Preschool Staff

Kimberley Bonder
Lead Preschool Teacher, Curriculum Program Coordinator
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I grew up mostly in Spokane Washington and sometimes in a small rural town,  Elma just west of Olympia. Both homes nestled outside of cities in the rolling countryside I spent most of my time playing in creeks, swimming in lakes floating down rivers and enjoying a very large close family.

After high school, I worked, played and attended college, moved to New York, meet my husband moved back to Washington State and obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Washington State University in human development with a teaching certification in early childhood education.

I found Trillium while researching a democratic school conference being held in Albany New york.  I attended an open house and my children were accepted through the lottery in 2008. My children started their fourth year at Trillium this fall.

I began working at Trillium as a substitute teacher and when the opportunity to join the teaching staff arose, my teaching experience in preschool and kindergarten along with the larger community aspect of Trillium made this a perfect fit.

I believe that in order for human beings to reach their full potential we must have a sense of belonging. This is especially true for young children, their learning environments must establish a sense of wonder, nurture self awareness, allow risk taking, provide time to wallow, tinker, ponder, discover and create ideas about the world as whole and how they belong. I teach by a philosophy I learned back in teacher school…children are naturally curious and naturally playful. It is the tools we provide in early childhood classrooms  for “play” that create lifetime proactive learners. But mostly I agree with Bev Bos who said:   “We are so often worried about preparing children for the next stage, for the 3 year old will soon be a 4 year old, the 4 year old will become a  5 year old .  We must stop and look and prepare classroom for the child as a 3, 4 or 5 year old for they have ARRIVED.”

When not at Trillium, I love gathering with my family and friends, laughing, dancing, playing with my children, reading books and listening to songs I love over and over again.



Sara McWilliams
Lead Preschool Teacher, Administrative Program Coordinator
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I grew up in Youngstown, Ohio where the seasons are harsh and the folks are down-to-earth. As a child, I was an actor, a teacher, a violin and ukulele player, and a crafter. Guess what? I’m still an actor, a teacher, a violin (and now ukulele) player and crafter. I’m one of the rare and lucky few who got to be what they wanted to be when they grew up.  I have officially been teaching for over a decade and it feels good down to my toes: I’m constantly in awe of young children and feel the privilege and responsibility of working together each day. I attended Kent State University where I obtained a bachelor’s and promptly headed off to Los Angeles, CA. There I taught preschool, studied early childhood education, refined my jewelry-making skills, and got my second bachelor’s in “life on my own”. Thankfully, I passed. I married my college sweetheart, we moved to Portland, adopted two amazing dogs, and lived happily ever after. When not being enlightened by preschoolers, I can be found studying metal arts, performing with Playback Theater, (shameless plug: doing amazing work in the field of drama therapy, and trying not to let the Steelers drive me batty.


Mariya Block

Preschool Teacher

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I grew up in a variety of places including Aberdeen, Washington, Manchester, England, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In Oklahoma I had the blessing of living on five acres of land right in the middle of the city. I spent most of my time, climbing trees, riding horses, dancing, singing, learning to play any instrument I could get my hands on, and helping to care for the land. When I was twenty-two I decided it was time to head back up to the Northwest. I was on my way to Seattle, but stopped off in Portland on the way and knew I was home. About a year and a half later I became a mom! Two kids later I began volunteering many hours at my son’s school, and right away felt a strong calling toward teaching. I enrolled in early childhood education classes at PCC, where I had already been studying  recording studio engineering.  Upon graduating from PCC, and undergoing Waldorf teacher training at the Micha-el Institute, I went on to PSU, majoring in arts and letters and child and family studies.

After a year of volunteering at my son’s school they decided to hire me on. Everyday those children reawakened the wonder inside of me. Their curious nature and their immense desire to learn and create reminded me of what it truly meant to be human. After working as an assistant in the preschool, I then moved on to becoming the music teacher and nature immersion teacher in the elementary school. I got to spend my time singing songs and playing guitar, as well as running around the forest, working on farms, urban and rural, and learning some really amazing stuff about this beautiful part of the Earth we live on. When my son was in 4th grade, and nearing the end of where his sweet little school could take him, he landed a space at Trillium. We knew right away it was a perfect fit for our family. A year later my daughter started in the preschool. I loved Trillium’s philosophy of constructivist, democratic education so much  that I knew I wanted to be a part of it as a teacher as well as a parent. I began subbing in the preschool until finally, while pregnant with my third child, I was offered a teaching position. A dream come true!

Outside of teaching I love to spend time with my family, write and record songs, make up stories, create art, grow things, build things, make things, and wander around in the forest.