Our staff are trained to carefully observe children, identifying their interests and abilities and developing personalized learning plans tailored to each child’s needs. They guide the learning, introducing new lessons and levels of difficulty as appropriate. They offer the encouragement, time, and tools needed to allow children’s natural curiosities to drive learning, and provide choices that help them learn, grow, and succeed.

Head of School

Courtney Walsh

Courtney grew up in Northeast and Northwest Washington state.  She participated in a variety of athletics and studied theatre and music through the end of college, beginning her work with children early on as a piano accompanist for children’s musical theatre, and then as a regular babysitter and nanny from when she was a teen through the end of grad school. She moved to Portland to attend Portland State University for her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, intending to pursue a career in mental health.  She unexpectedly learned about the Montessori philosophy in one of her early childhood development classes and was inspired to see the method in action.  After working as a Primary Assistant at West Hills Montessori in Portland for three years, she attended Montessori Northwest where she earned her AMI Primary Montessori Diploma and a Masters of Education from Loyola University Maryland.  Courtney has been working with Montessori children and families in Portland since 2005, and she was a founding member of Montessori Children’s House as a Primary Guide in Tanager Meadow (and part-time Administrative Assistant) when the doors first opened in 2010. Courtney started the Chickadee Grove Primary Community in 2011. When there was a need for a new Head of School in 2021, it was a natural progression for Courtney to move from the classroom into the office, bringing with her more than a decade of classroom leadership experience and her historical knowledge of MCH’s evolution over the years.

Courtney and her husband Mike are both avid outdoors-people, enjoying hiking and backpacking, skiing and snowboarding, and bicycling; they live in Milwaukie.  They are both active members of the Mt. Hood Ski Patrol and spend most weekends (and many weeknights!) volunteering with MHSP; Courtney is a Toboggan Trainer, Hill Captain, and also served as Secretary on the MHSP Executive Council from 2020-2024.  Courtney enjoys spending time gardening, exploring the great outdoors, cooking and baking delicious vegan food, snuggling her precious cats, listening to podcasts and audiobooks whilst doing chores, and reading.

Primary Assistant, Tanager Meadow

Ryan

Ryan graduated in 2009 with a BA in Elementary Education with a focus on kindergarten and 1st grade. He has taught 1st, 4th, and 5th grade all at the public level. Ryan also taught English in Haiti, while living at an Orphanage in Mirebalais Haiti. He stumbled across the Montessori teaching method and fell in love with working with children using this teaching method/lifestyle. Ryan has been a Toddler Guide in the past and loves getting to assist in the classroom setting. Ryan transitioned rom working with the Toddler age group to the Primary age group at MCH in 2020 .

Ryan grew up the oldest of three boys in a small town in Oregon. His father immigrated from England at a young age and, because of this, a lot of Ryan’s family traditions are based in English tradition, including the fact that he has multiple middle names. Ryan’s family is very close and they enjoy holidays together as well as vacationing together.

Through the years of working with children in the Montessori setting Ryan has made the decision to get his Montessori training. He is excited to further his education and understanding of the Montessori teaching method.

Toddler Guide, Hummingbird Garden

Mikaela

Mikaela was born and raised in Colorado, where she grew up skiing, playing soccer, crafting, and exploring the outdoors. Mikaela has always loved kids, even when she was a kid, and she started babysitting and nannying as soon as her own grown-ups would allow her to. She took a brief hiatus from childcare to attend Reed College, where she worked in the Admission Office and read books for four years instead. After she graduated in 2017 with a degree in anthropology, this love of working with children brought her back to nannying, and she started working for a family that she still works with today. She also spent several years running summer camps with Portland Parks and Rec, reading and evaluating college applications for Reed, and babysitting for families all over the city. 

