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.
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.
Children’s House(Preschool) 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.
Hello, my name is Mathilda Elrod and I work in Children’s House 1. I have my Associate in Fine Arts from North Hennepin Community College. Outside of Radiant Montessori I enjoy working in and teaching theatre, as well as rock climbing and trying out different coffee shops.
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.
Hello! I am Bawani Dahanayake and I have been working with children for over ten years. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and obtained my AMI Montessori Training from The Montessori Training Center of Minnesota in 2006. I have previously worked as a Montessori Lead Guide and as the Center Director at International Christian Montessori Schools in Newport Beach, California.I recently moved from California and currently reside in Maple Grove with my son, Kyle (6), and daughter, Sasha (5). I have been directing and leading Children’s House 2 at Radiant Montessori since 2017. I’ve always had a passion and keen interest in the Montessori Method. The power of observation and following the child is key and the cornerstone in Montessori as it unravels intense thirst for knowledge and creates a normalized child. Radiant Montessori fosters and promotes a nurturing environment for the children. This prepares the children to the next stage in their life. The graduates of Radiant Montessori are not only responsible, respectful individuals, but also learners who have passion and love for learning. It is a privilege to be a part of their journey.
My name is Stephen Fink. I work in Children’s House 2. I just completed my Associate Montessori Certification. I worked at a Montessori school in Fargo, North Dakota three years before joining Radiant. One thing I enjoy about my classroom is presenting materials to the children. I have a brother who just graduated high school, my mom and dad, an older sister whose husband is from Peru, and a nephew, Henry, who is six months old.and to grow with all the children. In my free time I enjoy swimming, spending time with friends, and travel serving on mission trips
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.
My name is Alyssa Kozlovski, and I work in Children’s House 3. I am a graduate from Champlin Park High School and am currently attending Metropolitan State University for my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. I have previously worked at other Montessori schools and private homecare as a teacher’s assistant. I also worked at a community center, teaching swim lessons and first aid. I enjoy being at Radiant for the small knit community.
My name is Charmaine Sweeney. I work in Children’s House 3. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology. Besides working here at Radiant Montessori, I also work as a vet technician on weekends and a medic in the army national guard. Previously, I worked as an assistant manager at a Holiday gas station. I love the relationships that develop between the children and the teachers, as well as the relationships that develop between teachers and parents. I have three dogs, two guinea pigs, and a pet snake. I also like to collect coffee mugs.
Toddler Room Staff
My name is Amanda Ellwood and I am the Lead Teacher in the Toddler Room. I joined Radiant Montessori in 2012 as a Teacher’s Aide with no professional experience in childcare, but quickly discovered that working with young children is my passion. I completed my Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Minneapolis Community Technical College in the Spring of 2017. Currently, I’m enrolled at The Center for Guided Montessori Studies to receive a MACTE certified Montessori Teaching Diploma at the infant and toddler age levels. The first six years of life are the most formative years for a child’s development and growth, and I’m so happy to have the opportunity to guide young children in their learning and discovery. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, music, escape rooms, and spending time with family and friends.
My name is Isabelle Oien, I work in the Toddler Room. I am currently attending Minneapolis Community and Technical College, and will soon transfer to the University of Minnesota. I am going to school to be an anesthesiologist. I really enjoy working with our kids and getting to know them. It is amazing to be able to watch them learn and grow.
I 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.
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.
My name is Lauren Parker and I work in the Transition Room. I am going to school for Psychology, and plan to work all the way up to my Masters in Child Psychology. I started as a Teacher’s Aide here at Radiant and became an Assistant Teacher after a year of college. I enjoy coming to work every day and watching these kids grow up. What I like most is how amazing all the teachers are working together to keep these kids happy.
Hi, I am Shelbie Ellwood. I joined Radiant Montessori in 2017 and I work in the Transition Room. Sometimes I also help out in the Toddler Room. This is my first time working in childcare, but I love working with young children because I’m able to witness them learn and grow! In my free time, I enjoy reading and painting.
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.
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.
My name is Amanda Earnest. I joined Radiant Montessori in 2017. I work in the Infant Room. Prior to joining Radiant Montessori I worked as a nanny, and also worked at a New Horizon childcare center. I am currently going to school to study Early Childhood Education at Rasmussen College. I have always had a passion for teaching young children. I love watching young children grow to their fullest potential! In my free time I love to spend time with my family and friends, I enjoy photography, and being outside exploring.