forward to meeting all my new friends. This is going to be one fantastic year!

Tinaz Sevak
Support Teacher Orange Room

My name is Tinaz Sevak and I’m delighted to return to the Orange Tot Room as a Tuesday/Thursday support teacher for the 2018-19 school year. This will be my fourth year teaching at VGM during the school year and summer camps. I’ve also had the honor of being a camp leader for Fox and Trove’s World Changer summer camp and this past fall I completed the Seton Montessori Institute Paraprofessional Course. I truly love working with children and being a mom has been my greatest joy.
I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. I then spent the next eight years holding various Human Resources and Benefits positions until the birth of my second child (a VGM alum!), at which point I decided to become a stay-at-home mom. I have tremendous respect for the Montessori Method which I became familiar with as I carefully researched preschools for my children. It is truly an honor to support such great teachers and work with your precious little ones as they learn, grow, and form friendships within the loving and nurturing environment here at VGM.
I live in Buffalo Grove with my husband, Deepak, and our two boys, Raj (8) and Neal (6). When I’m not chasing after my kids, I love reading, running, hiking, baking, meditation, attempting to get in shape and spending time with friends and family. I look forward to meeting you and your children!

Jamie Tran
Support Teacher Orange Room

My name is Jamie Tran and I’m very happy to be joining the orange room at Village Green Montessori. I love working with young children, especially the twos, as this is such an amazing age where children are really coming into their own and growing in so many ways. I have worked with children for the past 25 years. I received my Bachelors in psychology from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, where I also spent two years working on a special interdisciplinary team studying and working in early intervention. Following college, I pursued dual Master’s degrees in social work and child development, with a certification in infant studies (0-3 years old). Upon completing my Master’s degrees, I worked for two years as an assistant director of a preschool before leaving to have my first child. I am passionate about the social emotional development of the child and I can’t wait to get back to working with children and families again.
I live in Buffalo Grove with my husband Jay, and 3 sons Joah (9), Benjamin (7), and Harrison (5). I have loved being at home and raising my boys and feel so lucky to have been able to do so for the past 9 years. Spending time with my family and friends is what makes me happiest. I also enjoy exploring new places and new foods, reading, taking exercise classes, and music and art. I am really looking forward to getting to know all of the families here!

Kelley Wilson
Assistant Teacher Blue Room and K5 Club

Hello, my name is Kelley Wilson and I am excited to be returning to Village Green for my eleventh year! I look forward to another year as support teacher in the Green room with Ms. Teiama & Ms. Kathy. I have enjoyed working in many of the Village Green Montessori classrooms as a support teacher, substitute teacher, and most recently I helped to develop Kindergarten/5 Club with Ms. Colleen. My philosophy is to provide a caring environment where children feel safe to explore and grow, foster a love of learning and teach them to care about the earth and all its wonders. I love the caring environment that VGM provides to the children which also extends to the community. I live in Libertyville with my husband, Bill, we have two sons Sam (23) who just graduated from Illinois State and is starting his career, and Bobby (27) who lives and works in Richland, MI. We enjoy boating and going to sporting events as a family, I enjoy biking, gardening, yoga and going to the theatre with friends.

Lori Burns
Support Teacher Green Room

This will be my sixth year at Village Green Montessori School. This year I will be working in the Green Room on Friday mornings along with subbing in all classrooms. I am attending a Basics class at the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston this summer. I am excited about attending this training class so I can have a better understanding of the Montessori Method. I have enjoyed getting to know all the children and parents at VGM these past 5 years. My husband, Kevin and I moved to Libertyville from Connecticut in 1996. Our three grown sons attended Libertyville public schools. We love the Libertyville Community! In my spare time, I like walking, cooking, reading and making creative lessons for my little friends. I am also involved with Kindred Life Ministry which mentors teen moms and teen dads. I am looking forward to another wonderful year at VGM!

Shelly Sisk
Co-Office Manager

Hello, my name is Shelly Sisk. I am happy to be returning to VGM as an Office Manager for my thirteenth year. I live in Grayslake with my husband Jim, and our two children: Courtney 21 and Michael 18, both attending Indiana University. I spent several years at home with my children, then worked as a Contract Closer for Chicago Title Company. Prior to that, I spent 10 years as an Office Manager for a real estate management company. In my free time I enjoy exercising, gardening, cooking and spending time with my family and friends. I love being a part of the VGM Staff and I am looking forward to continue working with and meeting all of our new families.

Angela Crocco
Co-Office Manager

Hello, my name is Angela Crocco. This is my fifth year returning to VGM as an Office Manager.  I live in Libertyville with my husband Tom, our son Alexander, a 2nd Grader at Adler,(and VGM alum!) and our mini Australian shepherd girl, Indie. Prior to staying home with Alex, I worked in Human Resources for Cisco Systems in San Francisco and was an Executive Assistant and HR Manager for Red Envelope. During my free time, I enjoy gardening, cooking, reading, traveling and spending time with family and friends. I love working with Shelly Sisk and being a part of the VGM office staff. I look forward to catching up with my VGM friends and meeting our new families!

LeAnn Malecha
Music Teacher

My name is LeAnn Malecha and I look forward to spending time with the children and staff at VGM teaching music as a “special” that will rotate throughout the VGM morning classes.  I was a teacher for 24 years in the public school system. Most recently, I held the position of Music Teacher for K-5 children at Millburn School.

Prior to that, I was the music specialist for 2-4 year olds at Condell’s Intergenerational Center. I currently direct a Pre-School/Kindergarten choir and the Jr./Sr. High choir at First Presbyterian Church in Libertyville. I am an assistant choir director with the Red Rose Childrens’ choirs and I give private piano lessons. I enjoy singing in church choirs, playing the piano, and having mini concerts with my three daughters, Camille and Beth who both attended Augustana College and Emily, now a music student at Monmouth College.  I love spending time sharing my passion with the children at VGM.