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 & Co-Founder

ryan@theubuntuschool.org

Ryan has 25+ years of experience, with 20 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 (16 years,  12 years, and 5 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 (a U Schooler!). 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

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.

Kassie Stelmaszek

3/4 Lead Teacher

kassandra@theubuntuschool.org

Teacher Kassie 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, lifeguarding, and coaching the swim team at her local YMCA. Kassie 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’s greatest passion is teaching through meaningful interactions and experiences in nature.

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!

Francesca Terzoli

3/4 Co-Teacher

francesca@theubuntuschool.org

Francesca was born and raised in South Africa, and moved to Ann Arbor in 2015 for college. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelors in Psychology, focusing her coursework on developmental and educational psychology. Through those courses, she discovered a growing passion for Early Childhood Education. Francesca joined the U School team shortly after graduating to explore the field and gain more hands-on classroom experience. Since then, her commitment to this field (and this school!) has only deepened. Inspired by her U School mentors and colleagues, Francesca completed a Masters in ECE Administration and Leadership at UM-Dearborn. She is excited to continue gaining valuable years of experience supporting young children in the classroom to deepen her knowledge of curriculum development and pedagogy, all while working with the most wonderful community of people!

Ryan Huey

3/4 Co-Teacher

Ryan is the child of a preschool teacher and a college professor. He started subbing at the U School while trudging through an advanced degree in history at Michigan State. He enjoyed many years of teaching college students and was surprised to find that teaching preschoolers was not all that different. He is learning more about child development every day as the parent of a toddler and the partner of an early childhood expert.

Sarah Carmichael

4/5 Co-Teacher

sarah@theubuntuschool.org

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.

Kathryn Farris

4/5 Co-Teacher

kathryn@theubuntuschool.org

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.

Emma Bunker-Uzelac

3/4 Teacher

Emma was born in Vietnam and raised in Ann Arbor! She used to attend Green Adventures Camp as a young camper and she grew to love the outdoors. She started working with young children in high school as a Rec&Ed volunteer at local summer camps. In college, Emma worked as a nanny for children ranging from newborns to preteens. In her most recent care, she worked at a daycare/preschool teaching in all of the classrooms. She is currently an elementary education major transferring her credits to community college in the fall to receive her Associate’s degree and plans to attend school to acquire her Bachelor’s degree shortly after that. In Emma’s free time, she loves to go for walks and enjoy the sounds of nature, spend quality time with her friends and family, and explore delicious foods from different cultures.

Nicole Jiang-Kong

3/4 Teacher

Nicole is from Holland, Michigan. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Biology, Health, & Society, and minored in Asian Languages and Culture in the Chinese Department. Going into college, she knew she had the desire and the passion to work with children, therefore, she is pursuing to become a pediatric physician assistant. However, she knows that hospitals and clinics are scary places for children to go, so she hopes to have beautiful and meaningful interactions with children in all different settings. Her first experience with children was babysitting her baby cousins over the summers of high school. During her sophomore year of college, Nicole went on a mission trip to Mexico and served the children there. Before coming to the U School, she also worked as a group leader at a summer school helping second graders get ready for the next school year. After graduating, Nicole is excited to dedicate her life to caring for children of all ages and backgrounds in the future!

Jonah Francese

4/5 Teacher

Jonah grew up in Boston and attended Berklee College of Music for jazz composition and trumpet performance. There he worked 3 years as an ESL tutor and began teaching music lessons around the Boston area to children ages 5 and up. While completing his masters at the New England Conservatory, Jonah began working at a k-9 school teaching private lessons as well as helping out with the jazz band, orchestra, and wind ensemble. Now in his 5th year of his PhD at the University of Chicago, he has worked at the University of Chicago Lab School as both a music teacher and assistant in the classroom in their 3-8 building.

Outside of the childhood educational sphere, Jonah is most proud of having the opportunity to tour the US and Canada and even got the chance to open for Salt-N-Pepa at a music festival. He also has a forthcoming article on the importance of Indigenous language revitalization in Indigenous hip hop that will be published in an academic journal. His goal is to one day help rewrite music curriculum for urban and POC school systems. Jonah is very excited to be a part of the U School team and gain a beautiful community in the process.

Kiayre Cook

4/5 Teacher

Anyse Malcolm

Building Resource Teacher

I was born and raised on the west side of Ann Arbor. I attended Ann Arbor Open, Forsythe, and Community high school. My child care background began with tutoring at the Family Learning Institute in high school, but I come from a family of educators so working with children has always been a part of my life. My experience includes over seven years of working as a private nanny, and five years supervising a school aged child care program with Rec&Ed. Growing up, my mother worked at Roberto Clemente and I ran track for Pioneer High School so I was fortunate enough to spend time with some amazing pillars in our community such as Joseph Dulin and Bryan Westfield. As a child I would run the halls of Clemente and raid the candy drawer in the office. I also spent many days riding around town with Mr. Westfield after practice learning about the history of our city. From them I not only learned what it means to be an educator, but what it means to be a community.  My hope for the future is to continue to contribute to Ann Arbor’s rich history through education, just as they did. 

During my free time I enjoy going to Zumba, kayaking, traveling, and camping with my family. I am so excited to be a member of the U team, and I can’t wait to see what this new journey has in store for all of us.

Lauren Roy

Art Studio Teacher & Pedagogy Support

lauren@theubuntuschool.org

Lauren Roy has been serving in early childhood for eleven years! She graduated with honors from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a Bachelor degree in Elementary Education and holds Early Childhood endorsements (General and Special education). Eager to discover more about how children learn, Lauren has traveled to conferences in Pennsylvania, New Mexico, New York, and Reggio Emilia, Italy. The Reggio Emilia Approach has captured Lauren’s heart as it validates children’s capabilities and partnership in the learning process. Children share what they know, not only with their voices, but also through the hundred languages of representation. 

Children draw, paint, sculpt, sing, move their bodies, (etc.) to tell stories of what they know about the world around them. This dialogue is such a beautiful exchange that holds such incredible value, specifically when adults learn how to listen to their gifts. Her passion is what opened the door to a role as an art studio teacher and later as pedagogical coach to the teaching team here at the U School. 

On a personal side, Lauren and her partner Joel have two children, Brynn and Emmett. Their children also happen to be U Schoolers! The family enjoys traveling, hiking, biking, and games. The U School impacted the Roy Family so positively that they decided to move to Ann Arbor to be part of the community! They are looking forward to connecting more!

 

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.

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.


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