About KLA Schools of Hillsboro

Who We Are

KLA Schools of Hillsboro is an innovative, early childhood center offering a high quality Reggio Emilia inspired education. Our school is strategically located between the beautiful Orenco Station and extensive businesses in the Dawson Creek and Evergreen business parks as well as Intel’s Hawthorn Farm and Ronler Acres.

KLA Schools of Hillsboro is a home away from home where your child will build the knowledge and skills needed for a strong foundation in early childhood education. Our philosophy is based on the Reggio Emilia approach which inspires and motivates children to excel and to thrive by exploring their curiosity and learning through fun and creative ways.

We are a community based state of the art facility designed specifically with the Reggio Emilia approach in mind, including a large spacious piazza with exploration area, a designated atelier and a unique playground. Much of the school's specialty materials, and the playground, are made of reused and recycled materials. KLA Schools of Hillsboro features the most functional, age-appropriate and safe furniture available for early education, which includes specially crafted pieces hand selected from a specialty soft furnishing firm based in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

When parents enter KLA Schools for the first time they consistently comment that the look and feel of the school is unlike any other preschool they have visited—it’s a clean, safe, inviting and family first school environment which motivates children to explore, discover and grow.

At KLA Schools of Hillsboro teachers play multiple roles like that of a co-learner, facilitator, observer and researcher while nurturing your child’s interests and passions. This grants your child the opportunity to express ideas freely.

At our school, parents also contribute in the learning and development of their child by acting as collaborators, supporters and partners. Teachers, parents and the community work together towards the child’s development. We nourish quality communication and relationships. We welcome ideas for learning and share best practices so that we can provide a higher quality experience for the children. When parents, teachers and the community are involved, children thrive.

Nutrition is equally important to us and we offer nutritious home cooked meals and snacks, served family style. Teachers and staff eat with the children to encourage and demonstrate social eating.

We encourage you to schedule a tour or take a moment to watch the KLA Schools virtual tour, to immerse yourself in our dynamic programs and to appreciate KLA Schools' unique approach to nurturing your child.

*KLA Schools of Hillsboro is an independently owned business operating under a franchise agreement with KLA Franchise, LLC.


Candy Ortega, her husband, Roberto and a group of investors and educators founded KLA Schools in 2008. They opened the first KLA School in Miami, FL, in 2008 and began franchising in 2010. For Roberto and Candy, the desire to provide an inspiring curriculum, a nurturing environment, and high quality education to pre-school students across America was deeply rooted.

Roberto, KLA Schools CEO, inherited his passion for education from his grandfather who opened two schools of his own in South America. Candy, KLA Schools Educational Director, grew up in Argentina and Brazil and came to the US in 1994. She earned an Associate’s degree in Child Development and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, and began her educational career as a Pre-School Teacher at a Reggio Emilia inspired school.

Candy and Roberto have attended several Reggio Emilia conferences and study groups in the US and Internationally. Additionally, they have participated in the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference (NAEYC) in Chicago 2009, Anaheim 2011, Orlando 2011, and they have attended the 4th North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA) Summer Conference Boulder, Colorado 2008, the 6th NAREA Summer Conference Chicago, Illinois, 7th NAREA Summer Conference Pacific Grove, California, 3rd NAREA Winter Conference Mountain View, California and the 11th NAREA Summer Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico among others.

In 2012, Shlomit and Michael Engel, parents of four young children, decided to move their family to Hillsboro, OR to start their own child care center. As parents themselves and experienced with special needs integration, they decided to focus on early education.

While the business was taking shape, Shlomit and Michael began studying different approaches to early education that were a good fit with their beliefs and requirements. It was this search that led them to the Reggio Emilia Approach and KLA Schools.

With a good fit, and an excellent location in Hillsboro, KLA Schools of Hillsboro began construction on September 2016, and is now enrolling students for March 1st, 2017.

The Development of Our Educational Approach

We researched and tried many of the most common approaches including some well known methods before coming across the theories of Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the infant-toddler centers in Reggio Emilia, Italy. He developed an approach to early childhood education that inspire educators and children throughout the world.

As a result, we traveled to Italy to visit these wonderful preschools. We returned truly inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach and passionate about spreading its wonders in our schools.

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Why Early Childhood

We decided to conduct a worldwide study of the industry to determine which areas needed attention and investment in order to improve the quality of education and life. Our study concluded that through early childhood education we can have a positive impact on the future of our society. It is during this critical period that children learn the fundamental pillars that will allow them to be successful in their future educational and professional endeavors. Moreover, this study provided us with our philosophical inspirations.

1855 NE 48th Ave  |  Hillsboro, OR 97124   Join Our Wait List
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