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

    Stephanie Derkatch, BA
    5+ years professional experience
    Stephanie is the lead teacher for the Rosebud 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.

  • 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.

  • Daisy Room

    Andrea Luedtke, BA
    3+ years professional experience
    Andrea is the Lead Teacher in the Daisy Room. She is a Portland native and has worked with children for 15 years. During her free time, Andrea loves to cook, spend time with family, read and sing. In the classroom she enjoys leading art activities and circle times. Andrea is passionate about fostering kindness, creativity and confidence in young children and absolutely loves teaching. When she was three she even attended Fruit & Flower!

  • Alissa Entzi
    years professional experience

  • Sweet Pea Room

    Imelda Sino, BA
    8+ 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.

  • Madi Port-Sonenshine
    2+ years professional experience
    Madi has worked at Fruit & Flower for almost 2 years and loves the Sweet Pea age group. She has taken many early learning classes and eventually hopes to finish her Associates Degree in early childhood.

  • Pineapple Room

    Sarah Carter, BS
    10+ years professional experience
    Sarah is the Lead Teacher in the Pineapple Room. She has a Bachelors degree in Speech & Hearing. Sarah loves working with children of all ages but has a special place in her heart for 2 & 3 year olds. It is fun to watch their personalities come out as they grow and begin to grasp more concepts. In her free time, Sarah enjoys reading, watching TV & movies and walking around Portland.

  • Marco Reyes Rojas, BA
    6+ years professional experience
    Marco has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences and a minor in Media Studies.

  • 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.

  • Jody Carlos
    13+ years professional experience
    Jody has been working with preschool aged children for about 14 years. He moved to Portland in 1998 from southern California and love the changing of the seasons.

  • Coconut Room

    Jenna Gibbons, BS
    6+ years professional experience
    Jenna has a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a double focus in Child Development and Human Services. Jenna has a passion for working with children and participating in their learning and growth. Prior to working at Fruit & Flower she taught at a development center and bi-lingual elementary school in central Mexico. Jenna has traveled to over 15 countries and loves to explore new places, try new foods and learn about other cultures.

  • Jamie MacGillivray
    years professional experience

  • Peaches Room

    TBD years professional experience

  • Haley Porter, BA
    2+ years professional experience
    Haley has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Development and Family Studies. She grew up in SE and loves Portland and everything the city has to offer. When she is not teaching she enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking trails and trying new restaurants.

  • Snapdragon Room

    Jill Cortner, BA
    10+ years professional experience
    Jill Cortner is the Lead Teacher for the Snapdragon 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.

  • Sennan Justel
    years professional experience

  • 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.