Our Staff


Connect with Brandy on LinkedInBrandy Franks

Founder / President

Brandy (Warner) Franks is a graduate of Tallmadge High School. She attended Mount Union College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, and Plymouth State University, where she earned her master’s degree in Elementary Education with a Montessori Concentration. She holds a Primary (Preschool/Kindergarten) Montessori Education diploma from North American Montessori Center (NAMC). Brandy completed her post-graduate, master’s level Montessori certification from Mid-America Montessori Teacher Training Institute in Omaha, Nebraska, and received an AMS Elementary I (Grades 1-3) and AMS Elementary II (Grades 4-6) Certification. Brandy has worked with children in many settings including an Additional Child Care Subsidy facility, coaching athletics (softball, swimming and basketball), Montessori schools and The Cleveland Clinic Foundation treatment programs. She is a member of the American Montessori Society (AMS) and the North American Montessori Teacher Association (NAMTA).

Throughout Brandy’s life she has had a passion for teaching and guiding children. Some of Brandy’s fondest memories are of her own experiences attending Montessori school as a child. The impact this had on Brandy’s life is the reason she has chosen the Montessori Method of education for her own school. Brandy continues to pursue her dream of helping children learn and grow through Absorbent Minds Montessori School. Brandy resides in Stow with her husband and four children.


Kelly Andamasaris


Kelly (Davis) Andamasaris is a graduate of Stow-Munroe Falls High School and earned her American Montessori Society (AMS) accredited teaching credential through Mid-America Montessori Teacher Training Institute in Nebraska. She is a member of the American Montessori Society (AMS) and the North American Montessori Teacher Association (NAMTA). Kelly did not originally begin her career path with her eyes set on Montessori Education, yet the twists and turns of life opened doors and she found her calling! Kelly’s first experience with Absorbent Minds Montessori School was during its inaugural year. During that year she began to see the impact the school had on her child as well as all of the other students and their families. This impact is what led Kelly to join the administrative team of Absorbent Minds and to complete her own Montessori certification. Kelly is passionate about the Montessori approach to education.  She believes we have a great responsibility to lead and guide our next generation and can achieve this by creating the environment where a child develops a passion for learning and the confidence to succeed. Kelly continues to serve the “Smarter Families” at Absorbent Minds in managing the operations and administration of both campuses. Kelly resides in Stow with her husband and their three children and loves to spend time with family, friends and serve at her church.


Katharine Case

Primary Directress – Cuyahoga Falls

Katharine Case (“Kate”) is a graduate of Firestone High School and the University of Akron, where she earned an Associate degree in Early Childhood Development. Kate has over ten years of experience working in the childcare field as an Assistant Director, Lead Teacher and Co-Teacher in the Pre-Kindergarten and Preschool age classrooms. Kate also has experience as an Early Learning Initiative teacher. Kate enjoys being part of the Absorbent Minds family and treasures the opportunity to use her experience and education to positively impact the children of our community. She has completed her Montessori Certification through North American Montessori Center, British Columbia, Canada. Kate loves the Montessori approach and takes pride in her prepared environment for each student. Kate is a twin and values spending time with family. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, walking and time outdoors. While a native Akronite, Kate presently resides in Stow with her husband and son.


John Kotradi

Primary Director / Science Teacher – Cuyahoga Falls

John Kotradi holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Ecology from The Ohio State University (O-H, I-O), and an American Montessori Society (AMS) Primary (Preschool/Kindergarten) Montessori certification from Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center in Evanston, Illinois. John’s experience with the Montessori Method of education began when his own children started school. Through watching them thrive in the environment he was inspired to get involved and become a teacher. John’s passion for influencing his students shows in everything he does. John strongly believes the Montessori environment promotes independence, self-reliance and good statesmanship. In addition to John’s passion for the Montessori teaching philosophy he shares his enthusiasm for science with all of the children at Absorbent Minds Montessori School. One of John’s favorite things about teaching science is exploring through experiments and seeing the children develop their own hypotheses. John resides in Akron raising his three children. Go Buckeyes!


Courtney Owens

Primary Directress – Tallmadge

Courtney Owens is a graduate of Hudson High School and The University of Akron, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education. In addition, Courtney earned her American Montessori Society (AMS) Primary (Preschool/Kindergarten) Montessori certification through Mid-America Montessori Teacher Training Institute in Nebraska, and holds a State of Ohio Early Childhood Education teaching license (Pre-K to 3). Courtney enjoys being part of the Absorbent Minds family and is passionate about using her experience to be a compassionate, enthusiastic, intelligent directress who will make a positive contribution in the lives of her students. Courtney relishes the opportunity to provide students with a foundation to mastering basic skills at their own rate. Courtney thrives on being creative, nurturing, and most of all patient. Courtney is an animal lover who enjoys spending time with her two dogs. Courtney also enjoys going biking, hiking, and running in the Cuyahoga Valley National Parks with her husband. Courtney and her husband currently reside in Cuyahoga Falls with their two children.


