CASCADIA FACULTY

LOWER ELEMENTARY FACULTY

Larkspur Guide

Patricia DeCorsey has been involved in Montessori education for over 10 years and her goal is to encourage an independent, self-motivated community of children who are excited about learning and work. She holds an AMI elementary diploma from the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee, has taught in London and Atlanta, and spent 22 years directing the Early Childhood Music and Dance program at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. She loves reading, watching films, hiking in this beautiful part of the country, and going to museums. 

 

Larkspur Assistant

Elliott Gajan has been involved in Montessori education since 2014, starting as an inclusion support specialist and moving into the role of classroom assistant. Elliott believes that the carefully prepared Montessori environment and specially crafted learning materials work to create a learning environment that is appropriate for everyone. When not at school, Elliott is an activist for freedom and the right of children and adults with disabilities to achieve their full potential and a student of handwork (embroidery and journaling particularly) and guitar. 

 

Lupine Guide

Joya Hastings has been involved in Montessori education since 2011. She believes the work of Montessori is highly relevant to kids today and enjoys coming alongside students to share their excitement for learning and exploring nature. She is an AMI certified elementary guide and has a Masters of Education in Montessori Education. Joya enjoys reading, learning new things, and spending time outside with her family. 

 

Lupine Assistant

Savannah Buck has been involved in Montessori education since 2011 when she began working with a primary school in Sammamish, WA. Savannah’s background working with children and individuals with disabilities has led to her appreciation for the way Montessori classrooms encourage individualized, hands-on, practical life skills from a young age. She enjoys live music, tennis, Seahawks season, guitar, and arts and crafts. 

 

UPPER ELEMENTARY FACULTY

Trillium Guide

Micaela Argueta has been involved in Montessori education since 2012 and loves the way Montessori gives attention to the independence and individual needs of each person, its commitment to peace and global citizenship, and the development of learner ownership. She is an AMI certified elementary guide, has a Master of Art in Teaching Elementary Education (Bilingual and English as a second language), and has spent time teaching in Argentina and Ecuador. When not at school, Micaela enjoys tea or coffee with her husband and biking around Portland with her family.

 

Trillium Assistant

Patrick Hastings has been involved in Montessori education since 2011 and appreciates the pace of the Montessori classroom and way it teaches children how to teach themselves. He continues to educate himself in the world of Montessori through yearly professional development work. In his spare time, Patrick enjoys classical Japanese decorative metal work, created jewelry, engraving, sculpting, carving, sketching, and tool making. 

 

Willow Guide

Kim Kuhle has been involved in Montessori for over 20 years. She appreciates the freedom that Montessori gives kids to move around their space, ask questions, be in tune with their own bodies, and explore what excites and fascinates them. Kim has a BS in Education from The University of Portland, an AMI elementary diploma from Montessori Institute of Milwaukee, and a Washington state teaching certificate (elementary and secondary). She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, gardening, and bird watching. 

 

Willow Assistant (mornings)

Amy Lilly has been involved in Montessori education since the mid 1990s and has always been interested in the way Montessori gives children a concrete foundation upon which to build their knowledge. She has Primary Training through the Montessori Teacher Preparation of Washington and recently completed Orton-Gillingham training to be a tutor for students with dyslexia. Amy’s hobbies include trying new arts and crafts projects, designing succulent gardens, canning (especially unusual flavors like peach/sage, strawberry/vanilla, and pear/ginger), and textile arts. 

 

Willow Assistant (afternoons) / Aftercare Specialist

Brooks Sparling had been involved in Montessori education since attending Cascadia in middle school. He likes the connectedness of students in Montessori. He enjoys math and science as well as playing guitar and piano. 

MIDDLE SCHOOL FACULTY

Cedar Humanities Guide / Assistant Head of School

Barb Sparling has been involved in Montessori education for over 20 years and has a special talent for connecting sometimes reluctant readers to books that hook them into the joy of reading. She loves the way Montessori celebrates the uniqueness of every child. Barbara has a BA in English with a writing emphasis and a graduate degree in Secondary Education Language Arts from The University of California, Davis. She also has an MA in English from Sacramento State University. Her hobbies include hiking and kayaking. 

