Sam (he/him) is a co-founder and Head of Puddletown School. He graduated from a Quaker college with majors in Art, English and Journalism and a minor in Education. After working in more traditional educational settings, he volunteered in a Montessori classroom on the Oregon Coast to develop an immersion program for Spanish speaking students. He went on to get his Montessori Primary Certificate from the Montessori Northwest and a Master's of Education from Loyola University in Baltimore and has been invested in Montessori education since 1996. Sam began teaching in Connecticut at an inner city Montessori school with the Hartford Public School system, becoming involved in the planning and development of the Learning Corridor with Trinity College. After returning to the Pacific Northwest he taught at an Elementary program and worked to establish a Montessori middle school. Eventually the desire to return to the primary classroom and a willing partner led to starting Puddletown School.
Erin (she/her) is Puddletown's Assistant Head of School. She's been volunteering as a Puddletown parent since 2013 and working as a staff member at Puddletown since 2017. She is a former therapist to children and families. Erin has an MS in Counseling Psychology from Lewis and Clark Graduate College and a BA in Political Science from Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University. It was at Lewis and Clark where her interest in Montessori sparked, and she graduated knowing that she really wanted any of her future children to attend a Montessori program or school. As soon as she met Sam and Andrea, then the lovely teaching staff at Puddletown, she knew this was where she wanted her kids to stay, and for as long as possible. She wishes for and wants to work toward the Montessori experience being available to all children and interested families. Erin has a long history in research (marketing and scholarly), making her inquisitive, efficient and organized. She's slowly run a marathon and many halves, played roller derby competitively across the country, and now is well practiced at home improvement projects, singing camp songs and playing elaborate rounds of charades with her three fantastic children (all Puddletowners) and thespian-at-heart husband, Eddie.
Amy (she/her) is the Primary Program Coordinator. She joined Puddletown in 2007 and was the lead guide in the Sage classroom for 11 years. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Social Science and received the AMI Primary teacher training in 1998 at the Montessori Education Center of Arizona. Amy began her exploration with children in the Montessori context in 1994 as an assistant and enjoys learning new things from them every day. She enjoys gardening, sewing, baking, backpacking, hiking, camping, reading, knitting, travel and finding humor in everyday events.
Zil (they/them) is the Elementary Program Coordinator. Zil was a Montessori child, attending an AMI school in the suburbs of Chicago from ages 3 to 12. Upon graduating from Wesleyan University with a degree in Anthropology, they began working as an upper elementary teacher in Phoenix, Arizona and discovered that teaching is their passion. Zil has worked with children in many capacities over the last 17 years and is delighted to be part of the Puddletown community. In addition to their BA, Zil holds AMI Elementary and Primary diplomas and an MEd from Loyola University of Maryland. Over the years Zil has traveled extensively in Central and South America, leading to their involvement in establishing one of Guatemala's first Montessori schools. In their free time, Zil loves to do yoga, cook, read, and play with their daughter, Luna.
Emmy (she/her) has been the Lead Guide in the Lavender classroom since 2014. Before joining Puddletown in 2011 as the assistant in the Lavender classroom, she worked in varied environments caring for children, including day care, day camp and nanny work. She received a BA in Psychology from University of Hartford. Once arriving in Portland from the east coast, she received her AMI diploma from Montessori Northwest in Primary Education. Emmy is committed to the essence of the Montessori method and believes in the marvel of the true nature of the child. She spends her free time cooking, walking, knitting and sewing, hanging out with her dogs and has a newly sparked interest in maintaining an edible garden in her backyard.
Taiala (she/her) is the assistant in the Lavender classroom. Tai is from Salvador, Brazil and moved to the US 5 years ago. She has 7 years experience as a Montessori Primary assistant, and hopes to take the Primary Montessori teacher training in the future. Tai loves nature. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and camping with her family. Tai's husband is a Montessori elementary teacher, and their son is part of Puddletown Elementary.
Riley (she/her) is the Lead Guide in the Sage classroom. She has been looking forward to being a Primary guide since she was a child in a Montessori Primary classroom in Seattle many years ago. As a student in a Montessori environment, Riley gained skills like self-motivation, collaboration, logic, and self-evaluation. She is happy to be sharing these experiences with children in her work today. Riley graduated from Boston University summa cum laude with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in Earth Science. In 2016 she completed the AMI Primary training at Montessori Northwest, and a Master's degree at Loyola University. Riley lives in SE Portland. She enjoys exploring the neighborhood and sharing delicious meals with friends. Riley likes to paint, read, sing, and tell jokes. She has a dream to write and illustrate a children’s book someday!
Celine (she/they) is the assistant in the Sage classroom. She moved to Portland from San Diego in 2013 and has been nannying and teaching in toddler classrooms ever since. She first became familiar with Montessori through her roommate who was doing her Primary training and immediately felt a connection. She started subbing at Puddletown in 2017 and fell in love with the community and the Montessori method. In her free time, she enjoys embroidering, cooking, and camping.
Sarah (she/her) is the Lead Guide in the Sunflower classroom. She earned her AMI Diploma from Montessori Northwest, in conjunction with a M.Ed. in Montessori Education from Loyola University. For over a decade, she has worked in various educational settings from early childhood through adolescent programs, dedicating herself to the Montessori approach since completing her Montessori teacher training in 2014. Sarah is inspired by the very children she works with to strive to be a better teacher (and human) each day. She values learning how to best support the whole child through a trauma-informed, anti-bias and anti-racist lens. She is learning and growing alongside the children each day. Outside of school, Sarah loves spending time with her husband and dogs; baking; pulling weeds in the garden; hiking in nature; and staying engaged in mutual aid projects surrounding food insecurity and houselessness in our community.
