Jude Foster
is the owner and guide of Chickadee Montessori LLC. Jude is a long-time Montessorian, with more than 20 years of teaching experience in the Portland area. In the summer of 2010 she retired from her position as the founding Head of School at Harmony Montessori School in east Portland, which she opened in 1994.  Two months later Chickadee opened its doors.

shapeimage_6Jude discovered Montessori in 1980, in a unique mentorship situation. She first worked in an actual Montessori school in Salt Lake City in 1985, and did her training while living in Utah, through the International Montessori Society program, back in the days before the internet.   She has been active in the Oregon Montessori Association for years, serving twice on its Board of Directors, and she was honored to receive the OMA’s annual “Outstanding Dedication” award in 2007.

Jude has three adult children, two sons and a daughter, and is “Nana” to her daughter’s two young children. Her other interests include gardening, building community, camping and hiking in the beautiful Northwest, and deepening her relationship with nature and with Spirit.  She created this small program in order to continue her dedicated work with children in a more sustainable, natural, and local way – it’s truly a dream come true.


Carissa O’Brien joined Chickadee as co-teacher in July 2014.  Carissa did her training at Montessori Institute Northwest, graduating in 2004, and then she earned her Masters from Loyola University.  She has been working as a guide for twelve years, in Hawaii and in Washington.  She returned to Portland in 2014 with her daughter Ella (now attending Chickadee), son Kai (who is in elementary school), and husband, Niels. She enjoys cooking, camping, and spending her days in the company of young children.




Noriko Gaudreault has been our assistant since January 2011. She brings a quiet, hard-working grace and kindness to everything she does. She enjoys creating craft and sewing projects to share with the children.  Her gentle and respectful presence is appreciated by all of us, and her attention to detail is invaluable.  Noriko, who was born and raised in Japan, lives nearby with her husband and two daughters, who are now 12 and 14 years old.




Joelle 11755466_10153632939343854_6051145504839980499_nAllen is our art teacher and occasional substitute support person.  After working with us for a few months as a short-term assistant in 2014, she offered to create an art class, which is now in its second year.  She comes once a week to work with the older children, and this experience has become a highlight for these children.  Joelle has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from OSU, and she is celebrating this chance to teach art.  She and her husband have their own film and video production business, and they have two young sons, now 8 and 5; this photo shows her with her younger son.