Tessa Stephenson

MS MFT, Executive Director

A proud graduate of The Children’s Garden class of 1989, Tessa has been a life-long institution at The Garden. In 2007, Tessa graduated from Lewis and Clark College and returned to The Children’s Garden as Center Director. In 2010, Tessa transitioned to an Executive Director role and began her Master’s program in counseling. In 2014, Tessa graduated from Capella University with a Master’s of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy. Tessa has a part-time private practice where she works with individuals, couples, families, and children.

Tessa is a certified Community Trainer through the State of Oregon Child Care Division, and has a passion for presenting early childhood educators with a cutting-edge information about child development and best practices in educational settings. Tessa specializes in Attachment Theory and Mindfulness-based models, and is certified in Reflective Parenting and Caregiving.

Tessa is drawn to work with young children and their families because of the incredible journey that children take from birth to age five. She is fascinated by brain development and the subtle nuances of each child and family system. Tessa is passionate about children’s social-emotional development and the links to future academic success and growth.

Tessa enjoys spending time with her husband exploring their North East Portland neighborhood, hiking, camping, running, and playing with their one-year-old Wheaten Terrier-Poodle puppy.