Augusta (she/her) is the assistant in the Sunflower classroom. In 2012 she moved from Brazil to Washougal, WA, where she currently lives with her husband Tom, their son Owen (who is a student in Puddletown elementary), and their two cats Nutella and Lightning. Augusta graduated in business administration many moons ago and worked in accounting, fashion, and the public sector. She recently decided to change careers and become an educator. In 2020 Augusta earned her Master’s degree in teaching and is currently pursuing her Montessori teaching certification. Working in a school like Puddletown brings a smile to her face every morning. Other reasons to smile are traveling, reading, watching movies, listening to music, dancing, spending time with her family, meditating, and learning languages. Besides her native Portuguese, Augusta speaks English, Spanish, French, and Italian.
Alexa (she/her) is the Lead Elementary Guide. She has taught in and around the Pacific Northwest, including in British Columbia and most recently in the Seattle area. Alexa helped start and shape a Montessori elementary program and taught for years in existing Montessori programs. She loves working with the full age range of elementary aged children. She is also a passionate mathematician, holding a MA in mathematics on top of her MEd in Montessori Education. She loves inspiring children to get excited about math and helping them find abiding interests that become the foundation of their learning. In her spare time she enjoys reading, embroidering, studying math, and spending time with her two young children. She continues to study childhood, learning and ways she can advocate for building our trust of children.
Ali (she/her) is the Elementary Assistant Guide and Community Educator. Before joining Puddletown, Ali spent 4 years working in public Montessori. She was born and raised in Columbus, Indiana and graduated from DePauw with a degree in Environmental Geoscience. In 2016, she moved to Portland for a position at a public Montessori school as an assistant in an upper elementary classroom. She then completed her AMI Elementary training and Masters of Montessori Education from Loyola University Maryland. As an educator, she is motivated by community, connection and empowerment. In addition to teaching credentials, Ali has experience utilizing restorative justice and anti-racist anti-bias (ABAR) practices. When she's not teaching, she is making art, hiking, reading or enjoying the company of her rabbit, Peony (a former class pet who liked being a house pet more). She and her partner love spending time exploring all the great nooks and crannies Portland has to offer, both indoors and outdoors!
Andrea (she/her) is a co-founder of Puddletown School. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Creative Writing from Colorado State University. After graduating she headed a creative writing and arts program at a local Fort Collins, Colorado preschool. Andrea then moved to Portland where she began assisting and teaching at the Northwest Children’s Theater. She returned to school in 2001 to receive her Montessori Primary Diploma from Montessori Northwest and a Master of Montessori Education from Loyola University. She has worked with many Portland public schools and local Montessori schools through outreach and other after school programs. Andrea has served on the Oregon Montessori Association Board. Since stepping back from her role at Puddletown, she started showstopper cookies! In her free time she enjoys baking, walking her dog, traveling, reading and swimming in the ocean.
Michael runs the aftercare program and works as support staff. He is known lovingly by staff and community as the Nap Master due to his gift for lulling restless nappers into dreams and creating a gentle, relaxing atmosphere. Michael writes poems and stories for children (and grownups), has produced a spontaneous musical album cassette tape ("The Pompatus Lives") and a collage book titled "From Puddletown to Universes Beyond" for (and with) the children of Puddletown. He finds kinship in the Montessori Method and with the teachers at Puddletown School. Michael is currently developing a press and production company called Cloudbound which aims to bring imaginative learning, music, poems and storytelling to children of all ages.
Corinne (she/her) is support staff and the Outdoor Classroom Guide. Corinne was in Montessori as a child, and her mom an assistant in a Montessori Primary classroom. Corinne has BA in English from the University of Oregon, AMI 3-6 Diploma at Montessori Northwest, and M.Ed from Loyola University. Corinne spent 12 years as the Primary Course Assistant at Montessori Northwest, served on the Board of the Oregon Montessori Association (OMA), and is a past recipient of the OMA Outstanding Dedication Award. In addition to her work with adult members of the Montessori community, Corinne has experience as a Primary guide and has been working with children here at Puddletown since 2018. Her favorite role in the Montessori community has been the 10 years spent as a Montessori parent to her child, Stella, who just completed a 6th fabulous year at Puddletown Elementary. Corinne likes to visit family on the Oregon Coast, learn about the natural world, cuddle her pets, gaze at the stars, and explore art and children's books.
Andy (he/him) was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He moved to Portland in 2002. He worked all over the city before starting a family, and becoming a stay-at-home dad. He spent many years as a parent volunteer in Puddletown's Outdoor Classroom. His love for the Puddletown community and for childhood wonder drove him to a new career. When he’s not at school he enjoys reading comic books, DJing, exploring new restaurants, live music, stand-up comedy, podcasting, and skateboarding.
Keith (they/them) is support staff and aftercare staff. Before joining the Puddletown family, they worked in the public Montessori realm for 4 years. Keith was born and raised in the cornfields of Illinois, where they attended Northern Illinois University for a degree in Environmental Geosciences. Upon graduation, they worked as a Ranger for the National Park Service, traveling to unique places as far off as Alaska. As a lifelong learner, Keith was called to work in education where their passion for imaginative play has found purpose. Since then, Keith has fallen in love with Portland for its quirkiness and natural beauty. When not teaching, they enjoy outdoor adventures, tabletop roleplaying games, and painting their hundreds of miniatures.