Meet Our Team

Julia Kallmes

Director & Co-Guide

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.

Monarch Montessori School Director Julia Kallmes

Emily Leutgeb


Theresa Kallmes

Extended Day

Monarch Montessori School Theresa Kallmes

We are thrilled to welcome Emily to Monarch! Emily has worked as a Montessori Children’s House classroom Assistant, Lead Teacher, and School Director for the past 13 years. She currently serves on the board of JJ Legacy Montessori School, a public charter school in North Minneapolis. She completed her AMS Early Childhood Credential and Master’s in Education at St. Catherine University. Emily resides in Roseville.

Theresa is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts at Hamline University. She has been a frequent volunteer in elementary classrooms. As a child, she attended Montessori school for nine years. Theresa has a passion for music and music education, and she is currently first chair viola in the Hamline Orchestra. Theresa enjoys seeing how much the children help and support one another.

Join Our Team!

Current Openings

Monarch Montessori School

Volunteer Board Member

Contact our Board President.

Board of Directors

Monarch Montessori School Board Member Jennie Lynch

Jennie Lynch


Jennie currently serves as the president of the Monarch Montessori board and has been a member of the board since early 2019. She received her BA from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. She has participated in numerous courses and professional opportunities focusing on education policy in the US. Jennie is a Minnesota native who resides in Saint Paul.

Monarch Montessori School Board Member Christopher Dirkes

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!

Monarch Montessori School Board Member Julie Benton

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.

Monarch Montessori School Board Member Erik Peterson

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.

Monarch Montessori School Board Member Kirsten Benton

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.

Monarch Montessori School Board Member Elizabeth Elcombe

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