Montessori Children's House - A Montessori Center on Portland's Riverfront
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MCH Staff

Working well with young children requires training, talent, mature judgment, and practice. Our staff is the most important aspect of your child's environment. We furnish the Children's House with wonderful activities and attractive surroundings because children are naturally drawn to things that are esthetically pleasing, comfortable to use, and well designed to achieve their purpose. Nevertheless, it is in selecting our adult staff that the school ultimately distinguishes itself, as any experienced Montessori parent will tell those who inquire. We bring together individuals with the right qualities and background and then enable them to practice their profession in the way they know best serves the children and their families.


David Cannon David Cannon, Administrator
After teaching in the Montessori Elementary program (ages 6-12), David spent 20 years as the administrator of two local Montessori schools and has also helped start several new Montessori schools. As a board member of the Oregon Montessori Association (OMA), David helps with governmental relations and advocacy and serves as the OMA's treasurer. David also sits on the board of other nonprofit organizations and has served as a local government planning commissioner and member of the City Club of Portland's Research Board.

David has a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and did graduate work at the University of Illinois. He earned an AMI Montessori diploma in Washington, DC before moving to Portland. His son and daughter attended Montessori schools, live in Portland, and are now engaged in teaching, public service, and the arts. David and his wife Jo live in SW Portland and enjoy hiking, travel, music, and being with their grandchildren.



Elena Barreto Elena Barreto – Primary Assistant (Chickadee Grove)
Elena grew up in Puerto Rico and moved to Boston to study at Boston College where she received her B.A. in Elementary Education and Human Development. After graduating she joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest. She worked in non-profit organizations with individuals experiencing homelessness in central Washington and farmworker families in Hillsboro delivering adult and youth programs at Bienestar.

Elena enjoys cooking, dancing, traveling, and exploring the beauty the Pacific Northwest has to offer.



Amelia Combes Amelia Combes, Toddler Assistant
Amelia has worked with toddlers and their parents for ten years and with young children even longer. Originally from Kansas, she has lived and worked in the Beaverton area since moving to Portland in 2002. She has her A.A. degree from Portland Community College.

Amelia has been a big part of our toddler community since spring of 2012.



Emily Dermann Emily Dermann – Primary Assistant (Chickadee Grove)
Emily is originally from Denver but moved to Portland to pursue her career in teaching. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Education from the University of Portland. Emily has studied Spanish for many years and recently received her ESOL endorsement. She enjoys living in downtown Portland, and spends her free time running, going to concerts, and traveling. Emily is very excited to join the MCH community!



Rochelle Holmberg Rochelle Holmberg, Primary Guide (Tanager Meadow)
Rochelle is in her seventh year leading a Montessori primary class, and before that she was a classroom assistant. She has been with MCH since we began in 2010. A native of Eugene, Rochelle has a B.A. in music from the University of Puget Sound and a master of education degree from Loyola College in Maryland. Her AMI Montessori training is from the Montessori Institute Northwest.

Rochelle enjoys creating materials for her own classroom, especially those that employ her sewing and knitting skills, which she shares with her students. She is also a violinist and plays in a community orchestra. She loves books and reading and has worked at Portland's legendary Powell's Bookstore. Rochelle and her husband live in Southeast Portland.



Heather Kessler Heather Kessler, Primary Assistant (Tanager Meadow)
Heather works with Rochelle as the assistant in Tanager Meadow primary classroom. She earned her Montessori teacher's certificate from the Montessori Institute NW in 2012 and just completed her Masters of Education from Loyola University of Maryland.

Heather is originally from the coastal town of Brookings, OR and is a graduate Southern Oregon University. She has lived and worked in Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and eight years in Japan where she taught English and hired, trained and supervised other teachers. She enjoys speaking and learning foreign languages, dancing, and bringing music to the classroom by singing daily and occasionally accompanying with her ukulele.



