Administrative Staff

Melissa Harbert - Executive Director

Melissa Harbert

Melissas career in Montessori Education spans nearly four decades. She taught at the primary level, and has been a School Administrator for 20 years. She is the current Board Chair of Montessori Northwest, the teacher-training center in Portland, and consults for Montessori schools and other non-profit organizations. A native Oregonian who has lived in and traveled many other places, Melissa holds an MA in Counseling, specializing in improving brain function and trauma recovery. An avid equestrian, Melissa also loves gardening.

Tami O'Kinsella - Director of Education

Tami O'Kinsella

Tami has worked in six Montessori schools in five states over much of the last three decades. She is Primary and Elementary trained and has been in Primary, Younger, and Older Elementary classrooms. In addition to her Montessori credentials, Tami has a BA in English, an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, and both her state of Washington and Oregon Teaching Licenses. She has also studied and worked in Special Education and made an extensive exploration in Non-violent Communication.

Courtney McWilliams - Director of Operations

Courtney McWilliams

Before Courtney became our Director of Operations, she worked for over 20 years in corporate executive and leadership roles for various Fortune 500 companies. Her interest in Montessori began when her son went to a toddler program at Mead Montessori. Courtney has a BS in Organizational Development from Austin Peay University, M.Ed from Loyola, and is AMI trained at the Elementary level from Montessori NW. She moved here from Knoxville with her son, Ben. They love to travel, ride bikes, and anything to do with trains!

Mishawn Nelson - Office Manager

Mishawn Nelson

With a background as a real estate broker, small business owner and human resources manager, Mishawn has many valuable organizational skills she brings to LCMCS. Augmenting her natural personal warmth and outgoing personality is a BA in Communications from PSU. She came to love the philosophy and practice of Montessori when her son attended a local primary and went on to become a founding member of LCMCS. Mishawn loves to cook, play outdoors with her family, and tend her goats and chickens.

Peter Jensen - Development Manager

Peter Jensen

A dedicated distance runner, Peter has competed in many marathons, and has been integral to the success of the school’s Jogathon fundraising events. He holds a BA in English Literature, a M. Ed. and his Elementary Montessori Certification. He has led Montessori elementary classrooms in Washington and Oregon, and joined LCMCS in 2011. Peter also has a background in film and theater, and in financial literacy education for young people. When not teaching or on the run, he likes reading, hiking, woodworking, and watching films.

Tammy Puri - Finance Manager

Tammy Puri

Tammy joined Lewis & Clark Montessori in June of 2016 as Finance Manager after cutting her teeth managing the books for a real estate development company and serving as Treasurer for the Lewis & Clark Montessori PTO. She earned a BA in Anthropology at Beloit College in Wisconsin that has aided in her understanding of the whole picture; how the smallest part is integral to the whole. When not devoting her time to Lewis & Clark Montessori, she can be found reading, playing board games, hiking, and tending to her front yard.

Leslie Shalduha - Food Service Director

Leslie Shalduha

Leslie is the chief cook and bottle washer of LCMCS’s food service program. Coordinating our volunteers, meal plans, and the school’s kitchen, Leslie is integral to our food from planting to preparation. She is passionate about helping others appreciate the benefits of eating homegrown food that will nourish body, mind and spirit. When she is not at work she can probably be found thinking about, cooking, and learning more about local and sustainable food. Leslie has a BS in Child and Family Studies and a daughter who attends LCMCS.

Vivian Aubrey - Communications

Vivian Aubrey

A lifelong Montessorian and native Oregonian, Vivian has worked as a freelance photographer and adventure education facilitator, and pursued formal education in Wilderness Leadership. Now Vivian has coalesced all those jobs under one roof at Lewis & Clark Montessori, where she works in the classroom, manages branding and communication, and co-teaches outdoor skills. If she’s not working, she loves to practice all graphic and fiber arts and play outside with her family and their giant pound puppy, Lukas.

Alex Migliaccio - Administrative Assistant

Alex Migliaccio

Alex’s son Seth joined our school in January of 2015, and we quickly realized what a wonderful gem his mom is, too! Alex brings a wealth of organizational skills and customer service to LCMCS: she managed a Starbucks store for 7 years and was the manager for Barefoot Sage Footspa for nearly 12 years. Alex was born in Mexico and is fluent in Spanish. She loves to read sci-fi when not ably managing our front desk operations.

Montessori Adolescent Corps (MAC)

Dayna Weiler - Guide, MAC

Dayna Weiler

Dayna moved to Oregon from Alaska with her husband, Fred, to continue to grow the Montessori Adolescent Corps. She was instrumental in developing the public MAC program in Juneau, and was lead teacher for ten years. She has a BA in History, a BS in Biology, an MA in Teaching, and a state teaching license. Dayna was the Vice President of the Southeast Alaska Friends of Montessori Board for five years. She and Fred have four children, two of whom were adopted from China.

