SUNFLOWER FACULTY & STAFF

How The Garden Grows

Kaori Van Dyke

Kaori Van Dyke

Lead teacher in the pre-K classroom and new owner of the school, Kaori has a graduate degree in psychology, and her coursework included Developmental, Experimental and Educational Psychology. She loves that the program at Sunflower allows the students to learn at their own tempo and with their own objectives.

Mary Tallent

Mary Tallent

Co-teacher in the pre-K classroom, Mary previously worked as a project manager in New York City. She has an MBA in management information systyems. In 1998, wanting a break from New York, Mary took a summer job in Glacier. There she met her future husband Doug and the pair eventually moved to Missoula. Beginning as a substitute, Mary now enjoys being part of the teaching team, learning from the other teachers and the kids. Mary has completed the MT Certified Preschool Teacher Education course.

Jenny Willis

Jenny Willis

Lead teacher in the toddler classroom, Jenny has over 16 years experience working with children. She has owned her own childcare facility, filled in as interim director for a preschool and worked as an infant teacher and preschool teacher. She has lived in Montana for 8 years. She has three daughters. Together, Jenny and her husband home school their girls. In their spare time they enjoy going to their forested property and building towards a self sufficient future.

Samantha Pollington

Samantha Pollington

Former owner and director, Sam was with Sunflower so long that she bought it and relaunched it. She is a certified AMS Montessori Instructor. Sam is now a substitute at Sunflower, spending the majority of her time developing a new flower business in her hometown of Havre, Montana.

Sarah Frazier

Sarah Frazier

Substitute teacher in the preschool classroom, Sarah got her start as an assistant teacher at Green Arts Montessori in Helena, MT. She has been working in Montessori since 2016. Sarah joined the Sunflower team in January of 2020, and is eager to learn and grow with this special group of children. Outside of Sunflower, Sarah maintains her solo music career as a synth-pop artist.

Jon Van Dyke

Jon Van Dyke

Jon is an occasional substitute in both classrooms, but most of his time at Sunflower is spent in the office keeping the hounds of chaos at bay with his bookkeeping skills. Jon grew up in Missoula, attaining his MPA from the University of Montana after 15 years living in Japan, where he met wife Kaori. Jon enjoys home improvement and landscaping projects, and devotes much of his time to KFGM - Missoula Community Radio.