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Leah Jones

It’s my pleasure to continue to serve you as principal this year. This is my 21st year in education and my 6th year in educational leadership. Prior to becoming principal,
I was fortunate to teach in multiple settings including traditional public school in Detroit, Michigan, private schools in Aurora, Colorado and now LIFE Prep public
charter school here in St. Paul, Minnesota. I received my Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Eastern Michigan University. I am blessed to be the mother of a smart, funny, and kind little boy named Barrett Daniel. He is the apple of my eye and reminds me everyday how important my job is serving others through education. My husband, Robert, and I have been married for 18 years and love living in MN. We love to travel, try new restaurants, and spend our time enjoying all things nature. It is my privilege to lead LIFE Prep School and the many talented teachers and staff. My goal is to provide a supportive climate where students are challenged and grow to their highest potential. This year will be my 17th year at LIFE Prep. There is no other place I would rather be! This is my second home and I love working with students! There is no better job in the world! I look forward to working with the families and community to accomplish the goals we create together. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns. We are better together!

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Christyna Sherrod
Assistant Director

Hello, my name is Ms. Christyna and this will be my 12th year at LIFE Prep, but my 4th year as Assistant Director. I love many things about LIFE Prep but my favorite things are the relationships that I have made with our students and also with our families. The fun assemblies we have to celebrate all the accomplishments our students have made is another favorite of mine. LIFE Prep is a happy, safe, welcoming, and fun place to be every day and I love that our students enjoy it just as much as me. When I am not at LIFE Prep I enjoy spending time with my husband and our 3 children. I am very excited for the 2023-2024 school year and I am looking forward to meeting all our new families and welcoming all our returning families back! 


Kelsey Nelson
Chief Operating Officer

Hi, I am Ms. Kelsey and this is my 9th year working at LIFE Prep as the Chief Operating Officer. My favorite thing about working here is the wonderful staff and students! When I am not working, I enjoy traveling, reading, running and spending time with my husband and kids!

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Lori Steider
Administrative Assistant

I am Ms. Lori, the Administrative Assistant for LIFE Prep School. This will be my 15th year at LIFE Prep School. I love seeing all of the students everyday and I enjoy working with all of our wonderful families. I have 3 grandchildren and love spending time with them.  I love to go camping with my husband and my dog Riggs and I enjoy sewing, crafting and antiquing.

Michael Johnson
Office Administrative Assistant

Hello everybody! My name is Michael. This is my first year with the LIFE Prep family, I will be taking on the role of administrative support. I am excited to get to know everyone at the school! In my free time I love to rock climb, snowboard, take my greyhound out for walks, and camp! In my role I hope to make everyone else’s job easier and help the school maintain a good online presence.


Lucas Balfany
Building Facilities Manager

Hi, my name is Mr. Lucas. I am the Building Facilities Manager. This will be my 6th year here at Life Prep. I live in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin with my wonderful family on our hobby farm, where I enjoy teaching our 4 year old son Drake life skills. When I'm not working, you will probably find me hunting, fishing, camping, or spending time with family. Fun fact about me: I'm a 4th generation sod farmer. I've also been known to have a hard time passing up a good deal on Craigslist! I enjoy lending a helping hand around the school and seeing all the bright smiles on the children's faces every day!


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Brittany Hughes
Elementary Instructional Coach

Kate Roth
Kindergarten Teacher

Hi! My name is Kate Roth, I started my journey and became a part of the LIFE Prep family in January of 2002. I started teaching in our preschool program and was there for 2 years. I then moved to first grade and was there for 13 years. In 2017, I began
another new adventure here at LIFE Prep as I started teaching kindergarten. It is truly rewarding to be a part of my students’ lives. I enjoy having the opportunity to watch them grow as they explore and learn new things each and every day! In my free time, I love to spend time outdoors and travel with my family.

Hello! My name is Mrs. Hughes and I am the Instructional Coach at LIFE Prep. I work with all of our teachers to support student learning and teacher instruction. I have a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a master’s degree in Family Education. I have been an elementary school teacher for 10 years. I love my job and I love LIFE Prep! Our school is truly a family. I love that we strive to build lasting relationships and empower our students to achieve greatness. 

My husband and I are busy chasing around our 2 year old son, Kota and puppy, Milo. We love to be outside and we love the sunshine! 

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Beth Larson
Reading Specialist

My name is Beth Larson, and I am the reading specialist at LIFE Prep. Along with reading, I've also taught pre-k and kindergarten during my 27 years of teaching. My husband, Brent, and I live in Hudson, Wisconsin with our four boys. I love to bake, read, and take road trips with my family. 

