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.
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.
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 the fall of 2013. She grew up learning from nature and enjoys sharing her appreciation with young children. She is currently working to complete a Child Development Associate degree. Jennifer has earned a B.A. in Communications with a minor in Film at the University of St. Thomas and a Master’s degree in Natural Science and Environmental Education from Hamline. Jennifer worked in the Bloomington school district in early childhood, special education, and leading community education programs. She completed an internship at Woodlake Nature Center and worked at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory as an educator.
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 Koon joined the Dodge Nature Preschool team in 2019. She has a B.A. in studio art from St Olaf College with a minor in education and is currently completing a Child Development Associate program through Penn State Extension. She has worked with young children in many settings including the Minnesota Children’s Museum and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Before coming to Dodge, she was an assistant teacher at a Montessori preschool in Minneapolis. She enjoys thinking creatively about art experiences in nature.
Tess holds both a BA and M. Ed. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Minnesota. She has experience teaching preschool as an assistant at two Montessori schools and as a student teacher at the Shirley G. Moore Lab School. Tess grew up visiting Wood Lake Nature Center and attended a number of their summer programs. She looks forward to sharing the joy of nature with her students this fall.
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.
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 started teaching at Dodge in 2014. She has over 14 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.
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.
Melissa came to Dodge Nature Preschool in the Spring of 2019 as a substitute teacher. Before Dodge, she taught preschool at the Concordia University campus and has been a Youth Director at the YMCA in Greensburg, PA. Melissa received her M.A. in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University and her B.S. in Human Services from Geneva College in Pittsburgh, PA. Melissa enjoys biking, fishing, hiking, and spending time with her husband, cat, and poodle.
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.