Sundborn Children’s House is fortunate to have an incredible staff who are dedicated and very qualified. Each classroom is staffed with an AMI-trained Montessori Guide (Teacher) and two assistants.

Guides (Teachers)


Karin Lamberson always knew she wanted to work with children, so after high school she got a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Linfield College. When she discovered Montessori after college, she said, "This is what I've been looking for!" So she went on to receive her Montessori diploma from Montessori Training Center of St. Louis, Missouri and a Master's degree from Loyola University in Baltimore. Karin has been working in Montessori in various positions for sixteen years, and as a Guide for seven. What she loves most about Montessori is getting to know each child as an individual human being. Sundborn is a community where individuals and families can truly connect and form lifelong friendships, and Karin is honored to be a part of that. She also loves to play her guitar and sing with the children, and share nature with them. In her free time, Karin enjoys birding, camping, and gardening.


Veronica Romeo joined the Sundborn community as a Guide in the fall of 2018. Prior to this, she had been an assistant at a small Montessori school in California for over 6 years. It was this journey, as well as her own memories of being a Montessori child (ages 2–9), that pushed  her to complete her AMI training at Montessori Northwest in Portland. Sundborn’s message of making Montessori accessible had resonated with Veronica and her belief that Montessori education is for everyone. She has loved becoming part of this welcoming Sundborn community, getting to know the children and families, making some new friends, and establishing some roots. On a personal note, Veronica is an avid earring collector, lover of animals, and dedicated world traveler.




Ida Aaron began working at Sundborn in January of 2019. Before she began working at Sundborn, Ida had been working as a Care Provider. She has attended Linn Benton Community College. Ida has many interests, including playing music, reading and writing, and she enjoys outdoor activities such as bicycling. Ida has a love for art and nature, as well as traveling. She is very glad to be part of the Sundborn Children’s House community.


Zoe Parker was born in Alaska and raised in Corvallis. She attended Oregon State University and got her Bachelors in Human Development and Family Sciences. After graduating, she spent time in Barcelona living with a family as their au pair, teaching English and learning Spanish. Apart from work and school, Zoe enjoys traveling by bike, experimenting in the kitchen, hiking with her puppy, Lyla, spending time with family and friends, training for triathlons, and seeking out the next great adventure.


Katrina Smith has been working at Sundborn Children’s House since 2017. She is currently attending school part-time to earn her degree in English and Education. In her spare time, she enjoys reading a variety of literature, and spending time with her dog.


Montessori Classroom Assistants are an integral part of the school community. Assistants help with small gatherings, classroom management, and maintaining the environment. We are fortunate to have three wonderful Assistants at our school right now, and are looking forward to a fourth Assistant joining the team soon.

“What really makes a teacher is love for the human child; for it is this love that transforms the social duty of the educator into the higher consciousness of a mission."

—Maria Montessori

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Founder and Director


Karen Madsen-Barton was introduced to Montessori Education in 1971. She travelled to London, England for a year of Montessori teacher training. She then returned to the West Coast, where she started her teaching career. Karen is passionate about the immense contribution Dr. Montessori revealed to the world about the nature of the human child, and she is forever grateful for the gift of serving children and their families. When she’s not hard at work, Karen enjoys sharing life with her animals, taking care of plants, and spending time with her family.




Chelsea Skarphol has been with Sundborn since 2010. She worked in the classroom as an assistant for eight years and completed her AMI Montessori training for the 0–3 (Assistants to Infancy) age group in 2015. She’s worn several hats at Sundborn, and currently works as the office manager, where she enjoys seeing the “behind the scenes” work that goes into running a school. In her free time, Chelsea can be found wandering the bookshelves at the library or seated at her sewing machine.


Ketty Herb-Kalberer runs a non-profit financial consulting company. She has been with Sundborn since 2014. She manages all things financial for the school. When she's not working with non-profits, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three children doing anything outdoors—camping, backpacking, canoeing or skiing are all favorites.


Keith Barton


Keith Barton is a Northwesterner who grew up near Seattle and on the Salish Sea. Although he graduated in Chemistry, Keith has always been interested in creating better educational environments. After instructing for Northwest Outward Bound and teaching at an alternative school, in 1980 he met Karen Madsen—a sister in the search of best practices in education. A supporting partner to Karen in the development of Sundborn, he now oversees facility maintenance and also serves on the school’s nonprofit Board of Directors. Keith feels honored to contribute to the school’s growth, and is grateful for the opportunity to observe students, families, and staff flourishing in the Sundborn Montessori environment. He values his time with family, hiking above the tree line, and sailing the northern waters.




Klara found Sundborn in the summer 2016. She wandered into our backyard, seemingly out of nowhere. While we were asking around the neighborhood and waiting to see if anyone claimed her, Klara made herself right at home. It wasn’t long at all before we were all smitten. Klara is exceedingly patient with the children, very affectionate, and rather dog-like. In her spare time, she enjoys strolling along the top of the fence, getting belly rubs, and chasing the birds.


Kizzy is Sundborn's newest staff member, joining us at the very end of the 2018–19 school year. She brings to the school an energy and exuberance that only a puppy can, and the children love to see her in the mornings. When she's not actively guarding the school office (as shown above), Kizzy enjoys chewing on her toys, basking in all the attention she can get, and exploring the multitude of scents and sounds outside.

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The Cottage by Carl Larsson 1899