MEET OUR STAFF
Here at Little Friends Montessori, we value the importance of quality staff who are passionate about the social, emotional and academic growth of our students. Each of our Guides and assistants have a love for working with children and truly care about the needs of our friends.
Director, Primary Guide
Hanneke Crumley has taught Montessori since 2002. She began her education journey in California studying early child hood education where she decided to focus her early childhood studies on Maria Montessori’s methods. She attended the Montessori Teaching School of Sacramento and completed the Infant/Toddler, Primary, and the Lower Elementary Credential Programs. It was always her goal to open her own school.
Hanneke had a desire to create a community of families who support each other in life. After teaching for seven years, she started her own in-home Montessori school. She was content with a one-room school while raising her four children. When her youngest child started 1st grade, Hanneke made the leap to opening a Montessori center.
Hanneke has focused much of her energy and education focusing on behaviors, and believes that, “Montessori allows children to learn and grow both socially and intellectually in a much different way than other methods. This is my life’s work and I am honored and excited about it every day.”
Chrissy Miller lives here in Salem with her husband, dog, and 2 cats. She has worked in childcare since 2011 mostly working with infants and toddlers. Chrissy transitioned to Montessori in 2017 to continue her early childhood journey. She thinks it is amazing working with these children and feels that she learns alongside them.
Jessica Bast is our art teacher. She has been passionate about art since she was a middle school student. After being diagnosed with dyslexia in 3rd grade, Jessica realized how much the disorder had affected the ability to explain her emotions. She recognized then that art was always there, to help express what her voice couldn’t.
Jessica graduated from Marylhurst University with an Interdisciplinary Studies degree, focused in art, teaching and psychology. Her minor is also in art. Jessica became familiar with Montessori during her final year in college. She immediately connected with this school to create and teach art to her friends at Little Friends Montessori.
After years of teaching in traditional preschool settings, working in a Montessori classroom has been a different experience and such a joy. I have been working at Little Friends Montessori for the last 6 years and have loved that our Director Hanneke, as well as all of our Guides, are totally committed to providing a wonderful environment where our children can learn independence, as well as academics. Our program is set up to provide our children with a learning environment where they can grow and succeed in their work. I love seeing the daily choices that they make and their ultimate growth and progress.
Kali Kent has lived in Salem her entire life, this is where she plans to build her family. She has two dogs and will be getting married in 2019. Her life passion will always be teaching young children. When she was in high school, she took all the early childhood development classes that they offered and graduated with a certificate in ECE. After that she decided that this was what she wanted to do for a living, so she went to Chemeketa Community college and graduated with her Associates in Child Development. Miss Kali has had several different jobs throughout her career such as Chapman Hill and Family Building Blocks. In 2017 Miss Kali decided to make Little Friends Montessori her home.
Miss Tess comes to us from many years of experience with head start. She loves to work with children and has found a home at Little Friends Montessori.
Kiley Sheehan has been working at Little Friends Montessori since mid-2017. Kiley has worked with children since she was old enough to babysit. She has experience working as a daycare preschool teacher and also worked at a children’s group home.
Kiley has always had a passion for teaching young children. When she was in high school, she took all the early childhood development classes offered, and graduated with a certificate in ECE. She then attended Chemeketa Community College and graduated with an Associates in Child Development. In her spare time, Kiley enjoys hanging out with her cat and dog and making new dinner recipes.
Melanie Sohn grew up in Salem and moved to Colorado for college. She went to CSU for a few years and then relocated to Breckenridge where she fell in love with teaching. Miss Melanie received her AMS Montessori teaching credential through the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado. She moved to Portland in 2010 where she was a lead Primary Guide. In 2014, Miss Melanie returned to Salem and joined the LFM team. She began in the pre-primary class and is now a Primary Guide.
Miss Merideth has worked as the Lower Elementary Guide since starting the program with Miss Hanneke in 2014. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and moved to Salem after graduating high school. She then graduated from Willamette University with a BA in History. She spent several years working as a School Policy and Board Development Assistant with the Oregon School Boards Association before returning to Willamette University in 2009 to complete her Masters in Teaching. After receiving her teaching license, Merideth taught Language Arts to incarcerated juveniles at Hillcrest, and then taught Language Arts and Social Studies at the middle school level. In 2014, Merideth completed her Lower Elementary Montessori endorsement training through NAMC. She enjoys running, genealogy and research.
Pamela Morigeau is the Spanish teacher. She is originally from the lively Caribbean coast of Colombia. She has lived in Salem with her husband for the last several years. Soon after moving to Salem, Pamela joined the LFM family.
Pamela’s passion for embracing foreign cultures took her to Qatar, where she started her journey as an educator. Throughout her career, she has worked with students from all over the world. After moving to Wisconsin, Pamela first experienced Montessori education. She was amazed to see how the Montessori program empowered children from a very early age and how immersed they were in their knowledge of world cultures and their differences.
Emily Crocker earned a B.S. in Dance from the University of Oregon and taught dance and color-guard at the U of O and Linfield College for over ten years. When she was considering a career change, the only place she wanted to be was Little Friends Montessori.
Miss Emily’s family found LFM while looking for a good fit for their oldest child. What initially attracted them to LFM was the people, the importance of classroom pets and plants, and the Montessori method itself. What they found was a fantastic community with dedicated teachers, engaged parents, and amazing children. Miss Emily earned her Montessori Certification through NAMC to teach Upper Elementary and she began as a Lead Guide in 2017.
Miss Emily’s favorite things about the elementary program, Young Voyagers Montessori Academy, are guiding incredible young people toward self-management, gaining a cosmic understanding of our place in the universe, and developing a growth mindset. Plus, she really loves science!
Emily Godwin earned a bachelor’s degree in child development from Sacramento State University and her Montessori Certification in Early Childhood from North American Montessori Center. She developed a love for Montessori education when her oldest child was in kindergarten. Miss Emily loves that children are allowed the freedom to explore and develop a strong sense of independence in the Montessori classroom.
Mr Benji works with students 2.5-6 years old. He loves children and feels at home doing this work.
Primary Guide Assistant
She works with students 3-6 as a floating assistant in all Primary classrooms.
She has worked in early child hood education for many years.
MISS SOPHIA PRYCHUN
Sophia Prychun has been the proud owner and provider in her in-home childcare business for children ages infant to 10 years. While maintaining a safe and loving environment for the young children in her care, she also provided them with skills they would need to prepare them for age-appropriate milestones through consistency and positive guidance. Sophia also developed close, lasting relationships with many families built on communication and trust.
Throughout her time as a provider, she felt it was important to continue to educate herself on the safety and well-being of children by attending classes and receiving certifications. Through the Salem-Keizer public school, she attended the substitute teacher training and orientation. In December 2017 she graduated with an Associate’s transfer degree in General Studies from Chemeketa Community College.