Ashley Steurer

Directress Elementary – Tallmadge

Ashley Steurer is a graduate of Barberton High School and Xavier University, where she found the Montessori Method for the first time. While at Xavier, she received her Bachelor of Science in Montessori Education and obtained her American Montessori Society Primary (Preschool/Kindergarten) certification, as well as her State of Ohio teaching license (P – 3, Reading P – 3). She received her AMS Elementary I (Grades 1-3) and AMS Elementary II (Grades 4-6) Montessori Certification from Mid-America Montessori Teacher Training Institute in Nebraska. Ashley spent two years working in a Primary Montessori classroom as an Assistant and then a Lead Teacher before joining Absorbent Minds Montessori School. Ashley is excited to continue her love of learning and teaching with the Elementary program. When Ashley stumbled upon the Montessori Method, she fell in love with the idea of educating the whole child, not just teaching to read and write, but to prepare them to make a difference as adults and to learn to live in peace with all people. Ashley grew up in Akron where she currently resides with her family. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends. Ashley also practices yoga and has recently joined a group to start a community garden at the yoga studio.


Breanna Boca

Primary Co-Directress – Tallmadge

Breanna Boca is a graduate of Cuyahoga Falls High School and The University of Akron where she earned her Associate degree in Early Childhood Development. She first came to Absorbent Minds as part of an internship program her senior year of high school and enjoyed remaining a substitute through her college experience. Breanna loved having the unique opportunity to learn from experience in all of the classrooms throughout her time as a substitute, but is excited to now be a permanent part of one classroom and make a significant impact in her students’ lives.  Breanna loves witnessing the humor, imagination, and intelligence that children possess and the growth in each child over time. There is nothing more rewarding to her than to see the pride in a child’s eyes when their hard work pays off and they master a difficult concept. In her free time, Breanna likes to play with her little cousins and spend time with her family and friends. Breanna lives in Cuyahoga Falls with her parents and two siblings.


Kathleen Souza

Primary Co-Directress – Cuyahoga Falls

Ms. Kathleen Souza is a graduate of St. Vincent, St Mary’s High School. She has worked with children of many ages in various settings for over 20 years, including leading her classrooms in the daycare setting, caring for children in their home environment and being a Teacher’s Aid in public schools. It has always been a dream of Ms. Kathleen’s to care for and teach children of all ages. She is so excited to be a part of the Absorbent Minds family! Ms. Kathleen is an avid reader and loves books. She is also a movie buff who enjoys going out to the movies. Spending time with her family and her nephews and nieces is very important to Kathleen. Ms. Kathleen resides in Stow with her family.



Faith Weihe

Primary Co-Directress – Tallmadge

Faith Weihe is a graduate of Cuyahoga Falls High School and Malone University where she dual majored in Early Childhood Education and Intervention Specialist, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education, and an AMS Primary (Preschool/Kindergarten) Montessori Certification from Mid-America Montessori Teacher Training Institute in Nebraska. Faith has worked with children in a variety of settings such as schools, tutoring, summer programs, and day cares. She enjoys working with young students and seeing their excitement for learning and being part of a collaborative classroom in the Montessori environment where the students can learn at their own pace. In her spare time, Faith volunteers at her church teaching in the children’s church, likes hiking through the Metro and Cuyahoga Valley National Parks, reading, and photography.


Marlee Messner

Elementary Co-Directress-Tallmadge

<Coming Soon!>

Kelley Laney

Elementary Co-Directress-Tallmadge

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Ashlie Miltner

Primary Co-Directress-Cuyahoga Falls

<Coming Soon!>

Amanda Rohde

Primary Co-Directress-Cuyahoga Falls

<Coming Soon!>

Glenn Warner

Elementary Physical Education Teacher – Tallmadge

<Coming Soon!>



Lisa Adams

Music Teacher

Lisa Adams is a teacher, singer and co-arranger of music used in the Exploring Music curriculum. Lisa has a Bachelor of Arts in music education and over 20 years of teaching experience. She has also sung professionally throughout the United States. For each of her weekly classes, Lisa selects songs and develops lessons to teach many areas of music in a way young children can both understand and enjoy. Lisa loves sharing her passion for music with children.



Dayna Potoczek

Art Teacher

<Coming Soon!>


Master Barnick

Tae Kwon Do Instructor

Master Barnick holds a 4th degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and has been studying Martial Arts since 1998. He specializes in teaching children 2.5-5 years old and has been a Tae Kwon Do instructor for Asian Sun for over 11 years. During his career at Asian Sun, Ohio’s best Martial Arts School, ranked by number of Black Belts produced, Master Barnick has produced many black belts himself and coached National Champions. He is the General Manager and Head Instructor at Asian Sun Tallmadge. Master Barnick has a passion and gift for teaching children Tae Kwon Do. He has brought the Asian Sun program to many preschools and is excited to share his passion with the students at Absorbent Minds.




Elisabeth Ihde Cavallaro

Lead Dance Instructor

Elisabeth Ihde Cavallaro received her training from the Akron Dance Institute.  Throughout high school, she performed many leading roles with Akron University’s Repertory Dance Company. Elisabeth has performed professionally with the Ohio Dance Theater, the Pennsylvania Ballet and the Ohio Ballet. She has been teaching dance throughout Northeast Ohio for over 15 years and loves working with children of all ages and abilities. Her goal as a teacher is to instill passion and enthusiasm for the performing arts. In addition to running her own studio, IhDe Rather Be Dancing School of Dance, located in Cuyahoga Falls, Elisabeth partnered with Absorbent Minds Montessori School. Together they will utilize her talents, passion and artistic ability to bring the world of dance to the preschool environment.