MKU Fuquay Varina Team

Meet Our Team

Montessori Kids Universe Fuquay Varina recognizes that our caring, dedicated teachers are what makes our school so valuable. MKU Fuquay Varina recruits and maintains a high-quality staff through an intensive selection and vetting process. We provide on-going professional development and growth opportunities within our school, and foster a healthy work environment for our employees. Meet the most important aspect of our school: Our quality teaching staff!

MKU Fuquay Varina Staff | Top Montessori, Preschool

joann Feyen

Head of School

I have been working in early childhood for more years than I can count. I moved to North Carolina in 2003 and have been blessed with two beautiful children. In my spare time, I like to decorate and plan events. As a family, we enjoy camping and spending time with friends. I love what I do. The highlight of my day is seeing the joy children get when they accomplish a task whether it is taking their first steps, sorting shapes, knowing their colors, or writing their name. I believe that every child should be given the opportunity to succeed in a safe and healthy environment and that every child needs to be treated with respect and given many opportunities to succeed. I also believe that it is my job to help support and encourage the teachers to be the best they can be, to be a positive role model, and to teach with respect and encouragement. I understand the importance of building strong relationships. I believe that we are partners in your child’s educational journey, and I am honored to be part of it.

MKU Fuquay Varina | Montessori Kids Universe | A Montessori/Reggio Preschool | Owners

Danny and Mandy Gee


Danny and Mandy reside in Apex, North Carolina with their two children, Noah and Amelia. They fell in love with Montessori philosophy and concepts through the years their children attended a Montessori school in Chapel Hill, NC. They noticed that the Montessori values their kids developed at that time translated to habits at home as well which strengthened their belief that Montessori not only provided an excellent academic foundation for children but also engrained in them grace and courtesy, and practical life skills all while fostering confidence and independence. Many years later when the Gee’s were presented with the opportunity to open their own Montessori Kids Universe location, they were excited to be able to provide this amazing educational opportunity to the community of Fuquay Varina.

Reny O’Connell

Assistant Head of School

I am originally from Indonesia but have live in the states since 1986. I have 2 grown children and an elementary age child that keeps me busy. I joined the MKU family in November of 2022. I have been an Assistant Director for 5 years and before that, I was in a classroom. I was introduced to the Montessori Method when I first started teaching over 24 years ago. All three of my children have graduated from Montessori School. I have worked in several non-Montessori Schools sense then and coming to MKU felt like I was coming home. I have always felt like working with children has been my calling. I believe that each child is special and learns in their own way. I love watching their faces when they see or learn something new. I am a huge football fan and I watch my team the Baltimore Ravens every chance I get.

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Ms. Maria

Lead Toddler 1 Guide

I am originally from Mexico and Spanish is my native language. If your child is in my classroom, they will be introduced to Spanish words on a daily basis. I have been working and teaching young children for over 16 years and I love watching the little ones learn new things. I believe that children learn through experimenting and having hands-on experiences with different materials and textures. All children need to be given the opportunity to learn in their own way.
I have been married for almost 30 years and have two grown children. In my spare time you can find me in my garden or reading a book with one of my cats curled up in my lap.

Ms. Heather

Lead Toddler 2 Guide

I live in Fuquay Varina and I am the second oldest of 6 children. I have always loved working with children but ended up finding work in the medical field. At age 40 I decided I needed a change, so I decided to pursue my passion of working with children. While in school I learned about Maria Montessori and the Montessori Method and fell in love with that style of teaching.

I have been with MKU since day one and have gone through the Montessori Training program and am a certified Montessori Guide. I also finished my associate in early childhood education. I enjoy spending time with my husband Mark, of 16 years. and my large family now consists if 27 nieces and nephews. I also enjoy reading and doing crafts. I am also obsessed with all things Disney!

For the past 2 years I worked in the Children’s House classroom, but I have always loved working with toddlers and two-year-olds. I am excited for the change, and I look forward to watching your toddler grow.

Ms. Guadalupe

Lead Infant Guide

Hi MKU families. I have worked in childcare for the past 6 years. I have worked with all age groups but always found my way back to the infant room. Working with infants is truly my passion, it has always been the most rewarding age group to work with for me. I love watching them reach their milestones and take great pleasure in knowing I played a role in that.

When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my nieces and nephews! They played a big role in why I decided to work with children. I also enjoy reading, watching movies and spending time at the beach. My favorite book/movie series is Harry Potter. I am super excited to get to know your family and your infant.

Ms. Aileen

Lead Pre-Primary Guide

Hi, I live in Holly Springs with my husband of 26 years and our 3 beautiful daughters. We have an adopted rabbit named Jerry. I enjoy reading and the outdoors. I am originally from New York but have lived in NC for 16 years. This is where my passion for teaching was developed. I love learning and it has drawn me to teaching. I have over 14 years year of experience working in Early Education, and I am presently finishing my BA in Education at UNCP. I am also enrolled in MKU’s Montessori Training program, and I am looking forward to finishing up both.
I am looking forward to many enjoyable experiences at MKU and getting to know the families.

Ms. Tyson

Lead Children’s House 2 Guide

I am a Pennsylvania native, as well as a die-hard Penn State and Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I love and miss the cold weather: I absolutely look forward to snow.

