Our Team

Our dedicated and experienced staff are committed to the success of our students and the growth of Montessori. 

Administrative Staff

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Jennifer Davidson

Executive Director

Jennifer is a leader in the administration of Montessori teacher training centers in the United States.  Her Montessori career began at Montessori Northwest in 2001, helping to develop MNW’s current organizational structure.  She currently serves on the Montessori Leaders Collaborative, the MACTE board, and the AMI Summit Stewarding Council.  She directed the 2013 International Montessori Congress steering committee and has presented at conferences around the world.  In 2010 she was selected for the Oregon Montessori Association Outstanding Dedication Award.  Jennifer holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Lewis and Clark College, an AMI Primary diploma from the Montessori Institute Northwest, and an M.Ed. from Loyola University Maryland. She believes that compassionate and respectful education contributes to peace, and that peace is possible. Email Jennifer

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Andrea Hippensteel

Admissions Director and Administrative Assistant

A transplant from the south shore of Lake Superior, Andrea has fallen in love with the charms of the Pacific Northwest. After obtaining her B.F.A in Graphic Communication from Northern Michigan University in 2003, she lived in the woods and tried her hand at several careers. Ultimately her work with at-risk youth led her to Montessori. Following her graduation from MNW in 2007, she put her knowledge into practice in the classroom, where her love of the Montessori Method and belief in its benefit to children deepened daily. Andrea's passions include friends, bargains, horseback riding, baking pies, climbing, mud, and her dog Malutka. Email Andrea

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Robyn Ellis

Finance Director

Robyn hails from Sacramento, California where she attended the Sacramento Waldorf School.  She has lived in Portland since 2004 and has been working in the accounting field since 2000. In 2011 she graduated from PSU with honors and a BFA in liberal studies. She enjoys being a part of Montessori Northwest as it enables her to support private education, which is something she feels passionate about. In her off hours she is a yoga teacher, a volunteer, and a part time student pursuing a second degree. Email Robyn

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Glenn Goodfellow

Executive Assistant

Glenn is a transplanted Midwesterner who migrated to the West Coast via Chicago. A self-proclaimed “perpetual student,” he has a degree in Biology with a minor in piano performance, has earned his teacher’s certification, and has a Cordon Bleu degree as a Pastry Chef. Glenn has spent his working career overseeing complicated systems, managing accounts, and facilitating events and activities. A Montessori child himself, he has spent many years working as “Chef Glenn” in local Montessori schools; teaching baking and other culinary skills to teachers and children. He is proud to have been the Administrator who helped organized the 2013 International Montessori Congress. Email Glenn



Assistants to Infancy (0-3) Staff

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Nancy Lechner

Director of Assistants to Infancy Training

Nancy has worked with young children since 1977, and holds AMI diplomas at the Assistant to Infancy, Primary, and Special Education levels. She has presented parent workshops and staff development in California, Oregon, Texas, Australia, and Europe and has been a guest speaker in the Early Childhood Education Program at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. Nancy is currently in the AMI Training of Trainers program at the Assistants to Infancy level. She and her sister, Patricia Wallner, are co-founders of Parent and Child Together, an education-based service offering parent coaching, private consultations, workshops and staff development. Living in Soquel, California with her children Angela and Patrick, Nancy enjoys ballroom dancing, sailing, and gardening in her free time.

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Gloria Singh

Assistants to Infancy Course Assistant

Gloria is a fourth-generation native Oregonian who has been involved in Montessori education since 1993. She holds a B.A. in Human Studies from Marylhurst University, and an M.Ed from Loyola University. She has AMI diplomas at the Elementary and Assistants to Infancy levels, and has taught at both levels. She will also be taking the Primary training starting this fall at MNW. Gloria dabbles in various activities such as baking, swimming, gardening, bird watching, and auto-mechanics. Email Gloria



