Notre Dame Academy Discovery Teaching Team

Marlissa Carpenter, Site-Director / Lead Discovery Teacher

email Marlissa Marlissa has her Pre-Primary/Kindergarten Certification Degree from Northwestern College in St. Paul and her MN Teaching License. She brings great experience and contagious positive energy to the classroom and teaching team.

Strengthfinders Top Five: Maximizer     Empathy     Developer    Arranger     Strategic




Sarah Van Valkenburg-Gernert, Kinderstart Lead Teacher

Email Sarah  Sarah joined the Teaching Team August of 2020. She graduated from Bemidji State University with a degree in Elementary Education and has her MN Teaching License. In her free time, Sarah likes to spend time with her husband, family and friends. She also enjoys crossword, jigsaw and sudoku puzzles.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Theresa


Alyssa Malecha, Assistant Teacher

Info Coming Soon!





Chelsea Smith, Assistant Teacher

Information Coming Soon!


Melissa Bodea, Lead Kinderstart Teacher

Email Melissa Melissa has over 10 years experience working with children in schools, church, daycares, camp and home settings. She joined the Discovery Team in 2016 with a BA in English from the University of Northwester-St. Paul and is currently working on her MA in Education degree. In her free-time, Melissa enjoys visiting family and friends, traveling to MN State Parks, reading and cooking.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not discourage others, it is not self-seeing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Strengthfinders Top Five: Deliberative Relator Learner Achiever Discipline


Rebecca Holmgren, Lead Explorer Teacher (Toddlers)

Email Rebecca  Rebecca first taught for the LADC teaching team in 2017. She has her BA from Bethel College in Teachers’ Training/Instruction, as well as an MA in Curriculum from the University of St. Thomas. Rebecca has her MN Teaching License for Kindergarten-6th grade. 

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”  – Hebrews 12:1-2



Jody Bylund, Assistant Teacher

Jody has worked in early childhood for over 16 years. She joined the Discovery Center teaching team in 2017. Jody has a BS in Family Social Science from the University of MN.   Jody’s daughter was recently married and her son has started college. She is an “empty nester” living with two cats and a dog. Jody enjoys scrapbooking, volunteering at the library and dancing.






Heather Discher, Assistant Explorers Teacher

Information Coming Soon!