Bozena Struk

  • Operations Manager

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.

LEAD GUIDES

Rebecca Clements

  • Lead Guide
  • MOATEP Student in Practicum

Rebecca grew up in Portland enjoying the region’s natural treasures with her family. She graduated from University of Massachusetts with a BA in literature and a love for the arts. Her career in administration included The Art Institute of Boston, The University of Rhode Island, The Portland Habilitation Center NW and then Montessori of Alameda. After serving as part of MOA’s admin team for five years she was inspired by the teachers who surrounded her. She graduated from MOA’s teacher education program and loves teaching! Rebecca lives in Portland with her husband and son. Rebecca truly appreciates all that she learns about Montessori and the children here each day.

Padmini Alphonse

  • Lead Guide
  • MOATEP Instructor
  • 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.

Lizzie Drexler

  • Lead Guide

Ms. Lizzie moved to Portland from Dallas, Texas in the summer of 2019. She has two Bachelors’ degrees in Psychology and Studio Art. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, participating in musical theatre, and film photography. She loves animals and have a standard poodle named Hugo. She began her Montessori journey in 2015 by working as a substitute at a school in Minneapolis. She loved it so much that she became a Montessori assistant after relocating to Dallas. After two years in the same position, she did an extensive summer Montessori certification program at the Shelton Training Center and began her role as a lead teacher. Her philosophy aligns with Maria Montessori’s in that she utilizes the follow-the-child method to cater to their specific needs and sensitivities. She respects their individual spirits and assist them in developing their absorbent minds. In her classroom she focuses of exploring peace education, art history lessons, and cultural studies. She loves implementing many art projects and hands-on activities into her curriculum.

Stephanie Sequeira

  • Lead Guide
  • Spanish Speaker

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 has graduated from MOATEP program and received Montessori credential in Infant and Toddlers. 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 disabilities. 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

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

Bella is a South Florida native who 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 has completed Infant/Toddler Montessori training at our own MOA Teacher Education Program.

Laura Gonzalez

  • Lead Guide
  • Spanish Speaker

Laura has been with MOA since May 2016 taking on Assistant and later and current position of a toddler classroom Lead Guide. Laura came to MOA with a lot of experience working with children. For over 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. Before joining MOA Laura worked in a local preschool as an Assistant Teacher. She helped build a classroom community that was emotionally supportive of each child. She previously was also a Lead Teacher in a school in Washington. Laura is a graduate of MOA’s Teacher Education Program and a strong member of MOA’s teaching team.

Celia Mejia

  • Co-Lead Guide
  • Spanish Speaker

Celia has been a wonderful member to our teaching team since April 2016. She has completed Infant/Toddler Montessori Credential from our own MOA Teacher Education Program. She has started at MOA as a Spanish speaking Assistant in Toddler and Infant classrooms. She moved up to a School Leader role for MOA Annex location and started and lead a brand-new Infant/Toddler Program. After taking her maternity leave Celia came back to MOA as a Co-Lead in Desertland classroom and now a Lead Guide in Cattail Marsh Classroom. Celia was born in Boston, Massachusetts but raised in a small town in Guatemala. She studied English as a Second Language and Para Education at PCC. After she graduated from school her first job was as a teacher teaching basic English and math. It has been her dream since she was eight years old to be a teacher. Celia is greatly professional and organized Lead Guide, with tranquil demeanor creating a classroom environment of calm and peace.

Jacelyn Spisak

  • Lead Guide

Jacelyn has worked at MOA since August 2017 when she started as a Support Teacher, and moved up quickly to an Assistant Teacher and then Lead Guide role. She’s in our Teacher Education Program and will receive her diploma in Montessori education at the primary level, upon completion. Jacelyn has a few years of previous experience in a toddler and preschool classroom. She has previously worked at the Alder Street Learning Center in Portland. Before becoming a teacher, she was a nanny and a tutor. Jacelyn has also volunteered at the Ninth Grade Counts and Sun School as a teacher assistant. She loves to teach ballet and yoga classes to young children. Jecelyn has a Bachelor degree in Social Science with a minor in Elementary Education from Portland State University where she graduated in 2017.  Jacelyn brings passion and the love for teaching into her classroom, she gives each child individual nurturing attention to ensure each child in her care thrives to their full potential. In her free time Jacelyn enjoys hiking, running, cooking and reading.

Yanieska Gonzales Morales

  • Lead Guide
  • Spanish Speaker

Yanieska is from Cuba and is a fluent Spanish speaker. She has been working at MOA in the infant classroom since January 2015. 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 Cuba, 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.

Alejandra Ramirez

  • Co-Lead Guide
  • Spanish Speaker

Alejandra is from Oaxaca, Mexico and brings her Hispanic culture into her teaching. Alejandra started at MOA as a Assistant Spanish speaking Teacher in a toddler classroom in May of 2016. Before her teaching career at MOA she 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 enrolled in our MOA Teacher Education Program, finishing up her credential in Infant/Toddler. She previously completed two years in business administration college work at Mexico at La Universidad Mundo Maya.  Alejandra’s calm demeanor and positive attitude lights up the room. She fosters beautiful relationships with her students and families and her love for children shows in daily interaction. Alejandra supports each child’s independence building and stimulates their absorbing minds.