Julia Mendelson Julia Mendelson – Toddler Guide (Owl Mountain)
Julia has spent much of her life in a Montessori environment. She attended a Montessori school from ages 3-12 and while studying for her degree in International Relations Fairfield University in Connecticut, she also worked in a Montessori school toddler program. After graduation, she worked in a Montessori school in Virginia in their elementary school program and then moved west to join MCH when it opened in 2010. Julia studied at the Montessori Institute Northwest to earn her AMI Diploma for ages 0-3.

Julia’s passions are the New York Times, rock climbing and volunteer work. She has done a great deal of fundraising for cancer research and political campaigns and currently volunteers at Our House of Portland, an AIDS hospice.



Danielle Moore Danielle Moore – Toddler and Primary Assistant
Besides her work at MCH, Danielle works as a photojournalist and documentary producer. She is a native of Virginia and has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia. Danielle spends a lot of time exploring the great outdoors, and she has helped manage an organic farm on Sauvie Island. Her work with children includes being a family nanny.



Julia Norman Julia Norman, Administrative Assistant
Julia Norman is a native of Florida and a graduate of the University of Georgia. She has a master’s degree in education. Before moving to Portland in 2012 she taught at Northwoods Montessori School in Atlanta, Ga. She has directed our primary summer class and currently assists with the administrative work and also substitutes in the classrooms.

Julia is an accomplished photographer and enjoys other arts and crafts, as well. She has traveled extensively abroad and enjoys sharing her experiences and adventures with children in stories, photos, cooking, and more. Like many of our staff, Julia attended Montessori schools herself as a child.



Emily Regenstreif Emily Regenstreif – Toddler Assistant
Emily Regenstreif is in her first year as a toddler assistant in Heron Cove. Previously she spent 7 years off and on working at the Mittelman Jewish Community Center, primarily working with the day camps, vacation camps (ages 3-12), and the drop-in childcare program (ages 6 months - 5 years).

Emily is an avid sports fan, especially college basketball, and she also enjoys creative writing and writing movie reviews. She has volunteered with programs like Kids on the Block and The Oregon Food Bank.



Andrea Roberts Andrea Roberts – Toddler assistant
Andrea joined the Montessori Children's House staff in 2011 as assistant and with the challenging role of late-day teacher. She has more than twelve years of experience working in Portland-area Montessori schools, including Childpeace Montessori and Montessori of Alameda. Andrea has been a lead teacher in our toddler community during the summer. One of her many strengths is that she speaks Spanish.

Andrea majored in Early Childhood Education (with a minor in art) at Grambling State University in Louisiana. She lives in Beaverton and enjoys cooking, baking, and painting in her home art studio.



Kate Weltner Kate Weltner, Toddler Guide (Heron Cove)
Before joining MCH in 2012 Kate had previously taught for several years at West Hills Montessori School in Portland and served as a family child care provider and consultant. She has AMI Montessori teaching certificates at both the 0-3 and 3-6 age levels. A native of the New York City area, Kate has a B.A. in psychology from Skidmore College and a master of education degree from Loyola College in Maryland. Her Montessori training was at the Montessori Institute Northwest.

Kate enjoys travel, the outdoor life, children’s arts and crafts, and writing. She has worked in Australia and Argentina and speaks Spanish.



Courtney White Courtney White, Primary Guide (Chickadee Grove)
Courtney has extensive experience working with young children in both the classroom and the home. Currently, she directs our all-day Montessori primary class. Before joining our staff when we opened in 2010, she worked in the Primary (3-6) classrooms at West Hills Montessori in Lake Oswego for three years, where she also supervised during extended hours. She has served a couple of families as their regular nanny and childcare provider for a period of years.

Courtney studied at the Montessori Institute Northwest to earn her AMI Primary Diploma. She has a B. A. in Psychology from Portland State University and holds her Masters of Education from Loyola University of Maryland. A native of Washington, Courtney now lives in (and commutes to work by bicycle from) Northeast Portland. She is a pianist and an avid outdoors enthusiast.
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