The Ubuntu School
The U Team

The U Team

Five Lineups:
Board of Directors, Staff, Community Partners, Donors, & Special Advisors

Scroll down below to view the teammates of each lineup.
Board of Directors

Jackson Perry, Board Chair -
Toni Morell
Omari Rush
Ryan Brown
Amy Sumerton, U Parent Liaison -
Ryan Noel
Peter Halquist

Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown -
Executive Director and Co-Founder
Ryan has 20 years of experience, with 15 years of that being in leadership and management roles, in the education sector. Starting off as a first grade basketball coach Ryan has built his career in the field of education and has become an innovative and well respected early childhood and school-age educator. His enthusiasm and passion for working with children as well as his engaging stories of experience translate into powerful, inspiring, and informative guidance for others.

  • Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education Administration and Leadership from The University of Michigan.
  • Early Childhood Education Lecturer/Student Supervisor at UM-Dearborn.
  • Transitional Toddler Teacher at Allen Creek Preschool
  • Lead pre-kindergarten teacher at Bright Horizons (NAEYC accredited center) in Redwood City, CA. At Bright Horizons, Ryan was recognized by his peers, families, and school leaders with awards such as The Family Partnership Award, The Rising Star Award, and the Teamwork Award.
  • Director of Green Adventures Camp, an Ann Arbor Public Schools/Rec & Ed summer academic enrichment camp.
  • Supervisor of Ann Arbor Public Schools before, kindergarten, and after school child care programs.
  • YMCA Early Childhood Sports Supervisor.
  • Loving husband of Hannah Brown (see below) and father of two boys (10 and 6 years old).

Charlie Sutherland
Charlie Sutherland -
3/4 Lead Teacher
Charlie was born and raised in Ann Arbor and has recently moved back here after twelve years in the San Francisco Bay Area. Charlie "stumbled into" teaching when he took a job as an English Instructor at Access International, a small ESL school located above the Michigan Theater. He moved to California and worked as a high school English teacher for several years. Three years ago, he made the switch to preschool, where he felt children's motivation to learn could be nurtured and deepened to greater effect.

Sonja Knighton
Sonja Knighton -
4/5 Lead Teacher
Sonja has worked with young children in a variety of settings for over a decade. She has a bachelor's degree from Eastern Michigan University College of Education with an Early Childhood endorsement. Her passion for early childhood education is intertwined with a deep reverence for the sense of discovery and wonder that children embrace. She believes it is truly an honor and a joy to be able to explore the world with children and participate in learning experiences with them. She finds many valuable opportunities for lifelong learning through teaching young children.

Alyssa Selasky
Alyssa Selasky -
3/4 AM Teacher
Alyssa is a native Detroiter who moved to Ann Arbor in 2009 to earn Bachelors of Arts in English, French, and Creative Writing at UM. Alyssa spent five years in classrooms and workshops as Program intern at 826michigan, which inspired a love of education and early childhood development. Alyssa is passionate about linguistics and language acquisition, storytelling, and how communication fuels connections. She is delighted to have found a home at the U School and is constantly inspired by its mission and remarkable students and staff.

Kat Szczygiel
Kat Szczygiel -
3/4 PM Teacher
Kat has lived in Ann Arbor most of her life, except for a small amount of time living in Ypsilanti and attending Eastern Michigan University for Children's Literature/Theatre for the Young. Being raised by parents who both loved to teach, it has always been in her heart to do so. The path of Children's Literature took her to many new places she may not have gone otherwise, including 826michigan and putting on small plays for local schools. Kathryn has always dreamed of collecting enough children's books to create a library.

Ellen Molina
Ellen Molina -
4/5 AM Teacher
Ellen recently relocated here from Austin, Texas bringing with her 20+ years of experience working which children in various preschool settings. She attained her Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate in 2013 and is pursuing her Associate of Arts in Theater. Alongside her experience as a preschool teacher she brings a passion for photography; especially capturing beautiful moments of children at play and collegiate football players in action on the field. She is thrilled to be able to share her experience and passions with the staff, children and families of the U School, Ann Arbor.

Cammie Finch
Cammie Finch -
4/5 PM Teacher
Cammie is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing. Her previous teaching background includes work with the Early Learners (ages 3-5) at Kumon Math and Learning Centers, as well as four years of volunteering in all aspects of 826michigan, a non-profit creative writing and tutoring center located in downtown Ann Arbor. Cammie's motto is "always be curious" and "never stop learning," which is why she is especially eager to be at the U School, where every day will invite a new discovery and a new adventure to share together.

