Who we are

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The Executive Team

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Soobin Oh (he, him, his)

Co-Director: Development, Communications & Strategy

​I believe that education is either the greatest tool for justice or the greatest weapon for injustice. My passions and my work revolve around pedagogies that position teachers, children, and families to have agency in transforming their systems and communities for the betterment of the world: Asset-Based Playful Inquiry approaches, Anti-Bias Education, culturally responsive and sustaining pedagogies, restorative and non-punitive forms of social and emotional learning, and inclusive practices.  I serve on a number of Oregon councils, committees, and initiatives and see my role as foregrounding the voices and perspectives of people on the ground as the early learning system grows around them. This service includes the Oregon Early Learning Council, the State Interagency Coordinating Council, the Preschool for All Task Force, and the Infant Toddler Mental Health Consultation model development. I earned my Master’s in Early Childhood Inclusive Curriculum and Instruction at Portland State University and am working towards my doctorate to study how teachers might join in creating an anti-racist world. Before joining TPP, I worked for the Children’s Institute where I supported school districts in implementing and aligning their early education practices with older grades and supported policy advocacy through sharing research. Before the Children’s Institute I worked to develop state professional standards for early educators, consulted with early childhood centers across the state, and I worked as a classroom teacher for over 15 years.

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Erin Moulton (she, her, hers)

Co-Director, Pedagogy, Documentation, and Engagement

Erin Moulton has over 23 years of experience in Early Learning and Elementary Education in Oregon.  Her real education as a teacher began during summers spent at the playground of Irving Park in NE Portland where she served as a Park Director. She went on to get her BA in Oregon History and MAT from Lewis and Clark College. Erin was the first teacher hired by Judy Graves at the Opal School where she taught grades Pk-5 over the course of 11 years.  During that time, she served in roles such as Mentor Teacher and Teacher Researcher in the Center for Children’s Learning. She also worked as an Arts Integration Facilitator for the The Right Brain Initiative at Woodlawn, Siton, and James John Elementary Schools in Portland, OR. Then returned to the classroom where she taught 3rd Grade and Kindergarten at Oregon Episcopal School (OES) integrating inquiry-based teaching and the arts across the curriculum.

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Christyn Dundorf (she, her, hers)

Co-Director, Systems, Programs, and Operations

Christyn has over 25 years of experience in the early learning field.  She began her career as a preschool teacher and Education Coordinator for Head Start.  She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Rochester, exploring the role of language comprehension in early literacy.  In Oregon, Dr. Dundorf coordinated the initial implementation of the Oregon Registry credentialing system (ORO) as well as other professional development and mentoring initiatives at the Oregon Center for Career Development in Childhood Care and Education.  She has 15 years of Community College teaching experience as ECE faculty and department chair, with a particular focus on professionalization of the ECE field.  She has also served as a consultant and trainer for the field and is a Master Trainer in the Oregon Registry.

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Our Staff

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Gabi Bizari (she, her, ella)

Playful Inquiry School Partner

Gabi Bizari (she/her) discovered her passion for education and social justice during her time spent with young children at the Centre of Nutritional Recovery and Education in São Paulo, Brazil. With a background in public health, Gabi transitioned to early childhood education, earning her Master’s degree in Early Childhood: Inclusive Education and Curriculum & Instruction at Portland State University. Since then, she has worked in the field as a teacher, researcher, program coordinator, and instructional coach for the Preschool for All program. Furthermore, Gabi is also a part-time faculty member in the ECE program at Mt. Hood Community College and an Adjunct Faculty at Southern Oregon University. Gabi’s work is deeply rooted in her belief in the transformative power of building strong and inclusive communities.

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Our Consultants in the Field

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Lauren Adams (she, her, hers)

As a studio artist and early childhood teacher, Lauren Adams came to Teaching Preschool Partners after working at Opal School for over 10 years.  Lauren taught for many years among other dynamic teaching and learning communities and holds both a BFA in Ceramics and Sculpture from Kansas City Art Institute and a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Hunter College in NY.

