Ainsley grew up right here in SE Portland, and is super excited for her first year at Puddletown! Prior to joining, Ainsley was a ballet dancer for over 15 years and danced with the Oregon Ballet Theatre and Boston Ballet. With performing arts being on hold for the pandemic, she chose to “retire” from ballet professionally and return to Portland to finish her degree at Portland State University, where she studied Arts and Literature. Before her final year, she moved to Spain to teach English to pre-k through highschool ages and to also travel as much as possible. This is where Ainsley’s love for education really took off. She decided in her final year of school to participate in the mentorship and social art practice program at the Dr. MLK Jr. School Contemporary Art Museum, KSMOCA, developing and creating an exhibition with students and artist Wendy Ewald. Ainsley has been a passionate knitter and fiber artist since childhood and is really excited to share that creative outlet with students. In her spare time she is usually knitting while watching movies/T.V., crafting, and spending time outside
Before joining Puddletown in 2020, Ali spent several 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, Ali 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 MEd from Loyola University Maryland. As an educator, Ali 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, Ali is making art, hiking, or reading. She and her partner love spending time exploring all the great nooks and crannies Portland has to offer, both indoors and outdoors!
Ana (“On-Nuh”) joined Puddletown in 2022 with almost 20 years of experience in the Children’s House, most recently at The Ivy School, a public charter Montessori in North Portland. Ana has two Montessori Primary education diplomas, the American Montessori Society (AMS 2005) and the Association Montessori International (AMI 2014), a Human Services Bachelor of Arts (Western Washington University) and a Masters Degree in Montessori Education from Loyola. Her education gives her a unique understanding and tools for teaching, administration, and board participation. Her work experience includes an Early Childhood internship with Head Start and several nanny positions. Ana’s passion for sharing Montessori with others, centering Equity in the classrooms, and enthusiasm for supporting Montessori teachers inspire the work she does in the community. In addition, Ana also serves as Board President of Montessori Northwest and recently was a member of Embracing Equity’s Leadership Residency Cohort 2021-2022. Outside of the school day, Ana can be found strumming her ukulele, devouring a variety of both fiction and non-fiction books, and trying out a new recipe in her home kitchen..
Andrea 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's 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 leadership role at Puddletown, she started showstopper cookies! In her free time Andrea enjoys baking, walking her dog, traveling, reading and swimming in the ocean.
Andy was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan and moved to Portland in 2002. Andy 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 prior to formally becoming the Outdoor Classroom assistant in 2021 when his love for the Puddletown community and for childhood wonder drove him to this as a new career. When Andy's not at school, he enjoys reading comic books, DJing, exploring new restaurants, live music, stand-up comedy, podcasting, and skateboarding.
Angela was born and raised in Southern New Jersey near Philadelphia and considers herself a jack-of-all-trades. In 2004 she attended the University of the Arts as a Craft/Metals major, with a focus on body adornment/jewelry. In 2012, Angela moved to Portland to officially study Middle Eastern Dance. While embarking on a dance career, she began training at Montessori Northwest where she received her AMI Primary Montessori Education as well as an MEd from Loyola University Maryland. In 2019, Angela made another decision to become a Death Midwife.(www.heartwisewoman.com). Angela hopes to educate those around her, young and old - to teach them that death doesn’t have to be a scary thing to talk about. When not at Puddletown, Angela is baking, reading, dancing, hanging with horses or creating in her art studio. She and her husband love spending time exploring, staying at various Air BNBs, creating jewelry together, and snuggling and singing to their two cats, Baby Kitty and Tiki B.!
In 2012 Augusta moved from Brazil to Washougal, WA, where she currently lives with her son Owen and their cat Nutella. Augusta graduated in business administration many moons ago and worked in accounting, fashion, and the public sector. In 2020 Augusta earned her Master’s degree in teaching and recently completed her Montessori teaching certification. She joined Sunflower in 2020. 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.
Aurora is a first generation indigenous American woman who is excited to join the Elementary team at Puddletown as an assistant in the Red Cedar classroom while she works toward her AMI credentials in Elementary and her M.Ed. After finishing her bachelor's degree in Public Health and pre-clinical and occupational sciences from Portland State University in 2021, Aurora spent two years working as an assistant in a lower elementary classroom at a public Montessori school. She has experience working with ABAR and Positive Discipline practices and has a particular knack for working with challenging behaviors and neurodivergence. Aurora is passionate about helping diverse populations through education, connection, engagement, and support. Along with her professional attributes Aurora has a long standing interest in a variety of athletics, arts and crafts, comedy, choir, chess and other board games, and imitating voices.
