Montessori of Alameda Portland, OregonMontessori of Alameda 21st Century School | Bi-lingual Spanish/English Infant, Toddler, and Primary Communities in Portland, Oregon

Meet Our Staff

Tammy Kennedy

  • Executive Director/Owner

Tammy is from Portland and grew up in the Montavilla and Gresham neighborhoods. She has two children with her husband Joe and found her way into education back in 1991 while looking for a quality program for her own children Dakotah and Shane. Tammy is a Montessori accredited infant and toddler and preschool guide with 20 years of experience. She is also an Oregon Registry Community Trainer. When Tammy is not spreading Montessori in Portland she enjoys sailing and scuba diving. She is also a raw food certified chef and enjoys sharing her recipes with staff and friends. Tammy’s educational background is in art. She has an Associates Degree from Brooks College. She also holds a Child Development credential from Portland State University and two MACTE Montessori credentials, one at the infant and toddler level and one at the preschool and kindergarten level. She has a graduate certificate in Montessori Elementary from NAMC. Tammy is an AMS accredited guide. Tammy is a life-long learner attending Montessori conventions and workshops and plans to continue her education throughout her life. Tammy’s role at Montessori of Alameda is as the lead visionary helping to spread Montessori throughout Portland. Tammy has done community service projects such as bringing Montessori education to the Portland Public Schools as a charter developer and founder of the Ivy School, a 1st-8th grade public tuition-free elementary school. One project has been the opening of the Montessori of Alameda Teacher Education Program which provides adult learners with Montessori credentials at the infant and toddler and early childhood levels. She is currently working on adding an elementary training program for adult learners to be based at the Ivy School. With the opening of the Ivy School, Tammy’s vision brought Montessori to low income families with the opening of the first sliding scale children’s house Maria’s Place.  Tammy is committed to continue to pursue Maria Montessori’s vision of a more peaceful world through the education of young children in our community.

Joe KennedyJoe Kennedy

  • Director of Kids on the Go Program

Teacher Joe joined Montessori of Alameda when Dakotah and Shane were in elementary school. Back then Kids on the Go was an in-home program merging Montessori and field trips. Children participated in swim lessons, ice skating, roller skating, tennis and golf. Joe previously was a Manager at Fred Meyer for 14 years. One summer he spent his vacation with Tammy and the children and decided this was his calling. Joe and Tammy ran a primary classroom and after school program serving the Alameda community from 1991-1999. Kids on the Go still operates today as a summer camp program for children ages 5-9 years. Joe has been involved in many golf leagues and coached Wilshire baseball for 5 years. Kids on the Go children participate in swim lessons, visit different parks and fountains, lakes and nature areas. Joe completed the AMI assistants course and has attended courses in special education and positive discipline. Joe brings the spirit of independence and fun to the program. Joe excels with the children in care of the indoor and outdoor environments, gardening, care of animals and peace education.

Meghan Gwin

  • Teacher Education Program Director
  • Curriculum Director

Meghan has extensive experience in the field of education. She has been teaching for over 14 years in Montessori classrooms. She holds three AMI Diplomas and advanced certificates in the field of Montessori education, ages 0-3, 3-6, and 6-12, and has nearly completed a Master’s degree in Education from Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland. She is also currently pursuing a Masters of Teaching degree from Concordia University in Portland. Meghan owned, operated and taught at Gresham Montessori Center in Gresham for ten years, which included infant, toddler and primary classrooms. Locally Meghan has taught at the Franciscan Montessori Earth School, Childpeace, The Ivy School, and Little Genius Montessori. She enjoys guiding children to discover things about the world and how they can make a difference in it.

Xochitl Tombleson

  • Co-Director of the Annex

Xochitl grew up outside of Portland in the town of Scappoose. The name Xochitl means “flower” in the Nahuatl language, given to her by her father who was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. Her mother has Swedish roots, a second generation American. In this cultural melting pot, Xochitl learned about diversity and also how to speak Spanish. Before coming to MOA Xochitl worked at Wells Fargo and in an insurance office. After working in office settings, she took time out to start her family and now has two boys with her husband Dave. Her youngest son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3 and she was inspired to learn as much as possible about it. After working with her children and volunteering with the school district, Xochitl realized her love of working with children. She brings knowledge, experience and care to our classrooms and students.

