Radiant Montessori Staff

Why do we take a tremendous effort to screen and hire the most qualified individuals to our team? You surely know the answer. Dealing with young children requires patience, experience, a caring attitude, and an understanding of child psychology.

As a parent, you know how challenging young children can be. When they spend a good part of their day at school, it is so important to keep them meaningfully engaged, cared for, and given positive stimulation. Radiant’s Children’s Houses (Preschool Classrooms) have Montessori qualified staff members. The wonderful staff in Radiant’s toddler rooms and infant room follow the curriculum that Radiant management carefully plans.

What makes a preschool or childcare program great? The quality of its teachers and support staff. We would challenge anybody who disagrees. That’s why we take pride in our motto: “Let’s talk education. Not just daycare.”

A dedicated staff makes all the difference. Having qualified and experienced teachers is essential to running a quality Montessori program. Our staff is qualified, experienced, friendly and responsible. All teachers receive on the job guidance from Center Director Carmelita to constantly improve the Montessori lessons and also receive on-going training on CPR and other safety procedures from certified personnel. You are free to speak with any teacher, ask questions about your child’s day, or other questions relating your child’s care. We encourage parents to have strong relationships with our teachers and work hand in hand so that your child gets the best that he or she deserves.

Radiant teachers also communicate and keep children’s records using specially designed software.

Interested in a career with us? Click “Jobs” from the top menu.

Radiant Management

Carmelita Perera

Center Director: Carmelita Perera

Carmelita worked for a leading Montessori School in the twin cities for 7 years and decided to start her own school because she believed that every childcare program must put the child’s interest first. Her passion for Montessori education and desire to run a quality program gave birth to Radiant Montessori in August 2008.

Carmelita was first attracted to Montessori education because she believed her disabled son could benefit from the multi-sensory educational tools and methods that Montessori uses. She qualified as an attorney in Sri Lanka in 1992 but instead of pursuing a career in law, she received Montessori training in Sri Lanka and founded a non-profit organization called School for Enhancing Learning Potential (SELP) to help special needs children. Using the family’s resources and friends’ help, she operated SELP for one and half years. Her family migrated to the US in 2000.

Carmelita is responsible for the overall business operations of Radiant including financial decisions, invoicing, purchasing educational materials for classrooms, and implementing the Montessori method in the classrooms and ensuring the quality of Radiant’s educational programs.


Center Supervisor: Annie Dunham

Annie is a childcare professional with over 15 years of experience and joined Radiant Montessori in 2014. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education Leadership and Management from Rasmussen College. Annie supervises all day-to-day operations, including staff scheduling, parent communications including emails, monthly newsletters, maintaining the Radiant’s Face Book page, and organizes field trips and other Radiant events to name a few. She wears many hats including filling in as a teacher in the classrooms as needed when staff are absent.

Annie leads the team of teachers and guides them in the smooth functioning of their classrooms and the school as a whole to provide a high quality program.

Director and Legal Counsel: Nandana Perera

Nandana has provided legal counsel and online marketing to Radiant since its inception in 2008. He was an Associate Legal Counsel for the State of Minnesota for 11 years before he opted for early retirement in July 2016. He continues to market Radiant’s services and provide legal counsel to the management.

Before coming to the United States in 2000, Nandana worked for the government of Sri Lanka—both as a revenue investigator and a prosecutor of white collar crimes—for 15 years.

Radiant Staff


I am Wenda Burandt. I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Minnesota and AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) training from the Minnesota Montessori Training Center in St. Paul.Before joining Radiant I have worked as the Lead Toddler Teacher at Orono Montessori School for two years. I also ran my own Montessori school for 4 years.I enjoy the outdoors especially when spending time with my son, daughter and husband. I believe in instilling in children under my care, the values that enable children to develop a life-long love of learning.

I am Tahnee Burgess. I joined Radiant in 2017 and currently work in the Infant Room. I earned my early childhood education credits at Woodland Community College in California. I have owned and operated a licensed in-home daycare, worked at other daycare centers and also worked with high school children prior to joining Radiant.My husband and I have six children ages 9 to 20. I have always enjoyed working with children.


I am Dawn Doty. I am the infant room Lead Teacher. I joined Radiant in 2011. Before starting work at Radiant, I worked at a Center in the 4-year old room for 10 years, and was a Nanny for 6 years. I have taken child development classes at Anoka Technical College and Augsburg College and used Montessori lessons for babies to help them develop fine motor skills, and practical life skills. I have 3 beautiful nieces that I love to spend time with! I look forward to taking care of your child.

Amanda-EllwoodMy name is Amanda Ellwood. I am the lead teacher in the Toddler Room. I joined Radiant Montessori in 2012 and completed my Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Minneapolis Community Technical College in the Spring of 2017. I have enjoyed following the Montessori lesson instructions from Radiant manuals and Carmelita’s instructions. My passion is working with young children to help them develop and reach their fullest potential – I love to watch them learn and grow!

Tosha Farrell

Hello! My name is Tosha Farrell and I am an Assistant Teacher in the Transition Room and work with Ms. Abby. I joined Radiant Montessori in January of 2017 but prior to that, I spent nearly a year at an elementary school in the Hopkins School District as a School Counseling Intern.
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls and a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Winona State University, and I am licensed to teach in the state of Minnesota.My passion for working with young children comes from their innocence, curiosity, and enthusiasm for life and learning. Their minds are like little sponges – soaking up anything and everything they discover. I truly enjoy watching them learn new things and love to see the “light bulb” turn on when they have finally mastered something. I can’t wait to see the milestones they reach as they continue on their educational path.In my free time, I love to spend time with my family and friends, travel, listen to music (especially live/in concert) and ride my motorcycle.

Abby JorgensonI am Abby Jorgenson and I am the Lead Teacher in the Transition Room. I have a bachelor’s degree in child psychology from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. I have previously worked as a teacher assistant at a different Montessori school for over two years. I also worked at a library for over three years when I attended the U of M. I love working in the transition room. At this the children are learning so much and are like sponges. I really enjoy seeing them learn new things about the world and seeing how they develop their gross motor skills which are big milestones at this age.I enjoy reading a variety of books. Also, during the summer months I really like going to the Minnesota Twins games no matter how great or poor their season is going.


Hi, I am Chongsun Kim (aka CS). I am the lead guide in Children’s House 3. I hold a Montessori Diploma (AMI) from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota. I hold a Master’s of Divinity from Luther Seminary and also pursuing Master of Theology. I am serving a Children’s Ministry at a church in Minneapolis.
I believe in Dr. Montessori’s philosophy and methods that view human beings as being capable of developing into constructive and positive citizens. I love watching children grow, and learn with Montessori materials that we use in our classroom. Children have beautiful minds. I love them for their innocence, enthusiasm, and what I can learn from them.
I have two daughters, Esther and Irene and I enjoy going outside and catching Pokemons with them.

Isabelle-OienI am Isabelle Oien. I work with Infants and Toddlers. I am just starting my second year in College. I am considering a career in childcare.

I am Lauren Parker. I am starting my second year in college. I work as a float with different age groups, mostly with Children’s House children.


I am Regina Ratnaraj. I work with Ms. Wenda in the Children’s House 1 and occasionally in other classrooms if needed. It’s wonderful to watch children playing, smiling, and sharing their stories with me. This is my first job in the US. I am a high school graduate from Sri Lanka. I have three sons. I like listening to music and cooking delicious Sri Lankan food in my spare time.

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