Meet Our Staff
Lisa Howe, Director
I live with my husband Mark, on our farm, in Wolcottville with two of our four children. Two of the oldest children are out of the house, and one is married. We have a wonderful daughter-in-law and one beautiful grandson. I received my bachelors degree in Christian Counseling from Summit Christian College, now Taylor University, and in 2014 received my Montessori Administration Certificate from Seton Montessori Institute in Chicago. In my early 20’s I worked with a ministry overseas in the Dominican Republic. I have also directed a local Crisis Pregnancy Center, and have worked at the Lagrange Healthy Families as an assessment worker/home visitor before coming to be the director at Agape. I have been blessed to serve God in so many different ways and feel that children are the heart of my ministry.
Melissa Kalkirtz, Preschool Lead Teacher, Teacher Coordinator
I was born and raised in LaPorte, Indiana. I formerly worked as a Sergeant in the Sheriff's Department. I moved to Stroh in 2006 and married by husband, Joe. I have a daughter and two sons. I have my Montessori Certification in both Infant/Toddler and Early Childhood. I’ve worked at Agape since 2008 and feel blessed to work with the children every day. We love attending our church in Angola. I love gardening, lawn work, cooking, camping, and family movie nights. We also raise cows and chickens.
Laura Weber, Preschool Lead Teacher
I was born and raised in the town of Kendallville but spent much time as a child visiting my grandparents' dairy farms. After graduating from East Noble High School, I attended Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana. I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and taught fourth and fifth grades for over a decade for East Noble School Corporation. Due to my passion for helping kids grow as readers and writers I pursued my master's in Literacy and Reading. Along the way I am happy to have discovered both Agape and the Montessori approach to learning. Both have been a good match for my strong beliefs that children are loved by God and are designed to learn in a way that meets the needs of the whole child. During the summer of 2015, I was privileged to further my understanding of how children learn at Seton Montessori Institute in Chicago and now am in the process of completing all of the requirements necessary to receive formal certification. I love learning, sharing music, and reading alongside children (most especially with my 6 year old son Evan). I enjoy singing and being involved with my church family. Most of all I love spending time with both my immediate and extended family.
Brittany Young, Infant Assistant Teacher
My husband and I live in Kendallville with our son Bryton. We are very involved and active in our church at Corner Stone Fellowship in Kendallville. I’m presently in charge of the children’s JAM ministry. My family and church are very important to both my husband and me. I love to play golf and enjoy time with our two dogs. I feel Montessori is a great way to raise young children so that they can gain independence and self-worth!
Amy Ewers, Assistant Teacher
When I was in high school I knew I wanted to work with children. After high school I went to Ivy Tech in Fort Wayne for my associates degree in Early Childhood. I live near Wolcottville with my husband Jody. We have been married for 27 years. I like being outdoors working in my flower bed and around the house. I love reading and my husband and I like to motorcycle when we can.
Liz Davis, Toddler Assistant Teacher
I'm a mother of 2 girls and feel blessed to be a grandmother. I live in Angola Indiana and attend church in Ashley. I love the Lord and love touching the lives of little children who are so innocent and precious to God. I enjoy spending time with my family camping, biking and just being in the outdoors. Part of my calling is to help people with their spiritual growth and physical health , that's my passion to be used by the LORD.
Connie Amos, Infant/Toddler Assistant Teacher
My husband Jim and I have lived on Turkey Lake for 27 years. We have been blessed with dogs and now finally grandchildren! Both of us have volunteered in many ways over the years: concessions, student council, band, and in the special needs classroom. I enjoy looking for different cookie cutters, finding new cookie recipes, and finding time for all kinds of needle work. I feel blessed to be working with young children and love that my work is so rewarding.
Paula Guyton, Infant Lead Teacher
I live in Howe and have been married to my husband, Lonnie, for 26 years. We have 3 children and 2 grandchildren. I studied business at Glen Oaks Community College. I have fifteen years experience as a preschool teacher and feel that working with infants brings me such joy. I’m passionate about God and my family. I love to be in nature, read a good book, and enjoy art and music.
Candy Slabaugh, Consultant
I fell in love with Montessori Education as my daughter began her school journey. I believe in the principles of order, respect and independence, and the philosophy that it creates for each child. With 20 years of experience, I embrace Montessori whole-heatedly. I know it is a way to help each child reach their full potential. I hold my Montessori Infant-Toddler (Conception-Three) Certification as well as my Primary (3-6) in Montessori Education. I am also certified in Musikgarten (0-6), American Sign Language, as well as, a course in Positive Discipline curriculum. I am in the process of furthering my education at IVY-TECH. I have been a presenter at many Montessori Conferences, as well as, Christian education classes. I have been a mentor at Agapé for 6 years. I spend my spare time with my husband of 25 years going on adventures in the boat, Jeep or on the Motorcycle. I love Jesus and reaching the lost for him. I have a passion to help others learn, and I believe that when you stop learning you stop living!
Emem Smith, Toddler Lead Teacher
I was born in a city in Nigeria in a family of 13. I grew up in a Bible believing family and I am a believer in Jesus. I have a bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering with different work experience in schools, United State Postal Service, hospitality and many other organizations. I speak English, Ibibio, and Hausa languages fluently.I'm happily married to a my dearest and best friend, Corey Smith. God brought us together. We have a son, Handel who has brought us much joy. Things that are important to me begin after you have a child and go through the process of raising a child. I feel that every child is a special blessing from God. Working with children brings me great joy!
Andrea Deihl, Teacher
I was raised in Michigan and moved to Indiana when I married my husband, David, in 2005. We have three beautiful children, Charolette, Elliott, and Barrett. We live out in the country where we raise chickens and enjoy attending tractor shows, geocaching, camping, and traveling. We love being a part of our church family at St. Michaels Catholic Church in Waterloo. I attended Spring Arbor University and graduated with a B.A in Exercise and Sports Science Recreation with a Minor in Elementary Education. I have taught grades 1-12 Physical Education for 15 years with 9 of that being in Montessori. I have training in Positive Discipline, Experiential Education through Project Adventure, and a Wilderness First Responder. I fell in love with Montessori when my oldest began at Oak Farm Montessori as a toddler and I myself attending a Montessori elementary as a child. I believe freedom with limits can able children to blossom in their education.
Yesenia Nevarez, Infant assistant
Yesenia Nevarez was born in Chicago IL., but moved to the Mongo area when she was in 2nd grade. She is a Prairie Height Graduate. Yesenia (Yesi) has a son, Abriel which is 8 years old. Yesi and her husband, Darrick Ness, married in 2018. Yesi enjoys her time reading, spending time with her family and dog, and loves the time they can spend on the lake. Yesi and her family lives in the Stroh area.