Lake Oswego Faculty and Staff
Toddler Guide & Assistant
Donna Wardenaar, Toddler Guide (Alder Room)
Donna hails from the Eastern seaboard, having been born and raised in the Boston area. After high school, she headed west to Indiana, where she majored in Human Development and Social Relations at Earlham College. Donna earned to Bachelor of Arts in 2005 and moved to the Pacific Northwest shortly thereafter.
In 2007, Donna joined the West Hills community as an all-school support staff person. New to the Montessori educational philosophy, Donna soon witnessed how much respect and agency the Montessori method offers children in their own work of development. She gained much experience assisting in a West Hills Primary classroom for five years, before earning her AMI Primary (3-6) Diploma from Montessori Northwest and her MEd from Loyola University in 2016.
Donna explains, “As adults in children’s lived, we get to be guides and collaborators, but we also get to take a step back and witness children discovering their capabilities. I love being part of that.” In fact, she is so committed to the Montessori approach that Donna returned to Montessori Northwest to complete the AMI Assistants to Infancy (0-3) Course in 2019. Thrilled to bring her learning and skills to bear at West Hills, which she fondly refers to as her “Montessori Home,” Donna approaches every school day with keen sensitivity to each child’s educational experience.
In addition to guiding the Toddler community, Donna is also a proud West Hills parent. Her daughter, Zoe, joined the Alder class in Fall of 2022. Outside of school, Donna and her family enjoy bike rides, visits to the coast, and quiet afternoons at home with their two cats and dog.
Amanda Carrera, Toddler Assistant (Alder Room)
Amanda was born in San Diego, California and moved to the northwest as a toddler. Growing up, Amanda helped at her mother’s in-home daycare many afternoons and summers. It was during those times that Amanda’s passion for working with children begin. After high school she continued working with children in different capacities, as a live-nanny, preschool teacher, and various after school programs.
Amanda was introduced to the West Hills community in 2018 by a dear family friend and quickly found the philosophy of Montessori to be wonderfully inviting. For 2 years she worked as an all-school support staff at the Vermont street campus. Amanda was impressed and learned so much by the common grace and abilities each Guide brought to their classroom. She was inspired by how the unique environments of a Montessori school naturally gave children the right tools to enjoy learning and become part of their community.
In 2021, she was given the opportunity to continue as an all school support staff at the Lake Oswego campus with a small role in the toddler community. In this room, she was impressed to see how beautiful and natural Montessori philosophy worked at such a young age. Within a few months, she realized her skills would be utilized best in the toddler community. Amanda says, “I get to use my creativity everyday in the various challenges that come with helping a toddler navigate their world and it brings me great joy to be a part of that!”
Amanda became a full time assistant in the Alder Room in 2022 and is completing her AMI Assistant to Infancy training through Southwest Institute of Montessori Studies this year.
Lindsay Beggs, Primary Guide (Maple Room)
Lindsay was born in Lafayette Louisiana where she lived until she was 23. She then spent three years in Shanghai, China as an English as a Second Language teacher. This is where she discovered her passion for working with children and was introduced to the Montessori method. From there, she moved to Portland to pursue AMI training through Montessori Northwest. She also received a Master's in Education through Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland. Lindsay lives in Portland with her partner, David. She enjoys spending time in nature, doing yoga and mindfulness meditation, reading and visiting Portland's amazing restaurants and bookshops.
Carrie Caffee-Martin, Primary Guide (Juniper Room)
Carrie Caffee-Martin is a native Oregonian who grew up in “old Cedar Mill.” After attaining her Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a minor in English from Lewis & Clark College, Carrie’s love of travel took her to Africa and Europe. Back in Portland in 2006, she attended an open house at the Montessori Institute Northwest which forever changed her career path. Carrie earned her AMI primary Guide certification from MINW in 2007, completed Master’s in Education at Loyola University of Maryland, and spend the next decade working in an established Montessori school community in Portland. Carrie’s strong background, depth of experience, passion and insight are among the wonderful assets she brings to her work at West Hills.
Carrie married her high school sweetheart and they currently live in Northeast Portland with their son, Vincent, a student in the Elementary Program at our Vermont Street campus along with their pets; their dog Charlie, their cat Lucy, and Diesel 10 the Fish. In her spare moments, Carrie enjoys reading, cooking, and house projects.
Stacy Coyle, Primary Guide (Hawthorn Room)
Stacy was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she lived until she was eight. Her family then spent a few years in Arizona before settling in Portland. Before taking the AMI teacher training, Stacy worked for three years as a Montessori classroom assistant. She joined the West Hills community in 2006 as a Primary Guide, a role she continues to embrace and enjoy. Stacy lives in Portland with her husband, Thomas, and daughter, Keira, who is a Primary and Elementary West Hills alumni! As a family they love going to the coast and Mt. Hood, swimming at the local community center, or dining out at one of Portland’s many wonderful restaurants.
Extended Care Supervisor
Cindy Silva, Extended Care Supervisor
Cindy was born in Buffalo, New York, where she spent the first nine years of her life before moving to Southern California. After moving to California, Cindy met Frank, her husband and high school sweetheart! Cindy and Frank raised two children together in Medford, Oregon, where Cindy was a Special Education Assistant for 16 years at North Medford High School. They moved to the Portland Metro area after wanting to relocate closer to their children and grandchildren. She has 4 grandchildren, all boys, who lovingly refer to her as Nona (Italian for Grandma). Cindy was introduced to West Hills Montessori by Kelsey Silva, her daughter-in-law! Cindy spent 4 years as a beloved member of our PM Care team before assuming the position of Extended Care Supervisor.
When Cindy is not at work, she loves to spend time traveling, cooking, and being with family and friends.