Our Staff

Our most important asset at Children’s Circle Montessori School is our staff. A beautiful classroom is meaningless without the right staff to nurture and guide the children.

The teachers at Children’s Circle Montessori are educated and trained to work in a Montessori classroom. We have four certified teachers that work together to lead our classrooms. Andrea and Tammy have current teaching certificates from the State of Nebraska which allows us to be an approved school for Kindergarten through the Nebraska Department of Education.

Andrea Kvasnicka

  • Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education, Current Nebraska Teaching Certificate
  • Montessori Certified 3-6 through Montessori Institute of America
  • Has worked at Children’s Circle Montessori 1981-current
  • Current owner and director of Children’s Circle
  • I love to read, travel and spend time with grandchildren.

Lisa Keown

  • Bachelor Degree in Music Education
  • Montessori Certified 3-6 through American Montessori Society
  • Has worked at Children’s Circle Montessori 2011-current
  • Co-Head Teacher in Primary 2 community
  • I love to ride bikes, walk my dogs and read.

Tim Tharp

  • Bachelor Degree in Secondary Education (English/Sociology)
  • Montessori Certified 3-6 through American Montessori Society
  • Nebraska Master Naturalist
  • Worked at Children’s Circle Montessori 1987-2004 and 2016-current
  • Co-Head Teacher in Primary 2 community
  • I love cycling, music, reading, camping and general outdoor mischief!

Jordyn Baugh

  • Bachelor Degree in Psychology with a minor in Education
  • Montessori Certified infants-3 years through American Montessori Society
  • Has worked at Children’s Circle Montessori 2016-current
  • Head Teacher in Primary 1 community
  • I love to celebrate every little thing I can, watch the sunrise with a cup of coffee, and make memories with family and friends.

Maggie Dickey

  • Associate Degree in Human Services
  • Montessori Certified 3-6 from American Montessori Society
  • Has worked at Children’s Circle 2021-Current
  • Certified Teacher in the P2 community
  • I love to travel, garden, and make memories with family and friends.


Our assistants are a key part of our program and we are thankful they have chosen to work at Children’s Circle Montessori. Our assistants have a Bachelor’s degree or an Associate’s degree or they are currently taking classes in college.

  • Shantel Johnson 2011-current
  • Kathi Houtz 2011-current
  • Tammy Kahle 2015-current
  • Grace Pearson 2022-current
  • Joy Nealeigh 2023-current
  • Ashley Ireland 2023-current
  • Lia Tiller 2023-current
  • Harmony Shepherd 2024-current

Our Mission

The mission of Children’s Circle Montessori School is to guide children in their journey toward respect, responsibility, and resourcefulness.

One of the most important characteristics of a Montessori school is the importance of respect and kindness in the environment. Taking care of the materials, the classroom pets and the indoor and outdoor plants, as well as taking care of each other is an important tenet. The mixed age group allows older children to recognize when a younger friend needs help. The younger child quite naturally wants to do what the others are modeling. Teachers use neutral, non judging statements about what the child is doing (not “you made a big mess” but “it looks like we’ll need a broom”).

Children learn responsibility by choosing work and putting it back in the correct place once they are finished using it. It is the teacher’s responsibility to make sure materials are complete and well cared for in the environment. Broken or damaged materials are taken out of the classroom until they are repaired. The child learns to be responsible for her clothing, lunchbox, water bottle and whatever else she may bring to school for the day. Taking care of plants and animals in the environment is the responsibility of the group. The teachers help the children learn to communicate and take responsibility for their actions if they have hurt another child.

The mixed-age classroom lends itself to the child’s learning resourcefulness. If a child is unsure about something or struggling with something (a zipper, a lunch container, i.e.), he can opt to be resourceful in finding a friend to help him. Montessori teachers understand the importance of not rushing in to help a child before it is necessary. Great learning comes through struggle, and too much unneeded help can be detrimental to the child. He truly wants a chance to learn to do it for himself. Oftentimes a child who struggles with something new will go back to it the next day as he wants so badly to master it!

A few places to find more information on the Montessori philosophy:
Aidtolife.org, Michaelolaf.net, montessori.org

Our Story

Founders Maria and John Schoch opened Children’s Circle Montessori in August, 1981 with a group of 5 children in the 121 Skyway building. Maria Schoch received her Montessori teaching certificate for ages 3-6 while living in Kansas City. When Maria and her family moved to Lincoln, she recognized the need for a full day Montessori program in the city. That vision led to the opening of the first 3-6 full day program in Lincoln.

Andrea Kvasnicka began working with Maria in February 1982. Andrea received her Montessori teaching certificate in 1984. Maria and Andrea worked together at Children’s Circle Montessori until 1989 when Maria and her husband, John, moved to Florida. Maria continued her work at Children’s Circle as a consultant and Andrea transitioned into her new roles of head teacher and director for Children’s Circle.

Children’s Circle Montessori expanded in 1999 when the building at 130 Skyway was purchased. It was renovated into a prepared environment for a Toddler classroom for children ages 18 months-3 years.

Andrea and her husband, Jim, became the owners of the buildings and the school in 2010. Children’s Circle Montessori continues to fulfill Maria’s vision of a full day Montessori program serving a diverse group of families and children.

Start your child's journey.