Meet Our Staff

Administrative Team

Executive Director Chrystell Reed began working at Ridgeline in 2001. Chrystell was awarded a bachelor’s degree in hotel administration, and she earned her Montessori administrator certification from the Houston Montessori Center. Chrystell's children attended Ridgeline from kindergarten through middle school. She enjoys knitting, gardening, watching her daughter jump horses, listening to her son play the acoustic guitar, and the love and support of her family.

Principal Michelle Texley has taught a wide range of ages, from Head Start through eighth grade, and holds a current school administrator’s license in both Oregon and Arizona. In 2018 she completed her administrative practicum at Lincoln Middle School in the Oakland, Oregon, School District. Throughout her practicum, and in her decade of experience teaching in the Oakland School District, Michelle has been a valued mentor for new teachers and a recognized resource for teachers addressing special education needs. She has led annual new staff orientation, assessment and curriculum training, and schoolwide initiatives around school culture and unity, restorative practices, and trauma-informed care.

Teaching Staff

Kinder

Kindergarten teacher Diana Fitzer holds an Oregon teaching license for preschool through eighth grade. She is a graduate of Pacific University, and her Montessori certification spans birth to age nine. She has been teaching in Montessori classrooms since 1991, and she's been at Ridgeline since 2004.

Kindergarten assistant Kristin Warner was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She moved to Eugene in 1998 to attend the UofO and has lived in the area ever since. Kristin's first experience with Ridgeline Montessori was as a parent and volunteer, all three of her children attend school here and love it. She started out in an assistant capacity as a substitute and has been in the kindergarten classroom since fall of 2017. She really enjoys working with this age group as they grow, discover and learn. In her free time, Kristin loves to spend time with her family, read, hike and go to the beach.

Lower Elementary (Grades 1-3)

Lower elementary teacher Rachel Quinn leads Room 3. Rachel has over six years' experience working in a Montessori classroom, most recently as a primary teacher. She began her lower elementary Montessori training in summer 2019. Rachel's roots at our school are deep; she completed an elementary practicum at Ridgeline Montessori in Emily Burton's classroom years ago and is already a Ridgeline parent.

Jacob Searl is the classroom assistant in room 3. He is also a Ridgeline graduate! Jacob brings a wide variety of experience to the position, including a physics degree from the University of Oregon. Jacob is able to demonstrate a deep understanding of the developmental needs of lower elementary students and Montessori methods, as well as portray his sense of curiosity and excitement for the job. He he makes strong connections with our students and truly cares about their learning and growth.

Lower elementary teacher Emily Burton leads room 4. She has been a Montessori lower-elementary teacher for more than a decade. She joined Ridgeline in 2007 after teaching at a private school in Massachusetts. Emily received her Montessori diploma from the Association Montessori Internationale. She also has a strong scientific background. She majored in geology at Carleton College and has a master's degree in environmental toxicology from the University of Wisconsin. Sharing science and nature with the children is one of her passions. Emily's interest in Montessori started early, since she was a Montessori child from preschool until third grade. She especially enjoys seeing how much children learn and grow during their three years in the lower-elementary classroom. Emily is also a Ridgeline parent.

Lower elementary classroom 4 assistant, Carmen Coleman, was raised right here in Eugene, Oregon, and has been part of the Ridgeline community since 2002. Always a strong children's advocate, Carmen has adopted three of her four children through the state's department of human services. The Ridgeline community benefitted from Carmen’s skills at supporting students with reading for years in her former position as reading intervention specialist, providing Tier III intervention and supporting our IIPM team.

Lower elementary teacher Cheri Spies leads room 5. She has been teaching for three decades. She has AMS Montessori certification in early childhood and lower elementary. She also holds a state teaching credential in elementary education with endorsements in early childhood special education and reading instruction. Cheri’s family includes two sons, Tony and Jameson, and her husband, Cliff. During her free time, she enjoys traveling, gardening, reading, and dance. Cheri has been at Ridgeline since the school opened, in 2000.

Lower elementary classroom 5 assistant, Azusa McMullen, hails from Japan and has lived in Eugene for 16 years with her husband and daughters (all Ridgeline alumnae). She has worked as an instructional assistant in Cheri’s class since 2005. She likes to share origami, cooking, and crafts with the class, and she teaches a bit of Japanese. When she’s not at school, Azusa enjoys bhangra dancing and bicycling.

Upper Elementary (Grades 4-6)

Upper elementary room 8 teacher, Adam Sumner, joined our school's teaching team in the 2018–2019 school year. Before leading room 8, he worked for five years on District 4J's special education team, including serving as special education assistant at Ridgeline. Adam Sumner graduated from Pacific University, with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and English Language Learning. He speaks Spanish fluently, and uses it often in his classroom as part of his quest in providing equal access to education. In addition to Spanish, Adam is learning Tagalog, Brazilian Portuguese, and ASL. Adam likes the outdoors. Camping, hiking, swimming, rafting, and rock collecting.

