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

  • Ms. Riley Olanda, Assitant Director

    Ms. Riley Olanda

    Assitant Director

    I joined the Primrose family in June 2018 with 4 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: Wausau, Wisconsin

    Education: Bachelor's of Science in Leadership of Early Education from Rasmussen University and an Accredited Teaching English as a Foreign Language Degree

    Hobby: Photgraphy

    Food: Pho or Ramen

    Snack: Dots Pretzels

    Beverage: Any Espresso Beverage

    Favorite Color: Yellow

    Book Genre: Thriller

    Children's book: Love You Forever

  • 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. Jonelle Johnson, Infant Teacher

    Ms. Jonelle Johnson

    Infant Teacher

    I started my journey with Primrose in January 2017 and earned my Certificate in Early Childhood Teacher Education. I love and appreciate Og’s Story Time, a special time each day dedicated to the joys of reading and exploring new worlds.


    Fun Facts & Favorites

    Hobby: Making Tutus and Headbands

    Education: Child Development Associate

    Food: Ice Cream

    Snack: BBQ Pop Chips

    Beverage: Hot Mint Condition from Caribou

    Favorite Color: Mint Green

    Book: The Going to Bed Book

    Author: Sandra Boynton

  • Ms. Nadean Johnson, Infant Teacher

    Ms. Nadean Johnson

    Infant Teacher

    I have been working in the field of Early Childhood Education for 4 years and started my journey with Primrose in July 2020. The Primrose Balanced Learning Curriculum is so unique in that it allows for play and individualized learning. I look forward to getting to know you and your family!

    Fun Facts & Favorites

    Hometown: Hibbing, MN

    Education: Continuing Education at Rasmassen College for Early Childhood Education

    Hobby: Adult Coloring Books, Art, Video Games, and Watching/ Reading Anime

    Food: Mexican or Italian

    Beverage: Iced Caramel Coffee

    Snack: Vegetables

    Favorite Color: Turquoise and Black

    Book: I Love You to the Moon and Back

    Author: Dr. Seuss

  • Ms. Kelcey Fleck, Education Coach and Older Infant Teacher

    Ms. Kelcey Fleck

    Education Coach and Older 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

  • Ms. Veronica Vega, Older Infant Teacher

    Ms. Veronica Vega

    Older 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. 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. Carrie Kubes, Young Toddler Teacher

    Ms. Carrie Kubes

    Young Toddler 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. 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. Alexia Bahe, Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Alexia Bahe

    Early Preschool Teacher

    I have been a part of the Primrose of Prior Lake and Savage family for a few years now! My favorite thing about being a teacher is being able to make a difference in every child’s life. Their perspectives and exploration of the world around them is so refreshing!

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: February 2019

    Hometown: Savage, Minnesota

    Education: Associates in Child Development

    Hobbies: Camping and Hiking

  • 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. 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. Lexie Sullivan, Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Lexie Sullivan

    Early Preschool Teacher

    This is my first year at Primrose and I couldn’t be more excited! I have experience teaching dance to children ages 2 to 5. I have had so much fun at Tippy-Toes, but I was ready to make a larger impact on children’s lives, which I feel like I can do here. I truly look forward to being the guiding light for children’s growth.

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: January 2022

    Hometown: Shakopee, Minnesota

    Education: High School Diploma and continuing education

    Hobbies: Dance, Reading, and being Outdoors

  • Ms. Shannon Rafferty, Early Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Shannon Rafferty

    Early Preschool Teacher

    This is my first year at Primrose! I have a few years of experience teaching, primarily in the infant program. I am excited to grow in my career and now work with the Early Preschool Kids! Playing and teaching children is my passion.

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: January 2022

    Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina

    Education: High School Diploma and continuing education

    Hobbies: Reading

  • Ms. Josie Bahe, Wonder Program Support Teacher

    Ms. Josie Bahe

    Wonder Program Support 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. 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

  • Ms. Nicole Sieben, Preschool Teacher

    Ms. Nicole Sieben

    Preschool Teacher

    I joined the Primrose family in 2020 after learning about their principles of service and each one is incorporated into everyday teaching! My goal as a teacher is to make a difference in each child's life and help them reach their developmental goals. I live in Savage with my Partner and our soon-to-be baby!

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: November 2020

    Hometown: Savage, Minnesota

    Education: Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education from Winona State University

    Hobbies: Reading and Running



  • 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. Cassandra Gardner, Preschool Teacher and Venture Program Teacher

    Ms. Cassandra Gardner

    Preschool Teacher and Venture Program 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
    Apple of Our Eye

    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. Haley Puterbaugh, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    Ms. Haley Puterbaugh

    Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

    I have been part of the Primrose family for over a year and plan to spend many more here. I love being a Primrose teacher because of the developmentally appropriate curriculum and the inclusion of balanced learning. I live in Burnsville with my Husband, Corey, and our soon-to-be baby boy!

    Fun Facts -

    Joined Primrose: August 2020

    Hometown: Caledonia, Minnesota

    Education: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from St. Martin Luther College

    Hobbies: Baking

  • Ms. Jamie Moeller, Private Kindergarten Teacher

    Ms. Jamie Moeller

    Private 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. Maddie Kobernick, Wonder Program Support Teacher

    Ms. Maddie Kobernick

    Wonder Program Support Teacher

    I have been part of the Primrose family for over 3 years and I love working with children of all ages! The staff and families are so welcoming and I have built so many trusted relationships! I look forward to meeting you and your family!

    Fun Facts & Favorites

    Hometown: Denver, Colorado

    Education: Continuing Education at Normandale Community College

    Hobby: Coloring

    Food: Tacos

    Snack: Goldfish

    Beverage: Lemonade

    Favorite Color: Purple

    Book: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    Author: Eric Carle

  • Ms. Samantha Hepola, Support Teacher

    Ms. Samantha Hepola

    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, School Support Staff

    Ms. Laila Mantini

    School Support Staff

    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. Rachel LeMair, Venture Program Support Teacher

    Ms. Rachel LeMair

    Venture Program Support Teacher

    I love working with children and seeing their smiling faces!


    Fun Facts & Favorites

    Hometown: Savage, Minnesota

    Education: Current student at Prior Lake High School

    Hobby: Hanging out with friends

    Food: Top the Tator

    Snack: Goldfish Crackers

    Beverage: Lemonade

    Favorite Color: Army Green

    Book: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

    Author: Dr. Seuss

  • Ms. Sydney Guida, Seasonal Support Teacher

    Ms. Sydney Guida

    Seasonal Support Teacher
  • Ms. Payton Rients, Seasonal Support Teacher

    Ms. Payton Rients

    Seasonal Support Teacher
  • 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. These schools are actively serving neighborhoods within and close to the cities of Arden Hills, Prior Lake, Richfield, Savage, South Minneapolis and Shoreview

    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 & Richfield and Primrose School of Arden Hills & Shoreview.

    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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