Primary (3-6) Staff

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Ginni Sackett

Director of Primary Training

Ginni is a trainer, lecturer, consultant and examiner of the Association Montessori Internationale. She is passionate about advancing the international Montessori movement and bringing the benefits of Montessori education to children worldwide. She holds a B.A. in History from Seton Hill University, a M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii, and the AMI Primary Diploma through the Montessori Education Center / Oregon. After twelve years as a classroom teacher, Ginni joined the staff of Montessori Northwest as a Course Assistant in 1994. She achieved the status of AMI Director of Training in 2002. Ginni has presented at regional, national and international workshops and conferences and has had articles published in AMI Communications, the NAMTA Journal and Forza Vitale. She lives in southeast Portland with her husband, Jon, where they raised five children. Ginni is a third-degree black belt in the Indonesian martial art of Poekoelan Tjimindie Tulen, enjoys exploring the charms of Portland, and loves spending time with her family, including her three grandchildren. Email Ginni

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Sarah Werner Andrews

Director of Primary Training

Sarah is an AMI Trainer, consultant, examiner, and presenter at local, national, and international conferences. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance, an M.Ed. from Loyola University, AMI Primary and Elementary diplomas and is an Oregon Registry Master Trainer. Sarah began her work in Montessori education in 1987, with many years teaching experience at both the primary and elementary levels, as well as experience in administration. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Oregon Montessori Association and Montessori Northwest, and is a recipient of the Susie Huston Memorial Award for Outstanding Teaching. She and her husband, Dave, have lived in Portland since 1991, and have two teenage sons, Julian and Evan, who are great reminders to listen, keep learning, and not take life too seriously. Sarah enjoys botany, music, croissants, a great book, historical documentaries, and the AMAZING story of the Bretz Floods. Email Sarah

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Corinne Stastny

Primary Course Assistant

Corinne claims to be an Oregon native despite her Philadelphia birthplace and several years spent in California. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Oregon, an AMI Primary Diploma from MNW’s 1999 course, and a M.Ed. in Montessori Education from Loyola University. Corinne has worked in Montessori Primary classrooms as well as some fantastic independent bookstores. She worked as Primary Course Assistant from 2002-2007 and happily resumed this work in 2012.  In 2006, she received the Oregon Montessori Association’s Outstanding Dedication Award.  Corinne feels extremely lucky to call Montessori her profession and loves sharing Montessori with her 5 year-old daughter, Stella. Email Corinne



Elementary (6-12) Staff

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Elise Huneke-Stone

Director of Elementary Training

Originally from Connecticut, Elise came to Portland in 1980 to attend Reed College, graduating with a B.A. in Psychology. She earned her AMI Elementary diploma in 1987 and her Primary diploma in 2010, and had a Masters in Education from Loyola University Maryland. With twenty-one years of classroom experience, Elise has taught at both lower and upper elementary levels, and is an Oregon Registry Master Trainer. She is mother to Virginia and Sara, both Montessori educated, and wife to David Ayer, a Montessori primary/adolescent teacher and administrator. Elise and David were program developers and teachers for the Montessori Adolescent Project NW in Portland, and spent three years as resident faculty at the Hershey Montessori Farm School in Ohio.  Elise worked for several summers at the NAMTA Orientation to Adolescence, has presented at AMI-EAA and NAMTA events, and served for six years on the board of the Oregon Montessori Association. In addition to her Montessori work, Elise has worked with families as a certified natural childbirth educator and doula. She is a spare-time novelist, lyricist and poet. Email Elise

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John Kenagy

Elementary Course Assistant

John was born and raised just north of Portland in Longview, Washington.  He graduated from Reed College in 2010 as a Philosophy major.  His previous work experience includes sound and video editing, website creation and management, and tutoring homeschooled children.  John graduated from MNW’s first Elementary Course in 2013.  He’s a storyteller and hobbyist who recently started bread baking, pizza making, and mushroom hunting. Email John