Susan Hardenbergh - Guide, MAC

Susan Hardenbergh

Most of us first knew Susan as a parent, with a son and a daughter who both attend LCMCS. But her years of experience working in the classroom and special education recommended her to us for other roles, and she started assisting in the Kindergarten and then Younger El classes. Susan has an MAT and BS in Anthropology and is an Oregon Licensed Teacher. Her Spanish and Fiber Arts skills make her an additional resource for others.

Remmy Renwick - Guide, MAC

Remmy Renwick

Remmy is a native Oregonian who has been with us since 2016. He has a BA in English Literature from Willamette University and an MA in Teaching from Warner Pacific. Before joining the Lewis & Clark Montessori team he traveled to over 25 countries, toured the nation playing for a rock band, and sang at Carnegie Hall with the Willamette Chamber Choir. He directs the school’s a capella group, MACappella, and coaches our disc golf team

Justice Evans - Guide, MAC

Justice Evans

Justice has been with Lewis & Clark Montessori since the early days. He has a BS in Liberal Studies, an MA in Teaching and is an Oregon licensed teacher. In addition to his work as a teacher, Justice is passionate about community engagement, neighborhood involvement and the liberation of all peoples. Justice, his wife, who is also a teacher, and their son love to spend time in the outdoors and at the Oregon Coast.

Fred Weiler - Farm Manager & Microeconomy

Fred Weiler

Fred is a Jack-of-All-Trades from Alaska who seems to truly have done it all – from training pigs to race, to coaching high school football; from substitute teaching, to member of the Southeast Alaska Friends of Montessori Board – and more. He worked in the Juneau Montessori community in a number of roles for ten years, including interim Adolescent Program teacher and Para Educator, working with special needs populations. Fred is a skilled handyman and enjoys his role of taking care of the MAC farm.

Caitlin Spanjer - Food Pantry & Microeconomy

Caitlyn Spanjer

Caitlin Spanjer

Older Elementary

Lora Modlin - Guide, Mahonia Room

Lora Modlin

Lora started her career teaching in a Kansas City public Montessori program before moving to Oregon with her family to join LCMCS. She has a BA in Art Education, a M.Ed. in Elementary Education, and holds an AMI Montessori Elementary certificate and an Oregon Teaching License. Lora’s specialty is bringing creative arts into the classroom, especially three-dimensional work. She is passionate about biology, ecology and environmental sciences, and shares her love of theater and performance arts with the students.

Katie Luecke - Assistant, Mahonia Room

Katie Luecke

Katie comes to LCMCS with a wide range of education experience. She has a BS in Biology Teaching from the University of Utah, and a Masters of Secondary Education. Before moving to Portland, she taught Environmental Science in Kansas City, MO. In her spare time, Katie enjoys hiking, camping, and exploring the beautiful natural areas of Oregon. She loves sharing her passion for the environment with students!

Marta Weber - Guide, Wy'East Room

Marta Weber

Marta comes to LCMCS with a diverse background in education and life experience. After working as a literacy tutor with AmeriCorps, she developed a strong desire to work in public schools and is passionate about making Montessori education accessible to all students. She has a BA in History, with a minor in Political Science, and immersed herself in the Spanish language while attending a school in Guatemala after graduation. She has formal training in fine arts and interned on an organic vegetable farm.

Alison Sullivan - Assistant, Wy'East Room

Alison Sullivan

Allison Sullivan

Sophia Caswell - Guide, Sacajawea Room

Sophia Caswell

Sophia grew up between England and the States before settling in Portland, joining our school 2016. She is AMI trained from Montessori Northwest and has her M.Ed. from Loyola University. Her B.A.s from Wesleyan University in Constructivist Education and Psychology give her a broader knowledge of child development that she applies to teaching. She is both an Ohio and Oregon State Licensed Teacher. Sophia loves the Pacific Northwest and enjoys the hikes, climbing, music, and art that’s to be found here.

Jack Gaskill - Assistant, Sacajawea Room

Jack Gaskill

Jack Gaskill

Cameron Coates - Teacher, Oregon Trail Room

Cameron Coates

Cameron Coates

Vivian Aubrey - Assistant, Oregon Trail Room

Vivian Aubrey

A lifelong Montessorian and native Oregonian, Vivian has worked as a freelance photographer and adventure education facilitator, and pursued formal education in Wilderness Leadership. Now Vivian has coalesced all those jobs under one roof at Lewis & Clark Montessori, where she works in the classroom, manages branding and communication, and co-teaches outdoor skills. If she’s not working, she loves to practice all graphic and fiber arts and play outside with her family and their giant pound puppy, Lukas.

Younger Elementary

Kim Oda - Guide, Columbia Room

Kim Oda

Kim Oda

Laurel Clohessy - Assistant, Columbia Room

Laurel Clohessy

Laurel Clohessy

Micaela Argueta - Guide, Prairie Dog Home Room

Micaela Argueta

Micaela is a lifelong learner who comes from a family of educators. She chose the Montessori path because it matches her desire to be a peace ambassador who believes in social justice, nurturing communities, and empowering students to develop as respectful leaders. Micaela holds an Oregon teaching license, and has international teaching/learning experience in Argentina, Ecuador, and Florence and Bologna, Italy. She is an AMI certified Montessori Elementary Guide.

