best preschools in Minneapolis

Our Team

The Berry Patch Team

The foundation of our work is anchored in deeply held values that have shaped our schools since 1983, making us one of the best preschools in Minneapolis:

We are a team of Life Long Learners who bring a growth mindset to all that we do as we continually improve the ways we love, nurture and educate children.

We do this work rooted in Joy & Playfulness because research shows that joy-filled connections and play are the best soil in which the seeds for learning can flourish.

We are a community that is centered in Relationships taking the time to truly care for one another with a warmth that is contagious and is felt by all who walk through our doors.

Administration and Specialists

Lynn Cookson, best preschools in Minneapolis
I am thrilled to be a member of the Berry Patch staff this year in the new position of Student Support Specialist.  My background is teaching students with special needs.  I spent over 25 years as a special education teacher in Eden Prairie. My husband and I live in Edina and enjoy spending time with our family, especially our grandchildren!  I look forward to being part of Berry Patch!

Lynn Cookson

Student Support Specialist
Ashley Crowder, best preschools in Minneapolis

Spending my day with our berries is absolutely the BEST! I have been with the Berry Patch since 2020, and I love that my job allows me to get to know and spend time with all of our students. My background is in editorial design, and I get to share some of that skill set here at the Berry Patch. Previously, I’ve worked on church staffs in both young adult and student ministries. My husband Petey and I have 2 girls, and we live in SW Minneapolis.

Ashley Crowder

Special Projects Manager/Floater
Becky Danielson, best preschools in Minneapolis

My job at The Berry Patch School is a joy! As a licensed parent & family educator, I have the privilege of walking alongside families with tips, tools, and strategies to help navigate raising young children. I’m a former K-1 teacher, wife, and mom. I’ve co-authored six parenting books and speak to small groups and at national conferences. Spending time with my family, reading, and traveling are my favorite pastimes.

Becky Danielson

Parent & Family Education Specialist

I love being a part of the Berry Patch team and have worked here in some shape or form since my mom (Ms. Berrie) started The Berry Patch in our home when I was 12 years old! I have played lots of different roles—Student Accounts Director, Calvary Coordinator, and now Director/Co-Owner. When I am not at The Berry Patch I enjoy time with my family (husband Jeff, Kenzie and her new husband, Jack, Clara, and our son Bennett) spread across Minnesota and Texas. I love being outdoors, especially at our family cabin in northern Minnesota and in the mountains in Colorado. When I’m inside I love quiet things- reading, coloring, writing.

Molly Dykstra

Director / Co-Owner

I am originally from Lima, Peru. I have worked as a language teacher and cultural liaison for more than 12 years at both private and public schools throughout the Twin Cities. Having a bilingual family makes me highly appreciative of the benefit of starting a child’s education in languages at a young age. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share the beautiful Spanish language and culture with your children at The Berry Patch!

Zara Guevara

Spanish Specialist

I love working at The Berry Patch because it has meant so much to our family. Our four children—Tommy, Kate, Charlie, and Susie—have all been loved well here. I love working with this wonderful team, as well as helping families through the registration process. I’m a graduate of Bethel University.

Carrie Lounsberry

Enrollment & Operations / Co-Owner

I am thrilled to join the Berry Patch team as the Music Specialist. I am a University of Iowa Alum with degrees in actuarial science and violin performance. Post graduation, I focused on my actuarial career. During the pandemic, I felt drawn back to music. I started teaching Music Together in the community. Teaching children is such a joy — they are so musical. I hope to support their musical abilities through fun, musical play! In my free time, I enjoy family time with my husband, Erik, and two children. I also enjoy playing MUSIC (violin/piano), exercising, and being outdoors!

Kim Lund

Music Specialist

I have a Master’s in Education from the University of Minnesota and taught first grade for several years. I also taught in the Huckleberry classroom at the The Berry Patch for two years and am currently the Site Director of our Berry Patch West location. I love working in a school setting where I have the opportunity to connect with students and their families, and help support a quality educational experience for young learners.

Jenny Miller

Site Director

I have had the privilege of being part of The Berry Patch since 2022. I am a graduate of St. Olaf College and have worked in both non-profits and in education. I am passionate about early childhood education and love Berry Patch’s creative, play-based environment where children find their love of learning. I live in Edina with my husband Nathan and our two daughters. We love spending time as a family traveling, being active outdoors, going to their many sporting events, and walking our golden retriever.

