The River Room

Kristin McConnaughey, Beth Pratt-Russum and Christina Balesky

Kristin McConnaughey, Beth Pratt-Russum and Christina Balesky

Kristin McConnaughey is our River Room lead teacher. She began work at Harmony as an Assistant to our founder, Jude in November 2000. For years she had worked with children many in different capacities, mainly as a nanny, but it wasn’t until she found Harmony and learned more about Montessori that she discovered her true calling in life. She continued her work as an assistant the following year and then began her Montessori teacher training and certification through North American Montessori Center, while co-teaching for two years with Jude. She has been guiding the River Room at Harmony since 2005. Kristin’s life away from Harmony includes a passion for music and the outdoors. In her spare time she enjoys playing her guitar, singing, and exploring Oregon’s wild and scenic areas with her husband Jim and daughter Mesa.

“It is such a blessing to truly love the work you do! Everyday I feel inspired and uplifted through my interactions with the Harmony staff, parents, and especially the children. Together we are building a brighter, more enlightened, and peaceful future.” -Kristin

Beth Pratt-Russum began at Harmony as the Aftercare Assistant in 2010 shortly after moving to Portland in search of work in a Montessori classroom.  She began helping out in the River Room in 2012 where she is now the Assistant.  She has her undergrad degree in Youth Ministry from Eastern University.  Eventually she hopes to continue her education with Montessori training.  Outside of the classroom, Beth enjoys spending her time with her husband Mark, son Kade, and dog Oliver.  She enjoys volunteering with her Quaker meeting, loves all things crafty (especially knitting),  adventuring outdoors, and advocating for evidence-based maternity care.

Christina Balesky joined the River room as an assistant in August of 2015.  She has experience working as a nanny and has provided jewelry classroom for children.  Though she has been in many different work environments, working with children has been a constant through all of them. She’s never questioned her passion for it, but it wasn’t until 2011, when she was introduced to Camp Odyssey, that she truly understood the value.  It showed her that teachers, parents, and mentors can completely change the way someone sees the world.  Shelby began to value being in an environment that is free of judgement, where individual voices are encouraged, and appreciated even when they are different. She realized that she had the capability of spreading that strength and harmony, and that is exactly what she intends to do here.

The Lake Room
The Ocean Room
The Waterfall Room
The Forest Room



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