Lighthouse Staff

Lighthouse Montessori Education Center offers quality education and child care centered on a hands-on, experiential approach to learning. Each individual on our staff is trained in Montessori learning practices. They come to the Center with a variety of childcare experiences and with a commitment to providing the safest, most beneficial early childhood education experience possible for your child.

Lisa Howe, Director

Lisa Howe

Lisa Howe has lived in LaGrange County for 20 years. She grew up in Fort Wayne and attended Summit Christian College (formerly Fort Wayne Bible College). She has a BA in Christian Counseling, and a Montessori Administrative Credential.  She has worked with families and children through a Crisis Pregnancy Center, Healthy Families, and Early Education for the past 20 years. She has been the director for Agapé Child Care Ministry for 14 years, and now also Lighthouse Montessori Education Center. She lives on a farm and enjoys the outdoors and gardening. She finds joy in being with my family and feel blessed to be involved in a church in Stroh and Kendallville. She loves that Agapé and The Lighthouse are putting light into the lives of so many little children. Our Montessori approach encourages discovery, independence, and a joy for learning. This is a passion for her, and she feels blessed God has chosen her to serve in his kingdom in this capacity.

Sara Pruitt, Operations Manager

Sara Pruitt

Sara Pruitt grew up about ten minutes away from Lighthouse on Lake of the Woods where her mom and dad still live today. She was a graduate of Prairie Heights in 2009 and graduated cum laude with her Bachelor’s Degree from Trine University in 2012. Sara has always felt a drive to serve others and has experience as a direct support professional, behavioral coach, ABA therapist, and Wraparound Provider. Sara has also recently married her best friend Jason. She feels truly blessed to be a part of making Lighthouse a unique educational experience for their daughters, Myla and Susanna. “I am beyond thankful to have been called to serve children in this way. My job makes my heart feel so full, and I truly love waking up knowing I get to come to Lighthouse to make new memories with all of our students.”

Emem Smith, Lead Infant Teacher

Emem Smith

Emem Smith was born and raised in Nigeria within a large Godly and loving family. She graduated with a bachelor in Computer Engineering from Enugu State University of Science and Technology. She is a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ. She is married to her best friend Corey whom God brought them together as one in 2012. They are blessed with a lovely son and daughter; they bring so much joy to her family. Montessori was first introduced to her in 2016 when she took her son to Agape. It blew her mind to see how precious it is to nurture children in the way of the Lord and also encourage their independence; bringing the characteristics God has instilled within them to light.  She has her Montessori certification in Infant/Toddler. Her personal philosophy of life in children is;  that every child is special and has so much potential that God has put within them just waiting to come out. She loves working with children! They are our future!

Kortney Stackhouse, Assistant Toddler Teacher

Kortney Stackhouse

Kortney Stackhouse graduated from Prairie Heights High School. She has been married to her high school sweetheart for 6 years this coming December. They have 2 beautiful daughters together. Her passion is being the best mother and wife she can be. In her free time, she enjoys shopping, hunting, and spending time with her family.

Emily Smith, Lead Preschool Teacher

Emily Smith

Emily is currently attending Indiana Tech university in Fort Wayne. She will graduate in May of 2021 with her Psychology, BS. She will also graduate in May of 2022 with her Child Development, BS. Emily serves in the kids ministry at New Hope Christian Center. Emily and her husband are looking forward to fostering and/or adopting in the near future. Emily enjoys being outside and spending time with family and Friends.

Kiley Gingerich, Lead Toddler Teacher

Kiley Gingerich

Kiley has background experience in Early Childhood Education from Ivy Tech as well as Montessori Experience from Elkhart Montessori school. She plans on returning to finish her Bachelor’s Degree. She worked as a Teen Services Librarian and has been a part of the Garrett Public Library for ten years. When not in the classroom, she can be found spending time with her family and pets, watercolor painting, crafting, enjoying her musical hobbies, or focused on reading a novel.


Elizabeth Davis, Toddler Assistant

Elizabeth Davis

Liz Davis

Mary Troxell, Assistant Preschool Teacher

Mary Troxell grew up in Stroh and graduated from Prairie Heights. She has an associates in paralegal studies. Mary is a mom of 6 year old twins and she enjoys reading. “I hope to bring a little happiness everywhere I go.” 

Maddison Busche, Teaching Assistant

Maddison Busche

Maddison graduated high school in 2017 and went on to attend Purdue University for Psychology, but she put a hold on that to explore life. Some of her hobbies include; kayaking, hiking, writing poetry, boxing, and collecting stones/crystals. She doesn’t have her “own” family yet, but the family she does have is held very close to her heart. She used to work for the Early Learning Ministry and was a lead toddler/preschool aged teacher for a little over two years.

Let us partner with you in providing excellent care and education for your child.


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