Our Staff

EMILY ERICKSON
Executive Director
Emily (she/her) is passionate about providing high-quality Montessori education to all children from all walks of life. Emily has worked in early childhood education since 2014. She completed her MBA in 2019, and has taught in classrooms with children from infants to school age. She has served as a director in Minneapolis since 2017 and is thrilled to join the Heartwood community as the school director. In her free time she enjoys reading, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her family.

ERICA MELLUM
Lead Guide (Willow Room) & Director of Pedagogy
Erica (she/her) enthusiastically joins the Heartwood community with a shared vision of empowering children. She earned her Montessori credential in 2006, followed by her Master’s in Education the following year. She offers children the opportunity to develop the values, attitudes and skills to live in harmony with oneself, others and the natural environment. The Montessori method also guides Erica’s approach to parenting her four children – one of whom gets to join the Heartwood community this year! Erica and her family live in South Minneapolis and enjoy making potions, after dinner performances, endless loads of laundry, and belly laughs.

ANNA EDGINGTON
Lead Guide (Maple Room)
Anna (she/her, pronounced Ah-na) joined the Heartwood community in January of 2022 as a long-term substitute in the Cedar Room and is grateful to continue in this capacity as the lead guide in the Maple Room this school year. She received her AMI Primary Diploma from MTCM in 2013 and graduated in May of 2022 from St. Catherine’s University with a BA in Early Childhood Education with a Montessori focus and MN licensure. Outside of the Heartwood community, Anna loves gardening, flower arranging, hand sewing, spending time with her son Wendell, and working with her husband Jesse in their market garden. She loves a delicious cup of coffee with cream in the morning, anything chocolate any time, and cabbage all the ways almost any time!

KATIE GRAVES
Lead Guide (Cedar Room)
Katie (she/her) received her Association Montessori International Primary Diploma from the Montessori Center of Minnesota in May 2020. In addition to her Montessori training, she has a Masters in Education from the University of Minnesota with K-6  Teaching Licensure and a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and French from Syracuse University. Katie is originally from a small college town in Western New York and has called Minnesota home since 2013. She has many hobbies, including sewing/crafting, playing board games, gardening, skiing, reading, and spending time with friends and family.  She lives in Saint Paul with her husband Eric, their dog Miss Matty, and their son Hugh.

MAEGAN SCHOCK
Lead Guide (Oak Room)
Maegan (she/her) has been a part of the local Montessori community since 2005 and has spent all but one of those years working with toddlers aged 16 months to 3 years. Maegan is passionate about supporting and guiding young children in their discovery of the world and their place within it, and continues to be inspired by the beauty and joy found in sharing new experiences with young children. Maegan is excited for the opportunity to establish a loving and supportive community of and for toddlers at Heartwood Montessori. Maegan is an active member of the Association Montessori Internationale, holds an Assistants to Infancy diploma from The Montessori Institute, CO and a Master of Education diploma from Loyola University, MD. Maegan is a longtime resident of Northeast Minneapolis and enjoys reading, sewing, cooking, and traveling.

ELIZABETH SPAID
Assistant Guide (Cedar Room)
Elizabeth (she/her) joined our program in the summer of 2022 following over six years of early childhood education experience including three years in a fellow Montessori Children’s House environment. Elizabeth enjoys crafting, reading, and being outdoors.

DANIELLE HARTEL
Assistant Guide (Willow Room)
Danielle (she/her) has worked in Montessori for over 15 years. She has an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota and Masters of Education credits from Hamline University. She is a longtime resident of Northeast and is mom to two who enjoys reading, gardening, and traveling.

JANET MOLINOS
Assistant Guide (Maple Room)
Janet (she/her) began at Heartwood this in Summer 2021 and enjoyed getting to know many of the students in our Children’s House. For the prior 5 years, she had worked with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in bilingual care settings (Spanish/English). Heartwood is her first Montessori experience! She lives in Saint Paul with her partner and their two dogs, Vivi & Zipp. She enjoys taking her dogs for a walk in the creek near her home and being in nature. Her favorite comfort food is chilaquiles.

LAURA TRACY
Assistant Guide (Oak Room)
Laura (she/her) discovered and has been a part of the Montessori community since 2011. She completed her Assistants to Infancy Assistant training in Dallas, TX, and has a bachelor’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology. Laura loves witnessing children’s language bloom, watching their skills and independence grow, and long chats in the bathroom. Laura lives in South Minneapolis with her many houseplants and enjoys reading, baking, and naps.

NOAH JACOBS
Administrative Assistant
Noah (he/they) began working in early childhood at a Montessori preschool and kindergarten in 2012 and since then has spent his time learning varied education philosophies, including six years as a director at a local play-based program. Noah lives in Saint Paul with his fiancée, Moira, and their lazy dog, Garbanzo. Together they enjoy weekly visits to Minnehaha Dog Park and watching Survivor and kind of enjoy planning their wedding.