Administrative Staff

Courtney McWilliams - Executive Director

Courtney McWilliams

Before Courtney came to our school, 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! Contact:

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. Contact:

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. Contact:

Alex Migliaccio - Administrative Assistant

Alex Migliaccio

Alex has been with our community for three years, and brings a wealth of managerial and organizational skills. She ably managed The Barefoot Sage for 12 years, and has a strong background in customer service. When not at the front desk she is studying the Martial Arts of Krav Maga and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. She is also an avid reader. Contact:

Ana Huizar - Administrative Assistant

Ana Huizar

Ana has been with our community for many years as a classroom assistant and Spanish Teacher. She is also the head of translation for verbal and written communications. Contact:

Peter Jensen – Development Manager

Peter Jensen

Peter Jensen has been at Lewis & Clark Montessori for several years; first as an Upper Elementary Guide, then as Development Manager and Cross Country coach. He has a Masters in Education from Loyola College, and is AMI trained at in Elementary from Washington Montessori Institute. An avid runner, a highlight for him was competing in the Boston Marathon in 2012. Contact:

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. Contact:

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. Contact:

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 leads the MAC bakery, Schoolhouse Bread Co. Contact:

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. Contact:

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. Contact:

Caitlin Spanjer - Food Pantry Manager

Caitlin Spanjer


Older Elementary

Lora Modlin - Guide, Mahonia

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. Contact:

Katie Luecke - Assistant, Mahonia

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! Contact:

Marta Weber - Guide, Wy'East

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. Contact:

Keith Gortowski - Assistant, Wy'East

Keith Gortowski


Sophia Caswell - Guide, Sacajawea

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. Contact:

Jack Gaskill - Assistant, Sacajawea

Jack Gaskill

Jack has been a lifelong athlete and outdoorsman, and brings his experience and knowledge in both to his work at Lewis & Clark Montessori. Currently working on his teaching degree, Jack also has a degree in Wilderness Leadership & Experiential Education. When he’s not at work, he is often found in the woods or on any one of our local rivers. Contact:

Cameron Coates - Guide, Oregon Trail

Cameron Coates


Brandee Stafford - Assistant, Oregon Trail

Brandee Stafford


Younger Elementary

Kim Oda - Guide, Columbia

Kim Oda

Kim is AMI Elementary Certified, has an M.Ed in Elementary Ed, and a BA in English and Japanese language and literature. Before joining us, she taught in Japan for 5.5 years, and taught at an AMI school in Hawaii. She does this work to grow peace and constructive action. She loves to surf, commune with nature and food, and explore. Contact:

Laurel Clohessy - Assistant, Columbia

Laurel Clohessy


Micaela Argueta - Guide, Prairie Dog Home

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. Contact:

Denee Longan - Assistant, Prairie Dog Home

Denee Longan

Denee is AMI primary trained and has a M.Ed. from Loyola University.
Before coming to Lewis & Clark Montessori, she guided several primary classrooms throughout the Portland area, most recently for the SunGarden Montessori Toddler Program. She loves making things, sewing, and creative problem solving. Contact:

Faith Olinger - Guide, Pacific

Faith Olinger

Faith graduated from The University of Tampa with a BS in elementary education, and from Loyola University with a Masters in Montessori education. She completed her AMI Montessori training in Milwaukee, WI.Faith loves spending time with family and friends, traveling the world and reading historic novels! Contact:

Sarah Nevin - Assistant, Pacific

Sarah Nevin


Ute-Anja McDonald - Guide, Chinook

Ute-Anja McDonald


Suzanne Haddix - Assistant, Chinook

Suzanne Haddix


Dmitria Sokolow - Guide, Celilo

Dmitria Sokolow

Dmitria has many years teaching experience with all ages, in Spanish, ESL, and Montessori. She received her BA in Environmental Studies, her MA in Teaching, and is AMI trained at the Elementary level. Her perspective is rooted in being a twin, playing violin, five seasons as a Wilderness Ranger in the Sierra Nevadas, her work on a Farm in the Guatemalan highlands, and cross country travels. Her son, Bodie, joins the school as well, with many veteran staff knowing him since birth. Contact:

Gina Johnson - Assistant, Celilo

Gina Johnson

Gina got involved at Happy Valley Montessori in 2015, which ignited her passion for Montessori and children. She has since attended workshops at Montessori Northwest, and plans to continue her certification through their programs.
She is fluent in Spanish, and is passionate about intentional community, holistic medicine creating a world of peace. She loves aromatherapy, yoga, singing, painting, hiking, being in nature, reading, learning and spending time with people she loves. Contact:


Sarah MacRae - Guide, Wapiti

Sarah MacRae

Sara MacRae has worked in Montessori since receiving her Primary Certification from MNW in 2010. She took the elementary training in 2012-13, and completed her M.Ed. the following summer. She also took an Inclusive Education course from the Montessori Institute of San Diego. After working with children toddler age through upper elementary, she is excited to be in our Wapiti room. She loves to make things with her hands, particularly knitting and sewing. Contact:

Brekka Taft - Assistant, Wapiti

Brekka Taft


Anna Varnelius - Guide, Sea Otter

Anna Varnelius


Sherry Budge - Assistant, Sea Otter

Sherry Budge


Kristine Coates - Guide, Osprey

Kristine Coates


Elizabeth Jones - Assistant, Osprey

Elizabeth Jones

Elizabeth has a BA in Graphic Design from her birth country, Perú. After emigrating to the USA, she discovered her passion for children through teaching private Spanish and Math classes. She went on to receive her primary Montessori training, and most recently worked for six years as an Assistant Teacher in a Lower Elementary Montessori classroom while simultaneously teaching Spanish. In her free time, Elizabeth loves to travel and enjoys dancing to Latin music. Contact:

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. Contact:

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, two of whom attends LCMCS. Contact:

Jean Monda - Student Spec. Services

Jean Monda

Jean has a MS in Speech Communication, ASHA certification CCC-SLP, and holds an Oregon Board SLP license. She worked as a Speech/Language Pathologist 14 years with Portland Public Schools, 20 years with GBSD, and officially retired in 2014. She is beginning her 4th yr with our school. In her spare time she enjoys reading, sewing, gardening, time with family camping, and going to the beach. Contact:

Cece Bockenstedt - Student Special Services

Cece Bockenstedt

Cece has a BA in Geology, and is AMI Primary & Elementary trained. Aside from leading classrooms for many years, she has been a kitemaker, fille-au-pair, woodworker, bus driver, social worker, dyslexia consultant, point-person, and tutor. She loves things that get her in water, soil, forest or sunshine. Reading is another joy, which is why she delights in helping others enjoy it when they have challenges in that area. Contact:

Tonja Anderson - Lead Kitchen Coordinator

Tonja Anderson

Tonja has been part of our school family since 2009. First as a parent, then a volunteer, and finally employee. She and her family (her daughter is an LCMCS graduate, her son still attends) love to travel, go to the theater, and watch movies. Along with cooking, she loves to knit, craft, and read a good book with a hot cup of coffee. Contact:

Christi Johnson - Kitchen Assistant

Christi Johnson

Before joining Lewis & Clark Montessori, Christi was an administrative assistant for ten years. She’s had an amazing diversity of odd jobs, from coffee shop manager to photography assistant, classroom assistant and speech pathologist assistant. Christi loves to be outdoors hiking, camping, kayaking, gardening. She also has a side job making jewelry. Contact:

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. Contact: