Jessie Hanna, owner and teacher

Jessie was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia.  She has two creative brothers and is the daughter of two public school teachers.  She earned a Bachelor's degree in Ecology from the University of Georgia before moving to Hawaii to teach environmental education on the North Shore.  There she met her husband, Stephen, and moved to Oregon in 2001 where she continued teaching hands on science lessons at Outdoor Science School for several seasons.  She then went back to school to become an AMI trained Montessori guide and earn her Masters in Education. 

After working many years at an AMI accredited school, Jessie decided to start her own program in her neighborhood in North Portland.  Jessie has spent the last 10 summers leading wilderness adventure trips all over the west coast for teenagers.

Jessie has advanced medical training and is certified in adult, child, and infant CPR.  She enjoys knitting, sewing, and baking, which she loves sharing with the children.  When Jessie isn't working, she is usually exploring the Northwest on foot or by white water raft or soaking in naturally occurring hot water.

Muriah Gerrard, assistant and AMI trained Montessori guide

Muriah grew up in the Ozark Mountains in NW Arkansas.  She spent 3 incredible years living, traveling, and working throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.  After her time abroad she settled in Portland where she fell in love with the landscape, people, and energy a small city had to offer.  She has worked on and off as a floral designer for over 10 years.  

After pursuing a degree in human studies at Marylhurst University and completing her AMI Montessori teacher training in 2006, she worked in several Montessori schools throughout Portland. 

Muriah loves her work at North Portland Montessori and feels fortunate to be part of such a wonderful school community.  She lives with her husband, Darrin, and her two wild and wonderful sons, Jack and Francis, who are both Montessori students.  In her free time Muriah loves to cook, spend time with her family and work in the garden at her Arbor Lodge home.

Muriah and Jessie have worked together for several years at SunGarden Montessori in West Linn before making the leap to start North Portland Montessori School.

What Parents say about Jessie

"I have had the great pleasure of having two of my children in Jessie's classroom these past four years. She is a delightful, patient, kind and competent teacher. Her abilitly to create an atmosphere of calm and peace while providing continuously stimulating activities speaks not only to the brilliance of the Montessori Method she practices, but also to her own personal skill as an accomplished educator. In short, Jessie is a gem.
From an adult perspective, she is an excellent communicator, which I particularly valued as my children grew and progressed. I experienced her as honest and forthright. She is responsive and thoughtful. I deeply appreciated her keen observations as I sought to support my children's ongoing development throughout the critical preschool years. Having a trusted person with whom to discuss both my children's advances and areas in need of additional support, coupled with her perspective as a trained observer, was invaluable. Jessie has a deep understanding of the Montessori method and an ease and confidence in practicing that method that only comes with hands on experience."

            ~Marcella Martinson

"Thank you for being an amazing teacher for Max. Not only were you *his* first teacher, but it felt like you were ours, too- he had never stayed with anyone other than family. It was so important to us that we be happy with his second home- thank you for always being available to listen and understand our perspective on things. Thank you for getting to know our son, and who he is and what he needs. It has been amazing having someone else "get" him like we do. You have gone above and beyond to customize lessons and draw him in to learning. Three years and he still struggled with drop off on occasion and you were always so creative and had tricks to entice him into the room. It is all so natural for you. This was our first exposure to Montessori and it obviously sucked us in. We feel so grateful that Max had you as his guide, in the truest sense of the word. "

           ~Ellie Purvis