Keith Gortowski - Assistant, Prairie Dog Home Room

Keith Gortowski

Keith Gortowski

Cindy Guschov - Guide, Pacific Room

Cindy Guschov

Cindy Guschov

Ana Huizar - Assistant, Pacific Room

Ana Huizar

Ana Huizar

Ute-Anja McDonald - Guide, Chinook Room

Ute-Anja McDonald

Ute-Anja McDonald

Ilana Pinsky - Assistant, Chinook Room

Ilana Pinsky

Ilana earned her M.Ed from Rutgers Graduate School of Education and taught middle school language arts before moving to the Pacific Northwest. Here she has gained a wealth of experiences from co-running the international department of an online organic herbal company to admin work in a progressive independent school. She is thrilled to again step inside the classroom, as she learns the Montessori method. She loves spending time with her family, and snuggling up with a book or two.

Primary

Katy Fontneau - Guide, Wapiti Room

Katy Fontneau

Katy has been a certified Montessori Guide since 1999, spending years working in Virginia and Texas in various roles with primary-aged children. She holds a Masters in Education degree from Loyola University. Katy most enjoys working with children of all ages in an outdoor environment, experiencing gardening, hiking, biking, backpacking, and camping. Katy has one son, Orion, at LCMCS and an older son at Montessori boarding school in North Carolina.

Andy LeTourneau - Assistant, Wapiti Room

Andy LeTourneau

Andy has spent more than ten years in Montessori education, working as an assistant and guide in classrooms and after care programs. His quiet, thoughtful approach makes him an excellent observer of each child and helps hold the space in the classroom for peaceful work. He holds a BA in Philosophy, an M. Ed. in Montessori Education and is AMI certified at the Primary level. Andy and his wife have an organic farm on their land in Damascus, where they live with their daughter, who attends LCMCS.

Anna Varnelius - Guide, Sea Otter Room

Anna Varnelius

Anna Varnelius

Sherry Budge - Assistant, Sea Otter Room

Sherry Budge

Sherry Budge

Kristine Coates - Guide, Osprey Room

Kristine Coates

Kristine Coates

Sarah Nevin - Assistant, Osprey Room

Sarah Nevin

Sarah Nevin

Support Staff

Kami Hettwer - Music Teacher

Kami Hettwer

Kami graduated from Willamette University with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance. She specializes in elementary, choral, and instrumental music, and has spent the last 17 years teaching music in Salem schools, where she resides. She is a member of the Oregon Music Educators Association, American Orff-Schulwerk Association, and Administrative Assistant for the Salem Youth Symphony. She is married to a musician, and they have three adult children who are all active professional musicians.

Beverly Bassett - Trails Coordinator

Beverly Bassett

After she received a BA in Human Studies from Marylhurst University and her Primary Montessori training from Montessori Northwest, Beverly taught in primary classrooms for several years in the Portland area. She has worked in school administration and initially came to us as our Office Manager in 2010. Beverly spends her free hours reading, hiking, and bird watching with her family. She and her husband have two grown sons and four grandchildren, one of whom attends LCMCS.

Jean Monda - Student Spec. Services

Jean Monda

Jean Monda

Cece Bockenstedt - Student Spec. Svcs. 4/30

Cece Bockenstedt

Cece Bockenstedt

Molly Urbanczyk - Lead Kitchen Cook

Molly Urbanczyk

Molly Urbanczyk

Tonja Anderson - Lead Kitchen Coordinator

Tonja Anderson

Tonja Anderson

Christi Johnson - Kitchen Assistant

Christi Johnson

Christi Johnson

Cathy Shaddix - Student Support Specialist

Cathy Shaddix

Cathy is the mother of two Lewis & Clark Montessori students. Cathy earned an AAS in Early Childhood Education at MHCC and a BS in Human Development with minors in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Warner Pacific. She has been an Oregon licensed teacher for over 20 years. Some work highlights include time as an instructor for Mad Science of Portland and Vancouver, a teacher in a toddler program, and teaching multiple subjects to middle school students at a school with 32 home languages.

Auxiliary Staff

Suzanne Haddix

Suzanne Haddix

Suzanne Haddix

Steffan Dueling

Steffan Dueling

Steffan was a Montessori child himself. His drive to pursue his interests brought him back around to his roots, and he is Montessori certified at the Younger and Older Elementary levels. An outgoing person, Steffan would love to chat with you, and could do so in Japanese and German, with some French, Spanish and Latin peppered in for additional variety. Working with people, especially children, has long been his goal. He has a BS in Physical Science with a Minor in Creative Writing.

Caryn Ackerman

Caryn Ackerman

Caryn Ackerman

Mallory Spanjer

Mallory Spanjer

Mallory Spanjer