Monarch Montessori School Team

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Julia Kallmes

Director & Lead Teacher

Julia worked as a Children’s House guide at a public school in Saint Paul for the past six years. She served as Board Chair at Heartwood Montessori, a nonprofit school in Northeast Minneapolis. She earned a Master’s in Education from Stanford University and completed the AMI Primary Training at the Montessori Center of Minnesota. Julia resides in Saint Paul.

Lori Schmidt

Extended Day & Tutoring

Lori worked as an elementary educator for St. Paul Public Schools since 2001. She has experience as a classroom teacher, Gifted and Talented Specialist, and after-school tutor. She received her Master’s in Education from the University of St. Thomas.

Join Our Team!

Current Openings

Playing with Animals

Assistant Teacher

Music Class

Volunteer Board Member

Contact our Board President.

Board of Directors

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Jennie Lynch


Jennie currently serves as the president of the Monarch Montessori board and has been a member of the board since early 2019. Jennie attended the University of Minnesota and received her degrees in German studies and political science. Jennie has participated in numerous courses and professional opportunities focusing on education policy in the US. She currently works in Minneapolis as a legal clerk at a law firm.

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Christopher Dirkes


Chris is excited to be a member of the board and helping Julia realize her dream of opening Monarch Montessori School.  A graduate from the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota he brings a background of account management and finance and marketing analytics to the team. As a resident of Richfield, MN Chris enjoys running and biking the trails of the Twin Cities metro!

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Julie Benton

Board Member

Julie is a proud Board Member of the Monarch Montessori School. She brings 12 years of experience in business development and marketing from her career with Polaris Inc., along with a passion for education and continuous development. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of MN Carlson School of Management and her MBA from the University of St Thomas. Julie lives in Edina and loves spending time outdoors boating, running and biking as well as reading and spending time with family and friends.

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Erik Peterson

Board Member

Erik Peterson has been a member of the board since the summer of 2019. Born and raised in Minneapolis, he studied History at the University of Minnesota, He is currently using his German Language skills as a Special Education Assistant at the Twin Cities German Immersion School.

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Kirsten Benton

Board Member

Kirsten is delighted to be a member of the Monarch Montessori board. She grew up in MN and has resided in the Twin Cities since college. Prior to becoming a physical therapist she worked as a special education paraprofessional for high school students, and a teaching assistant for undergraduate students studying psychology. Kirsten loves spending time with her husband and her dog, Boo. She also enjoys running, cooking and gardening.

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Maria Null

Board Member

Maria has grown up in MN and lived in the Twin Cities since college. During college she volunteered extensively at the Ronald McDonald House Oak Street School as a teacher’s assistant helping children and siblings continue their education during hospitalizations. She holds a degree in Biology with minors in Public Health and Anthropology and works at Allina Health headquarters in Community Engagement for South Minneapolis.

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Elizabeth Elcombe

Vice President

Elizabeth has been teaching in early childhood since 2008 and has been a Children’s House guide at a public school since 2015.  She earned a Master of Science in Education and an AMS Montessori credential for ages 3-6 from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.  Elizabeth lives in St. Paul.

Board Meeting Minutes