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 goals of Village Green Montessori. VGM was created to provide a comfortable environment where children come joyfully and can 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 and Labrador Morgan. My daughter Lauren, 26 is working toward her Doctorate Degree at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Applied Behavioral Analysis. My son Sean, 24, 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.

Nicole Shemroske, Assistant Director
Head Directress Green Room

I am looking forward to my fifteenth year teaching at Village Green Montessori, with a renewed passion for my profession!  I look forward to working with the children and supportive families in our community.  I received my Montessori certification from Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center at DePaul University. To nurture my enthusiasm for growing and learning in all things Montessori, I regularly participate in continuing professional development opportunities, including the AMS (American Montessori Society) and AIMS (Association of Illinois Montessori Schools).
I started my Montessori journey as a Head Directress at Chiaravalle Montessori School of Evanston.  After five years with Chiaravalle, I married my husband, Philip, and started our wonderful, creative family, whom I’m so very proud of.  In 2003, I returned to my career as a Montessori teacher.  Upon meeting Ann, I knew Village Green was the school for me, as we had an instant rapport.  Originally, there was only one classroom, where we taught side by side, which allowed me to fully understand Ann’s vision for the school.  In 2005, I was promoted to the Assistant Director of Village Green.  Encouraging exploration through play, following individual interests, and nurturing a love of learning remain the core tenets of my teaching.  In my free time, I enjoy gardening, seeing movies, live music, yoga, and spending time with my friends and family.

Sue Petersen
Head Directress Yellow Room

I am thrilled to be returning to the yellow room for my eleventh 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 (23), a recent graduate of ISU, and Maggie (20) who is currently attending ISU, and my 90 year old father. Our oldest son, Jeff, (26) recently married and lives 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 thrilled to be back for my tenth year at A Village Green Montessori School. I so appreciate the warmth felt here at VGM by staff and family alike. Having started in a Montessori classroom out of a work study program at Maine South, I have accumulated more than 40 years experience in Montessori schools. I received my American Montessori Training and Certification at the Seton Montessori Institute and had the benefit of strong Montessori mentors. Previous to joining VGM I was a committed member of the Libertyville Montessori School staff for 25 years. I am proud to be part of the VGM team providing a loving, consistent, high-quality environment for children to grow in. I believe in the Montessori principles of a prepared environment, individual achievement and mutual respect among class participants. I love to watch friendships grow and see children mentor other children along the way. The sense of community is felt daily as staff and parents work together to insure the best possible environment for the children. My husband Ron and I have lived in this area for 20 years and have five grown children. We are basking in pride as we watch them as adults in the world. Thank you in advance for the chance to get to know you and your children. I am 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 third 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 has far surpassed our expectations. It has been so gratifying to watch my children flourish in the nurturing and supportive setting of this school. 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, after much observation, planning, and preparation, we excitedly welcomed our first class of tots to the Orange Room.  I’ve since completed my coursework for the Infant-Toddler program at Seton Montessori Institute, and will complete my certification this coming fall.  I’m so excited to be putting what I’ve learned into practice in our class. 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 (11) and Libby (6). 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
Head Directress Blue Room
Afternoon Directress Green Room

I enjoy being the Head Directress of the Blue Room as well as co-teaching with Ms. Nicole for the Green Room afternoon class. This is my eighth year teaching at VGM! I have worked with students for the past 20 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 2010, 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 (20) my daughter Denver (13) and my Fiancé (Charles) who are indeed the loves of my life. I enjoy family field trips, attending my finance’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!

Colleen Weiglein
Yellow Room Support Teacher and K5 Club

My name is Colleen Weiglein, I am happy to be returning to Village Green for my ninth year. This year I am looking forward to working as a support teacher in the Yellow Room, implementing the Fox and Trove Kindness Curriculum at VGM, practicing yoga with your child and continuing to run the Kindergarten/5 Club with Ms. Kelley on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Prior to joining the Village Green staff, I was a religious education teacher at St. Joe’s in Libertyville. During the summer of 2010 I completed the Seton Montessori Institute Assistant Paraprofessional course and the Yoga Kids International training. I know that children need to feel safe, loved, and understood to open their minds to knowledge. It is my goal to listen to what they are saying in their verbal and non-verbal voices and foster 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’s 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 with our children Abbey (20) and Elise (17). My oldest, Andrew (23), just graduated from Northern Michigan University and Abbey is currently attending Mizzou. Away from VGM, I enjoy time with family and friends, traveling, and volunteering. I look forward to meeting all of my new friends. It’s going to be a fantastic year!

Kathy Olson
Assistant Teacher Green Room Morning
and Discover Science Program Teacher

My name is Kathy Olson and I am thrilled to be back for my seventh year at Village Green in the Green Room with Ms. Nicole 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 (17), Katie (15) and Nicholas (11). 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.

Kelley Wilson
Support Teacher Green Room and K5 Club

Hello, my name is Kelley Wilson and I am excited to be returning to Village Green for my tenth year! I look forward to another year as support teacher in the Green room with Ms. Nicole & 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 (22) who is attending Illinois State University, and Bobby (26) who lives and works in Kalamazoo, MI. We enjoy boating and going to sporting events as a family, I enjoy biking, gardening, yoga and going to the theatre with friends.