Pamela DeVelder

  • Scheduling Coordinator

Pamela recently relocated to Portland from Florida. She and her family spent this summer of 2014 traveling the United States, camping in beautiful state and national campgrounds. This was an experience Pamela believes is ‘beyond words’. For the past eight years she has been working with toddlers as a Lead teacher in a Montessori school. Pamela has her Montessori certification through NAMC as well as a Child Development Associate (CDA) National Credential. She looks forward to continuing her education in areas that will increase her knowledge and skill in the Montessori method and philosophy. Pamela is very excited to be a member of the MOA family! She is looking forward to experiencing the seasons of the Northwest. She enjoys art, camping, hiking, gardening, reading and spending time with her grandson Shen.

Rebecca Clements

  • Administrative Coordinator
  • MOA Teacher Education Program Student

Rebecca grew up in Portland enjoying the region’s natural treasures with her family. She grew up with her three sisters camping, skiing, hiking and learning to love the “great outdoors”, rain or shine. When she couldn’t go outside she read books with great interest. She graduated from University of Massachusetts with a BA in literature and a love for the arts. Her first administrative job was assisting the President of the Art Institute of Boston. Later she worked at the University of Rhode Island and at the Portland Habilitation Center. She returned to Portland with her husband to raise their son Zach who started at MOA at 18 months and graduated when he was six years old. He now attends the Ivy School. Rebecca truly appreciates all that she learns about Montessori and the children here each day. Rebecca is a student in MOA’s Teacher Education Program.

Bozena Struk

  • Administrative Assistant

Bozena is a native of Poland but lived for 10 years in Northern Louisiana. She is a dedicated advocate for women and children, attachment and positive parenting. She previously led the childcare’s program at a Domestic Violence shelter in Shreveport, Louisiana, where she gained extensive experience in support services, crisis intervention and child abuse and neglects prevention and intervention. She worked passionately for undeserved families for their safety, independence and stability. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion from Grambling State University and Master’s degree in Public Health from Louisiana State University in Shreveport. She has a young daughter whom she spends time when not at work. Bozena enjoys reading, writing, dancing and spending time at the beach.

Elizabeth Harmon

  • Administrative Assistant

Elizabeth moved to Portland in 2007 from Tennessee. She comes to MOA with both administrative and teaching experience. For the past several years, she worked as a graphic designer and art director for a small design firm in downtown Portland. Elizabeth has a BA in Sociology from the University of Tennessee and a BA in Graphic Design from Portland State University. She has two young children and, in her free time, Elizabeth enjoys gardening, photography, camping and biking.

LEAD GUIDES

Kellen Hull

  • Lead Guide
  • Spanish Speaker
  • MOA Teacher Education Program Graduate

Kellen has been with MOA since 2006. He was born in Helena, Montana and finished his high school work there. He then did two years of national community service with Americorps in Portland, Oregon, doing forest restoration for the first year and working with the environmental academy at Parkrose High School for the second year. From there, he finished his Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Portland State University. Kellen completed his AMS Certification through the MOA Teacher Education Program.

Padmini Alphonse

  • Lead Guide
  • Field Consultant

Padmini is a native of India and a naturalized citizen of the United States. Prior to joining MOA in the fall of 2007, Padmini had 18 years of experience as a teacher with children from ages 3 to 6. She spent 6 years in India as a senior teacher in a Nursery School setting and the rest of her 12 years’ experience were in California, Illinois and Oregon. Including her present service at MOA Padmini has about 22 years of teaching experience out of which 12 years have been in Montessori schools. Padmini’s educational training includes a B.A. degree in religious studies, teaching diplomas in Nursery Education from India and an American Montessori Society (AMS) certified diploma in Early Childhood education. Padmini’s co-curricular activities include singing, dancing and some art work which she teaches the children in class. She enjoys composing and singing Indian songs, and she loves cooking. She often uses her singing and cooking talents for raising funds for charitable works, by way of producing musical albums in Indian music and cooking for up to 200 people at a time. In addition to her many interests, Ms. Padmini volunteers her time to the school Home of Love in Chennai, India. Home of Love is a nonprofit organization raising orphaned girls in India. It was begun in 1992 by Ms Padmini’s husband Rev. Dr. Martin Alphonse.