While at Opal School, Lauren expanded her own concepts of what being present and intentional mean. She was particularly reflective about what listening in relationship can offer to her life and practice. Provoked by Opal’s approach of playful inquiry, Lauren is dedicated to furthering her understanding of the rich relationships possible between children, the arts, and inquiry within the laboratory for democratic life, the studio-classroom. Her research at Opal concentrated on the potential that beauty and materials have in supporting children in pursuit of developing their innate gifts of play, curiosity, engagement and making sense of their place among things. She revels in dialog with other educators determined to inspire change as she works with the team at TPP!

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Kerry Salazar (she, her, hers)

Kerry Salazar was a teacher-researcher at Opal School from 2008-2021. She has a degree in Early Childhood Education from Western Washington University and was drawn to Opal School through a visit to a Summer Symposium where her imagination of environments for learning was stretched beyond what she originally believed was possible.

Her career at Opal began as an apprentice and student teacher where she became immersed in the relationships and dialogue that supported the mission of Opal School, to strengthen public education through provoking fresh ideas concerning environments where creativity, imagination, and the wonder of learning thrive. This is where Kerry began to grow her understanding of the incredible capacities of young children.

Kerry taught in both the primary and intermediate communities and loves bringing that work to communities of teachers around the world. Kerry continues to be amazed and inspired by her work with young children and believes that listening and relationships is at the heart of this work. As a teacher-researcher, her interests include researching literacy practices, including the study and development of Story Workshop and the connections between play and learning. Her favorite part of working at Opal School was being able to explore big, unanswerable questions and ideas with the children she works with and to share those stories with a larger audience beyond the classroom walls.

When she’s not working at Opal School, she’s seeing the world with fresh eyes through her son and daughter.

 

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Tina Eckton (she, her, hers)

Tina graduated with an Elementary Education degree (K-9th) with a minor in Art. She began her career as a middle school classroom teacher teaching LA/Lit/SocSt, Art, Outdoor School as well as HS coaching. Children’s Art Institute is where she first started mentoring teachers and understanding the value of teaching in partnership to grow ideas about child agency and open inquiry learning.
She has owned her own business for over 15 years and has been a contractor in private, public, and charter schools in many districts within a wide range of populations. Part of her early business work was teaching classes in her studio to groups of students ranging from 4 years old to adult ages.
Her contract work has included: Mentoring teachers & specialists connecting materials-thinking within classroom curriculum, Artist-In-Residencies, curriculum development, working with businesses and materials-thinking, doing research, being a liaison educator between a charter school and a public school, community and school connections work, nature connections and outdoor learning, and leading professional development workshops with educators, administrators, and educational specialists.
Besides learning, Tina is passionate about neuroarts, nature connection, open-inquiry, creativity, and the power of awe. Right now what makes her smile is saying, “There are many ways.”
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Emily McNeff (she, her, hers)

Emily McNeff is an elementary educator with a commitment to fostering meaningful learning experiences in a public school setting. Emily’s teaching philosophy centers on inquiry-based learning and a strong emphasis on social and environmental justice. She focuses her work on creating a community where students can show up as themselves, and not only gain knowledge but also develop critical thinking skills and a sense of empathy for the world around them. Emily spent the last 6 years teaching Kindergarten in Beaverton School District, where, along with a collaborative team, she reimagined what it can look like to support Kindergarteners in becoming empowered authors through Story Workshop in a Title I setting. She believes materials and storytelling are forms of liberation, especially for linguistically diverse students. Emily also believes that curiosity is the driving force behind a lifelong love of learning, and by encouraging students to ask questions, explore, and discover, she empowers them to become independent thinkers, storytellers, and change makers. Collaboration is a cornerstone of Emily’s professional journey. She has had the privilege of working alongside esteemed organizations such as Children’s Institute and Teaching Preschool Partners, where she has deepened her understanding of asset-based playful inquiry models. When she’s not spending time on early childhood educational pursuits, you can find Emily on the futsal court, or adventuring outside with her wife, toddler, and their dog.

