Meet the Teacher

My path towards early childhood education began in my own childhood, playing in my grandparents’ gardens, mucking around in the creek, hiding under the lilac bushes, catching toads, and singing folk songs at summer camp.  I attended Reed College, here in Portland, and The Evergreen State College, in Olympia, Washington, where I studied education.  In 1998 I completed my Master’s Degree in Special Education at the University of New Mexico.

I have been an educator since 1991, first in elementary school, and through the transforming experience of parenting my children. I have worked in early childhood education since 2005 and founded The Understory in 2008.

Other sides of me: I speak Spanish, I am trained in CPR and First Aid, I have an extensive knowledge of plants and animals of the Pacific Northwest, and I am an experienced gardener. I sing in a women’s choir, I love to explore living natural places, and there is usually a jar of something fermenting on my kitchen counter.  My children are young adults.

I bring patience and playfulness, wisdom and humor, experience and curiosity into my teaching.  I strive to listen closely, see and respond with empathy, and to balance stability and flexibility.

family in a place they love

Me in 2021; my children, a long time ago!

What is an understory?

The understory is the complex community of plants, animals, fungi, lichens, mosses, and micro-organisms that occupies the habitat below a mature forest. It is the nursery where young forest trees sprout and grow. It is a rich and fascinating place, and most people walk right over the understory without noticing all the life happening below knee-level.