Our Staff

The staff at Vancouver Montessori School is made up of dedicated individuals from a broad range of educational and professional backgrounds. Our teachers approach education with the development of the individual needs of each child in mind. Our lead teachers and administrator are all AMI/AMS  certified and trained in the Montessori philosophy, child development, and curriculum. The experience and dedication of our staff contributes to making Vancouver Montessori School a community where children flourish.

School Administration

 

Lisa Morse – Administrative Director

Lisa was born in Baltimore MD, but quickly migrated west as a young child when her father moved the family to California so he could finish medical school.   Lisa and her sister were Montessori hippy children in the 70’s, which was where she developed her love of Montessori.  After living in Santa Cruz for most of her teen years, Lisa moved to the Santa Rosa area, where she went to work at her old Montessori School as an aftercare teacher.  While there, Lisa was excited to be asked to work in the classroom during the summer program.  She loved the experience so much that Lisa jumped into the AMS training program that started in the fall.  In June of 1990 she not only graduated with her AMS credential, but finished college as well.

After that Lisa went to work in several Montessori schools, eventually making her way to Oregon as a director.  It was here that Lisa met and married the father of her two children.  He and Lisa eventually settled in Hood River, having purchased a snow-board shop.  During our time there, Lisa went to work in the only preschool in town, which was cooperative.  It was a great experience working so closely with parents as they navigated the classroom as her “assistants”.   The experience helped cement Lisa’s belief in Montessori and how well it works with children.

Since then, in the 26 years Lisa has been a Montessorian, she have graduated over 150 children and parents, as well as worked to raise her own.  It was while her children were in elementary school, that Lisa came to realize that she did her greatest good working outside of the classroom-mentoring new teachers, creating new programs and supporting the Montessori Method as a director.

Now as her journey continues, Lisa is blessed to find herself on property in Scappoose, two children in high school, two children in elementary school, and all four children participating in sports.  Thank goodness her yoga practice teaches balance.

 

 Meghan Callaghan- Administrative Assistant

 

Honeysuckle Classroom

Toddler: 1 to 3 Years Old

Fran-300x240

Fran Gilliland – Teacher

Fran has always had an interest in caregiving and young children. Past jobs such as lifeguard, CNA and nanny attest to that. She grew up in Beaverton, OR and completed her Associates degree at PCC.
Fran’s first experience with Montessori was as an infant/toddler assistant and then primary assistant for the last four years. She recently completed her AMI “Assistance to Infancy” certification and is eager to implement all she learned at VMS. Her hobbies include camping, shopping, working out, baking and spending time with her husband and family.

 

 

Lindsey-Hanson-300x240

Lindsey Hanson—Assistant

Lindsey started babysitting at the age of 12, but loved rocking babies to sleep since she was about 7. She comes from a family of 11 and is one of the oldest. So, Lindsey has been around children all of her life. Though, born and raised in Michigan, she recently moved to Washington for the opportunity to attend a local dental hygiene program in a few years. A few of the things Lindsey loves to do are travel, hang out with friends, bask in the sun at the beach and play volleyball in the evening at the park.

 

Grace Cook- Assistant

 

Jasmine Classroom

Toddler: 1 to 3 Years Old

 

Kira Pierce – Teacher

Kira Pierce is our Jasmine classroom teacher. Kira received her AMS/MACTE accredited Infant and Toddler (0-3) teaching diploma in 2015 from Montessori of Alameda. Kira began teaching in a Montessori infant classroom in 2012. Her then and now Director of VMS, Lisa Morse supported her in pursuing her Montessori Infant and Toddler teaching credentials.

Kira was born and raised in Northeast Portland (Laurelhurst). She is an only child whose friends, coworkers, and classroom families have always become family to her. Kira lives her life for all her children including her classroom children.

Kira’s life forever changed when she became a step mother in 2006. Kira married in 2008 to her husband James. Together, they have five children; Leilani (19), M’Kaila (17), Kingston (7), Harlow (5), and Harper (4). Kira loves spending time with her family, exploring the great outdoors, reading and collecting treasures.  

 

Ashley Eggleston – Assistant

Bri Baker- Assistant

 

Lavender Classroom

Children’s House: 2 ½ to 5 Years Old

Nicole-Cromwell-300x240

Nicole Cromwell –Teacher

Nicole and her husband moved to Portland in 2012 from Arizona. After working as a Montessori classroom assistant in several Portland area schools, Nicole trained at Montessori Northwest, earning her AMI primary diploma in 2014. She also holds a M.Ed from Arizona State University where she focused on using inquiry based learning in the classroom. Nicole loves using the Montessori Method to incorporate her interests in the outdoors, nature and science in the Lavender classroom’s learning environment. In her spare time Nicole enjoys traveling the Northwest on camping, hiking and diving expeditions.