Hannah Brown
Child & Family Support Coordinator
Hannah has broad experience working in child and family focused environments. She started her professional career working with children in child care environments where she found a love for working with families and great teams. Those experiences led her to pursue studies in social work, culminating in a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan, with an additional certification in School Social Work and training in art therapy. Hannah has worked with families at Ele's Place, New Beginnings Academy, Interfaith Hospitality Network at Alpha House, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor Public Schools School-Aged Child Care program, Americorps, and Shelter Networks Haven Family House (a transitional housing family shelter in Northern California). She is currently pursuing a Clinical License in Social Work and is the mother of two delightfully charming boys.
Community Partners

  • Curtis Wallace - CWCreatyv (Media-Art Specialist/Graphic Design)
  • Andrea Ridgard - Grounded Here (Yoga, Food and Life Nourishment)
Donor Lineup

Visit here to learn more about donating to the U School.

  • Amy Grambeau
  • Amy Szymaszek....................."I am in awe of this school/philosophy. "
  • Anne Montague
  • Anupa Bhise-Pierre
  • Bethena Wallace
  • Briana Murphy
  • Candi Gonzalez
  • Caitlin Klein
  • Carol Ludwig
  • Carol Perry
  • Chris Swinko.........................."I have witnessed this approach in action and have seen how it has changed the way children see themselves and their peers."
  • Claudia Repsold
  • Curtis Wallace........................"Refreshingly EXCITING!"
  • Daniel Beider
  • Daniela Bach
  • Dave Arbury
  • Deanna Jones
  • Denise Cope
  • Diana Miller
  • Eileen Kreiner
  • Ellen Brody
  • Emily Greene
  • Emma Raynor
  • Eric Zinn
  • Eril Andes
  • Erin Pons
  • Evelyn Yocum
  • Fa'al Yamin Ali
  • Fernanda Repsold
  • Frank Perry
  • Gregor Repsold
  • Gregory Lang
  • Heather Halabu.........................."The U School's vision is a response to what our community truly needs. It is headed by people who possess an abundance of creativity, passion, drive, and pure love for children."
  • Helen Pankowski
  • Isley Brown
  • Jackson Perry
  • Jamall Bufford
  • Jamie Pons
  • Jan Ulrich
  • Jane Levy
  • Jason DePasquale
  • Jason Steingold
  • Jay Stanton
  • Jeff Hamilton
  • Jeffrey Klein
  • Jen Babycz
  • Jennifer Quadro
  • Jeremy Cavagnolo
  • Jessica Rodriguez........................"The Ubuntu School has my full support!"
  • Jessica Adelle McCumons
  • Joe Abrams
  • Joe Malcoun
  • Johanna Horn
  • John Stahly
  • Jonathan Gillies
  • Joshua Remsberg
  • Julie Golden
  • Julie Zinn
  • Justin Harper
  • Kadesha Baker........................."I have not stopped talking about that AMAZING group of citizens who share my passion for preschool aged children."
  • Kate Beck
  • Kathi Cohen
  • Ken Ludwig
  • Ken Raynor
  • Ko Shih
  • Laura Pershin Raynor
  • Lauren Stine
  • Linda Robinson
  • Lisa Dengiz
  • Liza Brereton
  • Lizann Amason
  • Lori Stark
  • Lucie Keiner
  • Margaret B. Lansing
  • Maria Cecilia
  • Maria Eduarda Braga Padilha
  • Mariana Repsold
  • Mariann Airgood
  • Mark Miller
  • Martin Smith
  • Mary Mathias
  • Matthew McCumons
  • Mayra Pereira
  • Michael Demps
  • Michelle Carolan
  • Michelle Mendlewicz
  • Mike Perry
  • Mike Zinn
  • Natalia Bae
  • Natalie Christian
  • Nathan Ayers
  • Nathan Klussmann
  • Neil Miller
  • Nicole Arbury
  • Oana Nitulescu
  • Patti Dizon Woods
  • Paquetta Palmer
  • Renata
  • Ricardo Marcondes
  • Robin Schultz-Purves
  • Ryan Rooney
  • Seth Yocum
  • Sharon Watling.................."Improving our community at the grassroots level through nurturing the children and families in our midst."
  • Sherry Murphy
  • Steve Perry
  • Terri Nelson
  • Theadora Yocum
  • Tim Ludwig
  • Tom Williams
  • Toni Morell........................."Promising, Community, Excitement, Engagement, Hope, Children, Real."
  • Travis Amason
  • Victoria Groom
  • Wendy Carty-Saxon

  • If you are interested in joining the U Team, please visit here for more information.
    Special Advisors

    The U School is a "new-model" early childhood and family learning center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We offer an innovative educational experience for families with children ages 3-5 years old.
    To offer a happy, healthy, and inspired early childhood learning environment that builds a positive sense of self in children and a connectedness to community.

    The U School is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.

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