I have been at LIFE Prep for 16 years, and I absolutely love it! I love that we are a small school where I get to know all the students here. I am passionate about helping students learn to read and love my job. I am so happy to be part of the LIFE Prep family

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Christine Obermueller
1st Grade Teacher

My name is Christine Obermueller (Mrs. O) and I have been teaching at LIFE Prep school since 2013! I live in Hudson, WI with my husband, two boys, dog and two cats. You will usually find me outside trying to keep up with my 8 and 5 year old boys, at a sporting event, or at the cabin! Teaching is my passion and I love working with young students (1st grade is my favorite!). I graduated from the University of St. Thomas with my Bachelor of Arts degree, and from the University of River Falls, Wisconsin with a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. LIFE Prep holds a very special place in my heart, and I feel so lucky to call it my second home. Throughout the many years I have been teaching here, there have been many changes, but what always stays the same is that every single individual student’s needs matter. Each student gets what they specifically need, there is no one-size fits all. We learn as a family, and we
celebrate as a family. We laugh and cry as a family and we are there for each other as a family.

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Jevone Fulford

Hey, my name is Jevone, but you can call me Mr.J. I have been working at Life Prep as a Paraprofessional for about 6 years now. For me, working with kids, and being able to make any type of impact on their lives is really huge to me. I grew up in Saint Paul, and have lived here most of my life. Some of my passions include sports, music, family, cars, and gaming. I have a 2 year old Son named Jordani (Jor-Don-Knee), and a lovely wife. During my spare time I like to make music, workout, and hang with my family. I am a diehard Kansas City Chiefs fan, and a Lakers fan. Minnesota's sports teams are becoming more tolerable as of late, so I occasionally watch them. As I mentioned before, family is one of my passions, I have 7 siblings that I would literally die for. We're all really close, our own little gang. Lastly, I love to make people happy, and bring positive vibes everywhere I go. Life is too short to spend it following drama, just be happy, and spread love.

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Maggie Decker
2nd Grade Teacher

My name is Maggie Decker and have been teaching at LIFE Prep for 5 years, working with both 1st and 2nd grade. I graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College. I enjoy working with children because of the excitement they have towards school and learning. When I am not teaching I like to read, travel and spend time with my family, friends and my dog! I love working at LIFE Prep because of the amazing community it provides. The students, families, and staff are all amazing and care so much about the school and each other. I am lucky to be a part of the LIFE Prep family. 

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Katie Schlosser
6rd Grade Teacher

I’m Ms. Katie the 6th Grade teacher and I’ve been here for 14 years! My husband Paul and I have two daughters, Claire, 11 and Bailey 4. Claire has attended this school since PreK. This year she will embark on a new journey at Valley Middle school of STEM. As a parent, I love the personal connections teachers make with the kids. I’ve witnessed it first hand with my own child. As a staff member, I love the family environment, we as a whole, have created. This school and staff are beyond amazing. LIFE Prep is truly a special place. Our students are just as lucky to have us as we are to have them. 

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Madison Theusch
4th Grade Teacher

Heidi Wilson
Special Education Coordinator

Hi! My name is Madison Theusch and I am proud to be a teacher at Life Prep. This year will be my first year teaching fifth grade and I am excited for another incredible school year. My personal experience within education is that I received my Bachelor and Masters Degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato. This may be my first year teaching fifth grade, but it is my sixth school year at Life Prep. Family is so important to me so teaching in a school that has the values that Life Prep does will always be a reason I love working here. Our families, students, and the people I get to work with makes this school such a special place. If I am not at school, I am spending time with my husband and our two cats!

Yo! Wilson here! I have been a part of the LIFE Prep family for 12 years. The kids and staff here are out of this world. I love all the FUN we have in the building! I have a 10 year old doggie named Belle. I love to travel, hike, camp and take photos.  

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Avery Erschens

Hi, my name is Ms. Avery and this will be my first year working as a paraprofessional at LifePrep! I’ve worked in a variety of childcare & early childhood education environments over the years, as well as received my PCA certification in 2018 where I’ve focused on working with children with developmental disabilities. In my free time I love hiking, crafting, attending concerts & going on road trips with my partner Reese & our cat Leo. My favorite part about working with kids is the individual relationships & continual growth I get to build with each of them. 

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Maria Aviles
3rd Grade Teacher

Leslie Taylor

Hey! My name is Ms A, I am a para in pre-k. This is my 15th year at LIFE Prep. I studied early childhood development at Concordia University in St. Paul. I love working with kids and can’t wait for the fun year ahead of us. My husband Derek and I have two kids. Our son Brayden is 9 and our daughter Aubrey is almost 2. I love to travel and spend time outside biking, gardening and swimming with my kids.