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Jennifer Ryznar

Elementary Course Assistant

Jenn is originally from Northern Michigan, and has lived in Juneau, Alaska, where she was a Primary and Elementary Guide in both the public and private sectors. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Kenyon College, AMI Primary and Elementary diplomas, and received a M.Ed. from Loyola University in Maryland in 2002. Jenn is a member of the Board of Directors for Whole Child Montessori Center, and served as the Executive Director for the Oregon Montessori Association for three years. She and her husband enjoy hiking and simple backyard exploring with their two young children. Email Jennifer


Our Board of Directors

Montessori Northwest's Board of Directors is a keystone of our ongoing expansion and success. Selected for their expertise, professionalism, and dedication to the growth of Montessori, these individuals volunteer their time and energy to plan and secure MNW's long-term goals. We are grateful to them for their service to us and to the Montessori community.


Rob Lee, President

Rob Lee actively promotes Montessori education to help promote the standard of living worldwide and cultivate peace. He is a Montessori parent. With a legal and accounting background, he holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Lewis & Clark College and a graduate degree from the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark. Rob is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Randal Children’s Hospital Foundation at Legacy Emanuel. He is the past President and Treasurer of the Oregon Hospice Association. Previously, he was a trustee for the Good Samaritan Foundation and Emanuel Hospital Foundation. Rob is currently Chairman of the Board of Bates Group LLC, past President of Bates Private Capital, Inc. and a former Managing Director of LECG, a public company.

Kristen Grau, Treasurer

Kristen is an Oregon native with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Accounting from Portland State University. She is a Certified Public Accountant working as a Senior Accountant at Delap LLP and is a member of the Oregon Society of CPAs.  She enjoys working in learning environments and believes that teachers are invaluable to our society’s success.

Melissa Harbert

Melissa has been involved in Montessori education directly and indirectly for 34 years.  She is a graduate of the first MINW Primary training course and has experience in the Primary classroom, administration, and in the development of Montessori schools.  She has worked in adult education and has long-standing ties with the Portland Montessori community.  Melissa is currently the Head of School at the Lewis and Clark Montessori Charter School in Gresham, OR.

Amy Eshelby

Amy discovered the beauty and wonder of Montessori in 1998.  After her AMI Elementary training at WMI and Loyola in 2001, she taught lower elementary at Montessori School of Beaverton and Childpeace Montessori.  Amy served on the Oregon Montessori Association Board for 3 years and is currently on the MNW Board, having joined in June of 2013.  Amy has lectured for parent nights in schools around the Portland area as well as presented at the 2009 AMI Elementary Alumni Association conference in Maine.   She is mother of a bright and energetic son (currently in the Upper El at Childpeace) and lover of animals, art, and nature.


Deb Pratt

Biography coming soon

Gitanjali Jain

Biography coming soon

Chris Finley

Chris is a Montessori parent and active promoter of Montessori education.   He is a co-founder of SurveyMonkey. He is a current Board member of a Portland based technology start-up, HiringThing. Chris holds a BA in Urban Geography from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and spent time studying abroad at Sheffield University in England. His philanthropic support focuses on nonprofit organizations specializing in education, and social and economic development.

Carol Briggs

Carol is a Montessori parent with experience working in sales, marketing, and management for the Xerox Corporation.  Most recently she has worked as the Assistant to the Development Director for West Hills Christian School.  She has a degree in Business Administration from Lewis & Clark College and has volunteered with several organizations including Northwest Children’s Outreach.

Dr. Steven Hughes

Steven J.  Hughes, PhD, LP, ABPdN is an assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and also maintains a private practice.  Dr. Hughes completed his PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Minnesota and his post-doctoral fellowship in pediatric neuropsychology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, where he joined the faculty of the Division of Pediatric Clinical Neurosciences in 2001.  His research interests include measurement of attention and executive functioning in children and adults, the effects of living in poverty on child development, and the neurodevelopmental benefits of classical Montessori education.  Dr. Hughes is also a Montessori parent