The Cornell School was established in Fall 2016 by David and Oyendrila Kennedy. 

The Cornell School is a fully licensed and certified preschool located between Cedar Mill and Forest Heights in NW Portland, offering full day preschool for children, age 3 to 5.

​Set amidst 3 acres of wooded grounds with fruit trees, open green space, a natural stream, trails and wild life, the preschool is surrounded by the beauty of Mother Nature. Located in a new and eco-friendly facility with big windows, bright classrooms, and connection to outdoor learning spaces. This extension of our classrooms is where children are encouraged to be naturalists, imaginative, creative and curious learners as they explore, invent and build within the environment.

 Oyendrila  Kennedy - Owner/Director

Oyendrila Kennedy - Owner/Director

Oyen holds a Bachelors of Arts in English, Journalism and Psychology from Mount Carmel College, followed by a Bachelors degree in Education from St. Xaviers’ College. Oyen earned a Masters in English with a Minor in Child and Adolescent Psychology from Southern Oregon University. Her teaching experience of 24 years ranges from working with children from preschool to 8th grade level in private schools both in India and the U.S. She has taught preschool and kindergarten at Knowledge Beginnings, a flagship school of Knowledge Learning Corporation. She retired as a kindergarten teacher from A Child’s Way Preschool and Kindergarten to start The Cornell School. While In India, Oyen volunteered her time to teach children living in poverty on the streets of Calcutta for many years and also offered her writing services while working closely with international volunteers at The Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa. When not busy running the school, Oyen loves reading, traveling, spending time with her family and friends, watching Netflix and Hulu, listening to music, cooking with spices and crafting with her daughter.

Dave Kennedy - Owner/ Chief Playground Architect and Builder

Dave holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Portland State University, a MS in Management in Science and Technology from OHSU, and a certificate in systems dynamics from MIT. Dave has worked at Intel for 22 years in various marketing, product management and business development roles. Dave’s interests include traveling, scuba diving, mountain biking, and kayaking. His passions are sports cars and building things. Dave built The Cornell School and the playground which he considers works in process as he continuously works to improve the indoor and outdoor environments.

Staff Bios

Harper Smith - Teacher (Preschool 3/4)

Harper is new to the Cornell School and Portland. She graduated this past Spring 2023 from the University of Oregon with a B.S. in Educational Foundations and a minor in global service. Harper has many years of experience working with kids in a variety of settings as a substitute teacher, surf instructor, nanny, and outdoor school field instructor. She loves working with kids and helping them learn about the world around them through hands-on, play-based learning. Harper is excited to bring her love of nature, art, cooking, and gardening into the classroom. In her free time, Harper loves surfing at the coast, skiing on the mountain, doing art projects, traveling, and making food with friends.


Kathryn Seamarks – Teacher and Administrative Director

Kathryn, originally from England, she has called Portland home since she moved here with her family nearly 14 years ago. For the past 20+ years Kathryn has worked for two International Financial institutions in various banking industry roles, including: Customer service, Project co-ordination, I.T Project management and more recently since having her daughter, working seasonally within the tax industry. She was an active volunteer at her daughters elementary school and has a passion for helping children learn and develop. Kathryn has been a part of The Cornell School since 2019 in the capacity of a teacher and administrator. In Kathryn’s free time, she likes to bake, travel, paddle board and take day trips to the coast with her husband and daughter. She also enjoys hikes on the local NW Forest trails with her friends and her little dog Winter, and is passionate about interior design.

Linda Mayeri – Administrative Assistant and Substitute Teacher 

Linda, originally from El Salvador, has lived in Portland for 23 years. Before that, her home was in the Bay Area in California. For the past 22 years, Linda has been a stay at home mom of three. Two of her children are now in college and one in high school. She was very active as a volunteer parent while the kids were in school. Especially their preschool and elementary years. Prior to motherhood, Linda worked for 10 years doing accounting work for a cruise line. Her degree in Accounting was earned at SF State University where she met her husband. 

When not attending to her children, Linda likes to enjoy her coffee with a book, walk while listening to a book and travel with her husband and children. She also has seven goats and two cats who think Linda is their mom.

Ariane Costa – Teacher (Preschool 3/4)     

Ariane is pursuing an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education at Portland Community College. She has worked as a Nanny, as well as an Infant and Toddler aged teacher for several years. She is passionate about helping children discover the world around them and become active learners. Ariane has been at The Cornell School since 2019 and has worked with children aged 3-5. Her interest to grow as a teacher through interactions with her colleagues, understanding of an emerging curriculum in a play based environment and ability to foster independence and mindfulness in children make her a valuable asset to the school. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors with her family, reading, traveling or doing arts and crafts. She is a mother of two wonderful children — a 12 year old daughter and 4 year old son. 

Erin Van Bramer – Teacher (Preschool 3/4) 

Erin is a native Oregonian and graduated from Portland State University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science with an emphasis on early childhood education. She has worked in early childhood education since 2002. This is where she grew her love of teaching ages 3-6. She has worked for two different Montessori schools/programs for the past 19 years and earned her Montessori teaching credentials in 2014. Poppy, Erin’s daughter, came along in 2017. Together, they love to go on road trips, explore beaches, search for new playgrounds and go camping.

Stefanie Noack – Teacher (Pre-Kindergarten 4/5) 

Stefanie is new to the Cornell School and has recently graduated with a B.A in child, youth and family studies from Portland State University. Originally from Germany, she has been teaching preschool and kindergarten at the German Sophie Scholl Saturday School for several years. Stefanie loves traveling and had the opportunity to live in Thailand teaching English in an elementary school for a year. She also brings experience as a lead teacher from her time at Kindercare. Stefanie is excited to bring her love of art, dance and hands-on learning into the classroom. In her free time Stefanie loves doing puzzles, dancing and exploring the Pacific NW either biking or hiking with her camera.

Masha Bondarenko – Teacher (Pre-Kindergarten and yoga/music and movement enrichment)

Masha comes from a long history in early childhood education. The majority of her work experience with children comes from being a toddler teacher at a child development center and  some from being a nanny for many different kinds of families. After a decade, she decided to finish her Bachelors in Psychology and Mental Health at George Fox University with the intent to earn a doctorate in psychology. Masha is fluent in Russian. In addition to being yoga teacher trained.  Masha is also excited to explore, develop and bring Music and movement and art programs into the classroom at The Cornell School. Outside of the classroom, Masha enjoys reading all kinds of genres, creating music on her piano, experimenting in the kitchen, and taking her cat for walks outside.



  • Social Studies
  • Foreign Language
  • Music & Movement
  • Language & Literacy
  • STEM Based Math & Science
  • Cultural Awareness
  • Sensory Education
  • Fine Art
  • Practical Life Skills
  • Physical Education
  • Mindfulness & Yoga
  • Cooking Fundamentals
  • Sewing Principles


​The Cornell School was developed from decades of experience working with families and their young children. The need for a higher quality of education and balance for working parents became clear. While working for both educational and corporate institutions and seeking care for our own children, we developed a list of traits characteristic to the ideal school. As educators, we launched this vision into a reality, where families looking for a small, close knit, and loving environment for their children receive the best quality education imaginable. By prioritizing quality over quantity, The Cornell School is a preschool where teachers can connect with their students through multiple layers fostering a deep and authentic relationship together.