My name is Maria and I’m From Guayaquil-Ecuador. I moved to Minnesota a few years ago and has been an amazing experience! I live with my 2 kids, my husband and my dog Mila. I have a Bachelors degree in Early childhood education, and I’ve been teaching Pre-k through 3rd grade for the last 18 years. This is my first year teaching at LIFE Prep and I’m very excited of being a part of this great family. I believe children want to learn about anything & everything. They want to explore and discover things for themselves. For me as a teacher, to be part of this process and help them fulfill their potential along the way is a very special gift. My favorite things about being an educator are the relationships I build with my students, the possibility of making a difference and being surrounded by smiles & love everyday.

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Hanaa Omar
Pre-K Paraprofessional

Hi, My name's Ms. Hanaa, I'm a paraprofessional, this my 7th year with the Life Prep family and I enjoy it! I'm originally from Egypt, I have a bachelor degree in home economics and I've been working with kids for more than 25 years. I like to travel, crochet, and knit and it's pleasure to be helping around.

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Issac Heieie
Special Education Teacher

Ciarra Fagerlie
Art Teacher

My name is Isaac Heieie and I am so excited to be back at LIFE Prep as a SpEd/ EL teacher! This is my second year teaching here and I’m ready to be back and I can't wait to be back in a classroom teaching! I graduated from University of Minnesota in 2016 with a degree in Early Childhood Education and since then have worked at multiple childcare centers teaching ages birth through Pre-K. I love being a teacher because I not only get to connect with children and build relationships but I can help them achieve what they didn't think they could. Currently I am pursuing my license from Southwest Minnesota State University in Early Childhood Special Education. I live in St. Paul with my fiancé Zack and our cat Phoebe. We love watching scary movies and playing video games. 

Hello, my name is Ms. Ciarra and I will be teaching Art this school year! This is my first year at LIFE Prep and I am excited to join the family! I cannot wait to welcome every student into the art room and get to see everything they can make. Everytime I walk into LIFE Prep I feel happy, and I know that will continue this school year. Children get to explore all of their creativity and imagination in art and that is such an important part of their childhood.

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Carole Dunn
Internal Substitute Teacher

I have worked at Life Prep as a substitute teacher for 8 years. The greatest opportunity I have as a substitute, is that I get to teach all the grades and get to know every Life Prep student. There are challenges, but these are more than balanced by the beautiful moments such as a student learning a new skill or a heartfelt hug from one of them. The Staff works together so well, all with the common goal of making Life Prep a loving, homelike environment for learning and living.

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Brittany Montry
Social Worker

Becca Zack
4th Grade Teacher

Hey there! My name is Brittany Montry and I am the school social worker. This will be my 3rd year as a school social worker but only my second year at LIFE Prep. I came half way through the year last year and immediately felt like part of the family. I continued to observe and experience the warm and welcoming nature of our school community throughout the year. My favorite part of my job is building relationships; with our students, with our families and with our staff. I look forward to continuing to build and strengthen those relationships and learning how to best serve our students and support their success. Outside of school I love crafting, traveling, spending time with my family, all things fall (orchards, hayrides, hot apple cider) and obsessing over my three-legged cat.

My name is Mrs. Zack. This is my second year at LIFE Prep! I absolutely love the relationships built among staff and students. I love being able to teach smaller class sizes, so I am able to better focus on individual students and specific needs tailored to them. I also enjoy the relationships among parents, staff and community. It’s been amazing to see! The Festival of Lights and Carnival are my favorite events!  A little bit about me. I have two wonderful children who are ages 5 and 5 months. My husband is a big sports guy and works for the University of St. Thomas and the Vikings! I’m a big sports person as well, but I’m a Packer fan! I also love horses and have two of my own at my parent’s farm. My favorite book when I was a kid was called “Mr. Doodle had a Poodle”. My favorite teacher of all time was my 5th grade teacher Mrs. Noyd.

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Luz Herrera
Pre-K Teacher

Hello everyone! My name is Luz Herrera and I am currently a Pre-K teacher at LIFE Prep. I have been teaching Preschool for 6+ years, I truly enjoy this age group and all of the fun and creativity that comes with it! Some of my favorite things are: my children, good books, music, cooking and traveling. My family comes from Nayarit, Mexico, and my first language is Spanish. I love to visit my family back home. I am so blessed to form a part of the LIFE Prep family!

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Amy Faust

Hello, my name is Ms Amy. This is my third year as a Paraprofessional at Life Prep. I have been married for 25 years and have two lovely adult children. I also have my dog Ricky, who is a boxer/ beagle rescued from hurricane Harvey. My grand dog, who is a chocolate lab named Bubs, my other grand dog, who is a pug, named Tater and lastly the grand cat, who’s name is Ellie. We have a very full house! I have enjoyed my time here at Life Prep. I have really enjoyed getting to know all of the students and staff. I love our small family atmosphere and all of the various events throughout the year. It’s just a great place to be!

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