picture of a child at school with her teacher

Our student-to-teacher ratio is 8 to 1. All faculty are experienced educators who care deeply about children and the field of education. Teachers participate in professional development annually, have a long tenure with our school—on average 10 years and more—and 40% hold graduate degrees. The Marylhurst philosophy and curriculum attract faculty who are committed to our educa­tional values and to fully supporting each and every child.

picture of Sheila Walker
Sheila Walker — Head of School

Sheila has been with The Marylhurst School since 1994 as a parent, board member and teacher. Now in her role as Head of School, she is furthering her commitment to children and families by leading the expansion of our preschool into a K-6 community. Her two children, Lucy and Liam, both attended Marylhurst and it was during those years she watched them grow and thrive in ways she never imagined. Sheila holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theater and Education from the University of Montana and has taught Theater to all ages of children for over 25 years. She believes that “educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all” — Aristotle. sheilaw@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Andrea Batz
Andrea Batz — Fours Preschool Teacher

Andrea’s journey with The Marylhurst School began in 1996 when she toured the school for her now grown daughter. “I absolutely fell in love with how the school profoundly respected each child.” Within a year she was teaching in the Threes program, and has also taught both Twos and Fours over the years. Andrea has a BA in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education from Purdue University. She has three children, athletes who she cheers on from the sidelines, and enjoys camping, hiking, and cooking.  andreab@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Shawna Bennett
Shawna Bennett — Threes Preschool Teacher

“There is nothing quite as exhilarating as watching a child’s face light up the moment they first accomplish a new skill, or successfully invite a friend to join in play.” Shawna joined The Marylhurst School faculty in 2005. She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Western Oregon University, and five years’ experience teaching 2nd and 3rd grade in the Oregon City School District. Shawna enjoys hiking, camping, and has recently taken up running. She cherishes spending time with her family and is very proud of her two daughters.  shawnab@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Diane Bernert
Diane Bernert – Librarian

Diane comes to us with a passion for working with children and expertise in literacy. In 2011 Diane volunteered to shelve books, and before she knew it had created a library! In line with our schools expansion, she continues to bring her vision to life daily for our community. Diane successfully manages human resources for her family business in the marine industry, and is the proud parent of three adult children residing in Oregon City. She enjoys gardening, camping and spending time with her family. dianeb@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Jessica Bernert
Jessica Bernert – Kindergarten Teacher

Jessica began her teaching career in 2006 with the Oregon City Parks and Recreation summer program. She continued to teach art classes and work in an after school program while completing her bachelor’s degree. In 2009 she began teaching at The Marylhurst School in the fours program and moved into kindergarten the following year. Jessica has a Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences from Portland State University. She currently resides in Oregon City. jessicab@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Samantha Bering
Samantha Bering — Threes Preschool Teacher

Samantha has been teaching at The Marylhurst School since 2008. She completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Early Childhood Education at the State University of New York at Purchase, and also has a certificate in Early Childhood Development.  She has been working with preschool aged children since 1998. “I believe through play children are able to learn and grow into unique individuals.” Samantha spends her free time with her daughters, reading, BMXing, and traveling to see her family in New York. samanthab@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Diane Bernert Ashley Black-Barstow — Head Start Coordinator

Bio coming soon.




picture of Ann Brown
Ann Brown — Twos Preschool Teacher and Parenting Consultant

Ann has been a parenting instructor and consultant for thirty years. She has a BA in Ethnomusicology and Ethnic Dance from UC Santa Cruz and taught music and dance at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. She came to The Marylhurst School in 1996 after creating parenting classes and workshops for preschools and training as a Waldorf teacher in Los Angeles. In Portland, Ann has facilitated parenting classes and groups for the Hanna Anderson Family Foundation, led parenting workshops through the West Linn Library, and is a frequent presenter and workshop leader in schools. She writes about family life and current issues in newspapers, literary magazines and family magazines, and her stories can also be heard on Public Radio International. In addition to her work as a parenting consultant, Ann has also recorded dozens of albums, including one of children’s music. Her singing can be heard on movie soundtracks and background vocals for various artists. annb@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Nadia Cannon
Nadia Cannon – Curriculum Director