Krista Wianecki

  • Lead Guide
  • MOA Teacher Education Program Student

Krista was born and raised in Los Angeles, California in a small beach town called El Segundo. She graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Psychology. During her four years at OSU she fell in love with Oregon and decided to make it her home. Krista previously worked at the Montessori School of Manhattan Beach where she discovered her love for the Montessori Method and her passion to help children learn and grow each day into confident independent beings. Krista has held many roles at MOA. She has been the Lead Guide in the Arctic and Meadow rooms. Krista is MOA’s Closing Director, overseeing the school each day. She also has been MOA’s Art Director, providing creative opportunities in every classroom. Krista recently completed her Infant and Toddler Montessori credential and has nearly completed all the requirements of her Early Childhood Montessori credential through MOA’s teacher education program.

Victor Ramirez

  • Lead Guide
  • Spanish Speaker
  • MOA Teacher Education Program Graduate

Victor is working on the academic portion of MOA’s Teacher Education Program. He has been working at MOA since 2011. He was born in Mexico and moved to he United States when he was nine years old. He has worked in an Assisted Living with seniors. He has experience with children of all ages in a variety of settings. Victor is a proud member of the Montessori of Alameda community.

Ailemys Cabot Torres

  • Lead Guide
  • Spanish Speaker
  • MOA Teacher Education Program Graduate

Ailemys is a graduate of MOA’s Teacher Education Program. She came to our community in 2011 with over three years of experience in childcare with children ages 18 months to 8 years old. Ailemys is a native Spanish speaker from Cuba. She received Teacher Assistant training from the Pedagogical Higher Institute in Cuba. After moving to Portland, she became actively involved with the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization. She enjoys music and dancing with her friends and family. Ailemys compassion for children and beautiful smile are a wonderful addition to our infant community.

Stephanie Sequeira

  • Lead Guide
  • Spanish Speaker
  • MOA Teacher Education Program Graduate

Stephanie is originally from Torrance, CA. Her family relocated to Oregon when she was a young child. Her family is from Managua, Nicaragua. Stephanie speaks both Spanish and English fluently. She graduated from Warner Pacific College with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Services in 2014. She came across The Montessori Philosophy during her studies and instantly found herself determined to learn more about the philosophy behind Montessori. She is currently enrolled in the MOATEP program and is a lead teacher in one of our Infant Environments. Her passion in life is working with children, she has always believed in the quality of providing children a place where they can explore and learn. She has extensive experience working with children in many settings such as home preschool, daycare settings, Outdoor School, art schools, public school Sun Programs and more. She also has experience working with children with mental and physical abilities. In her free time she volunteers with a program called Young Life Capernaum, working with children who have special needs. She also loves camping, hiking, scrap-booking, reading, baking, and spending quality time with her family and friends.

Greta Salas

  • Lead Guide
  • Spanish Speaker
  • MOA Teacher Education Program Graduate

Greta come to MOA with coursework started in her Montessori AMS certificate from the Centro de Ensenanza in Mexico. She started working with children as a nanny then was hired to teach at the Center Educative Madrid in Mexico. That is where she learn about the Montessori Method. She speaks Spanish fluently has lived many places including Alaska, Mexico and Arizona. She moved to Portland with her husband in 2014 and loves it here. She enjoys cooking vegetarian recipes, hiking, swimming and biking all over the Pacific Northwest. Greta’s goal is to someday have her own little Montessori school near her family in Mexico.

Bella Thomas

  • Lead Guide
  • MOA Teacher Education Program Student

Bella is a South Florida native and has recently moved to Portland to pursue her Montessori education through AMS. She has had a love for infants and young children her whole life, with many young family members and siblings to care for. Bella began working with young children at the age of eleven, conducting an infant and toddler story-hour at her local library. Before coming to Portland, Bella spent two years as an assistant teacher at Turtle River Montessori in Jupiter, FL. During this time, she designed curriculum for and taught after-school classes focused on gardening and art. In her free time, she enjoys reading, babysitting, painting, sewing finger puppets and classroom materials, and nature walks. Bella is a student in MOA’s Teacher Education Program for infants and toddlers.

Edgar Navarro

  • Lead Guide
  • Spanish Speaker
  • MOA Teacher Education Program Student

Edgar Navarro has lived in Portland all his life. After graduating from high school from De La Salle North Catholic, he took classes at Portland Community College. Later he decided to join his dad and help run their small business steel fabrication shop. Since then he has worked in a variety of jobs such as a temp for NW Staffing, at a brewery, a chocolate factory, and for expos. The common element is that Edgar enjoys working with people and helping people. He is excited to begin his early childhood career with MOA and has joined MOA’s Infant & Toddler Teacher Education program cohort.

