|   about us

AEME (we say it ‘aim’, like a goal) is a small group of people in the Portland area who are passionate about increasing equity and children’s healthy development, happiness, and future success.

Our Mission

The mission of Alliance for Equity in Montessori Education is to increase access to high-quality, low-cost/no-cost Montessori early childhood education for children and families.

Equity Statement

In order to achieve our mission, we are steadfastly committed to combating poverty-related, race-related, gender-related, and all other forms of unfair bias that stand in the way of children’s success in school.

Reflecting our commitment to equity, we listen to and respond with great care and intentionality to the children and families with whom we partner. We consistently analyze our organizational commitment to equity and inclusion as expressed through our policies and practices, our workforce and board composition, and our engagement of families as critical guides for our work.

Cultural and institutional classism, racism, and sexism remain profound barriers to children’s and families’ success, and we recognize that our internal and external organizational journey is both urgent and perpetual. We are deeply committed to this journey.


Established in 2019 by two founding members of the Alder Montessori program, AEME is a growing nonprofit with a big vision: to move the needle on educational equity in our most marginalized communities.

Aside from administering Alder Montessori, we work with our community partners and allies to promote collaborative, sustainable solutions for increasing access to high-quality early childhood education. With the success of Alder Montessori, our ongoing vision is to use the program as a model for opening additional programs in under-resourced communities around the region.

Our Staff

Katy is an AMI-trained and Oregon-licensed bilingual teacher with decades of Montessori experience in both the public and private sector across the country.

Katy Fontneau

Teacher, Alder Montessori

What started as a part-time volunteer position with an early childhood parent group associated with Alder Montessori's early years soon became a full-time role in the classroom with Katy. Rosa is Montessori-trained as a classroom assistant and a key community liaison and translator.

Rosa Ortiz

Classroom Assistant, Alder Montessori

Claudia has been closely connected with Alder neighborhood since she attended nearby Reynolds High School. Formerly, she worked assisting seniors, and has been with Alder Montessori since 2019. She chose this work because she loves to help people, especially the kids. She loves her work because she loves to see the students smile when she helps them out.

Claudia Lopez

Classroom Assistant, Alder Montessori

Liora has over 20 years leadership experience designing, managing and advocating for quality, innovative and equitable services and supports for low-income individuals and families in our Portland-Metro community. Liora earned a Masters in Public Administration from PSU, and her BA in Social and Cultural Anthropology from UC Berkeley, and is a strong advocate on bringing free and low cost Montessori education in collaboration with our local public elementary schools.

Liora Berry

Executive Director

Itzia is the child of immigrants who grew up in Portland in a low income household. She has been interested in early childhood education since high school and decided she wanted to become a teacher for young children. She was excited to learn about Alder Montessori because it is a diverse program serving low income households.

Itzia Martinez Venegas

Classroom Assistant, Alder Montessori

Having taught and lead Montessori for over 20 years on three continents, Shazia is passionate about social justice and fostering equity, diversity, and inclusion. As a person of color, it is important to her to create safe and brave spaces, and to ensure that everyone's needs are met in a respectful and equitable way. She thinks of herself as a connector, and a bridge to bring people together.

Shazia Abdulla

Alder Montessori School Director

Jamie is Montessori trained and has experience in both public and private schools.

Jamie Greene

Teacher, Alder Montessori

Vivian has worked in Montessori schools for over two decades, at every age level except high school. Her particular areas of interest include brain development, movement, and language. In the office, her graphic design and photography background help shape AEME's public presence. She has a Bachelor's in Science from Portland State University.

Vivian Aubrey

Montessori Program Coordinator

Alliance for Equity in Montessori Education
PO Box 6569
Beaverton, OR 97007



Black and green logo for Reynolds School District