Staff Profile

Mrs. Fran Olesen
Fran Olesen
Math Coach
Room Number:
Faculty - Elementary
SpEd, Title One, SW, Counseling - District

Ms. Fran Olesen - Reading & Math Specialist, Certified Montessori Teacher (Lower & Upper Elementary), 

I have been at Black River since fall 2001. Teaching  is my second career. While I was a medical technologist, I volunteered at Lakeside Montessori School where both my daughters, Whitney and Erin, were students. It was during this time that I developed an understanding of and love for the Montessori Method of teaching children. I was so passionate about the method that I went back to school. I received my Masters in the Art of Teaching and Reading Specialist at Aquinas College, and then  spent two summers away from my family to become a certified Montessori teacher, at Michigan Montessori Teacher Education Center in Rochester Hills.

I worked three years at Stepping Stones Montessori School, in Grand Rapids, before accepting THE middle school English teacher at Black River Public School. Frustrated that the majority of my students were not prepared for the rigors of the Black River curriculum, the then head of school asked if I would like to create an elementary program. I agreed to the  challenge as long as it could be a Montessori program, and here we are today. I was a 4th /5th grade classroom teacher until I felt it was time for the elementary program to have a Title I program. I love helping students find their inner reader and mathematician. 

I have been trained in the following methods:

  • Reading Recovery - “Reading Recovery is a short-term intervention for first graders having extreme difficulty with early reading and writing.”

  • EBLI - “EBLI consists of an explicit, systematic process of teaching literacy skills – reading, writing, and spelling – that assist learners of any age or ability level to reach their highest potential in these areas.”

  • Orton-Gillingham - “The Orton-Gillingham Approach is a direct, explicit, multisensory, structured, sequential, diagnostic, and prescriptive way to teach literacy when reading, writing, and spelling does not come easily to individuals, such as those with dyslexia.”

  • Lindamood - Bell -

    • Seeing Stars Program - “The Seeing Stars® program develops symbol imagery—the ability to visualize sounds and letters in words—as a basis for orthographic awareness, phonemic awareness, word attack, word recognition, spelling, and contextual reading fluency.” 

    • “The Visualizing and Verbalizing® (V/V®) program develops concept imagery - the ability to create an imaged Gestalt from language - as a basis for comprehension and higher order thinking.”

  • Sharon Walpole Decoding Inventory - Phonological Awareness, Word Recognition and Fluency Instruction

  • EmPower Writing - “EmPOWER is a systematic method for teaching academic writing. With EmPOWER, students talk themselves through six steps of the writing process and, within each step, use proven strategies to problem-solve. Students can use the EmPOWER method for any writing assignment in any grade level and any subject area.”

  • RightStart Math - RightStart Math is a “ hands-on program that de-emphasizes counting, uses visualization of quantities, and provides strategies and visual pictures for learning the facts. Understanding and problem solving are emphasized throughout the curriculum.”

 Feel free to contact me if  you have any reading and/or math questions or concerns.

 I spend the majority of my spare time with my soul mate, best friend, and spouse, Al Olesen, who is a mechanical engineer at Gentex. Our daughter, Erin, who is also a mechanical engineer at Broadview Product Design, often joins us. Our eldest daughter, Whitney works for Outward Bound in Boston, and we look forward to her visits home.

I also enjoy in no particular order: reading, gardening, camping, craft beers, music festivals, and farm to table restaurants. I am looking forward to the new school year, in a new gorgeous elementary building.


491 Columbia Avenue
Holland, MI 49423
Phone: (616) 355-0055

Fax: (616) 355-0057