Linda Ramirez

  • Lead Guide
  • Spanish Speaker

Linda is fluent in Spanish and speaks conversational French and Portuguese. She comes with a strong background working with people. Linda has worked with adults and our older community as a trainer, caregiver and manager. She describes herself as energetic, enthusiastic and patient. As a mother she brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the classroom. She is excited to join MOA’s teacher education program.

Zachary Braunstein

  • Lead Guide for Into the Woods

Zack was born and raised in New York, and is excited to call Portland his new home. Zack fell in love with the natural world at an early age, and is happiest when he’s got some soil beneath his fingers! With years of educational program development and management experience, he loves sharing what he knows and what he sees with his students (and he loves learning from them, in turn!). A certified Permaculture Designer, Zack specializes in outdoor education–from teaching kids how build with mud and straw, to showing them how to grow delicious veggies! Most recently, he established and led a preschool science and garden program in NYC, where he gave children the opportunity to step away from the city bustle, and to connect with the natural world. He’s excited to join the MOA team as the director and lead teacher for the new Montessori Forest School, Into the Woods.

ASSISTANT TEACHERS

Margie Malinowski

  • Assistant Teacher
  • Spanish Speaker

Margie is a native Spanish speaker from Puerto Rico. When she came to work for MOA in 2009 she brought with her over eighteen years of teaching experience. She has worked with young children in classrooms, lesson rooms and childcare environments. In addition to listening to music, Margie enjoys walking, cooking, bird watching, traveling, and spreading the word about the amazing things taking place at our school.

Celia Mejia

  • Assistant Teacher
  • Spanish Speaker

Celia was raised in a small town in Guatemala. She went to school to become a bilingual secretary in Spanish and English. She also studied one year of Psychology at the University Mariano Galvez de Guatemala. It has been her dream since she was eight years old to be a teacher. After she graduated from school her first job was as a teacher teaching basic English and math. Celia is proud to be in MOA’s teacher education program and a part of our community. Ms Celia was raised in a small town in Guatemala. She went to school to become a bilingual secretary in Spanish and English. She also studied one year of Psychology at the University Mariano Galvez de Guatemala. It has been her dream since she was eight years old to be a teacher. After she graduated from school her first job was as a teacher teaching basic English and math. Celia is proud to be in MOA’s teacher education program and a part of our community.

Luisa Cuervo-Arango Sosa

  • Assistant Teacher
  • Spanish Speaker

Luisa is a native Spanish speaker from Cuba. She completed her Teacher training from Lino Perez Elementary school in Cuba plus she has a BA in Industrial Engineering from Central University of Las Villas in Cuba. After working for 22 years in Human Resources Luisa changed careers and moved into education. She came to MOA with previous experience working with toddlers, primary and elementary-aged children. We welcome her to our school.

Patricia Baum

  • Garden Curriculum Coordinator
  • Spanish Speaker

Patricia is an educator with 15 years of experience teaching and volunteering in Spanish in Mexican schools at both a Montessori school as well as K-8 levels. In Mexico she co-founded two public libraries and three community-based sea turtle conservation groups. She has a Masters in Environmental Education from University of Guadalajara, Mexico as well as a BA in Film from San Francisco State University. She is a very creative and animated teacher, writer, musician and artist with a strong interest in environmental art projects.

Yanieska Gonzales Morales

  • Assistant Teacher
  • Spanish Speaker
  • MOA Teacher Education Program Student

Yanieska is from Cuba and will be speaking in Spanish with the children. She moved to Portland in 2010 with her husband and son. While in Cuba Yanieska worked with children for three years in a preschool. While in Cuban she also earned her Teacher Assistant Training certificate and Bachelors in Accounting. When Yanieska is not working she loves to spend time with her family, watch movies and go to the beach. She is excited to be part of the MOA community!

Shawn Friday

  • Assistant Teacher

Shawn grew up in a nine-person family in the Philadelphia area. He attended Daytona State College before moving to Portland with his partner Brett. Shawn has experience working with children in childcare centers and elementary schools. He is pursuing a career in education and is excited to be a part of the MOA family. Shawn loves the outdoors and gets out to hike and camp often. When not working or hiking, he also enjoying acting, singing and going to the movies.

