About Lewis & Clark Montessori

Lewis & Clark Montessori’s AMI accredited Guides help students develop independent thought, resourceful problem solving skills, and prepare students to become positive world citizens. Critical to these outcomes is the development of the whole child: intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically. Montessori education prepares students for life.

Key points about Lewis and Clark Montessori Charter School

Lewis & Clark Montessori School was founded by its community. Several families came together to create a new educational opportunity for their own children and as well as others in the Gresham area. In the spring of 2006, the founding committee received a Federal Grant to develop a proposal for a new Elementary Charter School in the Gresham-Barlow School District incorporating a Montessori curriculum. In the spring of 2008, the District Board voted unanimously for approval of our charter school. In June 2012, the School District approved a five year charter, including an expansion through the 8th grade.


Lewis & Clark Montessori opened in fall of 2008 with two younger elementary classrooms and a kindergarten classroom. Now in its tenth year, the school has grown to almost 400 students, and includes families from 13 different school districts who live as far away as Mollala, West Linn, SE Portland and Corbett. In the last ten years, the school has grown to include four Younger Elementary classrooms, four Older Elementary classrooms, and a Kindergarten. In the fall of 2013, the Lewis & Clark Montessori Adolescent Corps (MAC) opened its doors to serve middle school students. We also have two full Oregon CCD-licensed Children’s House classroom for students ages 3-6 years.


Now the largest Montessori school in Oregon, our goal is to continue to develop as a high-quality, authentic Montessori public school choice for our area. The school is led by an AMI Montessori-trained administrator, the teachers are all Montessori-trained and Oregon licensed or Charter School Registered, and most have Master’s degrees. Our staff has a combined total experience of over 100 years in Montessori education. The school continues to make partnerships with other like-minded non-profits and government agencies to provide the best for our students as well as in serving our community.

Nondiscrimination Policy

Lewis & Clark Montessori does not discriminate on the basis of an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or age, or because of the race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or age of any other persons with whom the individual associates. In keeping with requirements of federal and state law, the school strives to remove any vestige of discrimination in employment, assignment and promotion of personnel; in educational opportunities and services offered students; in student assignment to schools and classes; in student discipline; in location and use of facilities; in educational offerings and materials; and in accommodating the public at public meetings.

About Montessori

Montessori education is built on the idea that all learners are individuals. The curriculum allows children to develop skills at their own pace, working alone or in groups. Students may move freely throughout the classroom and socialize, while learning to respect others’ work. The freedom to choose assists the child in constructing key executive functions such as inner discipline, cognitive flexibility, and working memory.


Students are grouped into classes that span three years. These mixed-age classrooms provide a greater range of curriculum options and reduced competition. Older children mentor and teach younger ones, building confidence and competence. Peer learning also promotes cooperation and a sense of community. This flexibility and focus on social skills allow learning to be tailored to the needs of the individual, regardless of ability, learning style, or social maturity.

Maria Montessori 1870-1952

Maria Montessori, the founder of the Montessori Method, was an Italian physician and educator who had the distinction of being the first woman to practice medicine in Italy. As a physician, Dr. Montessori worked with young children and became profoundly interested in their development. Through careful and exhaustive observation, she came to the realization that children construct their own personalities as they interact with their environment. She also perceived their strong inner drive to learn as they spontaneously chose and worked with the didactic materials she developed.


Montessori studied children in many countries around the world and realized the universality of the laws of human development. She continued to work tirelessly throughout her life, deepening her understanding of the child and adding to her educational method.

For more information on Montessori Education, please review our website, especially the Parent and Student Handbook, and/or visit the sites below. We also encourage you to make an appointment to visit our school, observe the classroom(s) at work, and speak with the staff.

About Charter Schools

A Charter School is a Public School that is operated autonomously while remaining accountable to the sponsoring School District.

Charter Schools

  • afford opportunities to accommodate different learning styles
  • encourage innovative teaching practices
  • encourage community and parent involvement in public education
  • are often smaller than public schools and can provide greater responsiveness to community needs
  • operate with greater freedom while staying accountable to the district, parents, and the public

Charter schools are funded by state tax dollars based on the number of students enrolled. They are, by definition, tuition-free.


The Charter is a performance contract with the sponsoring district that spells out the program type and goals, details the school’s mission, and states the methods of assessments and ways the school will measure success.


Lewis & Clark Montessori Charter School is organized as a nonprofit organization under the laws of Oregon under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the U.S. As such, the school is managed by a Board of Directors.

Board Meetings

The Board of Directors meets every third Thursday of the month with Community Workshop at 6:00pm and the meeting commencing at 7:00. All meetings are open to the public. We are bound by the State of Oregon’s Open Meeting Law and its Public Records Law.

Lewis and Clark Montessori Board of Directors

Board Members have the primary responsibility for fulfillment of the school’s mission and are legally accountable for its operation. The Board sets strategic goals, governs school policies and is fiscally responsible for assuring the school’s resources. The Board hires the Executive Director to develop the programs and execute the day-to-day school operation. The school’s Executive Director attends all Board meetings as an ex-officio member, reports on school operation and submits strategic recommendations.


Pam Harkin, Board Chair
April Geiger, Vice Chair
Matt Lee, Secretary
Brian Pasko, Treasurer
Julie Tomes, Director
Melissa Harbert, Executive Director/Ex-Officio Board Member

Lewis and Clark Montessori Board Standing Committees

The Board has established the following advisory committees to assist in leadership of our school. Participation from our local and extended community is greatly encouraged.


Finance Committee
Development Committee
Saftey and Security Committee
Facilities Committee
Strategic Growth Committee

See the LCMCS Board website. Copies of all meeting agendas and minutes are also available in the school office.