Primrose School of Prior Lake and Savage

Our Staff

  • Ms. Lisa Leadbetter, Director

    Ms. Lisa Leadbetter

    Director

    I joined the Primrose family in July 2017 with 12 years of experience in the field of Early Childhood Education. I love working in the same community I live in and seeing families out and about around Prior Lake and Savage. My favorite thing about Primrose includes the Four Principles of Service that our day is based on as staff. We approach each day with joy, build trusted relationships, connect with warmth and sincerity and deliver the WOW! We can't wait to meet you and your family!

     

    Fun Facts & Favorites

    Hometown: Eden Prairie, Minnesota

    Education: Bachelor's in Elementary Education from University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and holds a current Minnesota Elementary Education Teaching License

    Hobby: Running

    Food: Pizza

    Snack: Love them all

    Beverage: Diet Cherry Coke or Pepsi

    Favorite Color: Purple

    Book: Agate: What Good is a Moose?

    Author: Stan and Jan Berenstein

  • Ms. Cara Tonnell, On-Site Manager and Enrollment Specialist

    Ms. Cara Tonnell

    On-Site Manager and Enrollment Specialist

    I joined the Primrose family in June 2007 with 10 years of experience in the field of Early Childhood Education. I love working in the same community I live in and seeing families out and about around Prior Lake and Savage. My favorite thing about Primrose includes the Four Principles of Service that our day is based on as staff. We approach each day with joy, build trusted relationships, connect with warmth and sincerity and deliver the WOW! We can't wait to meet you and your family!

    Fun Facts & Favorites

    Hometown: Eden Prairie, Minnesota

    Education: Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education from Valley City State with a Kindergarten Endorsement, Bachelor's of Science in Child Development from North Dakota State University, and holds a current Minnesota K - 2 Teaching License

    Hobby: Rollerblading

    Food: Pasta

    Snack: Ghardettos Chex Mix

    Beverage: Mixed Berry Punch Lemonade

    Favorite Color: Blue

    Book Genre: Memoirs or Mystery

    Children's books: Pete the Cat Series

  • Mr. Mark Frank, School Chef

    Mr. Mark Frank

    School Chef

    I joined the Primrose family in October 2021. I love working in the same community I live in and seeing families out and about around Prior Lake and Savage. My favorite thing about Primrose includes the Four Principles of Service that our day is based on as staff. We approach each day with joy, build trusted relationships, connect with warmth and sincerity and deliver the WOW! We can't wait to meet you and your family!

    Fun Facts & Favorites

    Hometown: St. Michael, Minnesota

    Education: Associates of Culinary Arts from Hibbing College

    Hobby: Jet Skiing

    Food: Spaghetti and Meatballs

    Snack: Cheese Sticks

    Beverage: Coca-Cola

    Favorite Color: Blue

  • Mr. Ron Gholson, School Bus Driver

    Mr. Ron Gholson

    School Bus Driver

    I joined the Primrose family in September 2021. I love working in the same community I live in and seeing families out and about around Prior Lake and Savage. My favorite thing about Primrose includes the Four Principles of Service that our day is based on as staff. We approach each day with joy, build trusted relationships, connect with warmth and sincerity and deliver the WOW! We can't wait to meet you and your family!

    Fun Facts & Favorites

    Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana

    Education: Associates of Business and Accounting from St. Cloud State

    Hobby: Reading

    Food: Pasta

    Snack: Popcorn

    Beverage: Diet Mt. Dew

    Favorite Color: Blue

    Book Genre: Fiction


  • Ms. Kelcey Fleck, Education Coach and Infant Teacher

    Ms. Kelcey Fleck

    Education Coach and Infant Teacher

    I started my journey with Primrose in June 2017 and my favorite thing about being a Primrose teacher is being able to implement our research based Balanced Learning curriculum to children of all ages throughout the school. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin- River Falls and current Teaching License through the state of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

    Fun Facts & Favorites

    Hometown: Colfax, Wisconsin

    Education: Bachelor's in Elementary Education at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and holds current Minnesota and Wisconsin State Elementary Teaching Licenses

    Hobby: Knitting and Crocheting

    Food: Sushi

    Snack: Jalapeno Cheddar Kettle Chips

    Beverage: Espresso Drinks

    Favorite Color: Black and Sparkles

    Book: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    Author: Eric Carle

  • Amanda Stegeman, Infant Teacher

    Amanda Stegeman

    Infant Teacher

    I’ve been working with infants and toddlers professionally for the last three years. Working with children has brought me so much joy, and I cannot imagine doing anything else! I am so happy to have found Primrose, it instantly felt like a home away from home. I have my own children that go to the district, which is a plus!