Abbey Olson
Assistant Teacher Blue Room

I feel privileged to be a part of the Village Green staff for my fifth 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 am proud to share that I spent this summer deeply immersed in early childhood courses at the Seton Montessori Institute, and I am now working diligently toward achieving my Montessori teaching credential! I have several years of experience working with children in other school settings. 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, environmentalism, and tennis.

Lori Burns
Support Teacher Blue and Green Rooms

This will be my fifth year at Village Green Montessori School.  This year I will be working in the Blue Room on Monday mornings and in the Green Room on Friday mornings along with subbing in various classrooms.  I am looking forward to meeting the children and parents of the Blue Room and the Green Room.  For the last four years, I was a support teacher in the Yellow Room.  Prior to VGM, I worked at Condell Day Center as a childcare assistant.  At Condell, I worked with infant to kindergarten age children.  Prior to Condell, I volunteered in a kindergarten classroom in North Chicago for seven years where I discovered the joy of working with young children.  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.

Doreen Flamank
Assistant Teacher Orange Room

My name is Doreen Flamank and I am thrilled to be returning for my third year in the Orange Room. I look forward to another exciting year with our littlest VGM students.  Prior to VGM, I spent 2 years as a teacher’s aide at the Libertyville Cooperative Nursery School in the 3’s classroom as well as in the Kaleidoscope Enrichment program. It was there I found my calling in the nurturing and teaching of children, seeing the joy in the child’s eyes when they are having fun and learning something new. I also have the pleasure of helping out at our VGM Fun in the Sun camp. I recently completed the Paraprofessional Training at Seton Montessori Institute to enrich my knowledge in the Montessori Philosophy. My husband and I live in Libertyville with our daughter, Courtney (14), and our dog Zoey. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, cooking, walking, movies and reading books. I am so excited to get to know new and returning families at VGM and developing lasting memories.

Monica Krzeminski
Assistant Teacher Orange Room

My name is Monica Krzeminski and I am excited to begin my second year at Village Green. I hold a B.F.A. in theater from University of Illinois and a M.A.T. in Early Childhood Education from National Louis University. I believe our youngest community members, are by nature, drawn toward learning through the arts.  I have always believed in the benefit of dramatic play and creativity in education. My background in the arts and education help me bring the belief to action in a classroom. While attending National Louis I taught kindergarten in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago.  In this position, I was a finalist for the Kohl McCormick Teaching Award. More recently, I have been teaching at Kinderhaven Preschool Academy in Lake Forest, which has a Reggio Emilia based curriculum. This spring, I participated in a teaching conference in Reggio Emilia Italy, where I learned first hand how to lead a Reggio inspired classroom. Many Montessori and Reggio ideas overlap and compliment each other making my experience at Village Green a rich one. My son, Collin attended VGM for two years in the Green Room and my son Cole will return for his second year this fall. Aside from my passion for education, I have a passion for being with my husband Jamie and our three young boys, Lucas (10), Collin (9), and Cole (4). We live in Libertyville so you may see us walking through the woods, visiting the library, biking around town, or swimming at Lake Minear. All throughout my career, my focus has been to teach and build community in the classroom and create opportunities for kids to be empowered, compassionate, independent, and curious. Village Green is a great place to continue with these values.

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 third 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. I recently 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 sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. I am really looking forward to working with all of our new 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 second 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. This past summer I attended the Seton Montessori Institute Basics Paraprofessional Course. In my spare time, I like to do DIY projects, go running, cooking, baking, and spending 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!

Vivian Pacheco
Support Teacher Orange Room

My name is Vivian Pacheco and this will be my third year working at A Village Green Montessori. I am currently pursuing a teaching career in Early Childhood Education at the College of Lake County. After I receive my associate degree at CLC, I plan on attending Kendall College for my bachelors degree. Previously, I was a nanny for children 2-7 years of age and volunteered at Greenbay Elementary School in North Chicago. I have tutored students in 1st through 3rd grade in the subjects of English, Mathematics, and Science, and also supervised additional after school activities. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, photography, and exploring new places, as well as spending time with my friends and family. Ever since I can remember I have always loved school and wanted to be a teacher. I’ve learned so much throughout the time spent here and I cannot wait to see what this year has in store!

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 2017-18 school year. This will be my third year teaching at VGM during the school year and for the summer camps.  I am also a summer camp leader with another wonderful local organization, Fox and Trove.  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 have the opportunity 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 (7) and Neal (5). I love reading, tennis, hiking, baking, meditation, attempting to get in shape and spending time with friends and family. I look forward to meeting you and your children!

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 twelfth year. I live in Grayslake with my husband Jim, and our two children: Courtney 21, currently attending Indiana University, and Michael 17, attending Grayslake Central HS. 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 fourth year returning to VGM as an Office Manager.  I live in Libertyville with my husband Tom, our son Alexander,  a 1st Grader at Adler, (a VGM alum!) and our mini Australian shepherd puppy, 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!

“SPECIALS” TEACHERS
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.