Cedar Math & Science Guide / Admissions & Communication Coordinator

Amy Crocker has been involved in Montessori education since 2010 and is fascinated by the way Montessori conceptualizes breaking large ideas down into small parts to stimulate student learning. She has a BA in mathematics and has spent most of her teaching career at international schools in both West and East Africa working with students from around the world. Outside of school, Amy likes to celebrate nerdy holidays, preserve and culture food, make music, and spend time outdoors. 

 

ADMINISTRATION & SUPPORT STAFF

Inclusion & Childcare

Jennifer Adams has been involved in Montessori education since 1993 when she began attending a primary classroom as a student. She appreciates the freedom of the Montessori classroom and the opportunities for children to follow their interests and learn at a pace that is comfortable to them. She has a BA in English. When not at school, she enjoys reading, baking, and spending time with her family.

 

Administrative Assistant

Susan Szewczyk has been involved in Montessori education since 2009 and, as a Montessori parent, deeply appreciates the way it has taught her daughters to be independent, creative, and inquisitive. She has been active in the Cascadia community as a member of the PTO, Development Committee, Shopper, Chaperone, and Auction team. Susan holds a BA in Psychology from Pacific University and has worked in the field of children’s mental health. She enjoys adventures with her family, history, astronomy, coffee and chocolate, and (secretly) pajama days with her kids.

 

Before & Aftercare

Jillian Adams has been involved in Montessori education since a young age, having a mother with an AMI certification and two older siblings in Montessori school. She appreciates the wholesome and nurturing environment that provides an amazing education without strict coursework. Her hobbies include reading, playing with her dog, theater, and spending time with family and friends. 

 

Head of School

Danielle Benge has been involved in Montessori education since 1987 and loves not only the hands-on materials, but particularly the philosophy of students’ hands and minds working together to gain understanding. Danielle has AMI primary certification, a BA in history/minor in Broad Field Social Studies with an emphasis on Secondary Education, and all 3 levels of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd training. She enjoys cooking, entertaining, reading, hiking, and binge watching series on Amazon/Netflix. 

 

“Our family has found so much value in being part of the Cascadia community! The teachers are accessible and very in tune with the kids and their development while providing the resources for exceptional learning.”

- A Cascadia Parent

“I love the way they work with the children and nurture a child's love of learning.”

- A Cascadia Parent

“To assist a child we must provide him with an environment which will enable him to develop freely.”

- Maria Montessori

“A safe and happy place to get a good education. They make learning fun. “

- A Cascadia Parent

“The essential thing is to arouse such an interest that it engages the child’s whole personality.”

- Maria Montessori

“The mixed aged classrooms are an incredible experience for all involved. There is so much each child can learn from one another and they stay with the same teachers for three years, creating a true understanding and bond. My child calls her class her second family. We couldn't imagine a better learning environment if we tried!”

- A Cascadia Parent

“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”

- Maria Montessori

“My children enjoy school, have gained confidence and learned a wealth of information and skills with very little stress. That is how learning should be!”

- A Cascadia Parent

“These words reveal the child’s inner needs: ‘Help me to do it alone.’”

- Maria Montessori

“My son has spent the past 8 years learning and growing at Cascadia. He hasn’t just learned the basics (math, English, science, history). He has also learned how to work with others, how to mentor younger students, and how to be a role model. “

- A Cascadia Parent

“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”

- Maria Montessori

“Our daughter was at Cascadia from 1st-8th grade. She took on challenges and persevered with support and guidance while at the same time, allowed to make her own decisions. We couldn't have asked for a better education in preparing her for high school, life skills and beyond.”

- A Cascadia Parent

“Both boys have blossomed in this environment, both educationally and as thoughtful, courteous and kind young men. The parent community is very close and supportive -- kind of like an extended family -- and there to help whenever the need arises. Our experiences at Cascadia have been extremely positive for our whole family.”

- A Cascadia Parent

“The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.”

- Maria Montessori

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Cascadia School
25 years of excellence

(360) 944-8096
10606 NE 14th St, Vancouver, WA 98664
admissions@cascadiaschool.org