Alejandra Ramirez

  • Assistant Teacher
  • Spanish Speaker

Alejandra comes from Oaxaca, Mexico and is excited to bring her Hispanic culture to MOA. Alejandra has worked with children in many different settings but her most recent was at the El Pilar School in Portland teaching Spanish to preschool-aged children. She is currently taking English classes at Hood Community College. She previously completed two years in business administration college work at Mexico at En la Univercidad Mundo Maya. She is very happy to be part of the MOA community where she has the opportunity to prepare and grow professionally.

Victoria Worden

  • Assistant Teacher

Victoria started at MOA as a community helper and kept our community and environments clean and beautiful. She was quickly promoted to Teacher Assistant and has proven to be very reliable and dedicated. Victoria has worked in many different jobs honing her skills in customer service, food service and human service. She studied at Northwest Indian College in the Environmental Science program and at Whatcom Community College in the Anthropological Science program.

Laura Gonzalez

  • Assistant Teacher
  • Spanish Speaker
  • MOA Teacher Education Program Student

Laura came to MOA with a lot of experience working with children. For the past ten years she has been working with preschool-aged children with a focus on building nurturing relationships based on respect for each child and family. Most recently Laura worked in a local preschool as an Assistant Teacher. She helped build a classroom community that was emotionally supportive of each child. Before that she was a Lead Teacher in a school in Washington. Laura is happy to be part of MOA’s great teaching team!

Bertha Aguirre

  • Assistant Teacher
  • Spanish Speaker
  • MOA Teacher Education Program Student

Bertha is bilingual having been born and raised in Mexico. She studied at The College of Sciences and Humanities in Mexico City and at Escuela Normal (a Teaching School) in Morelia Michoacán, Mexico. Bertha has worked in many interesting jobs. Most recently she worked at Vermont Hills Family Life Center as an Assistant Teacher with preschool aged children. Prior to working with young children she worked for the Woodburn School District as a Teen Counselor Coordinator. Bertha also has worked for the Mexican Governor at El Consulado de Mexico in Portland where she translated laws, regulations, policies and procedures for Mexican passports, visas and other government documents.

Krista Cickovskis

  • Assistant Teacher

Krista has been an educator for the last 10 years specializing in experiential and empowering pedagogy. Most recently, she worked in Portland Public Schools bringing arts integration in the classroom. The past four summers she has directed an outdoor bilingual preschool program, nestled in the woods and lakes of Michigan. Krista holds a Master’s of Educational Studies (MEd) from Ohio University where she studied and worked with various early childhood education modalities including Reggio Emilia, Montessori, and Waldorf as well as democratic, empowering, experiential, and alternative pedagogies. Ultimately, Krista strives to hold space for learning and its various teachers that arise in the moment– a student’s passion, nature’s spunk, or collaborative curiosity!

Vania Sanchez Sandoval

  • Assistant Teacher
  • Spanish Speaker

Vania brings her energetic and enthusiastic teaching style to MOA. She is enrolled in MOA’s teacher education program to become a certified Montessori Lead Guide. Vania discovered her passion for working with young children through the PACE program and then found her way to MOA. She is dedicated to the Montessori Method. In her free time she enjoys watching movies and reading. She loves spending time with her family. She has two younger sisters and wants to be the best role model she can be for them.

Patti Costello

  • Assistant Teacher

Patti was born in Canada and has recently become a US citizen. She graduated from PCC with an Associate’s degree in nursing and worked as a registered OB/GYN nurse for 25 years. In 2001, Patti and her husband moved to Portland and opened a family run Caffe with her son and daughter where she was a pastry chef for 12 years. In her free time, she likes to travel to different European countries. She loves baking, gardening and spending time outdoors. Patti’s love for children came from her mother who was a pre-school teacher.

Leah Madoff

  • Assistant Teacher

Leah grew up outside Chicago and graduated from Columbia University in New York with a degree in Geology. Later, she earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Bank Street College, also in New York City. After moving to Portland two years ago, she taught middle school science at The Arbor School of Arts and Sciences in Tualatin. And for the fourteen years before moving to Oregon, she was a middle school and high school science teacher at two different Brooklyn public schools. She is most proud of her science teaching that focused on environmental education, design projects and outdoor fieldwork, and is now excited to be working with younger learners. In her non-teaching time she loves to run, do yoga, garden, hike, swim, read, play with her two dogs and lead backpacking trips as a volunteer backpacking leader for the Sierra Club’s National Outings.

