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! I 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. This includes my dog, Aaliyah, whose adventures and misadventures have become the inspiration behind many storytelling moments in the classroom. Wee Works is a special family and I look forward to growing and learning with all of you. 

My name is Sasha Jacobs and I am the lead teacher in the Swift classroom. I am so excited to be joining such a creative, hard working and caring team. A bit about me: I grew up in Oakland, CA and attended Beloit College in Wisconsin, where I majored in Education and Youth Studies, Youth and Society. I have worked with children in many settings since the age of 15 and loved every minute of it. I strongly believe in the importance of early childhood education and providing students with the social and emotional tools that will sustain them through life. During college I was able to study abroad in Denmark. During my time there, I spent two days a week at an early childcare facility. The Danish pedagogy taught me an incredible amount about the importance of play, exploration, and creativity. I am feeling so elated to be in an environment such as Wee Works, that supports these same values. 
Art has always been an important part of my life as well, and it is amazing to be able to integrate that passion into my work here. 

Wee Works Preschool * 3918 N.E. Hancock St. * Portland, OR 97212 * (503) 335-8319