Meet The Montessori Faculty
Head of School & Children's House Directress
Deepa Shreekumar grew up having a diplomat father enabling her to experience varied countries and cultures. Just when she thought life was settling down, her husband, Rajesh’s job began to take them to many different countries and they moved to Milwaukee about 2 decades ago. Deepa has a Masters Degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from India and has worked in radio, made documentary films and taught film making before arriving at teaching. Her interest in Montessori began with her mother’s teaching experience as well as running a school for differently abled children in India. It resurfaced when her older son, Advik, now working on his Doctrate, attended a Montessori school. When her younger son, Arjun, now in college, started at a Children’s House, her fascination with the Montessori philosophy peaked. She completed her Early Childhood training from Seton Montessori Institute, in 2006 and began working at Nature’s Classroom Institute Montessori the same year. In order to better serve children who learn differently within a Montessori environment, she has since completed her primary certification in Montessori Applied to Children At Risk (MACAR) from The Shelton School in Dallas. Deepa has also completed her Certification in Montessori Leadership and School Administration from Seton Montessori Institute. Since 2018, Deepa has taken on the role of Head of School while still being a Directress in the Children’s House classroom. She has been a regular presenter at local, regional, national and international Montessori and Early Childhood conferences, focusing on Montessori practice, restorative justice, building community and fostering empathy in the classroom, and connecting the indoors to the outdoors. Deepa enjoys meeting people, cooking, reading and listening to music. She greatly appreciates a sense of humor and friendship especially when made in lands far away from her own.
Carrie Benzinger joined Nature’s Classroom Institute Montessori as our Office Manager in 2018. Previously she worked with client data providing service to both employer and customer in the Customs trade compliance and transportation payment industries. Carrie grew up in the Milwaukee area, is married, has 3 sons, and currently lives in the Town of Vernon, east of Mukwonago. She enjoys cooking, baking, spending time with her family dog (Chili) and is a dedicated library patron and fan of the many resources it has available to all. Carrie is interested in what Nature’s Classroom Institute and Montessori school offers students and is eager to learn much more about it.
Children's House Assistant
Esther Meier enrolled her son Matthias in the Lake Geneva Montessori School when she first moved to Wisconsin in 2014. He loved the school so much that he only wanted to go to Montessori schools from that point on. He has been enrolled in the Nature’s Classroom Institute Montessori School in Mukwonago since his first year in Lower Elementary and is currently a 6th year Elementary student. Esther is a German native and has worked as a project manager in the educational department of Volkswagen for many years where she mainly designed workshops/programs for Kindergarten and schoolchildren of all ages based on their curriculum. Because of her background in education and her love for the Montessori approach, she began working as an Assistant Teacher at the Lake Geneva Montessori School in 2017. Esther has also been teaching pre-k/Kindergarten students at the German School of Madison for the last two years where she brings a Montessori approach to her lessons. Outside of her time in school, Esther loves her weekday yoga classes. In the summer, she enjoys going to the beach and walking the lake path in Lake Geneva in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter with her husband Tom and son Matthias. She also loves going to museums (especially art museums) and travelling and exploring new places – her favorite country is Italy.
Lindsay Wurtzel grew up in South Texas. Lindsay spent a lot of time with family traveling, dancing, learning how to cook, and performing with theater groups. She received her Bachelors from The University of Texas Rio Grande with a minor in history and English. She spent time teaching in a deaf education classroom before moving to Boston to attend Hebrew College. Lindsay graduated with a Masters in Jewish Education and a certification in Jewish Special Education in 2004. Lindsay started in a Montessori primary classroom in 2005 and then moved into the Upper Elementary classroom. She completed her Lower and Upper Elementary certification through The Houston Montessori Center. Lindsay was state certified in Texas in EC-4 and EC-12 special education. She has lived in Vermont, Hawaii, Texas, Florida, and Massachusetts. Lindsay loves to learn, travel, bake, sew, create, and explore the outdoors. Lindsay She moves here with her small dog Minnie and a passion for life and new adventures.
Katelyn Bratz graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of the Arts degree in History, as well as certificates in Classical History and European History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Katelyn began her career working with students through environmental education. She came to Nature’s Classroom Institute and Montessori in 2008. Since then she has taken on various roles: environmental educator, environmental Education Director, history teacher, elementary assistant and for many years now our Adolescent Directress. It is during her work in our environmental program that Katelyn came to appreciate and understand the Montessori Method. Katelyn completed the AMI/NAMTA Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies in 2012. She has also acquired her Secondary I-II Credential from CMSTEP and a Master’s in Montessori Education from Xavier University. Since 2008, Katelyn has worked to progress and expand our Adolescent programming. She can be found regularly hiking and working at Nature’s Classroom property with her dogs, Audi and Sitka, gardening, or tending to the farm. All of which continue to be hobbies for Katelyn and a strong connection to her environmental background.
We would love you to explore the idea of working with us at our Montessori School