Blair (she/her) was born and raised in the PNW and grew up on the eastern side of Washington state. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at Portland State University, majoring in Community Development with a minor in Sustainable Urban Development. After several years of working in the nonprofit sector, Blair had the pleasure of staying home with her children who went on to join a Montessori classroom. Blair immediately fell in love with Montessori and decided to return to school to deepen her knowledge of the subject. Blair completed her AMI Primary training at Montessori Northwest in conjunction with earning a Master’s degree in Montessori Education from Loyola University. Upon graduating, she has worked as both an assistant and lead guide in the Portland Montessori scene. Blair is excited to be joining the Puddletown community as the lead guide in the Sunflower classroom.In her free time, Blair enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters hiking, camping and backpacking; reading, gardening, embroidering, making sourdough bread, cooking delicious vegan meals and playing with the family’s dog Max.
Carissa is a visual artist raised in Laurel, Oregon. She studied Studio Art and has been assisting and mentoring art classes since graduating in 2019 as well as curating art exhibitions for emerging artists. She has an affinity for material driven art work and loves to use textiles or paint small moments. At 20 years old she solo-traveled internationally for the first time, which sparked a prioritization for international experiences in her life, resulting in more travel for work, studying and experience itself. After living in Berlin for two years as a nanny and moving back to her original home, Oregon, she started exploring Montessori concepts and felt connected to the values and support it offers children. Carissa loves breakfast outside, swimming outside, rain, dancing with friends and crafting.
Celine moved to Portland from San Diego in 2013, and began nannying and working in a toddler classroom. They first became familiar with Montessori through their roommate who was doing her Primary training. Celine immediately felt a connection. Celine started subbing at Puddletown in 2017, fell in love with the community and the Montessori Method, and went on to be the assistant in the Sage classroom for five years. In their free time, Celine enjoys embroidering, cooking, and camping.
Growing up in Corvallis, Corinne's mom was an assistant in a Montessori preschool-kindergarten classroom while Corinne attended another nearby Montessori program. Corinne has BA in English from University of Oregon, AMI Primary Diploma from Montessori Northwest (MNW), and M.Ed from Loyola University of Maryland. Corinne spent 12 years as Primary Course Assistant at MNW, has served on the board of the Oregon Montessori Association (OMA), and is a past recipient of the OMA Outstanding Dedication Award. Corinne enjoys working with both adult and child members of the Montessori community, most recently as the Puddletown Outdoor Classroom Guide since 2018 and administrative support since 2021. Her favorite Montessori role, however, has been parenting a Montessori learner from age 2-14. In Corinne's free time, she enjoys visiting the Oregon Coast, working on her home's Backyard Habitat, learning about the natural world, and cuddling her pets.
Emmy has been the lead guide in the Lavender classroom since 2014. Before joining Puddletown in 2011 as the assistant in the Lavender classroom, Emmy had worked in varied environments caring for children including daycare, summer camp, and nanny work. Emmy received a BA in Psychology from University of Hartford. Once arriving in Portland from the east coast, she received her AMI Primary diploma from Montessori Northwest. Emmy is committed to the essence of the Montessori method and believes in the marvel of the true nature of the child. In her free time, Emmy enjoys walking, writing, drawing, cooking, listening to records and spending time with her family.
Erin came to Puddletown via Edinburgh, Scotland, where she had been teaching during the Pandemic. Originally from the States, Erin was born in Woodstock, NY and spent her early years running around a small island in the Gulf of Mexico. She grew up a Montessori child, and has spent the last 20+ years working in education as a teacher, administrator and as a caregiver. Erin holds dual Bachelor's Degrees from Brandeis University, a Master's Degree in Visual Arts, as well as her AMI Montessori Diploma for Adolescents. With a few years spent as a Fine Arts professor, Erin has experienced working with all of Montessori's four stages of development, but finds herself most intrigued and engaged with the big changes that happen during the first and third planes. Erin's own adolescent graduated high school this spring! Erin loves art, music, reading, travel, and learning new things. Her favorite bird is the burrowing owl.
Erin began volunteering as a Puddletown parent in 2013 and has been 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 Erin's 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. Erin wishes for and wants to work toward the Montessori experience being available to all children and interested families. She 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.
Before joining the Puddletown family, Keith worked in the public Montessori realm for four 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, Keith 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, they have fallen in love with Portland for its quirkiness and natural beauty. When not teaching, Keith enjoys outdoor adventures, tabletop roleplaying games, and painting their hundreds of miniatures.
Lee joined Puddletown in 2022 as a regular substitute for Red Cedar. Before helping at Puddletown, they taught high school history, government, and economics in traditional schools in the Portland area since 2013. Lee is originally from Boston, but fell in love with Portland when they came here to get their BA in religion at Reed College. They also have a graduate degree in religion and history from the University of Oxford, as well as their MA in Teaching from Lewis and Clark. Lee is thrilled to be experiencing Montessori education for the first time alongside their own kids in the Sage and Red Cedar classrooms! When not teaching, Lee is likely in the garden at home, unless they are playing video games
Tai is from Salvador, Brazil and moved to the US six years ago. She has nine years experience as a Montessori Primary Assistant. 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 the Red Cedar elementary community here at Puddletown.
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.