Through these families she was introduced to Montessori pedagogy, which aligns with Mikaela’s own values and beliefs about children. She is passionate about respecting children as whole, developing individuals, and she especially values that Montessori is child-led. After years of working with children who attended Montessori preschools in their homes, she was excited about the opportunity to join Montessori Children’s House as an Assistant in the Heron Cove Toddler Community during the 2021-22 school year. Beginning in Summer 2022, she was ecstatic to re-open the second Toddler Community at MCH, Hummingbird Garden. A trained Assistance to Infancy (0-3) Montessori Guide, certified through the North American Montessori Center, Mikaela is passionate about her own continuing education and professional development. She, alongside the children, hopes to never stop learning. 

Outside of the classroom Mikaela is an artist, throwing ceramics, painting, and working with different craft mediums. She loves plants, animals, and insects. She enjoys watching women’s soccer, cooking, and playing with her puppy, Bamuel Buckets.

Inclusion Lead & Primary PM Care Lead

Catherine

Catherine is a California native who fell in love with the PNW when she moved north to study psychology and child development at the University of Washington. It was there that she was introduced to Montessori philosophy and got her start in early education. Since that time her continued passion for child development has taken her across the ocean and back, working with many diverse families. Most recently, Catherine has spent three years working closely with the neuro-divergent community as a behavior interventionist, developing skills to help support learners with a wide variety of needs and sensory profiles. No matter the setting, getting to witness the wonder of growing and gaining independence is what makes Catherine look forward to coming to work every day.  

When not at school, you’re likely to find Catherine trying out a new local coffee shop, car camping along the Columbia with her partner, embroiled 7 hours deep into a DnD session with friends, or singing and playing guitar for her long-suffering audience of one, her cat, Fig. 

Toddler Assistant, Hummingbird Garden

Quinn

Quinn graduated from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in 2020 with a BA in Professional and Technical Writing. They have been working with children in individual households as well as in groups for over 10 years. Most recently, they worked at a daycare that served infants through kindergartners, and they love the ever-changing nature of childcare. Quinn believes that children should be respected and listened to in the same way as adults, and hopes for a future where children are once again raised by “the village” of their communities. 

As a former “military kid,” Quinn grew up living in and visiting countries all over the world. They attended boarding school in Rhode Island for high school, and moved to Portland after spending 4 years in Boulder and Colorado Springs, Colorado. After a serious illness in 2020, Quinn discovered meditation, mindfulness, and other forms of spirituality. These methods of finding peace have informed their practices both with children and at home ever since. 

Quinn lives near the OHSU campus with their nesting partner, Ray, and their red heeler, Nova. Their favorite activities are taking Nova for hikes, making tiny sculptures out of clay, drawing, painting, and spending time at the river with friends. They love finding animals outside, photography, and watching Netflix, too. They have a huge sweet tooth and love salted milk chocolate more than just about anything. 

Primary Assistant Teacher (PM Care)

Sage

Sage grew up on a small island in Southeast Alaska, spending most of her time taking dance classes and going on hikes. Sage moved to Oregon to study Mathematics and Studio Arts at Linfield College but her love for education began much earlier when she began babysitting at twelve. Throughout college, Sage tutored math at a local middle school and worked at her college’s preschool. After moving away from the PNW and trying her hand in the professional business world, Sage quickly realized that she would be better off pursuing her true calling of teaching and caring for children. When she discovered the Montessori teaching philosophy, she knew this different way of teaching would better benefit students and she wanted to be a part of it.

In returning to Oregon, Sage not only rekindled her passion for teaching, but also for the beauty of the great outdoors. When she’s not at school, you can find Sage hiking, trying new coffee shops and restaurants, practicing yoga, or relaxing at home with her cat Binx. 

