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PFM Staff & Specialists

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Teddi blades

Owner & Director
tblades@pacificfirstmontessori.com

 
 

Teddi has been at Pacific First Montessori since 2006 and has over fifteen years of experience working with children.  She taught Preschool at PFM for 5 years, became the Director in 2011 and then purchased the school in 2016.  Teddi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Western Washington University, and a Montessori Certification for ages 3-6. She is in her final year of completing her postbac degree in Early Childhood & Family Studies at the University of Washington.  When she is not working, Teddi likes to spend her time hiking, adventuring around the city, visiting her family in White Salmon, WA  and having lazy days with her cat, Maui.  

 

 
 
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Keja taylor

Assistant Director
ktaylor@pacficfirstmontesssori.com

 
 

Keja has been working in Early Education for over fifteen years and has been at PFM for three years.  Keja has has held various positions in working with children including; afternoon preschool lead, art specialist, Montessori assistant and is currently the Assistant Director here at PFM.  Keja began her Early Childhood & Family Studies degree at UW this Fall.  When Keja is not at work or spending time with her teen daughter, she enjoys traveling, going to art shows, and photography.

 
 
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ben podawiltz

School Chef

 
 

Ben has been the chef at PFM for two years.  He is from St. Cloud, Minnesota. Ben enjoys making the children healthy and creative lunches.  He likes introducing children to new flavors in a friendly way for them to try.  Ben received his BA in English from the University of Colorado. When Ben is not cooking for the kids he spends his time hiking, climbing mountains, and snowboarding.  

 
 
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chandra perera

Morning Preschool Float

 
 

Chandra began working at PFM in 1997.  Chandra is from Sri Lanka. Chandra is a Montessori classroom float and helps get our mornings off to a great start by setting up breakfast club and getting the classrooms ready for the children to arrive.  Chandra received his BA in Psychology and Alternative Education at Friends World College in New York. He also received Montessori training in Sri Lanka. Chandra enjoys doing playdoh with the children and teaching them chess.  When he is not at work, he spends his time writing, reading, and enjoying his many friendships.

 
 
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sosina alem

Infant Lead Teacher
infants@pacificfirstmontessori.com

 
 

Sosina has been a teacher at PFM since 1998.  She is originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Sosina has her certification in the RIE method (Resources for Infant Educarers) and is continually improving her skills by attending RIE conferences and trainings each year.  Sosina is also currently in the process of obtaining her Child Development Associate (CDA) certification.  When she is not working, Sosina enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.  

 
 
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bua Sengkham

 Infant Assistant

 
 

Bua has been at PFM since 2010 and is from Thailand. When Bua is not working with the babies here at school, she enjoys spending time with her own little girl, Nyla!   Bua is also a fabulous cook and is generous in sharing her yummy food with staff.

 
 
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genet wude

Infant Assistant

 
 

Genet has been working in the infant room here at PFM since September of 2014.  Genet is from Ethiopia.  When Genet is not working, she enjoys spending time withe her two children and also enjoys playing basketball.

 

 
 
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teresa fomich

Afternoon Infant Lead: Art & Movement Specialist

 

 
 

Teresa has been at PFM since June 2014.  She is from Tacoma, WA. Teresa has her Bachelor's of Arts degree in Early Childhood and Family Studies from the University of Washington.  When Teresa is not at work, she enjoys hiking and playing with her adorable cats.

 

 
 
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brenda figueroa

Afternoon Infant Assistant

 
 

Brenda began working at PFM in June of 2017.  Brenda is from Cuautitlan, Mexico and recently moved to Seattle from Tempe, Arizona.  She is enjoying her time here in Seattle and likes running and spending time with her big dog, Meera.

 
 
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kayla willoughby

Toddler Lead Teacher
toddlers@pacificfirstmontessori.com

 
 

Kayla began working at PFM in April 2015.  She began as an afternoon preschool assistant and then moved into assisting in the toddler room where she found her love of "all things toddler!"  Kayla is enrolled in Infant and Toddler Montessori training through the Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest.  Kayla is from Enumclaw, WA and enjoys seeing local music shows and playing with her cat, Bergamot when she is not working. 

 

 
 
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Tuuli wilhelmsen

Toddler Assistant

 
 

Tuuli has been at PFM since November 2015.  Tuuli is from Finland and has a degree in Psychology from the University of Oslo, Norway. Tuuli enjoys hiking in the Pacific Northwest and venturing about in the city. 

babysitting contact email: tuuli.wilhelmsen@gmail.com

 
 
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Katie kleeman

Toddler Assistant

 
 

Katie has been at PFM since March of 2017.  She is from Hunter, North Dakota and attended North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota.  Tashi has previous experience in working with toddler age children before she came to PFM and is now learning more and more about the Montessori Philosophy each day she is in the classroom assisting the children. 

