Oregon Montessori Association

child working

Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.

About the Board

The OMA Board consists of a chair or co-chairs, secretary, and treasurer, as well as committees for the Forza Vitale, Professional Development, Community Outreach, Annual Events, and Membership.  OMA also has Regional Liaisons, representing regions of Oregon and SW Washington.  If you would like to contact the board, please send us a message.

2014 | 2015 Board Members

Executive Committee:

Hilary Smith, President

Hilary holds A.M.I. diplomas at the Primary and Assistance to Infancy levels as well as a M.Ed and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Education from Loyola College, Maryland. Hilary taught for over ten years both in private and public sectors of the Montessori community in Oregon and New Zealand. Hilary founded and directed Cedar Montessori School from 2006-2012. Hilary co-founded the Portland Montessori Collaborative in 2012 and is currently the Administrative Director of pdxMC. Hilary and her husband Aaron have two boys, Hughett and Griffin. When she is not busy in the office or the classroom Hilary enjoys spending time with her family and walking her two crazy Jack Russell Terriers, Peanut and Pickle.

Mary Sahm Hicks, Vice-President

First a Montessori parent, next a primary guide, now a school administrator. A life-long student of cultures – ethnic, urban, organizational. Mary loves to travel, play in her garden and read contemporary fiction. Her next trip will be to climb Kilimanjaro.

Kari Wax, Secretary

Kari is the School Director for Tiny Revolution Montessori and Suzuki School in NE Portland.  She has many years of teaching and leadership experience and comes to Oregon by way of Arizona.

Ursula Melvin, Treasurer

Bio coming soon.

Members at Large

David Cannon

David Cannon taught in the elementary Montessori classroom for eight years and was a school administrator for 20 years. He has recently opened a new school in the South Waterfront neighborhood.  Montessori Children’s House serves toddlers and primary aged children.  He also works part-time as a consultant in public affairs and education, and has several volunteer jobs. Besides the OMA board, David has served on the MINW Board, three Montessori school boards, and as a city planning commissioner.

Stacey Edwards Russo

Stacey has taught in classrooms in Michigan; Wisconsin; Illinois, New York and even in Warsaw, Poland. In 2011, she received her Master’s Degree in Child Development and Administration from the Erikson Institute of Chicago. Through her work with the Montessori Accreditation Council of Teacher Education (MACTE), she has also been fortunate enough to assist in accredit Montessori Teacher Training centers all over the United States as well as in Canada, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Saudi Arabia. Now she proudly sits on the Board of Directors for both MACTE and the Oregon Montessori Association (OMA).

Julia Mendelson

Bio coming soon.

Cam Mountsier-Cole

Cam has been involved in Montessori Education since 1981 when she received her diploma from MECA – Seton in Hinsdale, Illinois.  She has taught at schools in Chicago, Portland and New Zealand for the past 30 years.  Cam owned her own school for 15 years in Wellington, New Zealand and will open a Toddler Community inn Port Northeast Portland September 0f 2012.  Cam has 2 teenage children and enjoys running and hiking.

Judi Simmons

Bio coming soon.

Jeanne van DeRiet

I am delighted to serve on the OMA Board and want people to see it as a valuable resource for the Montessori Community.  I became interested in Montessori after working for several years with emotionally disturbed children and their families.  I did my research and was AMI Primary certified in 1985.  During my beginning years as a Guide I was fortunate to have worked in Corvallis with great mentors, followed by the Virgin Islands, which gave me a love of diversity and the tropics.  I also worked eleven years at Providence (now Portland Montessori School), which gave me an opportunity to be an On-Call Guide, an Assistant, a Guide and an Administrator.   I enjoy walks in the woods, scuba diving, writing short stories, playing my piano and supporting Montessori Education.

Regional Board Liaisons

Adele Carey, Southern Willamette Valley and the Coast Representative

A native of Ireland, Adele moved to the U.S. at the age of 24 to become Head of School for the Kennebec Montessori School in Maine. With over 30 years of experience in the Montessori environment as a guide or administrator, Adele is highly dedicated to the Montessori approach to education. Adele has been with Corvallis Montessori School since 2010 when she moved to Oregon, first as an Elementary Guide, advancing then to Head of School the following year in 2011. Adele received her primary AMI training at the Dublin College of Montessori in 1981, and returned to Ireland for training in elementary Montessori instruction in 1986. She also holds a degree in Spanish and Archeology (1980) from the University College of Dublin.

Julie Davis, SW Washington Representative

As OMA’s Southwest Washington Regional Representative, Julie works to bring more opportunities for professional development and fellowship to Southwest Washington.  She is interested in promoting Montessori as a movement for peace/child welfare, encouraging schools to offer scholarships, and demystifying Montessori for the general public.  In addition to an AMI 0-3 diploma from Montessori Northwest, Julie has a Masters in Public Administration.  Her husband, Jon, teaches public middle school, and they have two sons enrolled in Montessori elementary and one daughter in high school.  Julie attributes her children’s passion for learning and work ethic to their Montessori education.  Julie owns and guides her toddler community, A Peaceful Path, in Vancouver, WA.

Louise Wilson, Bend/Central Oregon Representative

Louise received her Primary certification from the Montessori Center of the Rockies in Boulder, CO, in 1993 and has worked in Montessori schools around the globe.  Since settling in Bend in 1999, she has worked to enhance collaboration and communication between their 6 Montessori programs, and has recently opened Sunnyside Montessori – an elementary program that began in the fall of 2012.  She looks forward to bringing the Central Oregon/Bend area schools together for workshops, pub nights, and tea events.

Registry Liaison

Mercedes Paine Castle

Mercedes is the co-founder of The Portland Montessori Collaborative where she is the Pedagogical Director as well as an Assistant to Infancy guide of a busy community of sixteen toddlers. Mercedes holds a B.A. in Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz as well as an Infant and Toddler Montessori Teaching Credential from the American Montessori Society. Mercedes is an Oregon Registry Community Based Trainer and an active member of the Oregon Montessori Community. She has volunteered in the past for the Board of Directors of the Oregon Montessori Association for four years, most recently as the Co-Chair (2008). She is taking another turn as a Board Member-At-Large.

Mercedes is a public speaker, consultant and parent coach. She is on the faculty at the Montessori Teacher Education Program San Francisco Bay Area as the Infant Environments instructor, and has developed a series of professional development for early childhood educators. Mercedes is the 2012 and 2014 recipient of the Oregon Montessori Association Outstanding Dedication Award.

In her free time, Mercedes enjoys being with her husband Ben and her son. Mercedes is a singer and songwriter and enjoys playing guitar and singing songs with adults as well as children.

Administrative Liaison

David Cannon

David will administer the Administrator’s Group for the 2014 – 15 year.

In-Home Group

Theresa DeVost,

The In-Home group is made up practitioners of In-Home Programs.  Please e-mail Theresa to be added to the listserve.

Toddler Summit Group

Julia Mendelson

The Toddle Summit is a group made up of those working with Infants and Toddlers.  Please contact Julia to be added to the listserve.

Oregon Montessori Association

PO Box 82932 Portland, OR 97282 | 503-688-0526
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