Board Members

The idea for Heartwood Montessori School began in 2013 when neighbors and Montessori parents, Sarah and Sinead, were longing for a quality Montessori program in Northeast Minneapolis.  They knew of many parents (including themselves) who were driving their children out of our neighborhood to find high quality Montessori environments, and that did not feel right.  Since that first idea, Sarah and Sinead took the time to thoughtfully plan out all the information they would need to start a non-profit school.

In February of 2014, Sarah and Sinead held their first informational meeting about creating a board for this new Northeast Montessori school.  The founding board of Heartwood was formed by a group of passionate parents and community members.  Together they logged over 3,000 hours of volunteer hours and raised over $21,000 to launch the school in September of 2015.

Our governing board is now composed of hard-working, dedicated parents, community members and Montessori professionals who continue to guide the school towards the mission and vision set forth by the founding board members.

Monthly meeting minutes can be found here.

We are currently seeking board members from the community. We also have a variety of subcommittees, including fundraising, community engagement, finance, and more, for whichever activities might best suit your interests and skill set. Email board@heartwoodmontessori.org to learn more.


Keith Johns President
Keith and his family moved from Brooklyn, New York to Northeast Minneapolis in 2020. Despite the unfamiliarity of a new town and an ongoing pandemic, Keith, Anne and their daughter Iona were excited to find Heartwood just a short walk from their new home. Iona joined Heartwood in the fall of 2020 and has flourished among new found friendships and the independence and creative spirit Heartwood encourages. Keith, sensing this positive energy and wanting to be a part of it, joined the Heartwood board shortly after. Keith holds a Master of Architecture degree and is a licensed architect in the state of Minnesota. Keith enjoys the outdoors, design, and walking Iona to school everyday.

Terrijo Mikulich Vice President
Terrijo was first introduced to the Montessori method when she was exploring daycare for her daughter and loved everything about the child-centric, hands-on learning, and collaborative play that the program has to offer. She and her husband have lived in Northeast for 10 years and have two daughters, Vivienne and Geneva, and feel grateful for the local preschool and community they have found at Heartwood since 2019.  Terrijo lived in Switzerland as a young girl, speaks French, and has spent significant time outside of the U.S. during her studies and professional career which enabled a global, inclusive mindset. She has a degree in French and International Business and most of her career has been in global marketing for MedTech. She currently leads the marketing team for Women’s Health Interventional Urology at Coloplast. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, yoga, dancing, biking, and participating in the unique offerings of Northeast.

Gavin Poindexter Treasurer
Gavin has been a Heartwood parent since 2021. He has lived in NE Minneapolis for over 10 years and was drawn to the neighborhood connection and community focus of Heartwood. He has two strong willed kids, Delilah and Azariah, who thrive in the self-led and hands-on approach of Montessori. Gavin loves teaching them about the world through his long detailed answers to their many questions. In his professional life, Gavin has a masters in Urban and Regional Planning and is a transportation planner leading large projects through the government planning and approval phases. He brings his expertise of finance, planning, project management, and parenting to the Heartwood Board. He enjoys spending time exploring NE with his family and hanging out with friends.

Jessamay Pesek Secretary (currently seeking successor)
Jessamay greatly appreciated the Heartwood community when her two children, Ethan and Ava, started September 2020. Both kids reported excitement and joy after each day, thus, Jessamay decided to join the Board to help support quality preschool programming. Jessamay holds a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction and Master’s degree in Comparative and International Development Education, both from the University of Minnesota. She is also a licensed social studies teacher. Currently she serves as an Associate Professor in the Professional Education Department at Bemidji State University and is the Coordinator for BSU’s hybrid education licensure programs.

[Vacant] Past President

Corinne Ivanca
Corinne’s daughter attended Heartwood from 30 months through kindergarten year. Corinne is an attorney practicing in St. Paul and lives with her family in Northeast Minneapolis. During her tenure she held the offices of President and Past President.

Kristi Curme
Kristi was the founding teacher at Heartwood and is a current stay at home mom to a young toddler.  She lives in Northeast with her partner Patrick, their young child, and their two cats and newly adopted senior dog.  She enjoys biking, crafting, reading, and her new passion: animal relations management. 

Ricardo McCurley

Emma Murano
Emma’s son Clyde joined the Heartwood Community in January of 2022.
The tremendous community drew her further into being interested in joining the board in March 2022. Emma holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design from the University of Kansas. She has worked in the medical device industry designing human experiences, most recently developing technology to assist individuals with heart failure. She has experience organizing events and coordinating collaboration between teams. Emma enjoys live music, poetry, gardening, yoga and a warm cup of tea. 

A huge “THANK YOU” to our founding board members! Everything you see in the classroom and school community has been a product of this initial investment of time and talent.  They took a dream to a reality!

Sarah Walker
Sinead Carolan
Sareen Dunleavy Keenan
Jonathan Turner Bargen
Crystal Chance
Jess Jellings
Heather Vinge Hanson
Liz Anderson

Former Board members
AJ Niehaus
Stephanie Malone
Caitlin Hargarten
Melissa Olson
AmberJean Hegge Van Art
Kate Murray