Administrative Assistant

Verónica

Verónica grew up as a Montessori child throughout different parts of Europe before moving to the States in her tween years. She drifted away from the world of Montessori as a teenager but found her love and appreciation for the method once more while attending college and working at a Montessori school in different capacities. She completed her AMI primary (3-6 years old) training from Montessori Northwest while concurrently completing her Masters in Education at Loyola University. After leading a primary classroom for a number of years, Verónica’s interests fixated on the younger children in her class, the 2.5 year olds. With the desire to attain more knowledge on their development and how to best assist them, she decided to partake in the creation in a toddler community and so also took her AMI A to I (0-3 years old) training at the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Having assisted and lead classrooms at both the toddler and primary level, she now finds her interests lie in mentoring of fellow Montessori guides and assistants as well as administration from a Montessori lens. 

Verónica is an outdoor enthusiast, an avid earring collector, and a wanderlust travel junkie who is passionate about environmental and social justice issues. In her free time she takes delight in hiking, swimming, baking, playing board games, is working on picking up knitting, and of course enjoys spending time with her cherished family, friends, and pets. 

Primary Guide, Chickadee Grove

Becky

Becky was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She began playing guitar when she was 15 years old. This love for music led her on a path to attend Columbia College Chicago, where she received a BA in Fine and Performing Arts with a concentration in music production. After visiting Nashville, Tennessee with her older brother, she had an epiphany in a boot shop where she realized she wanted music to stay a hobby. She thanks her mother for introducing her to Montessori by finding the job ad that started it all. She applied for a temporary assistant role, having never worked with children, and with no knowledge of Montessori. From there, she became an assistant in a primary classroom for four years before moving to Portland in June 2018 to attend Montessori Northwest. She received her AMI Primary diploma in June 2019 and began working at Montessori Children’s House as a Summer Term PM Care Assistant. Since then, she has received her Master’s in Education from Loyola University Maryland in 2020 and has been working as a Clubroom Guide at Childpeace Montessori for the past four years.

In her spare time, she enjoys making vinyl crafts with her Cricut maker, exploring Portland with her partner Tyson, and visiting her brother and nephew in California. She still considers herself a newbie to Portland, so any suggestions are appreciated.

Primary Assistant Teacher (PM Care)

Jackie

Jackie was born in and spent their childhood in Washington County, Oregon. As the eldest of
seventeen grandchildren, they have had a lot of experience with kids, helping to take care of
and tutor their younger siblings and cousins over the years. In 2019, Jackie started attending
Portland State University, from which they received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in
Spanish through the PSU Honors College in 2022. During their time at PSU, they took multiple
classes on human development and education, leading them to find interest in alternative forms
of education. During their senior year at Portland State, they wrote a thesis on how and why
Montessori schooling impacts the way children develop communication skills. After completing
their degree, Jackie worked as a lead teacher in a small toddler classroom in a Corvallis
childcare center, and has now found themselves as part of the Montessori Children’s House community. They hope to become accredited in Montessori teaching at the primary level in the future.


When not in the classroom, Jackie likes to pursue their multiple hobbies. They love arts and
crafts, especially cross-stitch and drawing with graphite or pastels. They also love to read,
particularly enjoying books of essays or poems regarding gratitude, joy, and plants. Jackie also
loves to bake, listen to music, learn new things, and hang out with their friends, family, and cat
named Kevin.

Primary Assistant, Tanager Meadow

Juniper

My name is Juniper; I use they and she pronouns. I grew up on the east coast climbing trees, swimming in the warm Atlantic, and reading long past my bedtime. I moved to Oregon in 2016 to study poetry in a fine arts program and I stayed to study herbalism on a nearby farm. I’ve worked at traditional & alternative schools, summer camps, a land based herbalism program, as a university instructor, and as a caregiver for neurodiverse people & people with disabilities. I treasure this work because I get to witness and nurture sparks of curiosity as learners explore the world around them and get to know the vitality of their own voice. 

Currently I am back in school for my Masters in Social Work, aiming to create accessibility at the intersection of land-based education and somatic psychotherapy. I am also studying somatics through a trauma informed yoga training program here in Portland. 

Montessori excites me because I am passionate about experiential, embodied learning. I want to participate in creating safe spaces for self-determination while simultaneously developing deeply supportive collaboration. 