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Belle Chesler (she, her, hers)

Belle Chesler spent the past 20 years guiding students of all ages through the creative process in collaborative and supportive visual arts classrooms. She has a BA in History from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and an MAT from Lewis and Clark College. She’s designed and taught curriculum that integrates material experimentation and play with mindful embodiment, restorative practices and a lot of joy and humor. She is a skilled writer, communicator, mentor and facilitator, committed to cultivating meaningful relationships and honoring the wisdom and expertise of all individuals. Her writing about education has appeared in publications including: The Nation, The Los Angeles Times, Salon and Mother Jones. Her personal creative practice includes writing, painting, ceramics and constantly moving plants around in her garden. She loves to find patterns in chaos and humor in the absurd, and is always in search of the perfect swimming hole.

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Steve Davee (he, him, his)

Steve Davee’s professional and volunteer experience as an educator spans over 42 years of inquiry-based learning adventures with youth and adults of every age.  A former Howard Hughes Medical Institute Biochemist, Steve was a Documentation Specialist and Math and Science Teacher at Opal School for eight years, before serving for five years as the Director of Education and Chief Maker Educator for the national non-profit Maker Ed. Steve currently serves as the preschool and kindergarten Woodshop and Tinkering Teacher at the Catlin Gabel School.

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Rashelle Chase-Miller (she, her, hers)

Rashelle Chase-Miller has 25 years experience working in early childhood education. After many years working with young children in the classroom, Rashelle moved into program administration as the Director of Education at Peninsula Children’s Learning Center. Rashelle spent six years managing the curriculum and professional development teams for KinderCare Education, and in 2022 joined the team at SMART Reading as the statewide program director.  Rashelle has a BA in Political Studies and Black Studies from Pitzer College and a MS in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Early Childhood Education from Portland State University. Rashelle’s work is driven by the belief that a more just, peaceful and equitable future is possible, and that the realization of those goals begins in our early childhood classrooms.

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Julie Watkins (she, her, hers)

Julie began working with children at her local childcare center when she was a teenager, not intending to become an educator. A simple comment from a parent who noticed the way the children responded to her presence in the classroom shifted her career trajectory into early education from that point forward. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Family Studies and earned a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Early Childhood Inclusive Education from Portland State University. She also holds Master’s certificates in Teacher Leadership and Autism Spectrum Disorders and is passionate about inclusion. Her experience includes over 20 years of classroom teaching with ages ranging from 1 to 6 years. More recently, she has joined the mission to bring tuition-free preschool to Multnomah County as an Instructional Coach with Preschool For All. She also teaches part-time in the Early Childhood Education program at Mt. Hood Community College and is Adjunct Faculty in Curriculum and Instruction at Portland State University. She finds inspiration in inquiry-based, negotiated curriculums and also in the beautiful natural landscapes of the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

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Stephen Karmol (he, him, his)

While working in a kindergarten classroom through AmeriCorps almost twenty years ago, Stephen discovered his passion for early childhood education. After graduating from the Master in Teaching program at The Evergreen State College, he moved to Portland and was fortunate to begin teaching at Wild Lilac Child Development Community, where he served as an educator and administrator for over twelve years.

Stephen works at Child Care Resource & Referral of Multnomah County as an Instructional Coach with Preschool for All. He is proud to be part of a publicly funded program centering equity, anti-racism, and inclusion for children, families, and providers in Multnomah County. As an advocate and activist in our field, Stephen also serves as the President of the Oregon Association for the Education of Young Children. He hopes to play a small role in the transformation of our classrooms, communities, and early learning systems toward a more just, sustainable world for all.

Stephanie Knight (she, her, hers)

Finance Adminstrator

Biography coming soon!

Demonstration Site Classroom Teachers

Joelle Flegal

Morgan Caprio

Sarah MacPherson