The U Team


Five Lineups:

Board of Directors, Staff, Community Partners, Donors, & Special Advisors

Scroll down below to view the teammates of each lineup.

Board of Directors


Ryan Brown

Executive Director and Co-Founder

Ryan has 20 years of experience, with 15 years of that being in leadership and management roles, in the education sector. Starting off as a first grade basketball coach Ryan has built his career in the field of education and has become an innovative and well respected early childhood and school-age educator. His enthusiasm and passion for working with children as well as his engaging stories of experience translate into powerful, inspiring, and informative guidance for others.

  • Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education Administration and Leadership from The University of Michigan.
  • Current member of Washtenaw Community College Early Childhood Education Advisory Committee.
  • Early Childhood Education Lecturer/Student Supervisor at UM-Dearborn.
  • Transitional Toddler Teacher at Allen Creek Preschool
  • Lead pre-kindergarten teacher at Bright Horizons (NAEYC accredited center) in Redwood City, CA. At Bright Horizons, Ryan was recognized by his peers, families, and school leaders with awards such as The Family Partnership Award, The Rising Star Award, and the Teamwork Award.
  • Director of Green Adventures Camp, an Ann Arbor Public Schools/Rec & Ed summer academic enrichment camp.
  • Supervisor of Ann Arbor Public Schools before, kindergarten, and after school child care programs.
  • YMCA Early Childhood Sports Supervisor.
  • Loving husband of Hannah Brown (see below) and father of three boys (12 years,  8 years, and 2 years old).

Lesley Maurer

4/5 Lead Teacher

Lesley is a Michigan native who has taught and worked with children and their families for over twenty years. She graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a degree in Elementary Education. Shortly after graduation, she moved to Chicago, IL and made her home there. She taught elementary school for several years, until she and her husband started their own family. When she returned to work after a five-year break, she began teaching preschool. She discovered early childhood was her passion and has been teaching preschool for the last nine years. Two years ago, her husband’s job change led them back to Michigan. Lesley and her husband David, have two children, Sam (15) and Josephine (13) as well as two dogs, Champion and Frankie.

Charlie Sutherland

3/4 Lead Teacher

Teacher Charlie has been at the U School since it opened in September, 2015. He is the lead teacher of the 3/4 classroom, and the U School’s resident mindfulness coach.

After beginning with adult ESL teaching in 2002, Charlie moved from his hometown of Ann Arbor to the Bay Area to pursue a credential in public school teaching. After eight years teaching high school English, he made the switch to working in preschools, remaining in California for three more years to teach in Montessori classrooms. When the time came to come back home to Michigan, he heard about a new place called the U School from the family of Ryan Brown’s nephew, who happened to be in Charlie’s class in San Francisco.

Back when he was teaching high school and trying to stay sane, Charlie learned how to meditate using the Unified Mindfulness system, and also received training in how to teach the system to others. He teaches the U Family Mindful Parents & Educators program, and his main interest is in developing more ways to share awareness practice with children, families, and fellow educators.

Ellen Molina

3/4 Teacher

Ellen recently relocated here from Austin, Texas bringing with her 20+ years of experience working which children in various preschool settings. She attained her Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate in 2013 and is pursuing her Associate of Arts in Theater. Alongside her experience as a preschool teacher she brings a passion for photography; especially capturing beautiful moments of children at play and collegiate football players in action on the field. She is thrilled to be able to share her experience and passions with the staff, children and families of the U School, Ann Arbor.

Andrea Ayotte

4/5 Teacher

Andrea is a Michigander through and through. She holds a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education with a focus on constructivism and nature-based learning. Andrea has worked with children for many years in a variety of settings, including a preschool, home-daycare, children’s science center, and nature center. In her free time, she loves to cook, read, work with fiber arts, and tend to her gardens. She can also be found hiking through the woods with her partner and two dogs, Ranger and Wendel.

Kathryn Farris

4/5 Teacher

Kathryn has lived in Ann Arbor most of her life, except for a small amount of time living in Ypsilanti and attending Eastern Michigan University for Children’s Literature/Theatre for the Young. Being raised by parents who both loved to teach, it has always been in her heart to do so. The path of Children’s Literature took her to many new places she may not have gone otherwise, including 826michigan and putting on small plays for local schools. Kathryn has always dreamed of collecting enough children’s books to create a library.

Billy Lane

4/5 Teacher

Hannah Jacobsen

3/4 Teacher

Hannah began working at the U School as a substitute teacher. She is originally from Tecumseh, but has lived in Washtenaw County and surrounding areas for the past 18 years. Hannah has received two CDA certifications from WCC, and is currently working towards her Early Childhood Education degree. She has been both a preschool teacher and a nanny her entire adult life. Hannah says that teaching and caring for small children is “my thing!”

Hannah Brown

Child & Family Support Coordinator

Hannah has broad experience working in child and family focused environments. She started her professional career working with children in child care environments where she found a love for working with families and great teams. Those experiences led her to pursue studies in social work, culminating in a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan, with an additional certification in School Social Work and training in art therapy. Hannah now holds a Clinical License in Social Work Hannah and has worked with families at Ele’s Place, New Beginnings Academy, Interfaith Hospitality Network at Alpha House, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor Public Schools School-Aged Child Care program, Americorps, and Shelter Networks Haven Family House (a transitional housing family shelter in Northern California). Hannah is the mother of three delightfully charming boys.