     

    Fun facts & favorites: 

    Joined Primrose: August 2022

    Hometown: Cambridge, MN

    Education: CDA in Child Development

    Hobby: Golfing, hiking, baking, and painting

     

  • Ms. Ella Bushey, Infant Teacher

    Ms. Ella Bushey

    Infant Teacher

    Hi! My name is Ella; I am a 21 year old working at Primrose School and I love it! I absolutely enjoying taking care of children, it's my calling. My dream career is working in the field of childhood development and education. 

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: May 2022

    Hometown: Hastings, Minnesota

    Education: Associates Degree in Business Administration from Independence University

    Hobbies: Arts and crafts, reading, and Astrology

  • Ms. Veronica Vega, Infant Teacher

    Ms. Veronica Vega

    Infant Teacher

    As an Infant and Toddler teacher at Primrose, I love the opportunity to be able to build trusted relationships with not only the children but also with the families and staff. I have over 10 years of experience in the field of Early Childhood Education and I am currently working on pursuing my degree in Early Childhood Education.

    Fun Facts & Favorites

    Hometown: Richfield, MN

    Education: Currently pursuing Child Development Associate

    Hobby: Reading, Running, and Spending Time with my Family

    Food: Avocado Chicken Salad

    Snack: Avocado

    Beverage: Coffee from Starbucks

    Favorite Color: Purple

    Book: Brown Bear, Brown Bear

    Author: Eric Carle

  • Ms. Heather Daniel, Infant Teacher

    Ms. Heather Daniel

    Infant Teacher

    Hi! My name is Heather Daniel. I love having family time with my baby boy, Teddy. Usually I am baking in my free time, so that comes with a lot of cupcakes to eat. I really enjoy infant snuggles and watching them discover themselves… After all, that is the best part of my day!

     

    Fun facts & favorites: 

    Hometown: Waterville, MN

    Education: Continuing education in Theater

    Hobby: Baking, reading, and singing

     

  • Ms. Megan Joy, Infant Teacher

    Ms. Megan Joy

    Infant Teacher

    I joined the Primrose family in June of 2022 with over 10 years of experience in childcare. I am thrilled to be joining the Primrose infant team. At this age, they are hitting their milestones so frequently and it truly is a joy to watch and help them reach those milestones. After taking a little break from the childcare field, I am very excited to pursue my passion again. I have my Bachelors Degree in Child Development and Family Studies. 

     

    Fun facts & favorites: 

    Hometown: Delano, MN

    Education: Bachelor's Degree in Child Development and Family Studies with a minor in Psychology 

    Hobby: Reading and walking my chocolate lab

     

  • Ms. Elana Gutierrez, Young Toddler Teacher

    Ms. Elana Gutierrez

    Young Toddler Teacher

    I have over 5 years of experience in the Early Childhood field. I love being part of the Primrose family, especially with the Toddlers! Watching them learn and grow through experience and play is the best part of the day. I live in Prior Lake with my fiance, Giovanni, and sons, Deklan and Leo.

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: October 2018

    Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Education: CDA in Child Development

    Hobbies: Crafting and Reading

  • Ms. Shanesha Carr, Young Toddler Teacher

    Ms. Shanesha Carr

    Young Toddler Teacher

    I have over 5 years of experience in the Early Childhood field. I am excited to be a part of the Primrose family and pass on my knowledge to the families and children in my care! I live with my partner and son, Hunter.

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: October 2021

    Hometown: Thoreau, New Mexico

    Education: CDA in Child Development 2022

    Hobbies: Crocheting

  • Ms. Ashley Nakamoto, Young Toddler Teacher

    Ms. Ashley Nakamoto

    Young Toddler Teacher

    My name is Ms. Ashley and I am very excited to be a part of the Primose family! I have three years of experience in childcare under my belt and I am looking forward to gaining more here. My goal is to help each infant and toddler reach their next milestones. I live in Anoka with my two children, Ava and Vincent, and our fur babies, Peanut and Rosie. 

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: May 2022

    Hometown: Maple Grove, Minnesota

    Education: Early Childhood Education Degree with a specialization in Education of Children with Special Needs

    Hobbies: Spending time with my family, spa days, and cuddling my fur babies

  • Ms. Carrie Kubes, Wonder Program Support Teacher

    Ms. Carrie Kubes

    Wonder Program Support Teacher

    I joined the Primrose Family with over 10 years of teaching experience. I was drawn to join the Primrose family, when I learned about their values and how they build trusted relationships amongst the students, the families, and the staff. There is no truer feeling of home than with Primrose, and I am so excited to continue my journey.