After 10 years of teaching experience, ranging from preschool through college-aged students, Nadia joined The Marylhurst School faculty in 2013. She received a BA in Women’s Studies at Smith College, her MA in English Literature from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and her BS in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education in New York City. Nadia loves to incorporate signing, painting and building into the classroom, and in her free time can be found baking, sewing and gardening. She lives in SE Portland with her partner, Sara. nadiac@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Britta Daubersmith
Britta Daubersmith — Third/Fourth Grade Teacher

Britta joined The Marylhurst School faculty in 2012, but her teaching career began 25 years earlier at The Sierra School (now Prospect-Sierra) in El Cerrito, California. She also taught at The Friends School of Minnesota in St Paul, Minnesota, Berkwood Hedge School in Berkeley, California and locally at Oregon Episcopal School. Britta received her B.A. in English Literature from Lewis and Clark College and a Multiple Subject Teaching credential from Saint Mary’s College of California. Britta and her husband, Jim, live outside of Oregon City with their daughter and two chocolate labs. brittad@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Melissa McDonaldSara Dier — Office Manager

Sara comes to us from Catlin Gabel School, where she has been an administrator for six years working in admission, development, the Teaching and Learning Center, and the Beginning School. She worked with young children through high school students in a progressive environment and is looking forward to meeting your family. She studied English and writing at Oregon State University and was born and raised in Oregon City. She is looking forward to being back in her home town!sarad@themarylhurstschool.org

india2India Downes-LeGuin — Transitional Kindergarten Teacher

India joined the Marylhurst faculty in 2016 after graduating from Pitzer College in California with a Bachelor of Science in Creative Writing. She was born and raised in Oregon, first introduced to Marylhurst by her younger brother, who was a preschool student, and her mother, Nancy, who is a threes preschool teacher. While attending college India taught creative writing workshops to incarcerated youth, tutored elementary school students, and worked as a coordinator at a summer camp on the Oregon Coast. India feels so lucky to be part of a community that truly cares about the well-being and advancements of its students and their families. When she’s not at school, you can find India in Northwest Portland where she spends most of her time hiking, reading, and losing at board games.  indiad@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Nancy Downes-Le Guin
Nancy Downes-Le Guin — Threes Preschool Teacher

Nancy received her B.A. in Art History from Bryn Mawr College, her M.A. in Art History from the University of Michigan, and her M.A.T. in Elementary Education from Lewis and Clark. She has taught pre-school through middle school, and loved every age! Nancy has three great children who keep her busy hiking, playing games and reading. She has been part of the The Marylhurst School community since 2011 and is so excited to be part of the Turtle Classroom. nancyd@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Kim Gillliam
Kim Gilliam — Twos Preschool Teacher

Kim has been working with children for over 20 years, and has taught within the Marylhurst preschool community since 2002.  When asked to take on the afterschool program, she created a warm and inviting community where children spend their afternoons following their regular school day. Kim graduated from Clackamas Community College with an Early Childhood Family Studies degree. “Teaching is where I belong”.

picture of Kathy Gillies
Kathy Gillies — Fours Preschool Teacher

Kathy has been with The Marylhurst School since 2003. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Southern Oregon University and has completed an endorsement in Early Childhood Education. When Kathy is not engaged in the imaginative and collaborative work of young children she is out exploring the outdoors with her family. kathyg@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Chanda Hall
Chanda Hall — Music Teacher

Chanda joined The Marylhurst School faculty in 2013. A pianist and composer, she has taught music, dance, and theatre in various settings for the past 15 years. She holds a BA in Music from Gustavus Adolphus College (MN) and is the founder/Artistic Director of the award-winning theatre company Staged!. A passionate advocate for arts education, Chanda has taught thousands of children through her work at Oregon Ballet Theatre, Northwest Children’s Theatre, and Oregon Children’s Theatre. Chanda enjoys exploring different cultures, roaming the Oregon coast, and seeing plays with her husband and two little girls. chandah@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Dawn Hotchkin
Dawn Hotchkin — Third/Fourth Grade Teacher and PE Specialist