Lauren Roy

Art Studio Teacher

Lauren Roy graduated with honors in 2014 from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a Bachelor degree in Elementary Education and holds an Early Childhood endorsement (General and Special Education). While completing her undergraduate studies, she served at the University of Michigan – Dearborn Early Childhood Education Center as staff and a Great Parents, Great Start teacher. Eager to discover more about how children learn, since completing her degree, Lauren has traveled to various cities in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, New York, and Reggio Emilia, Italy. The enthusiasm and passion she cultivated from diverse areas has played a strong role while serving as a lead teacher and art studio teacher in both preschool settings.

On a personal side, Lauren and her husband Joel enjoy traveling, hiking, kayaking, and waterfall gazing. A new chapter recently opened in March as the couple transitioned into parenthood to daughter Braelynn. Now their daughter joins them on these adventures and offers a new lens of joy!
Lauren is super excited to be part of the U School and looks forward to growing as a parent in this strong community.

Natalie Berry

Yoga Teacher

Natalie is a playful, energetic, yogini and artist, who uses these tools to make a more peaceful environment for herself and others.  She has been practicing yoga since 2008 and and studied at A2 Yoga, where she began teaching since 2011.  She has been practicing painting and performance art for much longer, but more professionally since 2008.  She strives to teach mindfulness through silliness, music and creative story telling to anyone willing to pretend to be a monkey.

Fabio da Cunha (Lobinho)

Capoeira Teacher

Fabio Cosmo da Cunha, known in the capoeira world as “Contra Mestre Lobinho” began training Capoeira in 1998 in Sao Paulo, Brazil under Mestre Coruja of the group Cordao de Ouro. He is full of positive energy, and has a wonderful background working with children of all ages. Coming from Brazil, Lobinho offers a different perspective on life and coming from a close knit community, he offers values and lessons based on his own experiences.

Tim Haldeman

Music Teacher

Community Partners


  • Amy Grambeau
  • Amy Szymaszek
  • Anne Montague
  • Anupa Bhise-Pierre
  • Bethena Wallace
  • Briana Murphy
  • Candi Gonzalez
  • Caitlin Klein
  • Carol Ludwig
  • Carol Perry
  • Chris Swinko
  • Claudia Repsold
  • Curtis Wallace
  • Daniel Beider
  • Daniela Bach
  • Dave Arbury
  • Deanna Jones
  • Denise Cope
  • Diana Miller
  • Eileen Kreiner
  • Ellen Brody
  • Emily Greene
  • Emma Raynor
  • Eric Zinn
  • Eril Andes
  • Erin Pons
  • Evelyn Yocum
  • Fa’al Yamin Ali
  • Fernanda Repsold
  • Frank Perry
  • Gregor Repsold
  • Gregory Lang
  • Heather Halabu
  • Helen Pankowski
  • Isley Brown
  • Jackson Perry
  • Jamall Bufford
  • Jamie Pons
  • Jan Ulrich
  • Jane Levy
  • Jason DePasquale
  • Jason Steingold
  • Jay Stanton
  • Jeff Hamilton
  • Jeffrey Klein
  • Jen Babycz
  • Jennifer Quadro
  • Jeremy Cavagnolo
  • Jessica Rodriguez
  • Jessica Adelle McCumons
  • Joe Abrams
  • Joe Malcoun
  • Johanna Horn
  • John Stahly
  • Jonathan Gillies
  • Joshua Remsberg
  • Julie Golden
  • Julie Zinn
  • Justin Harper
  • Kadesha Baker
  • Kate Beck
  • Kathi Cohen
  • Ken Ludwig
  • Ken Raynor
  • Ko Shih
  • Laura Pershin Raynor
  • Lauren Stine
  • Linda Robinson
  • Lisa Dengiz
  • Liza Brereton
  • Lizann Amason
  • Lori Stark
  • Lucie Keiner
  • Margaret B. Lansing
  • Maria Cecilia
  • Maria Eduarda Braga Padilha
  • Mariana Repsold
  • Mariann Airgood
  • Mark Miller
  • Martin Smith
  • Mary Mathias
  • Matthew McCumons
  • Mayra Pereira
  • Michael Demps
  • Michelle Carolan
  • Michelle Mendlewicz
  • Mike Perry
  • Mike Zinn
  • Natalia Bae
  • Natalie Christian
  • Nathan Ayers
  • Nathan Klussmann
  • Neil Miller
  • Nicole Arbury
  • Oana Nitulescu
  • Patti Dizon Woods
  • Paquetta Palmer
  • Renata
  • Ricardo Marcondes
  • Robin Schultz-Purves
  • Ryan Rooney
  • Seth Yocum
  • Sharon Watling
  • Sherry Murphy
  • Steve Perry
  • Terri Nelson
  • Theadora Yocum
  • Tim Ludwig
  • Tom Williams
  • Toni Morell
  • Travis Amason
  • Victoria Groom
  • Wendy Carty-Saxon

Special Advisors