    Fun Facts & Favorites

    Hometown: Veseli, MN

    Education: Diploma in Early Childhood Development from Dakota County Technical College

    Hobby: Crafts

    Food: Chicken

    Snack: Popcorn

    Beverage: Calypsa Lemonade

    Favorite Color: Blue

    Book: Little Critter

    Author: Mercer Mayer

  • Ms. Jazzy Woodall, Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Jazzy Woodall

    Early Preschool Teacher

    I joined the Primrose family in September 2021 with 3 years of experience in the field of Early Childhood Education. I love working in the same community I live in and seeing families out and about around Prior Lake and Savage. My favorite thing about Primrose includes the Four Principles of Service that our day is based on as staff. We approach each day with joy, build trusted relationships, connect with warmth and sincerity and deliver the WOW! We can't wait to meet you and your family!

    Fun Facts & Favorites

    Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota

    Education: Current Child Development CDA

    Hobby: Camping

    Food: Mexican

    Snack: Sharp Cheddar and Parmesan Chez-its

    Beverage: La Croix

    Favorite Color: Blue

    Book Genre: Mystery

  • Ms. Kaylee Davis, Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Kaylee Davis

    Early Preschool Teacher

    My name is Ms. Kaylee! I come from a large family that includes seven siblings: three whole and four half. I have always wanted to work with kids and teach. I am so excited to be able to watch them grow and become independent!

    Fun Facts  -

    Joined Primrose: July 2022

    Hometown: Lakeville, Minnesota 

    Education: High School Diploma and continuing education

    Hobbies: Drawing and being creative, playing video games, spending time outdoors, and hanging out with my friends

     

  • Ms. Josie Bahe, Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Josie Bahe

    Early Preschool Teacher

    I have been part of the Primrose of Prior Lake and Savage family for almost two years now! I started when I was in High School and decided to continue on when I started college. I love being a Primrose teacher as I get the wonderful experience of watching children grow each and every day!

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: February 2020

    Hometown: Savage, Minnesota

    Education: High School Diploma and continuing Education

    Hobbies: Cheerleading and spending time with family

  • Ms. Ashley Finke, Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Ashley Finke

    Early Preschool Teacher

    I joined the Primrose family in January 2020 with 9 years of experience in the field of Early Childhood Education. I love working in the same community I live in and seeing families out and about around Prior Lake and Savage. My favorite thing about Primrose includes the Four Principles of Service that our day is based on as staff. We approach each day with joy, build trusted relationships, connect with warmth and sincerity and deliver the WOW! We can't wait to meet you and your family!

    Fun Facts & Favorites

    Hometown: Roberts, Wisconsin

    Education: Child Development CDA

    Hobby: Crafting

    Food: Italian

    Snack: Chips of any kind

    Beverage: Coffee

    Favorite Color: Blue

    Book Genre: Mystery and Romance

  • Ms. Karen Ribeiro, Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Karen Ribeiro

    Early Preschool Teacher

    I have eight years of experience in the Early Childcare field, and I am excited to continue my love of working with children here at Primrose. My goal is to help each child achieve new milestones in a fun and exciting manner! I live in Rosemount with my husband Carlos and our two amazing boys, Leo and Noah.

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: May 2022

    Hometown: Kensington, Minnesota

    Education: License from Empire School of Cosmetology and eight years of experience in the Childcare field

    Hobbies: Reading and Swimming

  • Ms. Lindsay Erwin, Education Coach and Administrative Assistant

    Ms. Lindsay Erwin

    Education Coach and Administrative Assistant

    I have been with Primrose for over 6 years, teaching Pre-Kindergarten for the first two and Preschool Pathways classroom for the last 4 years. I have enjoyed teaching valuable life skills as a teacher, and decided to utilize my knowledge to train teachers as the Wonder Program - EP1/EP2/PP Education Coach, as well as an administrative assistant. I live with my husband, Lance, and daughters, Sadie and Kaylee, in Prior Lake.

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: August 2015

    Hometown: Prior Lake, Minnesota

    Education: Associates of Education from University of Minnesota – Mankato and Bachelor’s of Leadership in Early Education, Spring 2023

    Hobbies: Spending time outdoors with my family and Reading

  • Mr. Tyler Lohmann, Preschool Teacher

    Mr. Tyler Lohmann

    Preschool Teacher

    I started my journey with the Primrose of Prior Lake and Savage family in 2018 after graduating with my undergraduate in Elementary Education! I love being able to make a difference. It is truly amazing to be able to see each child grow and evolve!