Classroom assistant, Jonathan Sternberg, loves sharing language, history, science, math, and the arts with Room 8's Upper Elementary students. A native of Zimbabwe, he's grown accustomed to students asking "where is that?" In emphasizing self-guided research, he invites Room 8's students to utilize a range of different learning resources, in particular an ancient format of acquiring knowledge known as 'books'. As a bonus, Jonathan also teaches his students about sports that are popular around the world, like cricket and rugby.

Upper elementary teacher, Meridy Wheeler, leads room 9. She joined the Ridgeline staff in 2016 and is an upper-elementary classroom teacher. She has a BS in biology and an MAT in upper-elementary and middle-school science. Although she thought she wanted to teach science, it turns out she enjoyed teaching all the other subjects just as much! After graduation she traveled and worked in different fields until the sirens' call to teach found its way back into her ear. Meridy is a Washington native who loves to spend her time in nature skiing, biking, kayaking, camping, and just relaxing with a book.

Upper elementary classroom 9 assistant, Adriene Mills, is proud to have been with Ridgeline since 2001 and has worked as a Ridgeline instructional assistant with both upper-elementary and lower-elementary classes. Prior to coming to Ridgeline she worked at the Early Education Program for eight years. Her family moved from Spokane, Washington, to Eugene in 1973 when her father became the director of the Ethnic Studies program at the University of Oregon. She later graduated from the UO with a BS in recreation. Adriene loves to read, work, and spend time with her two sons, Austin and Connor.

Upper elementary teacher, Jasper Weinrib, leads room 10. He has worked in education for five years, starting as a Director of Physical Education at Rising Star Montessori in Alameda, CA. Discovering his passion for inspiring joy in young learners, he decided to continue his studies into teaching and holds a master’s in education from Mills College. He led a second-grade classroom in Oakland, California, and has worked in the Beaverton School District. He loves science, nature, and technology, and he and his wife spend much time cooking recipes from around the world.

Room 10 upper-Elementary Assistant, Anna Nichols, has lived in Eugene for four years, recently graduating from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. Prior to Ridgeline, she worked and volunteered in numerous education settings, including the Audubon Society of Portland, Camp Yakety Yak, and Buena Vista Elementary. In her free time, she loves to play guitar, bicycle, and learn new languages. She is currently learning Mandarin Chinese!

Middle School (Grades 7-8)

Middle-school science and math teacher, Carrie Culliton, has lived in Eugene since 1992 and has been an involved member of the Ridgeline community since 2003. She holds a bachelor's in art and psychology from the University of Oregon, and a Secondary Montessori Teaching Certificate from the American Montessori Society. Carrie enjoys cooking, gardening, creating beautiful useful objects, exploring nature, reading, and dancing. Her most treasured roles are as mother and teacher.

Middle school science and math assistant, Christa Nova, grew up in Northern Utah. They graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor’s in Economics. Christa discovered their passion for education through martial arts, and ran a martial arts school of their own for 6 years before moving to Eugene. Their other interests include LGBTQ+ advocacy, community building, and Dungeons&Dragons.

Middle-school teacher, Jon Labrousse, is an Oregon-certified teacher with a B.A. in English from Oregon State University and an M.Ed. in educational leadership from the University of Oregon. He completed the AMI Montessori Orientation Programme to Adolescent Studies (12-18) in cooperation with NAMTA. In addition to his six years of experience teaching in Eugene middle schools and high schools, Jon taught English for two years in Japan and South Korea and spent seven years in leadership positions at the University of Oregon. He's a published, award-winning poet and a regular on the poetry slam circuit. His two children are Ridgeline graduates, and the bicycle is his favorite invention.

Middle school humanities and communications assistant, Maizzy Phayt, grew up in Seattle, Washington and graduated from Seattle University with a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology. After moving to Eugene, Maizzy unearthed a passion to provide support and education to middle and high school age students and their families. Volunteering with Ophelia’s Place for a few years, and a Summer as a Girl Scouts camp counselor, led Maizzy to joining the Ridgeline staff in 2015. When not working, Maizzy enjoys playing pretend and camping with family and friends. Maizzy believes that stories hold the solution to every problem a person can face.

Tier III Instructional Assistant

Betsy Brandenfels joined our community in 2002 as a Ridgeline parent and chaperoned field trips, assisted in the classroom and office, read with students, painted classrooms, helped with moves between buildings, and substituted as a library assistant. Following her sons’ graduations, she was an active substitute classroom assistant. Betsy has been our full-time Tier III Instructional Assistant and Coordinator since 2015, providing support for reading, math, and writing. In addition she facilitates our data team and coordinates schoolwide assessments. She has a master’s degree in speech and hearing sciences with additional graduate coursework in reading and math instruction.

School Counselor

Heather Rose LeCompte holds a license in K-12 School Counseling and is a Certified School Career Development Advisor. She has a BA degree in Anthropology from Humboldt State University and a MA degree in School Counseling from Bushnell University. Her work experience spans many years, in positions ranging from academic advising for non-traditional college students to teaching art to elementary-aged students and school counseling in all K-12 grade levels. She specializes in trauma-informed care, culturally competent counseling, focusing on integrating poetry therapy, art therapy, and play therapy techniques into her work as a counselor. Outside of the school counseling world, Heather enjoys spending time with her husband, son, and identical twin sister.