Lydia Hayes

Lydia grew up in Decorah, and in 2018, Lydia graduated with an Elementary Education Degree and License from Gustavus in St. Peter, MN. She then worked as an outdoor educator at Eagle Bluff in Lanesboro and as a Student Support Coach at Anthony Middle School in Minneapolis. Lydia has been an essential part of Kinderhaus since starting as Kinderhaus’ Lead Teacher in 2021. She is now partnering with Gracie to serve as co-lead teachers.

Gracie Platt

Gracie graduated from University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and then moved to Chicago for 9 years where she graduated from University of Illinois Chicago with a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.  In graduate school, she learned about many approaches to education, including Waldorf, and she highly values play-based learning for young children to grow and thrive in a creative, authentic, and meaningful way. She taught preschool for 5 years before relocating to Decorah to be closer to family and live a quieter lifestyle with her family.  She has served as Kinderhaus’s Director for more than five years, and is currently also sharing co-lead teaching duties with Lydia. She is grateful to be a part of such a special community!

Steve McCargar

Many years ago, Steve was a student in the University of Michigan’s pre-school education program. After leaving the U of M he worked as a teacher’s aide in the Head Start program in Ann Arbor and also worked in the Ann Arbor public schools as an aide in an elementary classroom for children with behavioral challenges. He is now entering his thirteenth year at Kinderhaus and is variously known as “The Cookie Monster” or “Mr. Steve.” Steve has spent his adult life trying to build a safer, nurturing environment for children everywhere. Along the way he directed the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor, was elected Winneshiek County Supervisor, co-managed Oneota Food Coop for 25 years, was president of a public employee’s union and started Home Town Taxi in Decorah (with friends). 

Tamie Holzer

Tamie is a teacher in Kinderhaus’s afternoon program. She is a student at NICC and a welcome addition to the Kinderhaus team!

Paige Darnell

Paige is a teacher in Kinderhaus’s afternoon program. She is a student at NICC and Kinderhaus is happy to have her on staff!

Regular Substitute Teachers

Kristin Albertson

Miss Kristin began teaching at Kinderhaus in its “early years,” and has since returned to us, bringing her songs and smile with her! Miss Kristin graduated from Luther College with a BA in Anthropology.  An educator at heart, she has homeschooled all three of her children (including Ms. Lydia! :)) . In addition to teaching at Kinderhaus, Miss Kristin leads “Circle Song,” a parent-child weekly gathering for music and movement, with Otter Dreaming. Many of our songs at Kinderhaus are Miss Kristin originals!

Sarah Frydenlund

Sarah is a parent of two Kinderhaus alumni and previously served as interim afternoon teacher.  She brings her vast knowledge and her many skills of organization, food prep, and classroom management to Kinderhaus.