In addition to dreaming up a more compassionate world, I spend my time reading, writing, practicing yoga & meditation, doodling, cycling, growing food & medicine, connecting with my ancestors, making herbal remedies, taking deep breaths, tending hundreds of houseplants with my partner, and playing with my perfect kittens.

I am honored to learn alongside the vibrant humans here at MCH!

Toddler Assistant, Heron Cove / Snack Lead

Morgan

Morgan (they/them) grew up in Portland, OR where they enjoyed everything the Pacific Northwest had to offer. They’ve always been drawn to the arts and could consistently be found painting, dancing, or playing pretend as a child.
Recently Morgan graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelors of Arts in both psychology and theatre arts. They have always known that they want to work with children, which has lead them to working as a theatre arts educator and camp counselor with a nonprofit children’s theatre in Eugene, OR. After moving back to Portland, Morgan got involved with Oregon Children’s Theatre where they teach in the evenings.

In their free time Morgan enjoys reading, sewing, gardening, and playing with their cats.

Toddler Guide, Heron Cove

Tyne

Tyne was born in Montana. Her father joined the military when she was in 2nd grade and she spent much of her childhood traveling to different states and countries. Her junior year in High School she moved to Maryland where she fell in love! She became engaged her senior year of high school and after graduating, she and her fiance, Joel, moved to New Mexico to attend college. In 2005 she graduated from the University of New Mexico with a BA in History and a minor in English. After finishing college, Tyne started working at a Montessori school in Albuquerque where she began her career working with Toddlers. In 2006 her older son Porter was born and just 2 years later her younger son Mason was born. In 2010 her family moved to Hawaii for her husband’s job and Tyne soon started working with Toddlers at a Montessori school in Kailua. In 2014 she had the opportunity to obtain her  Montessori  training at the Assistants to Infancy level for ages 0-3 here in Portland at the Montessori Northwest training center. Soon after graduating from the program in 2015, Tyne and her family relocated to Portland to be closer to Tyne’s family who live outside of Tacoma, WA. Tyne spent 3 years working at Sunstone Montessori School as an Assistant Guide in the Toddler program and 4 years working at Childpeace Montessori in the Toddler Community. Tyne has many hobbies including knitting, jewelry making, rehabbing plants, and thrifting. She loves to spend her off time with her family, cats, and exploring areas of Oregon. 

Primary Assistant, Chickadee Grove

Kaci

Kaci grew up living on a small lake in Michigan, where she spent every possible day swimming, kayaking, or lounging out on the docks. Moving to Arizona, she continued her passion for childcare before finally making the leap to Portland, a place she had always wanted to live!

Since 2016, Kaci has been dedicated to education, starting at an in-home preschool and eventually becoming a lead Pre-K teacher in the public school system. Over the years, she has worked with children of all ages, directing before and after-care programs and serving as a paraeducator in elementary and middle schools!

Outside of school, Kaci enjoys walks with her dogs, paddling on the Willamette River, painting, and roller skating.

Being part of MCH is meaningful to Kaci because of its inclusive environment, where every child feels valued and supported—a value she holds dear.

Toddler Assistant, Heron Cove

Amber

Amber works at MCH as a Toddler Community Assistant Teacher in the Heron Cove Community. She is working towards a BS in Psychology and has always been interested in personal growth and triumph at all ages. Amber is delighted to work within Montessori and build a community at MCH, and looks forward to getting to know everyone over time.

Toddler PM Care Assistant

Kennedy

Kennedy was born in Portland Oregon but raised in Vancouver Washington. Growing up she had a love for soccer and playing the violin. At a young age Kennedy loved babysitting her siblings and cousins and knew she wanted to work with kids. At 18 her first job was refereeing children ages 3-10 in soccer at her local community center. She then started taking other roles around the community center and became a camp group leader and taught soccer skills to kids. She took a break in childcare when she went to university of Colorado Colorado Springs to get her degree in business. A few years later she transferred back home to finish out her degree at Washington State University (Vancouver) due to the pandemic. She missed working with children and got her job back at the community center. She took on more roles and helping run summer camp and also running after school events for teens and teaching homeschool classes. She realized this is what makes her happy and wants to expand her career working with kids.