Kristen Miner

Assistant to the Director

Since joining the Berry Patch in 2006 I’ve had many different roles connecting with families, staff, and children – from teaching to leadership. It’s been pure JOY to be part of this community that nurtures and inspires a love of learning during these early foundational years. We are grateful that our own children, Charlie and Alice, have special memories of their BP teachers who impacted their lives with the magic of the Berry Patch. When I’m not at school I’m with my family at the cabin, the soccer field, or the hockey rink!

Cara Terwilliger

Site Director

Berry Patch East

I have been teaching at The Berry Patch since 2004, and absolutely love getting to know the children and families I serve. Outside of teaching Strawberries, I am a yoga instructor. I work with high school athletes. I enjoy spending time with my family (especially my dog) during my free time.

Michaelanne DeGrood

I have been a part of The Berry Patch team since 2020 and I am so blessed to be a Blueberry teacher. I graduated from Augsburg College with a degree in Elementary Education and have been teaching learners of all ages for more than 25 years. I love working with young children as they have so much enthusiasm for everything! I live in Richfield with my husband, children, and dogs. We love to spend time outside working on our boat, camping, riding our bikes, and enjoying our family and friends.

Michele Borne

Floater/Teacher

I am excited to return to the Berry Patch as a Huckleberry teacher again this year, and look forward to meeting all of my little berries. I graduated with a B.A. from Drake University and worked in marketing for many years. My husband Steve and I have two children, Katie and Chris, both of whom attended the Berry Patch and are now college age. I feel blessed with the opportunity to “pay it forward” and love up these little ones, now that mine are grown. Outside of teaching, I enjoy yoga, gardening, cooking, reading, walks with friends and spending time with family.

Stephanie Calvert

Teacher

After spending my high-school summers helping out at Camp Sizzleberry, I am absolutely stoked to be starting my second year at the patch! I am a 2022 graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College where I double majored in Studio Art and Art History. I love sharing my passion for art with the little berries and seeing what they create. Outside of school, my hobbies include painting, crafting, tap dancing, and eating soup.

Gigi DeGrood

Floater/Teacher

I am thrilled to be a member of the Blueberry team at The Berry Patch. After graduating from Miami of Ohio with a B.A. in Political Science, I worked in sales, management and and training. My three children attended The Berry Patch so in many ways I feel like I’ve come home. I am eager to get to know the wonderful families and children at The Berry Patch!

Leslie DeMuth

Teacher

I am so excited to be at The Berry Patch this year teaching the Raspberries! I love little ones and how excited they are to learn and explore. After graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College, I worked for Target Corporation and Lutheran Social Service in Product Development and Web Design. I have volunteered countless hours in our daughters’ classrooms, as well as other organizations that serve kids. I also have worked and volunteered with children with autism. My husband Jon and I have two daughters, Heidi and Elsie. We also have a yellow lab puppy named Inga. When not at work, I love to be with my family and friends. I love anything outdoors and also am a Scandinavian folk art painter.

Kristin Engman

Teacher
Becky Fischer, best preschools in Minneapolis

I’ve been at the Berry Patch since 2012 and have had the incredible opportunity of teaching all the various age groups: Huckleberries, Blueberries, and Strawberries. Prior to that, I worked at the Edina Family Center in an Early Childhood and Family Education classroom. I attended the U. of M. and studied Speech Communications. I love watching the children here learn, play and grow.

Becky Fischer

Floater

I am so excited to be at the Berry Patch this year as a Huckleberry teacher. After graduating Drake University, I worked in marketing for a publication company in Chicago for a few years. I followed my heart and switched career paths and received my M.A.T. from National Louis University in Evanston, IL. I am very proud of my teaching experiences. I spent over 10 years teaching both second and third grades. I also spent a couple of years teaching pre-school and after school programming in both Cincinnati and Chicago. In addition, I have also worked one on one with children with both autism and cerebral palsy.

My husband (Todd) and I have two daughters, Margot (19) and Ellie (16). We also treasure our dog, Charlie. I’m grateful to be back in the classroom, doing what I love most!