I am a single mom of 3; I have a 17-year daughter, and 2 boys ages 14 and 13. They Attend FVHS and FVMS, therefore my interest outside of teaching revolve around them. We love sports as well as the FVHS marching Bengals.

I have been teaching in the Early Childhood field since 2000 with a 7-year break as a stay home mom. Not only am I a certified Montessori Guide, I also have my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. I love teaching this age group because a young child’s mind is effortlessly intriguing.
I believe in nurturing their curiosities and experiences; fostering autonomy and independence; and meeting each child where they are on their developmental journey. I believe young children should be valued, respected and recognized as individuals and empowered every day.

Ms. Malini

Lead Children’s House 1 Guide

Hello, MKU Families, I am Malini, I joined MKU this September 2023. I am from India and am engineering graduate. I used to work as a lecturer in engineering colleges, but I always wondered why students were often underprepared for their academics. This curiosity led me to shift my career towards early childhood, and since 2017, I have been involved in Early Childhood Education in India. I also worked as an early learner’s tutor at Kumon in Ohio. I am excited to finish up my Montessori Training.

I derive immense joy from watching children gain confidence and develop a love for learning, all while enjoying their playful learning experiences.
I am blessed with a loving husband and an adorable 3rd-grade daughter. My hobbies include crocheting, singing, and dancing. My favorites include browsing and learning about early childhood teaching methods, watching movies and spending quality time with my family and friends.

Ms. Averie

Assistant Infant Guide

I am Ms. Averie and I have returned to us after taking some time off. I am excited to be back in the infant room and to see my older infants now in the toddler rooms!
Although I am fairly new to childcare I love working with children. I enjoy learning and getting to know each individual child and watching them learn. I especially love seeing all their different personalities. I am excited to be a part of your child’s learning journey.
My hobbies include going to the gym, spending money, and listening to music. I also LOVE Harry Styles.

Ms. Hannah

Assistant Toddler Guide

I have been working in childcare for a little over four years and have been delighted to start my journey at MKU. I had my first experience working with children at 17, It was while taking classes in. school that I knew how much I enjoyed working with children and started my carer in childcare a few years later.
I grew up in NC and have lived here all my life. In my free time I enjoy nature walks, painting, and quality time with my friends and family.
Working with children has taught me a lot about enjoying the little things in life and has given me a new perspective through their eyes.
I am excited to work with Ms. Maria in the Toddler 1 room and I look forward to watching your child grow.

Ms. Dayana

Assistant Toddler Guide

Hi MKU families, my name is Dayana. I have been working in childcare for a little over a year. I came to MKU from another center where I also worked with Toddlers. So far, I am loving my time here at Montessori Kids and enjoying getting to know all the families.

I enjoy spending time with my family and my 2-year-old little girl, Jenevi. In my spare time, I also enjoy watching Netflix and going to Target!

Ms. Maricela

Assistant Pre-Primary Guide

I live in a very quiet neighborhood in Angier. I enjoy spending time with my husband and my fur baby Cindy Lou. I also like to listen to music in my down time and going shopping, especially with my mom.

I started working with children when I was in my teens. I decided to begin my career in childcare after Highschool. Working with children has always been my passion. I love working with two-year-olds. They have so much energy personality.
I am looking forward to getting to know you and to helping your child on their potty training journey!

Senora Isabella

Maestro de Espanol

Senora Isabel is a retired Montessori Guide with over 20 years of experience. She loves to teach, and she has found that this makes her heart happy. We are so blessed to have her come and do weekly Spanish lessons with our children. They have learned so much from her.

Ms. Jimena

Floating Guide

Ms. Jimena is one of our awesome floaters. She joined MKU in June of 2022. You will see Ms. Jimena in and out of all the classes. She recently has been spending a lot of time in the infant/toddler rooms. She attends college but we are lucky enough to have her at MKU during her winter and summer breaks.

Hi, I’ve lived in Holly Springs since I was 3 years old. I have 3 older siblings and 2 younger siblings. I am currently attending Duke University. I’m on the pre-med track and am planning on majoring in psychology. I’m considering pediatrics because I really enjoy working with children, which is also why I started working at MKU. I really enjoy reading and binge-watching shows, especially k-dramas. I also LOVE matcha lattes from Dunkin.

Ms. Amaya

Floating Guide

Ms. Amaya is a floater or a go-to-person. She helps cover breaks, teacher planning and in the evenings, you will find her in the Pre-Primary room. A little about Ms. Amaya– Ms. Amaya is originally from Washington State. She moved to North Carolina 10 years ago and has been in Fuquay for the last 3 years. Ms. Amaya has enjoyed watching her younger cousins and family members. She has also taken some EMS classes. In her free time, she likes to bake and read.

Ms. Lindsey

Children’s House Assistant Guide

Ms. Lindsey is from Fuquay Varina. She has a daughter in middle school and has 2 dogs. She has worked in childcare since 2020 and received her Early Childhood Credentials from Central Carolina Community College. She finds the most joy working with the older children and seeing them grow. In her spare time, she likes to paint, craft, fish and spend time with her family.