The heart and soul of our program is our teaching staff. Most Fruit & Flower lead teachers have a degree or certification and all our teachers continue their education through in-service training and workshops. Each of our classroom groups is staffed with a lead teacher, and assistant teacher. The lead teachers supervise classroom operations and develop the curriculum. Our ratio of caregivers to children meets or exceeds government requirements. We also employ a group of substitute caregivers, to fill in for regular staff that are ill or on vacation. All of our teachers are dedicated to giving our students a quality education in an environment of love and encouragement. Read a little bit about our teachers below.

  • Rosebud Room

    Sherry Hobbs
    30+ years professional experience
    Sherry Hobbs is the lead teacher in the Rosebud Room. She has been working at Fruit and Flower since 1982! (Not a typo!) Sherry has spent her entire Fruit & Flower career with the babies. She has a 16 year old son, who has also gone through the Fruit & Flower program. Sherry enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her dogs.

  • Chris Pitton, BA
    20+ years professional experience
    Chris has worked at Fruit & Flower for almost 15 years. She started out in the Pineapple room and then moved to the Rosebud room in 2005 and has been there ever since. On the weekends Chris enjoys relaxing, watching movies and reading.

  • Daisy Room

    Jill Cortner, BA
    10+ years professional experience
    Jill Cortner is the Lead Teacher for the Daisy Classroom. Jill graduated from George Fox University with a degree in Social and Behavioral studies. In addition, she earned her AA in Early Childhood Education. She has more than 10 year of professional experience working with young children. When not at Fruit & Flower she enjoys spending time with her family, taking short trips in the Northwest, golfing and tennis.

  • Andrea Luedtke, BA
    3+ years professional experience

  • Sweet Pea Room

    Karen Jarne, BA
    33+ years professional experience
    Karen is the lead teacher in the Sweet Pea Room. She was born in Corona, California, and lived in Southern California for most of her life. Karen graduated from Long Beach State University with an AA and BA in early childhood education. She worked at a church-related preschool in Southern California for nine years. Karen grew tired of living in Southern California and so, on a trip to Washington State to visit a friend, she decided to check out the teacher positions at Fruit & Flower. Karen was offered a job, and has been now teaching at Fruit & Flower for almost 25 years.

  • Imelda Sino
    6+ years professional experience
    Imelda is a 2002 graduate of Eqerem Cabej College in Gjirokastra, Albania, with degrees in elementary education and Greek literature. Imelda has taught elementary school children in grades kindergarten through fourth. Most recently, she taught kindergarten and first grade at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Portland, Oregon. Imelda is originally from Albania and moved to the United States in 2002. She joined Fruit & Flower in 2012 and says that her goal is to combine her range of experience with her ability to be a compassionate, enthusiastic and intelligent teacher.

  • Pineapple Room

    Brittney Doffing, BS
    7+ years professional experience
    Brittney graduated from the University of Oregon in 2011 with a BS in Educational Foundations. She taught preschool at Moss Street Children's Center for 3 years and at the Goddard School in Vancouver for 4 years before joining the team at Fruit & Flower in 2015. In her spare time she enjoys watching movies, going to concerts and relaxing at home.

  • Haruka Takanuma, BA
    5+ years professional experience
    Haruka graduated from Portland State University with a degree in Child and Family Studies. She is from Tokyo, Japan and is the proud new parent of a baby girl. Haruka enjoys cooking and watching movies in her free time.

  • Clover Room

    Kathy Duncan, AA
    30+ years professional experience
    Kathy is the lead teacher in the Clover Room (Pre-K). She has her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education and has been at Fruit & Flower since 1982. In her free time, Kathy enjoys spa visits, gardening, camping, and road trips. She also enjoys spending time with her family, (her daughter, Collette is a Fruit & Flower alumni) dogs, and friends. Kathy considers Fruit & Flower to be her second family.

  • Tiffany Aylward, BA
    1+ years professional experience
    Tiffany graduated from Western Oregon University with a degree in Education. She is currently working on her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. Tiffany spent two years working at Partnerships in Community Living

  • Coconut Room

    Allison Dittrich, BA
    6+ years professional experience

  • Maddi Mostek, BA
    4+ years professional experience
    Maddi graduated from the University of Oregon in 2014 with a BA in Social Sciences where she attended classes in Family & Human Services as well as Education & Sociology. She joined the Fruit & Flower team in 2014. Her favorite part of working with children is being a part of their personal growth and watching as children make positive connections. During Maddi's free time, she enjoys exploring the NW with friends, spending time with her family in Puget Sound, good music and crafting.

  • Peaches Room

    Stephanie Derkatch, BA
    5+ years professional experience
    Stephanie is the lead teacher for the Peaches Room. She graduated from Linfield College with a degree in Elementary Education and spent 2 years as a substitute teacher in the McMinnville School District before finding her way to Fruit & Flower. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her family, and training to run in races.

  • Kristen Dobervich, BA
    6+ years years professional experience
    Kristin has been working at Fruit & Flower since 2010 and joined the Pre-k classroom in the fall of 2015. She has a BA in Theater Arts from PSU where she also completed many speech and hearing sciences classes as an emphasis. In her free time she enjoys reading, bowling, writing and performing comedy.

  • Snapdragon Room

    April Lampert, BA
    8+ years professional experience

  • Brian Bellinger, BA
    2+ years professional experience
    Brian has a BA in Spanish with a minor in General Business. His studies have ranged from education to environmental ethics. He uses all of this experience to educate the whole child, preparing them for both the academic and socio-emotional aspects of Kindergarten.

  • Infant/Toddler Coordinator

    Chrissy Verpoorten, BA
    10+ years professional experience
    Chrissy is the Infant/Toddler Coordinator. She graduated from Linfield College in McMinnville, OR in 2001 with a degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. After graduation, Chrissy joined Fruit & Flower and has been here ever since. She began her career at Fruit & Flower as a substitute teacher and then a full time aid. Chrissy moved on to be an assistant teacher in the Peaches and is now in the lead teacher position. In her spare time she enjoys reading, going to the beach, camping, and relaxing with friends.

  • Preschool Coordinator

    Naomi Seeger, BA
    14+ years professional experience
    Naomi is the Program Director. She has been at Fruit & Flower since 2003 and working in the field of childcare for 13 years. Naomi has a Bachelors Degree in Education from Humboldt State University and has dedicated her life to creating quality early childhood education programs. Outside of work she enjoys gardening, fishing, and camping. Naomi loves to cook and try out new recipes with her family and the children in the classroom. She greatly enjoys her job, the children, staff and families at Fruit & Flower.