Dawn has been working with preschool aged children in Oregon and Nevada since 1999, and came to Marylhurst in 2007. From Nova Southeastern University in Florida, she has a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and a Master’s in Curriculum, Instruction and Technology. She is also certified in Montessori Early Childhood Education. “I absolutely love teaching preschool age children; I learn something new from them each day.” dawnh@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Erin Kinney
Erin Kinney — Threes Preschool Teacher

Erin joined The Marylhurst School faculty in 2001. She took a few years off in 2004 to have her family, daughters MacKenzie and Rosemary who are the light of her life! She enjoys scrapbooking, running, reading and any type of vacationing, particularly camping. Erin has an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Mt Hood Community College. She brings these interests and experiences into the emergent curriculum of a classroom to cultivate children’s learning and make their experiences as enriching as possible. erink@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Elizabeth Kortenhof
Elizabeth Kortenhof — Threes Preschool Teacher

Elizabeth was born and raised in Portland. She received a BA in German from Lawrence University in Wisconsin and received her elementary education certification at University of Texas at El Paso. Before starting her family, she taught elementary school for 13 years at a variety of schools – Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma WA, St Marks Academy in San Rafael CA, Hughey Elementary in El Paso TX, and Oregon Episcopal School in Portland to name a few. Elizabeth has three children of her own, who are the reasons she was originally drawn to Marylhurst in 2005. “I live for those moments when the faces of my students light up with an amazing discovery or accomplishment.” This is Elizabeth’s 10th year at Marylhurst. elizabethk@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Pat Lammers
Pat Lammers — Fours Preschool Teacher

Pat has been teaching preschoolers for 30 years and with The Marylhurst School faculty since 2005. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Michigan State University and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from California State, Hayward. “I feel so fortunate to be a part of a collaborative community that has such profound respect for children. You can feel that the minute you walk through Marylhurst’s doors. “Why am I still teaching? I love seeing the world through the eyes of a child. It is pure joy!” patl@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Melissa McDonaldKarlie Lane — Extended Care Program Coordinator

Karlie has been part of the Marylhurst community since 2010 in her capacity as a substitute teacher and after-care assistant. After training for five years with her mom and mentor, Teacher Kim, she is delighted to be stepping into the role of extended-care program coordinator. Being raised in a family where childhood is so cherished has inspired Karlie to pursue her degree in Early Childhood and Family Studies. She is dedicated to working with children and also serves as coach for the West Linn Middle School Dance Team. “Being part of Marylhurst has been an amazing experience – I hope to continue learning and growing as a teacher.” karlieg@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Laura Layton
Laura Layton — Admissions Director

Laura has 15 years of experience recruiting and retaining students in the higher education world. She has worked in admissions and orientation at the University of Oregon, Saint Mary’s College of California, University of California Berkeley, and Marylhurst University. Since 2009 she has been an active parent at The Marylhurst School, and is delighted to be serving as admissions director during the schools expansion. Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Fredonia with a dual major in psychology and communication, as well as a Master of Science in student personnel administration from SUNY Buffalo. “Selecting the right school community for your family is a personal decision unique to each child. I am honored to be part of the conversation.” laural@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Mary Mahorney
Mary Mahorney—First/Second Grade Teacher

Mary believes “education is an active life-long endeavor and learning is founded in questioning, wondering and collaboration.” Mary has a Bachelor of Science from Oregon State University with a double major in History and Political Science, and a minor in Philosophy. After extensive traveling in Europe and Asia, she settled in Bend, OR. Mary returned to OSU and completed a degree in Secondary Social Science Education. She spent nine years teaching at The Lower School at The Catlin Gabel School in Portland and joined The Marylhurst School faculty in 2001. marym@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Melissa McDonaldKatelyn Marks — Threes Preschool Teacher

