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


Staff

Ryan Brown

Executive Director and Co-Founder

ryan@theubuntuschool.org

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 (13 years,  9 years, and 3 years old).

Andrea Ayotte

Assistant Program Director

andrea@theubuntuschool.org

For most of her life, Andrea has worked in roles and spaces that serve children, including schools, a museum/science center, a nature center, and organizations that serve families experiencing homelessness. She has a Master of Science in Early Childhood: Inclusive Education/Curriculum & Instruction from Portland State University. Her graduate research focused on the role that natural loose parts have on play and the creation of special/imaginative places outdoors. She also has a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership: Global & Organizational Leadership (with a focus on youth-serving organizations) from Western Michigan University. As a passionate researcher, Andrea enjoys digging into scholarship about all things early childhood: development, play, leadership, and nature-based learning. She loves living in Ann Arbor with her partner and their young daughter. When she’s not at the U School, she can be found around town with her family perusing libraries, playing in parks, and shopping at farmers markets.

Charlie Sutherland

3/4 Lead Teacher

charlie@theubuntuschool.org

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.

Sharon Broyles

3/4 Lead Teacher

sharon@theubuntuschool.org

In my youth, I clearly saw a fascination in observing children and watching after them. I saw their learning advance with each play and academic activity. To follow this fascination, I acquired a Masters in Education resulting in wonderful teaching positions for both special needs and regular preschool classes as well as a reading and academic specialist for elementary levels. In 2010, I launched and still continue my full time business, Fine Arts Fun Learning Center, as a performer and
instructor of dulcimer, guitar, uke, and other instruments. Students range from age 3 to retirement. Music is an important part of my life for many reasons but my true love is with little people so I’ve journeyed back to spending more teaching time with them.

In my spare time, I’ve enjoyed kayaking, hiking, painting, quilting, and gardening. The element and balance of rest, work and play is a trio I’ve learned to embrace for many beneficial reasons. I look forward to a wonderful year of sharing my skill and care with your child.

Lesley Maurer

4/5 Lead Teacher

lesley@theubuntuschool.org

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. Five years ago, her husband’s job change led them back to Michigan. Lesley and her husband David, have two children, Sam (18) and Josephine (15) as well as two dogs, Champion and Frankie.

Joseph Moriarty

4/5 Lead Teacher

joey@theubuntuschool.org

I am from Grand Rapids, Michigan. I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development and Family Studies from Central Michigan University. I have worn multiple hats in this field including Lead Teacher (3’s, 4’s, and Young 5’s), After School Program/Summer Program Director/Liaison, and Curriculum Director at multiple early childhood centers as well as public schools. My long term goal is to obtain my Masters degree in Child Policy and Advocacy to help advocate for and assist early childhood centers, teachers, directors, and parents. In my free time, I enjoy attending concerts, hiking, hammocking, and being outdoors. I am super excited to grow and learn with your children throughout this year!

Ellen Molina

3/4 Teacher

ellen@theubuntuschool.org

Ellen enters her fourth year of teaching at the U School and has 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.

Betsy Garter

3/4 Teacher

betsy@theubuntuschool.org

Betsy has lived throughout Michigan all her life, and has recently returned to Washtenaw County, where she is eager to further her teaching experience. Betsy has always loved working with children. After attending the University of Michigan and working in the non-profit sector, Betsy found a passion for working with children with developmental delays and went on to receive her Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis at Ball State. It is her hope to create more inclusive and open-minded environments for all learners. Outside of the classroom, Betsy enjoys water sports, hiking, singing, knitting, painting, and woodworking!

Billy Lane

4/5 Teacher

billy@theubuntuschool.org

Born in Ann Arbor, Billy moved around quite a bit in the early years, spending the majority of the teenage years in South Carolina. After high school, he enlisted in the Marines and after being in Iraq and Afghanistan, Teacher Billy wanted to focus on family life and a career change was imminent. Upon returning to Ann Arbor, he worked in various departments throughout Michigan Medicine and eventually obtained his Associates degree from Washtenaw Community College in Surgical Technology. After the birth of his two daughters, Elsa who is 5 and Rory who is 4, and the magical shared experiences with them, Billy discovered a true passion and direction that he wanted to pursue – early childhood education. Billy began at the U school over a year ago as a substitute teacher and quickly moved into a permanent teacher role. He has since obtained his Child Development Associate credential from Washtenaw Community College and joins the U School team as Co-Teacher. Billy and his daughters reside in the lovely town of Saline. Adventures await…

Kathryn Farris

4/5 Teacher

kathryn@theubuntuschool.org

Kathryn now enters her fourth year of teaching at the U School. She 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.

Anjelica Campbell

3/4 Teacher

anjelica@theubuntuschool.org

Anjelica began working in early childhood development when she was very young at her mom’s friend’s daycare. There she helped by making infant bottles and prepping snacks. Later on Anjelica spent time working in the infant room at her church’s children’s ministry. There she moved up in age and worked in their pre-kindergarten room. Over the last four years Anjelica has been working in child care center preschool classrooms.

Anjelica loves working with preschoolers and says this age is her, “favorite, because they have beautiful imaginations.” She is currently pursuing an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Development from Schoolcraft College and plans to acquire a Bachelors Degree and then a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. Anjelica is excited to work at the U School and gain inspiration from the U School teaching team, families, and new friends in the classroom. 

Emmanuel (Manny) Jones

3/4 Teacher

manny@theubuntuschool.org

Emmanuel Jones is a fourth year student at Eastern Michigan University studying Early Childhood Education. As a Michigan native, he plans to work hard to help every child in this state receive the best education possible. His journey had taken him to many places around the state, learning and absorbing techniques to help him further his skill as an educator. Though his ceremonial training is chiefly in implementation, he has spent the last several years doing educational research, taking him to the scenes of numerous colleges and classrooms. Eternally pursued and insatiably inquisitive, Mr. Jones wishes you nothing but the best.

Marissa Welch

4/5 Teacher

marissa@theubuntuschool.org

Marissa has always had a big heart for working with children of all ages, and has found her true calling in childhood development. Upon entering college, Marissa began teaching in a formal preschool classroom and found this age group to be extremely engaging, rewarding, and fulfilling. Marissa is now entering her third year of assistant teaching in a preschool setting.  Marissa has a passion for teaching little minds and emphasizes the importance of development at a young age through play and exploration. “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” John Trainer, MD.

She currently resides in Whitmore Lake, Michigan and in her free time enjoys being outdoors, on the lake, doing yoga or teaching essential oil classes. 

Francesca Terzoli

4/5 Teacher

francesca@theubuntuschool.org

Francesca recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Psychology, and focused her coursework on developmental and educational psychology. Francesca knew she wanted to pursue a career working with children at the age of 16. Through her courses at UM she discovered a passion for Early Childhood Education with a particular interest in curriculum development, and hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in the future. In her interactions with young students, Francesca always strives to incorporate thoughtful and meaningful learning experiences into any activity. Francesca was born and raised in South Africa, only moving to Michigan for her freshman year of college; she is especially thrilled to start her career at a school that has a strong connection to an important South African philosophy, Ubuntu, and looks forward to the adventures ahead!

Lauren Roy

Art Studio Teacher & Pedagogy Support

lauren@theubuntuschool.org

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.

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.

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.

Vanessa Thoburn

Art Studio & Cooking Teacher

Tim Haldeman

Music Teacher

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.

Hannah Jacobsen

Substitute Teacher

hannahj@theubuntuschool.org

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!”


Community Partners


Donors

  • 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