Nikki Gagerman

Teacher

2016-2017 was my first amazing and fun-filled year at The Berry Patch. My past experience includes both school-age and pre-school children in Edina. I am thrilled to now enjoy every day I have at The Berry Patch as a Huckleberry and Raspberry teacher!

Janet-Ruth Havens

Floater

Hi I’m Lisa. I joined The Berry Patch team in 2020 and thrilled to be a Strawberry teacher. I have a B.A in Business Management from Bethel College and I have a graduate certification in Child Brain Development from the Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential.

My experiences range greatly as a Preschool Special Education Paraprofessional, Kindergarten Assistant and Math/Reading Interventionist. Prior to my professional career I volunteered for many years as the parent liaison for both ABC International Montessori and Benilde-Saint Margaret’s High School.

I’m so HAPPY to be here and getting to know all of the families.

Lisa Herndon

Teacher

I’m so happy to be part of the Blueberry team at The Berry Patch! I look forward to helping children learn and grow, while getting to know their families. I have a B.S. in Psychology from U.W. – Madison. I live in Edina with my husband, where we raised our three children. In my free time I enjoy reading, being outdoors, and spending time with friends, family and my two dogs.

Kelly Jackson

Teacher

I am thrilled to be a part of The Berry Patch staff and community. I graduated from St. Olaf College where I earned a B.A. in Studio Art and a K-12 Art Education license. I taught art to grades K-8 for many years. My husband and I live in Edina. We like to walk, garden, travel, and visit our two sons who live in LA. I have been teaching at The Berry Patch since 2015. I love the caring environment, creativity, and enthusiasm of the children and the teachers here.

Carolyn Johnson

Teacher

I have been teaching at the Berry Patch since 2007:)! I have a B.A. in Psychology from Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia. My husband, Bill and I have moved around the U.S. eight times in the past thirty-two years. I have held jobs in the administration of secondary schools and colleges all over the country including Director of Transfer Admissions at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, CA. I love being in a classroom working with and teaching children at the Berry Patch. I enjoy reading, walking (very fast), tennis, hiking, biking, baking and spending time with family and friends. I cannot wait to meet each Huckleberry and their families and start another wonderful and fun year.

Kristina Matsch

Teacher

I have been teaching at The Berry Patch since 2015, with the exception of 2020 when I took the year off to be home with my children. I started my career with The Berry Patch teaching the Huckleberries and am now on my 5th year as a Blueberry teacher. I am married and have 3 children Lucia, 18; Vince, 17; Zoe, 14 and a dog named Stella. When I’m not having fun playing with your kiddos, I love any time I can get with my family because they are all so busy with hockey, dance and just launched our oldest off to college! I am looking forward to another year at The Berry Patch and being with your kiddos!

Monica Mero

Teacher

I have been teaching at The Berry Patch since 2018 and am thrilled to be a part of the Huckleberry team and blessed to be a part of the entire wonderful staff! I love getting to know these precious berries and their families. Watching them learn and grow while listening to their contagious giggles brings me such joy! I graduated from St. Olaf College where I also met my husband. We have 3 boys, twins and a single:), who are all in their 20’s. How fast time flies – I can still remember dropping them off at the Berry Patch when they were all ‘little berries’ themselves. When I am not at school, I am often walking or running our dog, Pearl, around Lake Harriet or spending time up North at our cabin.

Jody Radtke

Teacher

I am so excited to enter my second full year at the Berry Patch! A recent graduate of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with a degree in Theatre Arts and a minor in Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, I quickly found that my passion for the arts and love for learning helped me form strong connections with many of the berries at Camp Sizzleberry (our summer program) and in school! I loved wearing many hats around the school last year and getting to know all the students, and I’m looking forward to doing it again. This school year I will be teaching Huckleberries, assisting with the Raspberries, helping with the afternoon program, and floating at the BP East location. I can’t wait to continue learning and growing alongside all of our students!

