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 (14 years,  10 years, and 3 years old).

Andrea Ayotte

Assistant Program Director

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 supporting local businesses.

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.

Susan Sowder

3/4 Lead Teacher

Susan has over 18 years of teaching experience. She has taught science in Africa and Detroit, and elementary school in Alaska. Most recently, she is returning to the US after teaching kindergarten for three years in South Africa. Susan’s true passion is for the preschool age group — she had taught at an Ann Arbor preschool for 10 years prior to moving to South Africa. She is excited to be returning to Ann Arbor and enjoying some of the things they missed: fall apples, cross-country skiing and Michigan football.  She and her husband have lived in Michigan for over 20 years and have four grown children.

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. 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

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 enters her fifth year of teaching at the U School and has 20+ years of experience working with 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.

Francesca Terzoli

3/4 Teacher

Francesca 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 (ECE) with a particular interest in curriculum development. Francesca is now pursuing her MA in ECE Administration & Leadership from UM-Dearborn.

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 continue her career at a school that has a strong connection to an important South African philosophy, Ubuntu, and looks forward to the adventures ahead!

Kassandra Stelmaszek

4/5 Teacher

Kassandra, Kassie for short, was born and raised in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Growing up her family embarked on frequent camping trips, fostering Kassie’s love of the great outdoors. Kassie began working with young children in high school, teaching swimming lessons at her local YMCA; she went on to work in multiple preschool settings while obtaining her degree in education. Kassie graduated from Lake Superior State University in 2018 with a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education and an Associate in Social Work. After graduating Kassie moved down to Jackson, MI, where she worked as Lead Teacher and Program Director of Little Acorns Nature Preschool for two years. Kassie has developed a passion for teaching her students through meaningful interactions and experiences in nature.

Kathryn Farris

4/5 Teacher

Kathryn attended Eastern Michigan University for Children’s Literature/Theatre for the Young and went on to become a copy editor for a short while before discovering The U School. Her dad, David Szczygiel (a profound environmental educator for the Ann Arbor public schools), encouraged Kathryn to become a teacher at an amazing new preschool his friend, Ryan Brown, had just started. This brought her to instantly fall in love with The U school and the philosophies behind it. Five years later, she still refuses to let go of The U School, after all the joy and love it’s given in her life. Outside of school life, Kathryn loves to draw and paint in her free time, and she brings her love of art into her teaching as much as she can. She lives with her husband and cat in Ypsilanti.

Sarah Carmichael

3/4 Teacher

I am a true Michigander. I was raised on a farm here in SE Michigan and have lived here my whole life and yes, I point to my palm when asked where certain cities are in our state. Being a caregiver by nature and loving children, I started caring for children in their homes at a young age. This led me to studying early childhood education after high school graduation. I earned my associate degree from Washtenaw Community College and have worked as a preschool teacher for 23 years. I particularly enjoy establishing deep relationships with children where they feel seen, heard and valued. I have been intrigued by The U School since it opened and when the opportunity arose for me to become part of this team and community, I jumped on it!  I have 3 wonderful children, who have taught me a lot about child development, growth and changes that occur as infants grow into young adults. I live with my wife and a cat named, “Snoop” who is as curious as a young child. I am looking forward to exciting things to come.

Anjelica Campbell

3/4 Teacher

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. 

Dorrian Page

4/5 Teacher

Dorrian has six years experience working with children ages 5-14. His experience includes AAPS Rec & Ed basketball and after school sports coach, refereeing, and for the last two summers he has been a counselor at Camp Al-Gon-Quin. Dorrian says he enjoys working with kids because they always want to have fun and they’re full of energy. He is ready for the fun!

Shalae Page

4/5 Teacher

Shalae has various experiences working with children including three years as counselor at Camp Al-Gon-Quian, coaching and refereeing for AAPS Rec & Ed, and being the oldest sibling of six children. Shalae also serves as board member of A2PBSU (Ann Arbor Pioneer Black Student Union). Shalae loves working with children and is here to have fun!

Lauren Roy

Art Studio Teacher & Pedagogy Support

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.

Curtis Wallace

Yoga Teacher

Curtis, the U School’s first yoga teacher, is back with us! 

Curtis is the owner and operator of The Be Creative Studio. He has been teaching and learning in our community for almost 26 years. In his seven year practice as a yoga practitioner he has learned that yoga is for every mind, everybody, and body type! His version of this mindfulness practice in yoga, helps kids build strength, and improve their posture, balance, flexibility, and coordination. Yoga helps teach children how to relax and destress … which can also help with better focus, attention span, and sleep patterns. This will help regulate and promote better focus, attention span, that is needed on long days of play based learning. This all to build confidence to deal with daily challenges that children process through for positive growth!

Billy Lane

Super Sub!

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…

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.

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