At Dodge Nature Preschool, early childhood development is at the core of our programs. Our staff has a strong background in education. They hold advanced degrees in various fields including early childhood education, psychology, environmental science, and art. They are certified in CPR and First Aid and have also completed numerous hours of in-service training to meet the requirements of NAEYC and state licensing. We frequently partner with local colleges and universities to place student interns and teachers in our classrooms. There are two teachers and one assistant teacher in each classroom. Our high teacher-to-student ratio of 3:18 allows for children’s learning to take place in small, intimate groups both indoors and outdoors.
Amy received her M.A. in Early Childhood Education from Sonoma State University and her B.S. in Business with minors in Conservation Biology and Environmental Management from the University of Minnesota. Before starting at Dodge she managed preschool programs at the Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County and taught as an adjunct professor in Child Development at Santa Rosa Junior College. Amy has experience teaching preschool using a Reggio Emilia approach as well as coordinating, managing and teaching family, school and camp programs in nature and environmental centers. She is excited to combine her knowledge and passion for early childhood and nature education as the Preschool Director for Dodge.
Joey has been a part of the team at Dodge Nature Preschool since 2003. She holds a B.A. in history from Macalester College and an M. Ed. in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Minnesota. In 2014, she was the recipient of the Kate Davidson Tanner Award. Joey is a regular contributor to the podcast “Teaching with the Body in Mind.”
Beki has been at Dodge Nature Preschool since the fall of 2016. She has a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Beki has worked as a newscast producer and in public relations. Most recently, she spent eight years teaching cake decorating classes.
Danielle is so excited to join the Dodge Nature Preschool community. She comes to us with a background as a naturalist with Minneapolis Parks and Recreation. Danielle spent time at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary, North Mississippi Regional Park and throughout community recreation centers leading early childhood nature play and other public programs on native wildflowers, mushrooms, medicinal plants and more. Danielle has also collaborated with Minneapolis Nature Preschool and Head Start preschools to provide supporting education. She enjoys spending time by the river and listening to music.
Jennifer began teaching at Dodge in 2013. She grew up learning from nature and enjoys sharing her appreciation with young children. She has earned a B.A. in Communications with a minor in Film at the University of St. Thomas and a Master’s in Education: Natural Science and Environmental Education from Hamline University. Jennifer has worked in the Bloomington school district and at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul.
April begins her third year teaching at Dodge Nature Preschool. Previously she taught preschool at Fraser school and worked as a special education teaching assistant in the Saint Paul Public Schools. She has a BS in Human Services and Early childhood and a Master’s in Education: Natural Sciences and Environmental Education from Hamline University. April enjoys camping, hiking, biking, canoeing, gardening, and generally spending time outside with her husband and son.
Alli is so excited to be joining the staff at Dodge Nature Preschool. She has a BA in Studio Art with an education minor from St. Olaf College and has worked with young children in many settings including the Minnesota Children’s Museum, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and in public schools. Most recently she was an assistant teacher at a Montessori Preschool in Minneapolis.
Judy received her BA in Sociology and Masters of Arts in Teaching; Science and Inquiry from Hamline. She has taught at Breck School and student taught at Mounds View School. She has been an Education presenter for the University of Minnesota Raptor Center and is a Master Gardener. She supported Bud, the Dodge Nature Center eagle, as he made his home here at Dodge.
Julie received her BA in Psychology from St. Olaf College, completed a Pre-K licensure program at the University of Minnesota and has completed additional graduate work in Education and Social Work. Her professional experiences include working as a teacher/director at Neighborhood House Child Care Center, working as an early intervention coordinator/teacher at Families Together Program of Lifetrack Resource, and teaching Pre-K in the St. Paul Public Schools. Julie teaches an online course through the Center for Early Education and Development, University of Minnesota and is also a published author.
Kristenza began teaching at Dodge Nature Preschool in 2009. Kristenza has a B.F.A. in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute and attended the University of Minnesota Master Gardener Core Program. She has completed her Child Development Associate through the National Council of Professional Recognition, and is currently working on a Masters in Environmental Education at Hamline. A parent of two preschool alumni, Kristenza has taught art and photography for the Girls Scouts of Saint Croix Valley and for the YMCA.
Kari returns to Dodge Nature Preschool for her 6th year. She has 13 years of experience as an early childhood teacher with extensive study and experience in the Reggio Emilia Approach. Her educational background includes a B.A. from Hamline in Communications and Psychology and early childhood credits from St. Kate’s.
Johannah has been a part of the team at Dodge Nature Preschool since 2016. She earned her BA in Early Childhood Education from the University of Northwestern - St. Paul. Johannah enjoys spending time hiking and gardening with her family and spends time working with families and children in crisis, within her home.
Britney began teaching at Dodge Nature Preschool in 2008. Britney is an alumni parent and was a volunteer at the preschool. Britney holds a B.S. in Life Sciences and Natural Resources from the University of Minnesota. Britney enjoys being outside and spending time with her family. Her hobbies include sketching, photography, and hiking.
Jane joined Dodge Nature Preschool in the summer of 2019. She has a BA in Political Science/International Relations. After working as an interpretive assistant for the USDA Forest Service, Jane earned an elementary education certificate, taught in elementary classrooms and worked as a paraprofessional in an ECSE classroom. Jane recently earned a certificate in Animals and Human Health from the University of Denver. She hopes one day to run a therapeutic farm for children. She lives with her family, three dogs and many foster puppies in Rosemount.
Melissa received her Bachelor of Education from the University of Wisconsin and her Masters at Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. She has had experience developing curriculum for children K-8 about wellness and sustainability, curriculum built around a school garden, greenhouse and schoolyard chickens. Melissa enjoys gardening, yoga, and exploring local parks with her family.
Allison is joining the Dodge team this year as a Lunch Bunch teacher and sub. Allison was a Dodge parent, active volunteer and classroom sub during the time her two children attended DNP. Her interest and enthusiasm for our work has continued after her children finished preschool. Allison has a degree in hotel and restaurant management from Cornell University and looks forward to growing her knowledge of early childhood and nature education.
Kristin has worked with children since high school and began teaching at Dodge Nature Preschool in 2008. She is an alumni parent and volunteer. She has a B.A. in Biology with minors in chemistry and math from the University of Minnesota, Morris and a M.Ed. in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota. She enjoys spending time outdoors, camping, geocaching, cooking, and spending time with her family.