Mia Thompson, Lead Guide 

Mia Thompson, Lead Guide 

Ms. Mia is our Lead Guide in Children’s House 1. She received her AMS certificate through the Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Chicago. She was born in Bloomington, Indiana, but has lived in New Orleans, Champaign, and Chicago. While in Bloomington, she attended a Montessori school from ages 4-12. After graduating from the University of Illinois, she spent 2 years in AmeriCorps as an after-school teacher. This will be her 6th year as a Montessori Lead Guide. During her free time Ms. Mia loves dancing, reading, cooking, taking care of her plants and spending time with her family. She lives with her husband, Jake, in the Seward neighborhood. 

Ross joined our Mandala family in July 2017 as our Assistant Teacher in Children’s House 1. He is a great addition to our staff enthusiastically embracing the Montessori Method and helping the kids in Children’s House 1 navigate through their day with a gentleness and even keel approach. Ross attributes his calm and peaceful approach to his work by having been schooled in a Montessori environment from 2nd to 8th grade. When he’s not at Mandala he enjoys playing his saxophone in various bands and venues throughout the Midwest.  Ross produced his first album recently and much to our delight willingly accompanies the kids singing programs on either the saxophone or the piano.  We feel very fortunate to have Ross with us at Mandala as he is a great role model for the children and staff alike!

“I am happy to continue my experiences with Montessori practices in teaching and recreation.”   ~Mr. Ross

Ross Nixon, Assistant Teacher 

 Leah O’Loughin - Lead Guide in training

Leah O’Loughin - Lead Guide in training

Ms. Leah has been an Assistant Teacher in Children’s House 1 since 2017. She graduated from the College of St. Benedict with a degree in Peace Studies and minored in Psychology and Sociology. After graduating Leah joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and worked at school in Sacramento, CA for a year. Leah just finished the first 6 weeks of training for her AMS certificate at Seton Montessori Institute in Chicago.  She will work in CH 1 on her practicum under the mentorship of Mia Thompson.  Leah enjoys spending her time outdoors hiking and traveling. Leah has a gentle approach and calming spirit that are so appreciated by her coworkers and children alike.  We are very fortunate to have Leah with us as she brings a wonderful gift for storytelling about her travel adventures which the kids delight in hearing, especially during lunch time!