Digna Gonzalez

  • Assistant Teacher
  • Spanish Speaker

Digna is Native Spanish speaker from Cuba. She studied Speech Therapy for children in The Center of Diagnostics Aspect in Cuba and she became a certified infant/toddler aid in a childcare center in Cuba. She has always had a heart for young children, nurturing and fostering their development. She came from Cuba in 2016 searching for a workplace and a career lead in childcare. She is excited to learn more about the Montessori philosophy and work with a community that practices grace and courtesy. In her free time Digna enjoys spending time with her children and friends, she has a love for music and dance and cooking authentic Cuban food for her friends and family.

TEACHER AIDES

Ashley Brown

  • Aide

Ashley recently moved to Portland from Arizona where she attended Arizona State University and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English. She has known about Montessori Education since she was a child and went to Desert Shadows Montessori school in Mesa, Arizona. Having a lifelong interest in reading, Ashley volunteered with the SMART literacy program at Milwaukie Elementary School. She also enjoys listening to music, taking walks in her neighborhood, and getting to know Oregon through the great outdoors. She is excited to be a part of the MOA community and looks forward to continuing her Montessori journey with everyone. Ashley is a student in MOA’s teacher education program.

Jaqueline Klingman

  • Aide

Jaque was born and raised in Seattle, Washington before moving to Portland to begin her studies at Portland State University. She has completed her BS in Community Health Education, BS in Women’s Studies, and minors in Religion and Environmental Sustainability. She returned to school in 2013 to focus on reproductive health rights and health and education equity. She is a recent Master of Public Health graduate. Jaque enjoys working on all projects that improve maternal and child health outcomes. Before coming to MOA, Jaque was a nanny in both the Seattle and Portland areas for nearly ten years. She has held positions at Zenger Farm, Catholic Charities, and Bradley Angle in their childcare programs. She also spent time as an ESL tutor at Lutheran Community Services NW’s RISE program where she assisted recent immigrants and refugees study and prepare for the US Citizenship Exam. Outside of the United States, she has worked in schools in Jaipur, India and Cap-Haïtien, Haiti and has performed nutrition education and data collection in farming communities of Oaxaca, Mexico. In her free time, Jaque loves to go on hikes with her two rescue dogs Milo and Cora, garden and grow her own vegetables, and go camping.

Cristina Briones

  • Aide
  • Spanish Speaker

Cristina was born and raised in Hillsboro but her parents are from San Luis Potosi, Mexico. She is currently a student at Pacific University working towards her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education with a minor in Spanish. Music is Cristina’s number one passion as she comes from a family of musicians. She is mainly a vocalist but also plays the piano and guitar. Cristina began singing in a children’s church choir when she was seven years old and she has kept singing ever since! She has sung in school choirs, church choirs, with Pacific University’s Concert choir and with her own band. Cristina wants to teach future students that anything can be expressed through music and that through music we can come to see that we are all connected, regardless of our differences.

Monika Slaweta

  • Aide

Monika was raised in north Poland. Before she came to Portland she lived in Chicago for a couple of years. She has over seven years of experience in working with young children and a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. She has worked with children in Poland, Scotland, England and the US. She has also worked as a teacher of English as a foreign language in Poland. She speaks fluent English and Polish and communicative French and Russian. She loves watching children’s curiosity, creativity and honesty. She believes that “children’s minds are incredible, and their imagination – unlimited”. In her free time, she enjoys listening to pop and rock music, walking, watching a good movie, cooking and painting. She came to MOA to develop her skills and talents.

Emily Martin

  • Aide

Emily comes to MOA with many years of experience volunteering as a nursery worker, camp counselor, child mentor and drama teacher. Emily has spent the past few years working at in-home preschools. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Park University. She also worked for the Portland Rescue Mission as a women’s connect advocate. When she’s not working with kids, she enjoys hiking, biking, musical theater, painting and woodworking.

Olga Demidenko

  • Aide

Olga brings her Russian culture to MOA’s community. She is from Kalacevskaya which is near Moscow. Olga has done coursework at Mt Hood Community College and worked in a variety of jobs. She has been a housekeeper at OHSU, an Inventory Specialist for retail stores and provided customer service at Michelle Chocolate Truffles. Olga is happy to be part of MOA’s community! Olga is a student in MOA’s Teacher Education Program.

