Our Teachers

All of our talented and nurturing teachers work closely together in a close-knit, familial team. Our shared vision has evolved as we learn through experiment and observation. As teachers in a child-centered program, we create an environment to inspire the children, and we watch, learn, and offer invitations. We bring in new materials and experiences based on what we see, and we sit with the children and share their learning and document their activities to help store their memories and stories. We provide them with our grown-up resources when needed, offering them materials, skills, comfort, or words to voice their needs and emotions. We value creative, nurturing teachers who know how to laugh and to listen.

Thank  you for your interest in Wee Works. I am the owner and Executive Director, Pat van der Werf. Wee Works opened on the corner of 40th and Tillamook in 1992. In 2004 we moved to the old Hollywood Library building where we are licensed by the Early Learning Division for 45 children. My background is in early childhood education. I started my career in 1970, working as a preschool aide. Wee Works has had the privilege of caring for many children in the N.E. Portland area, some of whom have eventually become employees or satisfy their community service hours at Wee Works. I am proud of the program and environment our teachers have created and look forward to arranging a tour for your family. 

My name is Katie Dorow and I am the Director at Wee Works. I began wo
rking here in the Fall of 2002 as a lead teacher, and became director in 2015. I feel very lucky to be a part of developing our preschool program over the years, and find myself newly engaged each year with creating a safe, creative, warm, and stimulating environment for children to thrive in. 
I am originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan and I graduated from Michigan State University with majors in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education in 2000. After graduating, I moved to beautiful Portland with my husband, Eric. We now have two daughters, Ada, who was born in 2006, and Una, who was born in 2009. 

I feel very passionate about early childhood education and excited to be a part of the movement to create environments that value play. I am so grateful to share in the many discoveries, challenges, and triumphs that are happening everyday in children's lives. 

My name is Taitiana Shellmire. I have been a teacher here since fall of 2010, and I am now the lead teacher of the Starling classroom and the Assistant Director. I attended college at the University of Oregon where I obtained a BA in psychology. I then went on to study at Concordia University where I received a MEd, majoring in both curriculum and instruction, and early childhood education. 

Working with kids has been a passion of mine for years. In middle school I volunteered in children's art programs. In high school I nannied as well as volunteered at Hollyrood Elementary School. And, in college I was a teacher at Moss St. Children's Center near campus. As a teacher in early childhood education I believe in nurturing and guiding students as we help to set a foundation for learning and development that will last a lifetime.

When I am not working, I spend as much time as possible with my family. In 2017 that family grew as my partner and I welcomed our first child into the world. Along with my dog, we are an active bunch that enjoys laughing and simply being together. Wee Works is a special family and I look forward to growing and learning with all of you. 


My name is Rebecca Albright and I am the Head Teacher of the Swift classroom and also the Curriculum Coordinator at Wee Works. I grew up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and moved to Portland in 2000. I have been working with young children for most of my life, first through babysitting jobs in high school then at a child development center while pursuing my undergraduate degree at Penn State. 

I enjoy supporting children as they make new discoveries about their world and as they navigate social interactions within our community. I feel honored to be invited into their world and see my role as co-learner alongside them. Most of my experience is in Reggio inspired early childhood classrooms and I'm excited to be a part of Wee Works. 

My husband and I are the proud parents of two amazing children, Daisy and Charlie. Daisy was diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex at 7 weeks old and has taught me many life lessons along our journey together. She love music, dancing, and dogs. Charlie attends Wee Works and is excited to be at school. He loves running, Star Wars, and his big sister. We love to be together as a family and take walks in the woods or play with our dog Olive. 

In my free time I enjoy quilting, gardening and reading. I hope to share these skills with the Swift children!