Faculty Profiles

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Catlin Gabel teachers are wise, dedicated, expert, approachable, and supportive. In a word, they are amazing.


Limit by division: Upper School | Middle School | Lower School | Beginning School

Shellie Adams, LS student teacher, at CG since 2014.

Paul Andrichuk, MS learning specialist, at CG since 1997. Bachelor's in history, Oberlin College. Master's in school counseling, Johns Hopkins University.

I thought I wanted to be a lawyer but when, at age 16, I started coaching my younger brother's soccer team I was immediately hooked on teaching. Planning lessons to develop technique and training teams in tactics are great preparation for classroom teachers. Most people think teachers get into coaching; I was a coach who wanted to teach. Learning to coach was my first step in learning to love teaching. I'm really good on a forklift. I worked in a warehouse with the best collection of characters ever. We designed the forklift Olympics during slow times, with events ranging from slalom, to scratching the backs of brave co-workers, to relocation operations that involved picking up lunches. Colleagues, truck drivers, commercial builders, and even our bosses looked on in appreciation.

Pilar Arias, LS Spanish teacher, at CG since 2013. Bachelor's in elementary education, Playa Ancha University of Educational Sciences. Bachelor's in secondary education/English as foreign language, Catholic University of Chile. Master's in curriculum and instruction, Portland State University.

At the age of 15, I was asked by a church leader to teach a kindergarten class in the Sunday school in my country of origin, Chile. I accepted without hesitation because I liked being around children. I enjoyed the experience so much that I continued teaching classes at church. Looking back, this exposure developed my love for teaching children even before college.

I love to read books and I alternate between books in English and Spanish. Also, I love to travel and one of my most enjoyable times is walking at the beach.

Deirdre Atkinson, MS arts & drama teacher, at CG since 2004. Bachelor's in theater, Willamette University.

I grew up watching the San Francisco Mime Troupe and the Pickle Family Circus in the parks of San Francisco (in those summers after the one of love), but the first real play I remember seeing was "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Joyce Theater. They allowed the audience to go up on stage during intermission, and a star was born. I made my professional debut at age 11, sharing the stage with Placido Domingo in "Carmen" with the San Francisco Opera. I enjoy working with Middle Schoolers as we turn our Chipmunk Hollow theater into a different world every six weeks. That little tool shed has been transformed into a Scottish heath, a beach-blanket seascape, a far-away planet, Dracula's castle, a world-class museum, the Wild West, Verona, ancient India, a honky-tonk diner, the star ship Enterprise, and any number of dramatic little holes in the wall.

Kathryn Babin, US history teacher, at CG since 2014. Bachelor's in political science, Middlebury College. Master's in conflict resolution, Georgetown University.

Sanjay Bedi, head varsity girls volleyball coach.

Chris Bell, middle school office manager.

I like working with middle schoolers because they are fun, full of life, excited about almost everything, and will try almost everything. I enjoy my unique role in the middle school that allows me to work with students, colleagues, and parents, while at the same time working closely with students as advisor and 8th grade team member.

Rachel Bell, LS student teacher, at CG since 2014. Bachelor's in child development and English, Humboldt State University.

Nicholas Bellos, US history teacher, at CG since 2014.

Maggie Bendicksen, 4th grade teacher, at CG since 2002. Bachelor's in English, Amherst College. Master's in education, Lewis & Clark College.

As a former reporter and editor, what I love about teaching is that I get to combine my thirst for new information with building lasting relationships.

As a native New Yorker who also lived in the West Indies when I was a wee one, I am drawn to all types of water and learned to surf the wild and chilly North Pacific when I turned 40. My students can tell you that I can relate just about anything to a corny surfing metaphor!

Carrie Blank, LS/MS PE teacher, at CG since 2005. Bachelor's in anthropology, Humboldt State University. Bachelor's in physical education, Illinois State University. Master's in education, Lewis & Clark College.

I have always been active. Many of my high school years were spent working with young people at camps, and it was this connection with children that inspired me to go into teaching and coaching.

Some of my passions include golfing, scuba diving, and working in my yard. One of my scariest moments was when I was separated from my group in the Vatican City without a phone or wallet and not knowing where our hotel was located. I'm still teaching, so I obviously made my way back!

Katie Boehnlein, 5th grade teaching assistant, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in environmental studies & English, Seattle University.

Bob Bonaparte, jv ii boys soccer coach.

Genevieve Bouwes, assistant lower school head, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Master's in education, Bankstreet College of Education.

My 3rd grade teacher, whom I adored, gave me a huge box of chalk on the last day of school. It sparked hours of playing school and teaching my dog how to read. My inspiration to teach children was rekindled my last years of college as my studies of human geography were juxtaposed with my work in an aftercare program. I loved teaching the kids and saw how they were the agents of change.

