A History of West Hills Montessori School

1950: Patricia Hickox, mother of Nancy Hildick and grandmother of Anne Blickenstaff, started the West Hills Learning Center on Capital Highway, a daycare program. Patricia’s husband had been injured in a tractor accident and she needed to find a way to support her family. Patricia’s two teenage daughters, Nancy and Patti, who pitched in to help their mother start the Learning Center. Daughter Nancy went on to study art education, later returning to Portland to join her mother in the family business.

Patricia Hickox and Nancy Hildick break ground at Vermont Street Campus in 1968. 

Original Vermont Street building

1968: Nancy Hildick had attended a conference where she learned about Montessori education, which sparked her passion for this method of working with children. In 1968, Patricia and Nancy acquired the property at 4920 SW Vermont Street, including the former church building which became the first West Hills Montessori classroom. In the following years, Nancy continued studying Montesssori education and earned teaching certificates from the Saint Nicholas Training Centre for the Montessori Method of Education, the American Montessori Society (AMS), and the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).

West Building established in 1977

1970s: With the support of her family and staff, Nancy devoted herself to bringing quality Montessori education to Portland area children and families, gradually growing West Hills programs as word spread about the little red schoolhouse on SW Vermont Street. To meet the growing demand, three additional classroom spaces were added with the erection of the West Building in 1977.

East Building established in 1988

1980’s: Nancy’s daughter, Anne, who studied finance and accounting in college, had worked at West Hills teaching Spanish during summers and vacations.  After recognizing her own passion for working with children, Anne completed her AMI teacher training and joined the West Hills community as a Primary Guide in 1983. The increasing popularity of West Hills Montessori programs led to the construction of the East Building, with it’s three additional classroom spaces, in 1988.

Three Generations of Educational Pioneers, 1991

Nancy Hildick playing with the children, 1970

 New Sand Box on the Playground at West Hills, 1995

1990’s:  In 1990, Oregon Senator Mark O. Hatfield paid a visit to West Hills, where he visited with students and faculty and presented us with an American flag that had once flown over Washington, DC. Two years later, in 1993, West Hills Montessori School celebrated 25 years of service to Portland children and families.

West Hills Montessori School Children on 25th Anniversary

Lake Oswego Campus

2000’s: In 2003, West Hills acquired the property and former school building at 4515 Parkview Drive, and opened the first two Lake Oswego campus classrooms that same year.  In 2004, we started our Montessori Elementary program in the East Building.

2003 – Nancy Hildick and Anne Blickenstaff open the 2nd West Hills Montessori School campus, on Parkview Dr. in Lake Oswego.

2018: West Hills Montessori Celebrates 5o years!