Board of Trustees
Our Board of Trustees
Oak Hill Montessori's Board of Trustees guides the long-term viability of the school through the creation and implementation of a strategic direction.
The Board hires the Head of School to manage daily operations, hire and guide staff, ensure program authenticity, and communicate with the community.
Oak Hill Montessori's Board of Trustees oversees the school's adherence to its mission, vision, and values. Board members abide by a Code of Conduct to obey their duties of loyalty to the school, obedience in complying with applicable laws and regulations, and care in all decisions of the Board. Trustees are appointed to the Board by the Committee of Trustees.
The Board also draws on the expertise of the Oak Hill Montessori Advisory Council, a dedicated group of Twin Cities Montessori ambassadors representing various businesses, professions, and parents of Oak Hill Montessori Alumni.
Please direct any questions to the Board Chair.Board Officers
Heidi Pautsch - Chair
David Van Meter - Vice Chair
Matt Howell- Treasurer
Terri Melcher - SecretaryOak Hill Montessori Board MembersWhitney Blessing
Whitney is the founder and Head of School at Cathedral Hill Montessori School in St. Paul, MN. Originally from Colorado, Whitney attended the University of Minnesota and studied Sociology and English literature. She also holds an AMI Primary Diploma from the Montessori Training Center of MN, and continues to support the teacher-training program by reading albums for the Montessori Center of MN. She is also an active member of Montessori Administrators Association (MAA), the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), North American Montessori Teachers Association (NAMTA), and local AMI-MN Heads of School group. Whitney lives in St. Paul with her husband, Andy, and their four delightful Montessori children: Gwyneth, Weston, Freya, and Stellan, whom attend Lake Country and Cathedral Hill Montessori Schools. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, travel, photography, crafts, nature walks, movie-going, live music, and precious family time.Spencer Butts
Spencer is the first Oak Hill Montessori alumni to join the board, as he attended Oak Hill Montessori (through kindergarten) in the early 1980's. He attended Mounds Park Academy, followed by Kalamazoo College in Michigan where he majored in English with a minor in Art History. Spencer first worked in construction as a project manager for a small remodeling company based out of Minneapolis. After this, he hung up his tool belt and attended law school and has been a practicing attorney since 2011. His law practice, located in Forest Lake, is mainly focused on real estate, probate (including guardianship and conservatorship proceedings), business formation and estate planning. Spencer and his wife, Nicole, have two boys at Oak Hill. When Spencer attended Oak Hill Montessori, he had Debbi Betts as a teacher and now Ms. Debbi is his son Jasper's teacher in Casa 1.
Matt Howell, Treasurer
Matt has been an Oak Hill Montessori parent since 2011 and joined the Board in 2013. He and his wife, Rachel, have two sons at Oak Hill Montessori. After six years as an officer in the United States Army, Matt has worked the past 15 years in a variety of positions with Frito-Lay, Inc., and is currently the Director of Finance for Frito-Lay's Midwest Regions. He graduated with a BS in Ecomnomics, with a Concentration in Actuarial Science, from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Lillyan Hoyos
Lillyan Hoyos and Sam Baker have been Oak Hill Montessori parents since 2010 when their daughter Samantha joined the Casa community. Lillyan joined the Board in 2012 and is also an active member of the Oak Hill Montessori Parents Association. She has a Bachelor's Degree from Florida International University in Miami. A former member of SkillsUSA's Youth Development Foundation, Lillyan currently volunteers with SkillsUSA Minnesota.Chris KindlerMichelle Louis
Michelle holds a BA in Biology from Saint Olaf College, a MA in Counceling Psychology from Bethel University, and a PhD in Higher Education with a concentration in organizational leadership from Azusa Pacific University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Noel Academy for Strenghts-Based Leadership and Education and has since served as an educational consultant for the Gallup Organization and associate editor for The Journal of Positive Psychology. She teaches at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels and conducts research on topics related to the intersection of psychology and education. Michelle and her husband David have two children at Oak Hill Montessori.
Rolf is currently the Director of Development and Communications at St. Stephen's Human Services whose mission is to end homelessness. He and his wife, Olivia Christensen, live in White Bear Lake and have two children at Oak Hill Montessori (Vera-Casa 3, Raphy-Toddler 2). Rolf holds a BA in History from Purdue University and a MA in History and Theology from Luther Seminary. His passions include spending time with his family, reading, writing, gardening, education and the environment.Terri Melcher, Secretary Heidi Pautsch, Board Chair
Heidi has been an Oak Hill Montessori parent since 2009 and joined the Board in 2013. She is employed with Twin Cities-Metro Certified Development Company, a non-profit organization specializing in providing commercial fixed-asset financing to small businesses via the U.S. Small Business Administration's 504 Loan Program. She holds a BA degree in Organizational Management from Gustavus Adolphus College. Heidi and her husband, Mike, have two children at at Oak Hill Montessori. Juli RubinDavid Van Meter, Vice Chair
David joined the Board in 2008. He is the Chief Knowledge Officer at Infinite Campus managing student data for over 4 million students and nearly 2,000 public school districts across the country. David has extensive background in helping service and technology companies mature and become customer focused. David has also been actively involved in the community as a head coach for youth football in Mahtomedi. He holds a BA in both Mathematics and Computer Science from the college of St. Thomas. David and his wife, Stacy, have two children, who are Oak Hill Montessori Graduates.Kim Vappie
Kim has been an Oak Hill Montessori parent since her son joined the school 2012. Kim has a B.A. in Economics and Business Management. During a laps of better judgment, Kim attended law school and is a licensed attorney. Realizing she has a strong interest in business, Kim bought a company at the ripe old age of 26. She served as the organization's CEO through 2015. Kim's current obsession is helping growth-oriented organizations create healthy, functional and cohesive leadership teams. Kim's experience also includes working for three Fortune 500 companies, a non-profit, and a Silicon Valley company. She volunteers and has served on Boards for several non-profit organizations. Kim and her husband Rich have one son, Gavin at Oak Hill Montessori and her older son, Spencer, who attends Totino-Grace. Barb Yarusso
Barb and her husband Dave, live in Shoreview. Their three children attended Montessori schools through 6th grade, the youngest at Oak Hill Montessori, during the Oak Hill Montessori expansion into elementary grades. Barb served on the Junior High Program Planning Committee, and did the economic feasibility analysis for that expansion. Barb has a bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of MN, and a PhD (also in ChemE) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Barb's engineering career eventually evolved into a teaching career. She taught engineering courses as adult short courses at the University of St. Thomas, and as an adjunct instructor at the University of Minnesota. She returned to the U of M to obtain a teaching licenses, where she met Oak Hill Montessori teacher Sarah Plumb. Barb later taught chemistry and physics at Hill-Murray High School. She currently serves in the Minnesota House of Representatives where education policy is on of her areas of concentration. She also tutors students in high school through college courses math and science subjects. Oak Hill Montessori Advisory CouncilJim and Laurie Chalmers
, Shoreview residents, Former Shoreview MayorJean Melancon
, Parent of Oak Hill Montessori Alumni, Past Board ChairMolly O'shaughnessy
, Montessori Training Center of MinnesotaJane Reilly
, Parent of Oak Hill Montessori AlumniMelissa Santrach
, Parent of Oak Hill Montessori Alumni, Past Board ChairShelly Myrland
, F & M Bank Commercial LenderDr. Leonard Snellman
, HealthPartners PediatricianAnn Marie Woessner-Collins
, Parent of Oak Hill Montessori Alumni