I love to spend time taking road trips, camping, and swimming in lakes in the summer. Hiking with my dog and identifying plants is a joy to me! I also love to repurpose clothes with my sewing machine in my free time.

Angelica Boyden, LS student teacher, at CG since 2014. Bachelor's in hispanic studies, Pacific Lutheran University.

Leondra Brackett, kindergarten teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in psychology, Whitman College. Master's in teaching with art endorsement, Lewis & Clark College.

I love being with young children and their endless creativity, enthusiasm, and innovation. I feel blessed to work with children as they explore various materials, including clay, printmaking, drawing, painting, and construction. Teaching is always fresh and new and has a meaningful impact on our world.

I love to backpack and travel. One summer we (my now-husband and I) hiked the John Muir Trail, 200 miles from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney-- which was the most physically challenging and emotionally rewarding hike of my life. We have also traveled the world together to take in cultures and places. I have spent time in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, Senegal, India, Spain, and New Zealand.

Briana Britton, kindergarten teaching assistant, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in psychology, Mills College.

Glenn Burnett, US student activities director, at CG since 1996. Bachelor's in music, Pacific Lutheran University. Master's in education, Portland State University.

Sitting in my dad's 8th grade choir, I decided I wanted to be a music teacher - just like him! And I did just that for 26 years. In 2012 I decided to move over to the administrative side of education.

I have a giant teddy bear named NuDay. He was given to me at my final choir concert here at Catlin Gabel. He keeps me company in the Upper School office.

Blythe Butler, associate director of college counseling, at CG since 2010. Bachelor's in English, Willamette University. Master's in writing, Portland State University.

I have always loved everything about school, from writing in fresh spiral notebooks to reading great literature to sewing costumes for the class play. College was a transformative experience - it made me into an analytical thinker and reminded me of how much I had to learn. Working with teenagers who are just beginning this stage of life is a thrill.

I spent my junior year of high school in Blackpool, England (home of the annual Conservative Party convention and one of the biggest ballroom dance competitions in the world) as an exchange student in a boarding school. Previously I had spent very little time outside my small, rural hometown, and every day of that year broadened my horizons.

Hannah Carr, 6th grade girls basketball coach.

Len Carr, assistant middle school head, at CG since 1989. Bachelor's in social sciences, Evergreen State College.

I sort of fell into teaching, headlong. I started off teaching 3rd graders as part of a math class when I was a high school student at Catlin Gabel. During my junior and senior years I was a counselor on the 6th grade trip to Cape Arago. After high school I spent two summers as director of Catlin Gabel's summer day camp. In college I had a work-study job as custodian at the campus day care, which soon turned into a teaching position. After college I was hired at Bush School in Seattle doing a lot of everything, I was a utility infielder - global education coordinator, summer school director, PE teacher, soccer coach, yearbook advisor, middle school history teacher and "in-house sub." At Bush, I was fortunate to become a colleague of Schauff, a teacher who had been headmaster at Catlin Gabel when I was a student.

My grandmother took me to the Beatles concert in the mid 1960s when they played in Portland. I met the real James Bond while hitchhiking in Canada. I have hopped freight on several occasions - riding the rails is a great way to see the landscape. My wife and our three daughters are Catlin Gabel alumnae.

Li-Ling Cheng, MS Chinese teacher, at CG since 2005. Bachelor's in occupational therapy, National Taiwan University School of Medicine. Master's in occupational therapy, New York University School of Education.

I never thought I would become a teacher, but after working as a midwife nurse and an occupational therapist for more than 15 years combined, I realized that what I do best is work with and help people.

Growing up in Taiwan I had never heard of mushroom hunting, which has become my favorite pastime since moving to Oregon. With a little rain, mushrooms are the best and most reliable gift nature offers. I enjoy adventuring into the woods, with the wind whistling and streams gurgling in the background, in search of my preferred mushrooms. The hunting trip does not always guarantee harvest, but I do appreciate the time I spend in nature.

Dennis Christman, US library assistant, at CG since 2013. Bachelor's in computer science, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

After finishing my undergrad in computer science, I spent about a year and a half in central Pennsylvania, not really knowing what to do and delivering pizzas to fill my time. I eventually decided that this path wasn't for me, so I packed up and moved to Shanghai, China. I ended up working at an international school teaching English to 4th graders, and fell in love with working with kids. I later discovered that the classroom setting wasn't my forte, so I became a librarian.

I absolutely love to travel. A perk of the standard academic calendar in China was an enormous amount of vacation time. My favorite thing to do was book a flight to SE Asia, pack a small backpack, and take off for a few weeks of busing around Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. I also love to play music, especially bluegrass and blues on the mandolin and guitar.

Brett Christopherson, 7th/8th grade boys basketball coach, at CG since 2013.

Brendan Clark, preschool teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in anthropology, Willamette University. Master's in teaching, Lewis & Clark College.