 

 
 
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Tashi lhadon

Afternoon Toddler Lead Assistant
 

 
 

Tashi began working at PFM in June 2017.  Tashi is from Gangtok - Sikkim, India.  Tashi has her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education from North Seattle College.  She has been working with toddler age children for over two years and is inspired by the Montessori Philosophy that we have here at PFM!

babysitting contact email: taralha21@gmail.com

 
 
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Starlina Mckinny

Toddler Afternoon Art & Movement/School Float

 
 

Starlina has been at PFM since April of 2017.  She is from Tracey, California and is anticipated to graduate from Arizona State University (distance learning) in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Starlina puts together art projects and music & movement experiences for the toddlers as well as filling in as a substitute in any classroom that we need help in (it takes a special person to be able to do this)!

babysitting contact email: starlinamckinny@yahoo.com

 
 
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Hope Koon

North Preschool Lead
northpre@pacificfirstmontessori.com

 
 

Hope began at PFM in November of 2013 as a preschool afternoon assistant and is now the Lead  teacher in North Preschool.  Hope is from Minneapolis Minnesota and attended Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, where she received a Storytelling degree.  Hope completed her Montessori training (ages 3-6) at Spring Valley Montessori. When she is not working she loves to go to shows in the city and hike and camp with her fiance.

 
 
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Mimi demelash

North Preschool Assistant

 
 

Mimi began here at PFM in December of 2011 and was originally an assistant in the infant classroom. She now works with Miss Hope in North class as her assistant. Her daughter Melat is a student in our toddler classroom and she is due to have her second child very soon! She is originally from Ethiopia.

 

 

 
 
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Sarah harper

South Preschool Lead
southpre@pacificfirstmontessori.com

 
 

Sarah is originally from Phoenix, Arizona and grew up as a Montessori child. She moved here and worked in our toddler classroom as an assistant in 2010, she then received her Montessori training from the Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest and returned to PFM as the South Class lead in August of 2016. She also serves on the board of the Pacific Northwest Montessori Association and is the "Montessori Mentor" for PFM.

 

 
 
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Victoria Nielson

South Preschool Assistant

 
 

Victoria grew up in Homer, Alaska. When she moved to the Seattle area she taught at a few other local schools before finding us in September of 2014. She loves science and is working on her degree from Seattle Central Community College.

babysitting contact email: v.s.nielson@gmail.com

 

 
 
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erika arechiga

Preschool Assistant am/pm

 
 

Erika joined the PFM community in March of 2017. She was born in the state of Jalisco in Mexico, but grew up primarily in Lake Chelan, Washington since the age of 5. She went to Washington State University and earned her degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Spanish. She loves to eat pizza and explore new Seattle restaurants and parks.

 

 
 
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kelsey allen

Afternoon Preschool Coordinator

 
 

Kelsey is from the Seattle area and joined PFM in July of 2016. She is our wonderful Afternoon Preschool Coordinator and does a great job setting up the afternoon environment, managing the afternoon staff, and interacting with all the children. She lives in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood, loves to travel, and just became an aunt!

babysitting contact email: kallen@pacificfirstmontessori.com

 
 
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michelle gonzalez

Afternoon Preschool Float

 
 

Michelle is from Santa Ana, California. She joined the PFM community in April of 2017 and before that she worked at Starbucks and substituted at another Montessori school. She also is working on her Bachelors degree from the University of Washington in Early Childhood/Family Studies. She is also fluent in Spanish and speaks some Japanese and sign language.

babysitting contact email: rileyy@rocketmail.com

 
 
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Liz mahoney

Afternoon Preschool Assistant

 
 

Liz is from Washington and came to PFM in May of 2017. She lived in the Philippines for a few years where she earned her CNA certification and bachelors degree. She now works in the afternoon program and is so great with the kids.

babysitting contact email: mahoney.m.liz@gmail.com

 
 
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Katie wrighT

Afternoon Art Specialist/Assistant
rustedorange3@hotmail.com

 
 

Katie grew up in Florida but is originally from Dahlonega, Georgia. She joined the PFM community in August of 2016 and organizes all the amazing process-based art projects for afternoon preschool. In her spare time she loves to paint and volunteers on the weekends working the lights and sound board and designing sets for shows.