 

Arianna Mitchell- Assistant

 

Sunflower Classroom

Children’s House: 2 ½ to 5 Years Old

 

Victoria Alvarez – Teacher

Anna Lee – Assistant

 

Wisteria Classroom

Children’s House: 2 ½ to 5 Years Old

 

Lynn Shades- Teacher

Lynn received her AMI diploma for ages 2.5 to 6+ in 1995.  She has been working in the education field for more than 25 years and loves what she does. When not in the classroom,  Lynn enjoys hiking with her son and visiting local gardens.   Her hobbies include learning about all forms of healing, photography, reading poetry, collecting rocks and adoring trees.

Some highlights of Lynn’s teaching career include starting two toddler classrooms and two Primary classrooms, mentoring first-year Montessori teachers and interfaced with administration, and participating in the Read Naturally Program.  Lynn won the Acorn award for volunteer of the year. This supplemental reading program helps early readers improve fluency and comprehension using phonics and a variety of texts.  Lynn also spent an incredibly creative year training with Reggio Emilia teachers integrating this philosophy into a Montessori environment. The Reggio approach supports child-directed learning, much like Montessori, with an emphasis on expression through different art forms.

The children of today have a new way of thinking. Some may not learn in a straight line, some may zig or zag or think outside the box.  Some seem to be able to multi-task and skip ahead.  For those who are sensitive, they may need to calm, focus and reconnect … with compassion.  Lynn is dedicated to the authentic Montessori method as a firm foundation for learning while also expanding the consciousness of this method through new modalities and techniques of teaching.

One way Lynn does this is by using peace education, showing children how to balance their emotions and how to solve conflicts through role play and dramatic play.  She also use movement to help with brain development. There are many activities in the Montessori classroom that help develop concentration, coordination of movement and equilibrium.  This helps both sides of the brain communicate with each other, creating and strengthening the neural networks in the brain.  Alongside this work Lynn uses Brain Gym techniques and HANDLE methods, which uses sets of exercises to help improve thinking.

 

Amanda Gouldman- Assistant

Amanda is a Vancouver native who enjoys gardening, disc golf and hiking. She has a heart for her community; currently volunteering with the local Share House and public library. She brings ten years of experience in the early childhood field, an ECE degree from Clark College and is finishing her BA at Concordia.

 

 

 

Lilac Classroom

Children’s House: 2 ½ to 5 Years Old

 

Diane-Sale-300x240

Diane Sale- Teacher

Diane has enjoyed a Montessori education herself, from pre-school through her high school years. She then attended WSU in Pullman and received a BA in Human Development with a minor in Women’s Studies. In 2005, she earned her AMI Primary Teaching Certificate from the Montessori Institute of San Diego. Since then Diane has worked as a Children’s House teacher, assistant and an Upper Elementary Assistant. She enjoys knitting, reading and camping along with watching movies and listening to music from the 1940’s and 50’s.

 

Trisha Doss- Assistant

 

School Support

 

Rahela Herman- Extended Day Coordinator

Although born in California, Rahela has lived in the Vancouver area for most of her life.  She began working here at VMS in 2000.  She loves being with the children and they love being with her as well!  Rahela comes from a large family of four sisters, seven brothers.  Her experience has come very naturally.  When not here at school, Rahela enjoys traveling, shopping, cooking and hanging out with her nieces and nephews.

 

Anita Orange- Hallway Ambassador

 

Mary Ann Ard – Kitchen

Mary Ann has lived in Vancouver for over 29 years.  She was born and raised in Wyoming and Idaho, where she graduated from High School.   She attended UVC Dental Assistant program in Provo, Utah and enjoyed working for an Oral Surgeon.  She married her sweetheart and soon after his work brought them to Vancouver where they have raised their 5 children in the Marrion neighborhood.  Mary Ann has enjoyed her full time job as a mom.  She served many hours at Marrion Elementary in the classrooms, on field trips and on the PTA board.  So, it’s no surprise that she enjoys working with children and being a grandma too.  She enjoys being with family, snow skiing, camping, hiking, sewing and serving in the community.