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: October 2018

    Hometown: Norfolk, Virginia

    Education: Bachelor of Science from St. Cloud University in Elementary Education and a current Minnesota Elementary Education teaching license

    Hobby: Swimming

  • Ms. Emily Hartmann, Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Emily Hartmann

    Preschool Teacher
    Apple of Our Eye

    It's so nice to meet you! My name is Emily. I studied at Rasmussen and graduated with an Associates degree in Early Childhood Education. I have been in the child care field for 15 years now, I started as an Aide at an after school community ed program called Kids Company, that my Grandma founded. My mom has been a teacher for 35 years now, so I guess you could say teaching is in my blood. My favorite part about working with children is when you teach them something and they remember it during group discussions, always a proud teacher moment. I currently live with my wonderful boyfriend Kyle and our two beautiful fur babies, our dog Ellie and cat Kota in Prior Lake, MN.

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: July 2022

    Hometown: Belle Plaine, Minnesota

    Education: Associates Degree in Ealy Childhood Education from Rasmussen University

    Hobbies: Dancing, Singing, playing Animal Crossing and Pokemon Go, and watching Hallmark movies

     

  • Ms. Cassandra Gardner, Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Cassandra Gardner

    Preschool Teacher

    I have been a part of the Primrose family for over three years! In that time, I have established strong connections with the students, families, and staff. My favorite part of being a teacher is creating a safe and loving atmosphere in each classroom! I live in Savage with my sweet twins, Jacksyn and Jordyn.

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: February 2019

    Hometown: Eagan, Minnesota

    Education: Bachelor Degree of Science in Special Education and Developmental Disabilities from Minnesota State University

    Hobbies: Basketball, Watching Movies, and Reading

  • Ms. Karen Schibur, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Ms. Karen Schibur

    Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    I joined the Primrose family with over 20 years of experience in the Early Education Field. My favorite part about being a Primrose teacher is being able to see the progression of the Balanced Learning Approach throughout each age group. I live in Shakopee with my Husband, Rick.

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: February 2020

    Hometown: Bayfield, Wisconsin

    Education: Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education

    Hobbies: Horse Back Riding and Using my Cricut for crafts

  • Ms. Jamie Moeller, Venture Education Coach and Kindergarten Teacher

    Ms. Jamie Moeller

    Venture Education Coach and Kindergarten Teacher

    I have been in the education field for 10 years, 5 of those here at Primrose school of Prior Lake and Savage. I find Primrose to be such a special place. From the Primrose Patch to the Harmony and Hearts puppet friends, I feel blessed to be part of such a caring and educational Program. I am the Kindergarten teacher and Education Coach for the Venture Program – PS/PK/K and Explorers. I live in Lakeville with my husband, Thomas, and daughters Kenzie, Ayla, and Morgan.

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: April 2017

    Hometown: Burnsville, Minnesota

    Education: Bachelor's of Child Psychology and Masters of Elementary Education from University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, and a K – 6 Teaching License

    Hobbies: Crafting, reading, and Volleyball

  • Ms. Samantha Hepola, Wonder and Venture Program Support Teacher

    Ms. Samantha Hepola

    Wonder and Venture Program Support Teacher

    I love being able to watch the children learn and grow through their experience. I look forward to meeting you and your family!

     

    Fun Facts & Favorites

    Hometown: Prior Lake, Minnesota

    Education: Current Student at Prior Lake High School

    Hobby: Going to the Gym

    Food: Sushi

    Snack: BBQ Chips

    Beverage: Lemonade

    Favorite Color: Light Rose

    Book: Call Me By Your Name

    Author: Anare Aciman

  • Ms. Laila Mantini, Wonder and Venture Program Support Teacher

    Ms. Laila Mantini

    Wonder and Venture Program Support Teacher

    I joined the Primrose family in August 2021. I love working in the same community I live in and seeing families out and about around Prior Lake and Savage. My favorite thing about Primrose includes the Four Principles of Service that our day is based on as staff. We approach each day with joy, build trusted relationships, connect with warmth and sincerity and deliver the WOW! We can't wait to meet you and your family!

    Fun Facts & Favorites

    Hometown: Shakopee, Minnesota

    Education: Attending High School

    Hobby: Musical Theatre

    Food: French Fries

    Snack: Salt and Vinegar Chips

    Beverage: Sweet Tea

    Favorite Color: Perrywinkle

    Book Genre: Memoirs

    Children's books: Harry Potter

  • Ms. Paige Lunsford, Wonder and Venture Program Support Teacher

    Ms. Paige Lunsford

    Wonder and Venture Program Support Teacher

    I have two years of Childhood Education experience and love spending time with all of the children. Being able to help children learn and grow has always been a dream of mine. I hope to one day become an elementary school teacher. I greatly look forward to spending more time here at Primrose!

