Andrea Johnson, originally from Austin, TX, followed her love of nature to beautiful southern Oregon in 2006 with her husband Phil. She graduated from SOU with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2008. Here she combined Early Childhood Development and Sociology, acknowledging the connectivity of socio-economics, mental health and child development in the home and the success of a child as a life-long learner. Soon after, in the spring of 2009, she continued her interest in Montessori education and completed her Montessori Infant/Toddler certification with the North American Montessori Center. Andrea’s passions as a teacher include: storytelling, creating spaces for children to learn through exploration, providing ample opportunities to experience success and autonomy, and building strong, positive social skills. She worked at Children’s World Montessori in Ashland from 2007 to 2020. During this time, in 2008, she was hired on as site-director at their toddler location. It was at this time that she met Suzanne Willow and fell in love with Willow Witt Ranch. Bringing toddlers to Willow Witt ranch was a great joy and the experience blossomed into a consistent year-round connection with local farms and the many students and families at the toddler site, pumpkin patch tours in the fall, baby pigs and goats tours in the spring. Parents still share with her the pleasure they had being a part of such a wonderful experience. In 2013, Andrea was fortunate to attend the International Montessori Congress in Portland, Guided by Nature. It was an inspiring collaboration of our global Montessori community of educators. This experience strengthened her skills in teaching about peace, acceptance and learning with, in and from nature.
These days, Andrea continues her love of Montessori education in her backyard, where she operates Avery Street Montessori, an outdoor toddler preschool. Outside of teaching, Andrea has grown as a community organizer in her neighborhood, coordinating block parties through the years and organizing a street art installation in 2020. Her passions in community building, education, art and nature have enabled her to meet and connect people of all backgrounds in fun and unique ways. Andrea has two children, 12 and 7 years old and two big fur babies, Max and Lady. For fun she enjoys hiking with her family and dogs, learning new handwork skills and playing the upright bass in a bluegrass band.