Our Teachers


Ms. Kris

Co-director & room 1 lead teacher


Ms. Pemly

co-Director & room 2 lead teacher

Ms. Kris has been teaching for 24 years and believes children learn by doing. As a preschool teacher and Co-Director, she believes it is her responsibility to create a learning environment that meets each child where they are at developmentally, and encourages a passion for learning by providing exciting opportunities to discover the world around them!

Outside the classroom, Ms. Kris loves long walks, reading, time with friends and family, dining out and travel, especially to the North Shore.

She has Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis on Pre-K through Grade 6 from Saint Catherine’s University.

Ms. Pemly has been teaching at Macalester Plymouth since 2002.  She embraces the learning through play curriculum and encourages all her students to use their creativity, adventure and intelligence to grow and expand their minds. She also believes that all children learn in different ways and at different times.

Ms. Pemly is married with two grown children (her youngest went to Macalester Plymouth!). She loves to travel and has been to many of the places she teaches about in Room Two. At home, she tends her fairy gardens and snuggles with her two cats. She is passionate about the environment and lives in a tiny house with solar panels! 

She has an Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin Madison.


Ms. Shannon

Teacher, Room 1


Ms. Hope

teacher, room 2

Ms. Shannon, who has been a teacher for 11 years, is excited to join the team in Room 1. Her goal as a preschool teacher is to make sure children are provided with an environment where they feel safe to explore, feel comfortable expressing themselves, and can initiate learning through play. She also believes it is important to make sure all children, regardless of ability, feel welcomed and accepted in the classroom.

Ms. Shannon loves reading, spending time with friends and family, traveling, shopping at Target and trying new restaurants in St. Paul. She lives in St. Paul with her husband and two children—both of whom went to Macalester Plymouth Preschool. She also has Daisy the Goldendoodle and Devin the Bearded Dragon to keep her entertained and on the go!

She has a BS in Applied Psychology from St. Cloud State University and attended The University of St. Thomas for Graduate School & Licensure in Early Childhood Special Education.

Ms. Hope has been teaching at the preschool since 2005. She loves the learning through play curriculum that her son and daughter experienced as students at Macalester-Plymouth and is delighted to be part of the program as a teacher. Supporting children as they develop their individual gifts while fostering fun, sharing, empathy and a strong sense of international community (and getting ready for kindergarten!) are what she sees as essential for Room Zoo children. And the Beatles, of course!

Ms. Hope lives in a big yellow house with her husband, two children and her tabby cat Suki. She met her husband at college in Pennsylvania, but finished her BA at Macalester College. She loves books and reading more than anything else in the world and almost became a librarian. Doing puzzles (especially sudoku and jigsaws) and watching mysteries on PBS are her ways to relax. She also loves to travel to see family both in Baltimore (where she grew up) and on the West Coast. Her favorite place on the entire planet would be anywhere by the ocean. 


Ms. Val

teacher, room 1


Ms. Sarah

teacher, room 2

Ms. Val brings many talents to Room 1. She is an artist, teacher, legal helper and mother. She loves to travel and speaks French and Spanish. She served with the Minnesota Reading Corps and infuses early literary skills into nearly everything she does in the classroom—and she makes it really fun!

When she is not teaching, creating, cooking or dreaming up lesson ideas, she is an active volunteer with her church and in the community to bring more compassion and understanding into the world. She works hard to create the same environment in the preschool classroom as well.

Ms. Sarah is thrilled to be joining the Room Zoo staff in her fourth year at Macalester Plymouth Preschool. She has been in Room One for three years and loved every minute of it. She studied psychology and child development at the University of Minnesota and has been teaching preschool for six years. She has worked with small children for as long as she can remember, from babysitting and nannying, to full time work in a day care setting. One of her proudest accomplishments was starting a successful program through Minneapolis Parks called Free to be Three, where she was the lead teacher for three years. She is a firm believer in play-based learning and loves helping children learn and grow. 

Ms. Sarah lives in South Minneapolis, with her husband and two kids. In her free time she likes to be with her family, run along the gorgeous parkway and read. She also loves music and going to good live shows.


Ms. Rita

teacher, room 1 & Room 2


Ms. Rita is a mother of 3 wonderful children who all went to Macalester Plymouth Preschool. One day, when her youngest was still there, she got an emergency call at 7:00 in the morning. The preschool needed a “quick” substitute so Ms. Rita went in that day to help and she NEVER LEFT! She has worked as a part-time teacher for almost 30 years now and has loved every minute of it—as well as all the children, parents and her co-workers.

Rita has 2 adorable grandchildren—one attends the preschool and Ms. Rita likes to sneak peeks of him interacting in the Room 1 classroom. Her hobbies include walking, tennis, reading and attending plays and watching movies. She has a BA from the University of Minnesota.