Staff Qualifications and Training

All staff at The Nest have:

  • Infant/child first aid and CPR card
  • Health and Safety training
  • Safe Sleep training
  • Food handler’s card
  • Enrollment in Oregon’s background registry
  • A minimum of 30 hours of infant/toddler specific training

All staff are required to complete a minimum of 24 hours of training annually in a variety of Oregon’s core knowledge categories, but we are passionate about continued learning, and usually far exceed that number.

Savannah is a teacher in odd-numbered cohorts, as well as the owner and manager here at The Nest. She has worked with young children most of her life, including two years at Busy Bee Preschool and several years as a nanny for infants and toddlers. She felt a strong kinship with Magda Gerber’s ideas the first time she read Dear Parent, and did an extensive RIE training in the fall of 2013.

She lives here in SE Portland with her husband Michael (a high school teacher) and a mess of pets, including a beagle, a pit bull, and a sweet and spicy old cat. In her spare time she likes to cook, sew, tend to an absurd number of house plants, and read preschool teaching blogs and YA dystopian fiction.

Savannah grew up in a small town here in Oregon and graduated from Reed College with a degree in English, before realizing that she really wanted to spend her life working with young children. Her favorite book in middle school was Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink, in which two girls get happily stranded on a desert island with four toddlers, so she probably should have known all along!

Alex (she/her) is a teacher in odd-numbered cohorts. She has been teaching in the Early Childhood Education setting since 2012, and also has experience as a Preschool Director in the Portland area. She believes that having experience both in the classroom and in management has given her an appreciation and understanding toward what makes a school happy, healthy, and “homey.”

A background in Psychology and Counseling is what helped feed Alex’s passion for working with children. Kiddos go through so many different mental and physical developmental stages in their first few years of life, and watching that unfold (differently, yet similarly) for each child in her care is something that she genuinely cherishes.

Alex was born and raised here in Oregon, primarily living in the suburbs of Portland her entire life (and enjoying every minute of it). Aside from working with children, Alex holds a deep love for scary movies, fiction novels, 80’s rock bands, and her kitty-cat, Carter

Emily (she/her) is a teacher in odd-numbered cohorts. She is a native Portlander, dog lover, and a huge Blazer fan! She lives in NE Portland with her husband Zo and their cat and wiener dog. She loves to garden and read, and she tends our school gardens (and hummingbirds!). Her favorite books are The Song of Ice and Fire series (aka Game of Thrones) by George R.R. Martin.

Em has been working in the field, with infants and toddlers, for more than 10 years, and has been at The Nest since 2014. She studied Early Childhood Education and Family Studies at Portland Community College and earned her Certificate there.

Her education and approach to caregiving is based on Magda Gerber’s RIE philosophy. She believes in building trust, forming relationships, healthy attachment, and respecting every child as an individual.

Dea (she/they) is the lead teacher in even-numbered cohorts. Dea has been working with children and families since 2011. Dea graduated in 2016 from Southern Oregon University with a bachelors in early childhood development. Throughout college Dea focused on infant and toddler development.

Dea believes in the power of relationships, respect and natural consequences when working with young children. When not raising the next generation Dea is usually found knitting, cuddling with their dog Dozer or eating too much granola.

Huong (she/her) is a teacher in even-numbered cohorts. Her love for teaching began at age 5, while playing “school” with siblings. In the last 20 years, Huong has been a caregiver, teacher, and supervisor for children in the age range of birth to age 18.

To better understand human behavior, she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from Eastern Oregon University. Huong finds most joy being around infants, toddlers, and preschoolers; she thinks they are irresistible, perfect, and absolutely deserving of a beautiful beginning in life! Huong’s sense of wonder leads her to continually explore, learn, and appreciate the wonderful diversity of this universe; in which favorites include escaping to the beach, learning a new language, and having ridiculously delicious coffee with fresh pumpkin pie.

Huong happily lives in SE Portland with her awesome husband and three dazzling daughters. (For pronunciation help with “Huong”: Google Translate and listen in Vietnamese)

Lauren is a teacher in even-numbered cohorts. She is working toward her degree in early childhood education, and is particularly interested in infant and toddler development. She believes that young children learn best in an environment with positive relationships and lots of opportunities for kids to challenge themselves and learn new things.

Lauren was born in California and has lived in Portland since elementary school. When she is not working with children, Lauren enjoys reading, playing guitar and piano, listening to music and podcasts, and hanging out with her cat, Oskey.

Lonnie (they/them) is a teacher in even-numbered cohorts, and an all-school sub. They have been working with young children for four years, primarily within the context of summer camps. They also graduated with a degree in psychology from Reed College where they were particularly interested in the relationship between a person’s individual disposition and outside socializing forces. Lonnie is a firm believer that all children are able to thrive when their strengths are centered, their autonomy is respected, and their ability to achieve is expected.

While they were born and raised in a suburb just outside of Seattle, Lonnie now lives in SE Portland with two fabulous housemates who they spend lots of time with. Additionally, they can oftentimes be found sitting on their stoop drinking coffee and reading (their favorite author, Willy Vlautin, lives in Oregon), dancing to anything from disco to punk, and reflecting on their own childhood experiences. Lonnie plans to forever maintain their appreciation of the quiet moments in life (despite being an extrovert with a loud voice) and the power of authenticity.