The Little Voyageurs' staff is committed to children and the Montessori philosophy. They have a variety of backgrounds but a common interest in children. The staff provides an environment that helps the child build a solid foundation in social skills, language development, math and a joy of learning.
Meet our lead staff:
Karen Smith has been involved with Little Voyageurs’ since 1982. She became involved as a parent when she enrolled her first child. All three of her children attended Little Voyageurs’. She has held various positions on the board and has been administrator since 1986. Karen has a B.S. Degree in Elementary Education from St. Cloud State University. She taught 5/6th grade in Belvideer, Illinois and substitute taught in the Osseo and Anoka-Hennepin School Districts. She worked in retail management for 4 years and commission sales for 4 years. She has taken various workshops and seminars in administration and employment. She has been active on committees for the Rule 3 and Regulatory mandates - Dept. of Human Services, CFL, and a member of the curriculum committee for Fridley School District for 2 years.
Dawn Pearson joined Little Voyageurs’ in November 2017. She has her Associate of Arts in Child Development, and has a Montessori Diploma from North American Montessori. She has been in the child care industry for over 15 years, from Assistant Teacher, to Teacher, to Education Coach, and finally here at LVMS as Assistant Administrator. Last year she went back to school for Supervisory Management/Human Resources and will graduate May 2018. She has been married for 25 years, and has two grown children. She is involved in different Volunteering organizations, and loves to help people. Her favorite part of Montessori is; How Independent the Children are.
Jung Pearson joined LVMS in May 2006 as an assistant. During the summers she is one of the Montessori teachers at LVMS. She earned her Montessori Diploma from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota. Ms. Jung previously received a certificate of Early Childhood Education Program from the University of Guam, USA and an ESL certificate from Lynwood College in Washington. For over 10 years she taught children in three different programs in Guam and Saipan, USA and previously worked at a Montessori School in Minnesota which led her to taking the Montessori training. Jung enjoys music and brings music and movement to the children.
Sarah joined LVMS in June 2018. She has a B.A. in Child Psychology, and a Minor in Art History from the University of Minnesota. She has worked with children in Montessori programs and with elementary age children in an after school program. While working as an Assistant at a Montessori school she fell in love with the Montessori Method, she went back to school and earned her Montessori Diploma from the Montessori Training Center of Minnesota in 2014. She will bring her love of dance, music, art, and interest in science to the children.
Debbie DiGirolamo joined LVMS in October 1993. She graduated from Seton Hill University in her home state of Pennsylvania. She has a B. A. Degree in Social Work with a focus on juvenile and child welfare. After college Debbie worked for Head Start. She was a classroom teacher as well as a home visitor, providing parent education in the children’s home. In 1981 Debbie she moved to Minnesota, and continued working in the preschool environment for several years prior to joining LVMS. Debbie enjoys the children and is committed to the benefits of an intergenerational program.
Lorraine Mbu joined LVMS in February 2017. She graduated from Hennepin Technical College with her AAS Degree in Early Childhood Development. She has experience in center and home-based childcares, as well as running her own home daycare for 9 years (ages 6 weeks through 11 years old). She is the proprietor of Saints Mary & Elizabeth Nursery and Primary Academy in Buea, Cameroon, which is an inclusive school built for children with special needs to learn alongside their peers without disabilities. Lorraine has over 16 years of experience in the healthcare field, as well. She enjoys assisting children to achieve their highest potential.