Marty Peterson

Teacher Marty is the Director and Head Teacher at Multnomah Playschool. She found MPS in 1997 when she was looking for a preschool with a strong anti-bias curriculum for her son. After he graduated from MPS she missed the school so much that she returned as the Lunch & Play program’s first teacher in 2001, and became our head teacher in 2002. Marty has worked in a variety of human service programs for more than 25 years. With a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Portland State University, Marty respectfully builds trust with the children, and helps them develop their sense of significance, identity and belonging.

Marty was born and raised in Alaska, where she acquired a strong appreciation for nature and the outdoors. Outdoor play is a core value for her and is reflected in the curriculum at MPS. Unless there’s a torrential downpour (or air quality is poor), the kids put on their coats and boots and go outside. When it’s sunny and warm, class is often held outside: art projects, games, and even the snack table move onto our spacious, fun playground.

Marty is committed to working through all issues of bias. She believes that the earliest years in a child’s life are the most important for instilling a commitment to equality and equity. Children see differences among people; by acknowledging and honoring our differences, Marty believes we are taking a powerful step towards peace in our world.

Marty has had the wonderful privilege to learn from both Bev Bos and Tom Hunter. Their work has been a major influence on how she views early childhood education and how she approaches her relationships with children, families and the world around her.

Music appreciation also starts early. To support that, the children sing every day at circle time, and usually more often.  Music is so important to children – that Tom and Bev convinced Marty that even if she is off-key, singing and playing music every day is an essential part of a healthy preschool environment!

“My overarching goal as director of the programs at Multnomah Playschool is that every child and every parent coming through our doors feels understood, loved and cherished. I tell all the children that teachers have really, really big hearts — so big that we love our families and still have enough love left to share with each of them!”


Lisa Ham

Teacher Lisa has been working in preschools for more than ten years.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Oregon State University and her early childhood education certificate from Portland Community College. She started as the Lunch & Play Teacher in 2007, and has been our full-time assistant since 2009.

Like Marty, Lisa first came to cooperative preschools through her children. She believes in the community created in a co-op preschool. Through their involvement, the parents —  as the children’s primary teachers — create a warm, loving and supportive community.

She believes children learn best through play and peer interactions. Lisa sees her role in the classroom as helping children negotiate the inevitable conflicts that arise and find their own voice in the community.

“One of the many things I enjoy about working at MPS is that the children are honest and sincere in all their emotions. No two days are ever the same.”