When not working Kennedy loves to travel to new places with her partner Matt, hiking, snuggling her dog Zeus, and trying new restaurants and coffee shops.

Primary Assistant Teacher (PM Care)

Dakotah

Dakotah was born in Baltimore, grew up on the West Coast, and eventually made their way to Oregon after spending a decade making theatre in Idaho. Dakotah’s love for education began with teaching Summer performance camps through the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, eventually becoming the Education Associate with the company. During their tenure, Dakotah helped facilitate a partnership program with St.Luke’s Childrens’ Hospital in Boise called ‘The Helena Project,’ where a trio of actors (including Dakotah) would teach weekly Shakespeare classes for students whose hospital stays excluded them from their regular school attendance. Dakotah additionally performed in and eventually directed the festival’s touring educational outreach shows, bringing live theater to underserved counties all across the state of Idaho. Their favorite experience was performing a bilingual (English and American Sign Language) slapstick comedy for the student and staff of Idaho’s School for the Deaf and Blind in Gooding.

Dakotah realized their heart truly lay in facilitating compassionate, humanistic learning and care for the community–especially the most vulnerable members. They are honored to join the staff at Montessori Children’s House to continue the project of making the world little better with love, attention, and respect.

Primary Assistant, Chickadee Grove

Dani

Danika (Dani) was born in Alpine, OR and grew up in Northern California. She always gravitated towards helping out her family with the younger children and wanted to be a teacher from a very young age. Dani has an AA in Behavioral and Social Sciences with a focus in Early Childhood Education as well as her Infant/Toddler Montessori Certification. Dani has been teaching in Montessori classrooms since 2011. She has worked as an assistant and lead guide in infant and toddler communities as well as assisting in primary communities.

Outside of work, Dani enjoys spending time outside with her husband (Duane) and their two sons (Riley and Sloan) camping, gardening, and exploring. She also loves a quiet day in snuggling with her 3 cats (Fig, Wren, and Smudge).

(incoming) Toddler Assistant / Toddler PM Care Lead

August

August was born and raised in beautiful Colorado where they grew up exploring the many mountains and extensive forests. They spent most of their teen years traveling and moving around before settling down and going to college. They received their double major in Women/Ethnic Studies and Sociology with a minor in Psychology at the University of Colorado where they also met their amazing wife. They continued to travel and then explore the world with their wife before settling down in Durango, CO. Having paid their way through college by first being a nanny and later working at the Early Learning Center on their campus, they sparked a passion for intentional early education. They started their career in January 2021 at a Reggio based Early Learning Center, furthering their education and training. After learning about Montessori they dove head first into expanding their teaching philosophy. When they learned they were moving to Portland they became very excited to pursue their next step in their career and continue the journey of intentional education.


When they are not at work, they spend most of their time with their wife and small family of animals outside in nature. They have been eagerly exploring their new home of Portland and the many beautiful parts of the West Coast! They are avid nature lovers and hikers who are working very hard to find and learn about the edible and medicinal plants growing here as they are so different than Colorado’s.

Toddler Assistant, Hummingbird Garden

Amulet

Amulet was born and raised in Portland Oregon. Early childhood development has delighted and fascinated them since they themselves were in a stroller and the interest has only grown with time. Passionate about music, art and other forms of self expression Amulet is committed to meeting children where they are and supporting their individual interests and needs. Amulet is returning to childcare after a four year break (due to the pandemic) and is excited to be working in the Hummingbird Garden as part of the Toddler Community.

Outside of work Amulet is learning Italian, spending time with two siblings, listening to live music, scrapbooking with friends, solving puzzles, and working on personal passion projects in a wide variety of mediums.