My name is Jodie Mohan. I am currently the Remediation Learning Leader at Riverway Learning Community. I began my journey with Montessori 23 years ago when my daughter began Children’s House. Eight years later when my youngest was starting Children’s House, I decided to be a classroom assistant. After being an assistant for 4 years, I went back to school to become a teacher and to get Montessori training. I have a Master of Arts in Instruction degree,, I am licensed in MN to teach K-6 with a Middle School specialty in Language Arts, and also hold both an E1 and E2 Montessori Credential. Prior to coming to Riverway, I worked for two other Montessori charter schools and served on their Board of Directors.
I began teaching at Riverway nine years ago as the E2 learning leader. Five years ago I left the E2 classroom to become the Remediation Learning Leader. While at Riverway, I have served on the Board of Directors as well as several other committees.
I love the community here at Riverway. It is so much fun to be able to see children progress through the Primary and Secondary programs. Last year I was able to see students that I had as E2 students graduate from Riverway!
Welcome to Riverway Learning community! My name is Dana Merkel and I am the Children’s House Learning Leader. I have been very involved and active within the school for the past 15 years. I began as a parent when my son started in Children’s House. From there, I was recruited by the director then, Laurie Krause, to become an AmeriCorps member. I worked as the AmeriCorps member in CH for 2 years focusing on literacy and social emotional skills. I was simultaneously finishing my education degree. When there was an opening for a teaching position in the CH classroom, I was offered the position. That following year I received my Montessori certification with St. Catherine’s University. I also earned my Bachelor’s Degree from Bemidji State University with a major in Elementary Education. I have my teaching license in grades K-6. I am also a certified Kids Yoga Instructor as well as a Project-GO Site Leader. Over the years I have served on the Board of Director’s, many committees, and volunteered as a parent. I also lead an after school Yoga Club and Co-Lead Mind, Body, Spirit for students in the Primary Program.
Many find it hard to believe that I am a mother of five. My children range from 6 years of age to 20. I love spending time outdoors hiking, kayaking, gardening, playing volley ball and camping.
What I love about Riverway the most, is the community of people working together. Students, staff, parents, everyone working together to educate the “whole” child; mind, body, and spirit! I love that we put the child first, and that we do it through Montessori Philosophy and Environmental Education. We pride ourselves on individualizing students’ education and getting parents involved. If you would like to be involved at our amazing school, there are so many opportunities for you! Some include: classroom volunteer, book buddy, board member, parent committee, share your hobby with students, etc. The possibilities are infinite.
If you’d like more information please contact us with questions or schedule an observation.
Elementary I Staff
Hello! My name is Nikki Lux (she, her, hers) and I am the Elementary 1 Learning Leader. This means I teach grades 1-3. I am also active on the school’s Governance Committee. I started my teaching career by teaching in an Elementary 2 classroom at another small, public, charter school and completely fell in love with the Montessori Method. I am honored to be in my 8th year teaching at Riverway Learning Community. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities with a major in Elementary Education and a minor in Spanish Studies. I have my teaching license for grades K-6, along with a teaching license for teaching 5th-8th grade Language Arts. I also earned my Master of Education degree from the U of M. In addition to traditional schooling, I received my Lower Elementary Certification from Khalsa Montessori in Tucson, Arizona. I am a certified kids-yoga instructor and am currently working towards becoming a Winona County Trauma-informed Educator. I think Riverway is a great school for many reasons, including the families, the sense of community, the focus on protecting and preserving the environment, and because staff appreciate and honor the whole child. In my free time I love to drink coffee; listen to music; read books; and spend time outside with my partner, our 2 year old, and our two dogs. During the pandemic, I know that guardians are going above and beyond to help their students with distance or hybrid learning. However, if you are looking for even more ways to help out our classroom, I encourage parents to share their passions and interests with our students. If working with children isn’t for you, I also often need help with laminating projects.
My name is Miranda Harper, and I am happy to be the EII (Grades 4-6) Learning Leader at Riverway. I taught EII and Latin at Ramalynn Montessori Academy in Bloomington, MN for 8 years before joining the Riverway community. I have been a proud Knowledge Bowl, Quiz Bowl, and Odyssey of the Mind coach for many years.
I began my education at the University of Minnesota, through which I spent a semester in Florence, Italy, and finished with a degree in Elementary Education and emphasis in middle school language arts from Winona State University. I taught Italian and Arabic at College for Kids in Winona during the summer. I also hold an EII Montessori Certification through North American Montessori Center as well as an apprenticeship from my favorite Montessorian.
I am drawn to Riverway because of its emphasis on environmental education and the interconnectedness of the all who pass through its doors. When I am not teaching, I enjoy reading science fiction, exploring forests and waterways, and driving my family’s steam engine. Parents are welcome to bring their interests, talents, and occupations into the classroom by sharing their education and experience.
Hello! My name is Brianna Haupt and I teach K-12 art at Riverway by incorporating the Montessori method and Project Based Learning. Currently, I serve on Riverway’s Governance Committee and the Garden Committee. I grew up in the Manitowoc, WI area and moved to Winona for college. I graduated from Winona State University in 2013 with an Art Education degree and began teaching at Riverway after graduation.
Outside of Riverway, I’m an art instructor at Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts where I teach people from age six to ninety-six. In my free time, I enjoy learning more about cooking, native plants and photography.
I love working at Riverway because of our focus on the whole child, our small class sizes, and the dedicated staff. I especially enjoy helping students find their inner artist. Parents and families can help the art program by donating materials they feel would be useful and encouraging their child to appreciate art they see around them.