Deb Johnson

female_silhouette_clip_art_9509I have been in the ECE field since I graduated from the University of Maine in with a degree in Child Development. I worked at a center in Spokane for a year, and at a not-for-profit center in Portland for 22 years. I was a teacher and later an administrator at that center. I was with Head Start for 10 years and have been with CCR&R for the last 4 years. I am glad to have had these various job experiences within the field-those different perspectives are helpful when working with families and ECE professionals in my current position.

When I was a child we went to the library regularly and 2 of my favorite books when I was very young were Go, Dog, Go (I had a dog), and Little Black, A Pony (I really wanted a horse!)
I enjoy sewing doll clothes and quilts, volunteering as a Pet Partner team with my greyhound, Huckleberry and reading.

Although I don’t have the opportunity much anymore, I absolutely love talking with children and hearing how they view and process their world!


Ashley Jenkinson

female_silhouette_clip_art_9509When I was a senior in high school, I started working one on one with a Kindergarten student who had English as her second language. It was that experience which triggered my curiosity about the years before Kindergarten. As I went off to college I was pretty set on becoming an elementary teacher but also knew I wanted to study child development. My first child development class was about young children and trauma—it was there that I found my passion for Early Childhood Education and Child Development. I started taking more ECE classes, volunteering at Head Start and also started drifting farther from Elementary Education and more toward ECE. I graduated with my BA in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Child Development from Humboldt State University in California. In 2008, I got my first position at a local ECE program which was inspired by Montessori and used a play-based curriculum. This solidified my choice to work in the ECE field rather than Elementary—this is when I truly fell in love with ECE and all of its possibilities and the influence we have as early childhood educators.

I have had many roles in the field – from classroom aide to teacher, program specialist, assistant director, director and now a mentor for all early childhood educators in Multnomah County. What I love most about my current role is helping professionals find something new within themselves or overcome a barrier. I also very much enjoy the people I work with every day—we have a WEALTH of knowledge, experience and passion in this office and it’s very rewarding to be immersed in that each day. I believe there is never a ceiling in this field, we can continue to learn and learn from one another.

The things I enjoyed most when I was a child were reading books and playing in the forest in my backyard. I made mud pies, investigated creatures I found, built forts, and explored trails, among other things. As an adult, I am grateful that my parents made me play outside for most of my childhood. As a young child, my favorite book was The Napping House and still to this day it’s my favorite picture book. Outside of work, I spend much of my time with my husband and our two dogs, Comet and Dash. We enjoy camping, trying new restaurants and new foods, fishing, gardening, watching the San Francisco Giants, cooking, and cherishing time with family and friends.


Christine Waters

female_silhouette_clip_art_9509I have been working in the early learning field since before I graduated from Ball State University in 2005 with a BA in early childhood education and a teaching license for birth to 3rd grade and earned my MS in Education: Policy, Foundations, & Administration in the Ecology, Culture & Learning program (now known as Leadership for Sustainability Education) at Portland State University in 2011.

Throughout my career, I have taught toddlers, 3 and 4 year olds and served as an assistant director and trainer in different center based settings both in Indiana and Portland, Oregon. I have worked in Child Care Resource and Referral agencies in both Indiana and Oregon for a total of 9 years starting in 2007, as a mentor, training coordinator, resource specialist, and now the director. I am passionate about the work that we do, and love to bring resources and support to early learning programs and educators while building partnerships and bridges to support all families. I love the way that only a child can create; from a beautiful finger paint, to an imaginative story to the world’s biggest emotional display, down to a made-up word (my family has lots!) that fits the situation perfectly!

As a child growing up in urban New Jersey, I sought out the small pieces of nature that I could find, and spent a lot of my time in a large evergreen tree at the end of our road. Riding bikes, climbing trees, and playing with neighborhood friends was the essence of childhood for me. Now I am a mother of 2 young boys, a jack-russell named Petie, and wife to a loving man and father. We love reading Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems, and any book that contains dinosaurs or trucks. I love spending my weekends throwing rocks in the creek with my family, hiking, camping, gardening, dabbling in photography, and cherishing the small moments of life.