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: May 2022

    Hometown: Hastings, Minnesota

    Education: Prior Lake High School

    Hobbies: Dance

  • Ms. Sasha Sokolinsky, Wonder and Venture Program Support Teacher

    Ms. Sasha Sokolinsky

    Wonder and Venture Program Support Teacher

    I have a younger sister that I really enjoy spending time with! This led me to joining Primrose in March of 2022, right after my 15th birthday. I have loved it ever since! I love spending time in every classroom and learning more about each child each day. I have made many new friends here. 

    Fun Facts - 

    Joined Primrose: March 2022

    Hometown: Savage, Minnesota

    Education: Prior Lake High School

    Hobbies: Dancing, reading, taking photos, and coloring

     

  • Ms. Natasha Cham, Wonder and Venture Program Support Teacher

    Ms. Natasha Cham

    Wonder and Venture Program Support Teacher

    Hi, I’m Ms. Tash, I’m an incoming Junior at PLHS. I enjoy being active and involved in my community. I run the PLHS Asian Student Association! In my free time, I like to dance, volunteer, and spend time with friends. 

    Fun Facts  -

    Joined Primrose: August 2022

    Hometown: Prior Lake, Minnesota

    Education: Prior Lake High School

    Hobbies: Collecting albums, playing games, and dance

     

  • Saleem Karmaliani and Dr. Salima Mithani, Franchise Owner

    Saleem Karmaliani and Dr. Salima Mithani

    Franchise Owner

    Meet Saleem Karmaliani and Dr. Salima Mithani – dedicated parents of three daughters and active owners and operators of Primrose Schools located in the northern, central and southern neighborhoods of twin cities metropolis. 

    Primrose School of Prior Lake & Savage was the very first Primrose to open its doors in Minnesota in August 2006. With years of successfully serving the Prior Lake and Savage communities, the couple decided to organically grow into neighborhoods where the communities were still lacking high quality early childhood education and care. As a result they own Primrose School of South Minneapolis & RichfieldPrimrose School of Prior Lake and Savage, Primrose School of Arden Hills and Shoreview, Primrose School of Edina, and Primrose School of West Plymouth

    As parents of young children themselves, Karmalianis understand the importance of starting early to shape a child’s educational foundation and character. The couple, sees first hand, the difference early childhood education makes in young lives as they have themselves witnessed how Primrose School has positively impacted their own children. "We knew we wanted to deliver the same high-quality care and education for other families," said Saleem. Recognizing how challenging it was to find a quality, early childhood development program for their own children, Karmalianis embraced and continue to promote the Primrose mission with a well-balanced educational experience for the families they serve through these schools.

    Saleem holds graduate degrees in Education and Public Policy, while Salima practices the field of Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine. Both are graduates of University of Minnesota and have been living in Twin Cities for 25 plus years. Together they have three daughters Cerena and twins Sophie and Sara. Karmalianis love sports and are die-hard fans of Gophers and Minnesota Vikings. The family loves to spend time outdoors and are frequent visitors to Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA).

    “Our mission remains consistent with the Primrose model: to provide our families with the premier well balanced early childhood development experience in a safe and loving environment. We know this is only possible with our parents and teachers’ continued partnership and support” said Saleem. His past experience in Education as well as working for the government in the field of Human Services for over 15 years is practically evident in his day to day operations in their schools. Between their schools, Saleem leads a dedicated and professional team of over 120 employees managed by 12 highly qualified and caring leadership team members.

    “When we were introduced to Primrose for our own children, we immediately became enthralled with the curriculum, instruction methodologies and dedication of the teachers to develop each child emotionally and cognitively,” said Dr. Salima Mithani. The couple recognized that Saleem's experience in education combined with Primrose Schools's philosophy would allow their family to establish a strong model of early learning in Minnesota where parents and children would feel comfortable and part of a family.

    Both Saleem and Salima volunteer for local community organizations in the field of education and public services. Dr. Salima Mithani also served as the board member and treasurer of their children elementary school's PTO.

    Primrose School of Prior Lake and Savage is the first Primrose School that was introduced to the Minneapolis-St. Paul market. This year the school celebrates 12 years of featuring the exclusive Balanced Learning¬ system with STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math) Program for children ages six weeks to 6 years old. Developed by and taught exclusively at Primrose Schools, Balanced Learning Curriculum blends teacher-directed and child-initiated activities with a special emphasis on character development in the schools.

    We hope to see you around at the school. For more information about Primrose School of Prior Lake and Savage please visit www.facebook.com/primrosesavage. For pointers for parents please visit https://www.primroseschools.com/blog

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