Bio coming soon.



picture of Mark Mask
Mark Mask — Fours Preschool Teacher, Primary Science Specialist, and Spanish Specialist

Mark joined the Marylhurst faculty in 2015, returning to the classroom after several years of working in the insurance and banking industries. After graduating in 1995 from Tulane University in New Orleans with a Bachelors degree in Philosophy, Mark joined Teach for America and worked as a bilingual elementary school teacher in Compton, California. Mark also taught in a Santa Monica private school and later worked at TFA’s New York City headquarters. Mark’s interests include baseball, jazz music, and historical architecture. Mark and his wife Sojourner have three children who are all Marylhurst students. markm@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Hanna Mears
Hanna Mears — First/Second Grade Teacher

Hanna joined The Marylhurst School faculty in 2010. She is a lifelong Oregonian and loves to be outdoors, especially camping with friends and family. She is inspired by children’s interest in learning and openness to new ideas. Hanna spent the summer in Costa Rica through International Student Volunteers teaching 4-12 year olds art, theater and outdoor recreation. She has a Bachelors of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Southern Oregon University. hannam@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Laura Olson
Laura Olson — Transitional Kindergarten Teacher

Laura holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Missouri, Columbia and completed graduate studies coursework in School Counseling at Wake Forest University. “I am passionate about supporting parents and strengthening families.” Laura has been with The Marylhurst School since 2006 and loves the focus placed on community building in our classrooms. She is excited about introducing an integrated science curriculum in the primary grades during the schools expansion. laurao@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Melissa McDonaldEmily Ramirez — Middle School Math & Science Teacher

Emily joined the Marylhurst community this fall as the middle school math and science teacher. Before beginning her teaching career, Emily spent eight years working as a scientist in a variety of settings, from the laboratory to the clinic. She completed a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology with a minor in Applied Mathematics from Pepperdine University and Master’s of Science in Neuroscience from the Mayo Clinic. Between undergrad and grad school she taught middle school physics at a summer program for Native American students. Prior to joint Marylhurst, Emily spent two years teaching biology classes at the California State University, Bakersfield. She currently lives in Oregon City with her family. mailto:emilyr@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Meg Schecter
Meg Schecter — Educational Specialist

Meg has been working with children for over twenty years. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Scripps College, a Master of Arts in Teaching with a specialization in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Lewis and Clark College, and is currently completing a Behavior Specialist certificate from the University of Arizona. Meg has experience teaching grades PK-5 in the Beaverton, West Linn-Wilsonville and Tigard school districts. In 2010 she founded Sensory Support, an organization that provides resources, education and support for families whose children struggle with sensory issues. She has presented teacher education and parent workshops on recognizing sensory issues, behavior intervention strategies and understanding learning differences in children. Meg lives in West Linn with her husband and two sons. megs@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Laura Stahly-Dronkowski
Laura Stahly-Dronkowski — Fifth/Sixth Grade Teacher

Laura has 25 years of teaching experience and was thrilled to join The Marylhurst School faculty in 2013. In the Midwest, she taught first and third grade students and here in Oregon, she taught a blended class of fifth and sixth grade children in Lake Oswego. Laura has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Psychology and a Master’s of Science in Elementary Science Education from Purdue University. In her free time, she loves watching her children play soccer, she’s an avid reader, she plays piano, and is trying to get back into running. Laura and her husband, Dave, live in Happy Valley with their son and two daughters. lauras@themarylhurstschool.org

picture of Angela Thomas
Angela Thomas — Enrichment Art Teacher

Angela’s commitment, as an artist and teacher, is to inspire kids to discover their inner artist and to facilitate self-expression. She believes in giving kids the artistic tools and language they need to understand and explore art at their own pace and in their own way. “There is no right or wrong way to create art in my class.” Angela has a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy from Marylhurst University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Art from Western Oregon University. She has worked with children, adolescents and adults in mental health agencies as well as academic settings since 1999. angelat@themarylhurstschool.org