Ms. Margie Donovan: Head of School Ms. Margie has worked for 20 years in Montessori education as a guide, consultant, Interim Administrator and Head of School.  She is AMS certified in Elementary I and II from the Michigan Montessori Teacher Education Center.  She has a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and a Masters in Human Development and Family Studies.  Margie joined the staff in June of 2017, and is glad to return to the greater Lansing area Montessori community.

Lead Staff (Classroom Guides)

Ms. Mandi Kaufmann: Upper Elementary Classroom Lead Guide Ms. Mandi earned her B.A. in Elementary Education from Goshen College, and her AMS Montessori Elementary  Certification. She has taught in many capacities including teaching 4th grade in Asheville, NC, English in Seoul, South Korea, and art through the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Ms. Mandi has been at Stepping Stones for over 5 years.  She has a husband and daughter at home. She enjoys riding her bike, reading, hiking, canoeing, gardening, and crochet.

Ms. Maria Miklojcik: Toddler House Maria has a lifelong connection to Montessori. First as a student, second as an after-school program coordinator, third as a parent, along with countless volunteer hours. Maria’s favorite Maria Montessori quote is “Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and the greater possibilities of their future.” Maria started her career of working for the Michigan House of Representatives where she actively worked on policy regarding education and tax reform as a legislative assistant. After 5 years working for the State of Michigan, Maria was eager to get back to working with the children. She then worked for 2 years at a child care center, first as a teacher and finished her last year as an Assistant Director of the facility. After finding some inspiration from a Primary Guide at Stepping Stones, Maria found that she was truly eager to get back to her Montessori roots

Ms. Erin Compton: Primary 1

Ms. Marcia Risch: Primary 2

Ms. Tanya VanElls: Primary 3

Ms. Wendy

Wendy Rowan: Art Lead Ms. Wendy is originally from Philadelphia, PA.  She has a BS in art education from Miami University in Ohio.  She taught elementary through middle school art in public schools in Indiana, Michigan, and Hawaii, and Germany and is now in her 7th  year teaching at Stepping Stones.  This year she is teaching the elders in the primary program in addition to lower and upper elementary.  Wendy and her husband Jake have two children, both of whom attended Stepping Stones, and two dogs.  She enjoys the arts, travel and hiking.


Jim McGrath: Nature Discovery LeadJim McGrath has been a weekly specialist Michigan Natural Science instructor at Stepping Stones since 1992. He has a wildlife biology degree from MSU, but his lifelong interest and  focus on the natural world dates back to his earliest childhood memories. He and his wife, Carol, founded and operate Nature Discovery, a Michigan-specific wildlife education business, out of their home in rural Williamston. Their private nature center features the state’s most comprehensive zoo of Michigan-native reptiles and amphibians. Nature Discovery offers wildlife education presentations and exhibits to all ages in a wide variety of venues throughout the state. Their services are also utilized regularly by the Michigan DNR. Jim also teaches as a weekly specialist at Montessori Children’s House in Lansing and at Okemos Nursery School. Visit to find out more. You can also request to be added to an email list to receive their informative monthly newsletter.

Support Staff

Ms. Alexandra DiTrapani Elementary Intern & Assistant

Ms. Maria Chavez: Toddler Assistant

Ms. Paige Martin: Toddler Assistant

Ms. Bhagwati Bischt: Primary 1 Assistant

Ms. Alex Riley: Primary 2 Assistant

Ms. Sarah Patterson: Primary 2 Assistant

Ms. Kumud Gupta: Primary 3 Assistant

Ms. Shawntel Alana – Bookkeeper and Business Manager

Ms. Alyx Blauwkamp: Administrative Assistant