Cole Seager

Floater/Teacher

It is such a blessing to have been with the Berry Patch since 2001! After 21 years as our in-house Music Specialist with my 21st year also spent in the classroom as one of our Raspberry co-teachers, I made the shift in 2022 to being fully immersed in our Toddler program 5 days a week by taking on a co-teaching position with one of our T/Th Huckleberry classes. While I certainly miss bringing music to our entire preschool program, I love being able to connect more fully with my smaller groups of littles and their families, helping them navigate life at school for the first time, watching them learn through play and helping to set them up for success as they move forward on their school journey. My two classrooms are definitely full of music as well!

I’ve been pairing preschool children with music for over 30 years and have been teaching piano lessons in my home for 30+ years as well and my Bachelor of Science degree in Music Therapy from the U of M has helped tremendously over the course of my teaching career. I enjoy living in Minnetonka with my hubby and watching our nest empty and fill as our adult children move in and out with our oldest, Annika, expecting our first grandchild soon and having our youngest, “Mr. Cole”, back home and also being a part of the BPE staff since 2022!

Kristin Seager

Teacher

I love the Berry Patch and am so excited to be a Blueberry teacher this year! I started teaching at the Berry Patch in 2017 and have worked in the Raspberry, Huckleberry and Blueberry rooms. With a degree in Elementary Education from St Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, I spent the next 8 years teaching in Minnetonka, Texas, Egypt & Germany. I took a break from teaching to stay home with my children and watched them grow while they attended The Berry Patch! Now my 6 proud alumni can be seen helping out in the classrooms and at Camp Sizzle Berry. We all feel blessed to continue to be a part of the Berry Patch community!

Sheila Shane

Teacher

I live in Minneapolis with my husband and two high school teenagers. Our oldest is in her senior year in college in California. I have a B.A. in Early Childhood Family Education and a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education. I started with The Berry Patch in 2011 and have 25+ years of experience working with young children. I enjoy teaching the Strawberries and am amazed on a daily basis of how capable, creative, funny, and smart they are! The Berry Patch is the most fun, loving and caring school in which I have ever worked.

Andrea Sollie

Teacher

I am so excited for another great year at the Berry Patch! I have been a nanny for Berry Patch children for the last six years, and am happy to be a part of this amazing team. After graduating with a degree in Elementary Education from Mankato State, I taught public school for four years, and worked in Early Childhood for two years prior to becoming a nanny. When I am not with my little friends, I enjoy seeing and participating in theater, reading, and spending time with my husband, Bryn. Currently I am teaching Huckleberries at both locations and running the PM Playmates program for West. I am thrilled to be a part of this incredible team, and am looking forward to learning with all of the little Berries!

Aimee Tanner

Teacher

Cara Terwilliger

Site Director

I am so pleased to be on the teaching side of the Berry Patch after being a long time Berry Patch parent. My oldest berry graduate is in first grade, and you will see my current blueberry one room over. Along with my two young children, my husband Charles and I have a Frenchie named Daisy and a Chihuahua mix named Bandito. I earned my B.A., teaching certificate, and Master of Education all from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. I taught junior high school Language Arts for a decade in Brooklyn Park and have enjoyed volunteering in schools since then. I am also a personal trainer and group fitness instructor specializing in Fit over 50. When I’m not with the kids I enjoy reading, cooking, exercise, and puttering in my garden.

Kim Wyatt

Teacher

I am so excited to be back teaching in the Huckleberry room! I love getting to know the Huckleberries and their families. Both of my sons attended the Berry Patch and it was the sweetest, most welcoming community. I have my Master’s in Elementary Education from St Thomas, but spent 9 years home with my kiddos. When I am not at Berry Patch you can find me playing tennis or golf. I can’t wait to get back into the classroom with those little Berries and be a part of this amazing team.

Libby Zierke

Teacher

Berry Patch West

I have worked in preschool and toddler rooms for 15 years, before taking some time off to be at home with my children and then coming to The Berry Patch in 2018! I love spending time getting to know children and watching them learn new things with such excitement. I have a B.S. in Elementary Education with a Pre-Primary specialty from St. Kate’s. Born and raised in Edina, I now live in St. Louis Park with my husband and our three kids.

Kalli Anderson

Teacher

I am coming back to Berry Patch for my second year and I am so excited to be with the PM Playmates every day at the West location! Before coming to Berry Patch I was home with my own children, along with 6 other kids that I nannied in my home! My kids are in Edina schools, which is super fun since I went to Edina too!! I graduated from Luther College with Exercise Science and Health degrees. Before having kids I was a personal trainer and youth soccer coach. I played soccer through college and I am so lucky to still play now! I love finding fun and exciting ways for kids to learn, develop confidence, and just have fun! I can’t wait for an amazing year!!

