The River Room & The Waterfall Room

The River Room

Kristin McConnaughey – Lead Guide

Michelle Johnson – Co-Guide

Beth Pratt-Russum – Assistant

Kristin McConnaughey began her 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. Kristin 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

Michelle Johnson joined Harmony in August of 2016 as the assistant in the elementary classroom. After receiving her AMI primary diploma from Montessori Northwest and a Masters in Education from Loyola University she returned to the Harmony community. Michelle worked as support staff and helped with Oasis and is now happily co-teaching in the River Room. After work in day camps, afterschool programs and nannying, Michelle was happy to find Montessori, where children are confident and independent. She enjoys sharing the love of learning and seeing the joy the children’s accomplishments bring. In her free time she enjoys seeing live music, dabbling in crafts, and taking care of her indoor plant jungle. 





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.

The Waterfall Room

Joline Bassett – Lead Guide

Cree Belknap – Co-Guide

Charlie Dickerson – Assistant

Joline Bassett joined the Harmony community in the Waterfall classroom in June 2013. She realized her love for young children while still a child herself, and began babysitting neighborhood children when she was ten years old. It was when Joline was invited to be a last minute substitute in a friend’s Montessori school that the pieces fell together. She continued working as an assistant while completing her Primary Associate Certification at the Montessori Education Institute of the Pacific Northwest in Seattle, Washington in 2004. Joline has over ten years of experience in the Montessori classroom, as an assistant, intern, Co-Teacher, and Lead Teacher. Outside of the classroom, Joline enjoys spending time with her husband Brendon and their two boys, Loic (8), and Simeon (4), and their newest addition, Percy the fluffy dog. She loves discovering new crafts to dabble in, and recently discovered that she actually enjoys running. Joline has also worked recently as a certified Birth Doula.

Cree Belknap joined the Harmony community in the Waterfall Room in August of 2015. Cree has been working with children for over 15 years. She has 5 years experience in Montessori classrooms, as a lead guide and as an assistant. She also provided care for children as a nanny and through children’s mental health. Cree graduated from the Montessori Institute Northwest in 2007 with an Assistants to Infancy (0-3) teaching credential and she is a graduate from the University of Portland with a BA in Elementary Education and a minor in Psychology. Cree is also on the path of becoming a Post Partum Doula and a Peer Counselor through Nursing Mothers Counsel. While juggling being a mom, partner, and teacher, Cree is also a passionate gardener. She loves the process of starting seedlings in the late winter and seeing them flourish through the summer and then sharing the bounty. Outside of teaching and gardening, Cree can be found knitting, sewing, quilting, and spending time in the outdoors with her daughter, Sevi, son, Magnus and husband, Jason.

Charlie Dickerson joined the Harmony community in the fall of 2013 when his daughter started as a preschooler in the Ocean Room.  He became part of the staff in the winter of 2016, working as an Oasis assistant and classroom help. He joined the Waterfall Room in the fall of 2017. Before his days at Harmony, Charlie worked as a nanny and stay-at-home dad. His hobbies include cheering on the Blazers, cooking, running, testing out local microbrews, working on his 100-year-old house, and spending time with his amazing wife and daughter.