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Denisse Cruz

Aide

Denisse was born in Mexico City, but raised in Portland Oregon since she was about 3 years old. She brings bi-lingual and bi-cultural skills to our school. She attended a Montessori school when she was in México. She always wanted to make a difference and help people. When she got her first teaching job she knew she was destined to work with children. She has worked as a teacher’s aide in multiple child care facilities. She has experience caring for children with special needs. Working with children in the school environment makes her feel fulfilled and she treasures the Montessori philosophy . She’s currently a certified EMT. She loves sports, traveling, reading, and learning.

Lisa Holzman

Aide

Lisa is pursuing a career in early education and is enrolling in MOA’s teacher education program. She has a BS in Nutrition Science and has done Master’s level work in mental health counseling with children and adults. Lisa has years of experience working with people in a variety of professional positions, including work at the Benton County Health Department and with disadvantaged youth as a teacher counselor at Youth Villages at their Oregon City location. She is excited to be part of MOA’s great teaching team.

Rena Barton

  • Aide

Rena is a Portland native and has decades of experience working with children of all ages. Prior to joining MOA Ms. Rena worked as a nanny for numerous families spanning over 20 years altogether. In addition to her years of experience she holds a certificate in Early Childhood Education and Family Service. In her spare time, Ms. Rena enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter. She also enjoys live music, downhill skiing, working in the garden, and various outdoor activities.

Jacob Anderson

  • Aide

Jacob came to MOA from an Early Childhood Learning Center in Tualatin. He worked in their kitchen as well as subbed in classrooms as needed. He has a BA in Psychology and an interest in pursuing a career working with children. He is passionate about teaching children about technology and using it to tell their own stories. Jacob has also worked with elementary aged children at a Montessori school in computer programing. One of his long-term goals is to collaborate with educators to build curriculum that uses technology to get elementary and middle school aged children interested in how computers work as well as using a variety of programming languages to foster creativity through a variety of projects. He would love to help children embrace the developing field of Virtual Reality and use a variety of tools to collaborate with other students to tell stories that other children can relate to. He is excited to be part of MOA’s great teaching team.

Dylan Wilde

  • Aide

Dylan grew up in Northern California, where she attended Montessori and Waldorf schools, and developed a deep love for nature. After graduating from Wesleyan University with a BA in Film Studies, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a childcare provider for an arts-centered babysitting agency and a co-teacher at a home daycare. Dylan spent a few years working in the NYC photography industry as a prop stylist, but after nine years on the east coast, she missed the natural beauty of the west and decided to move to Portland! She loves Portland and is so happy to be returning to childcare. Dylan is passionate about early childhood development and has spent the last several years learning about alternative pedagogies, as well as natural pregnancy and childbirth. When she’s not working with children, Dylan enjoys hiking, sewing, reading, baking, and playing with her dog, Seymour.

Nicholas Painter

Aide

Nicolas graduated from college with a degree in Political Science. While attending Graduate school at Reed college here in Portland, he discovered both the importance and his interest in childhood education. Ensuring children receive the type instruction that fosters creative independent thinking is something he strives for every day. While in college he was part of the “Lost Voices” program, in which he and other artists would enter juvenile hall facilities and teach music and poetry to incarcerated youth. This experience laid the foundation for what has become his passion for education.

Dave Costello

  • Aide

Dave grew up in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where he spent the first 20 years of his life. He found his wife Patti up in Vancouver, B.C. while exploring Canada one summer and they married shortly after and moved to Portland in the early 70’s for 3 years. Then they returned to Coeur d’Alene where he started a paint contracting business which he owned and operated for 25 years. During that time, they had a son Chris, and a daughter Leah. They moved to Portland 16 years ago and started up a restaurant with their son and operated it daily for 12 years, their daughter joined them a few years into it, making it truly a family run business. They recently sold it to start a new chapter in their lives. Dave is our handy man and keeps our school running beautifully smooth. His interests are in traveling, photography, films, woodworking, listening to music and going to the coast whenever possible. He believes the children are our future and they need to be nurtured and guided in a caring way.

Kristin Laluk

  • Aide

Kristin is an Arizona native who found a happy home in Oregon about 4 years ago. Prior to joining MOA, she served as an administrator for Opal Beginning and Charter School at the Portland Children’s Museum. She graduated from Purdue with a PhD in Molecular Biology/Plant Pathology and received a BS in Molecular Biosciences & Biotechnology from Arizona State University.

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