Kendal Andrews

Floater/Teacher

I absolutely LOVE being a Blueberry Teacher! This will be my 2nd year teaching Blueberries after spending 5 years as a stay-at-home mom and volunteering in a local church preschool. Fostering relationships with children and seeing the world through their eyes is such a gift!

Annalise Butler

Teacher
Ashley Crowder, best preschools in Minneapolis

Ashley Crowder

Special Projects Manager/Floater

Gigi DeGrood

Floater/Teacher

I am so excited to be a part of the Berry Patch family as a Huckleberry teacher. I love working with tiny kiddos and have spent the past 3 years as a fitness instructor going into home daycares and centers to teach 1-5 year olds that moving our bodies and nutrition can be fun! I love their enthusiasm to learn at such an early age. I have a Communications Degree and Psychology minor from the UW- Stevens Point. When not teaching, I spend my free time with my husband, teenage daughter and son being active outdoors, attending their many sporting events and going on yearly road trips.

Janelle Ianfolla

Teacher

Berry Patch has always been a special place for our family, so I am thrilled to be back as a Blueberry teacher!
My three daughters all attended the Berry Patch and loved every minute with their amazing teachers and friends. In fact, our closest friends are still the people we met here! This is truly a magical place!
After graduating with a degree in Elementary Education from Luther College, I spent 6 years as a third grade teacher before becoming a full-time mom to my girls. It is such a blessing to be back in a classroom doing what I love the most…loving, nurturing and teaching these sweet little berries!

Kara Kanz

Teacher

I am entering my fifth year of teaching at The Berry Patch School after practicing law in my previous work life. I love teaching preschool. Watching the kids grow and helping them learn to love school the way I did makes me very happy. Loving my Raspberries and Huckleberries is a joy!

Annie Meyer

Teacher

Jenny Miller

Site Director

I am thrilled to be a part of the Berry Patch Family and to be a Strawberry Teacher this year. I have a genuine interest in Child Development as well as a heart for being a positive influence in children’s and families’ lives. I am energized by the desire of the Berry Patch team, to meet each child where they are, learning and growing as we stay curious and aware. My educational background includes a degree in Psychology from the University of St Thomas and a degree in Elementary Education with a preprimary focus at Crown College. I have taught Kindergarten in the Chaska area and have been involved in the Schools in District 112 for many years as a parent and an educator. I love running with my dog and spending time with my family and am excited for the upcoming school year.

Lisa Mork

Teacher

I am so excited to be a part of the Berry Patch this year! My daughter was a Strawberry last year and I’m so grateful that I now get to be a part of this amazing team. I have a doctorate in physical therapy from Mayo Clinic and worked in a special Ed preschool for 7 years, but I’ve spent the last 8 years as a stay at home mom to my three kids: Kyle, Ryan, and Brynn. When I’m not at the Berry Patch, you can find me gardening, baking, or delving into British history.

Claire Parmenter

Floater

I’m excited to continue working as a Huckleberry teacher. This is a wonder-filled age! I’m grateful to spend my mornings with these little learners and the incredible staff at the Berry Patch. I have a BA in Studio Art and a minor in Education from the College of St. Benedict. I have worked with children in many capacities and settings throughout my life. My husband and I live in Eden Prairie where we raised our four daughters.

Sara Parrington

Teacher

I have had the privilege of being part of The Berry Patch since 2004. I love being part of the Huckleberry class and enjoy the community that exists between the families and teachers. It is rewarding to witness the growth within each child during the school year, and experience the love and hugs we receive daily.

Marilyn Rosin

Teacher

Aimee Tanner

Teacher

I have loved teaching strawberries at The Berry Patch since 2010! It makes me happy to see the children growing and learning while having fun! It’s a wonderful place to be! I graduated from the College of St. Benedict with an Elementary Education degree and taught many years in both the Edina and Eden Prairie Schools. When I’m not teaching I love going to my cabin in Park Rapids, reading, and spending time with my family and our two Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

Mary Trudell

Teacher