My mother was a preschool teacher, and I would spend time with her in the classroom when I was not in school. I was drawn immediately to being around a community of learners. The fact that no two days (or two classes) will ever be the same draws me to teaching, but being able to say, "I love my job" at the end of every day is what keeps me teaching.

I have a laundry list of hobbies-- I juggle, play hockey, surf, fly stunt kites, play piano and guitar, you name it. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and love exploring its many exciting features. You can find me riding beautiful roads on my bike, snowboarding or cross-country skiing in the mountains, or strolling up and down the miles of coastline. As long as I spend time outside, I am happy!

Natalie Dickinson, MS PE teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in interdisiplinary studies, University of San Diego. Master's in teaching, University of Portland.

Combining my love of fitness and sport with the desire to influence others to lead healthy and active lives from a young age led me to teaching. I worked in the healthcare world for five years before going back to school to become a teacher. Getting a job as a physical education teacher at Catlin Gabel has been a dream come true.

I have been teaching yoga since 2008. My dad took me to my first yoga class when I was in high school and I've been practicing ever since. Yoga has been life changing.

Paul Dickinson, US science teacher, at CG since 1969. Bachelor's in biology, University of Connecticut. Master's in education, Portland State University.

Sara Dier, admission associate, at CG since 2010.

My favorite pastime is photography. The whole concept of capturing a photograph, processing the film, and manipulating the image is fascinating. I often spend my free time with a lense at my eye, ready for whatever happens.

Marcelle Donehower, 3rd grade teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in political science, Lewis & Clark College. Master's in early childhood/elementary, Lewis & Clark College.

As a teacher I get to learn about new ways of thinking and being in the world, and how to share my knowledge with others. I get to dissect concepts to make them interesting and approachable for my students. I also learn from my students every day about how we interact as a community and about their diverse perspectives.

I raised dairy goats as a child. Through junior high I was in a 4-H club, where I leaned how to take care of them, and I learned a lot about life and responsibility. I bred the goats, helped them give birth, milked them twice a day, and showed them at the county fair. I kept the goats through high school but I stopped breeding and milking them when I started playing water polo as a high school sophomore. Raising goats helped teach me to be responsible and to have a strong work ethic. Even though I love living in Portland, at some point in the future I hope to live in the country and once again raise goats.

Chris Dorough, head varsity girls soccer coach, at CG since 2013.

Brendan Douglas, jv girls soccer coach, at CG since 2010.

Lynda Douglas, 7th grade math teacher, at CG since 1998. Bachelor's in biology, Lewis & Clark College. Master's in biology, University of Chicago.

Catlin Gabel's natural beauty and close community of progressive and dedicated educators resonates perfectly with my view of what an educational setting should be. My love for math grew from the influence of two very strong math teachers: Virginia Bartell in high school and Elva Fredrickson in college. My first teaching job at the progressive Green Acres School (also on the site of an old farm) cemented and foretold my future. It all came together at Catlin - a beautiful setting in which progressive ideals are held protectively in the hands of inspiring colleagues and where I can share mathematics with my students as simply another way by which to know the world. How lucky I am to have come to this place.

Javier Duque Rey, assistant track & field coach, at CG since 2013.

Marion Edens, US science teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in microbiology, University of Otago. Doctorate in biological sciences, Aston University.

I came to teaching later than most and am continually surprised by how much I enjoy it. There is no paralleled feeling to that of light bulbs going off in students' heads. It is incredible when they discover just a bit more about how the world works.

Teaching is my third career. Initially, I worked for the New Zealand dairy industry researching effluent treatment, and then became a professional opera singer in the UK and Germany.

Ema Eldredge, 8th grade math teacher, at CG since 2004. Bachelor's in mathematics, Pacific University.

I started out my career emphatically not wanting to teach. I come from a long line of teachers. I tried others things. But nothing satisfied my desire to leave an impact on the future like working with young people and helping them learn how to think and be in this world.

At one point I my life I had five dogs at once: a chocolate Lab, a Great Dane, two Maltese, and one Maltese-Shih-Tzu mutt.

David Ellenberg, 8th grade history teacher, at CG since 1991. Bachelor's in biology, Brown University. Master's in education, Portland State University.

During the time I worked as an urban park ranger in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, teaching school groups park history, ecology, and botany became the most loved part of my job. When winter came, my colleagues and I took educational programs to classrooms throughout the borough and I experienced extended time with students for the first time. Those were wonderful days and I came to realize that full-time teaching was the career for me.

Instead of attending classes during my senior year of high school, I interned with the chairman of the education department at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Lisa Ellenberg, LS librarian, at CG since 1991. Bachelor's in education, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Master's in education, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

Teaching and learning from children is challenging, restorative, joyful, and satisfying. I gain these same benefits from travel adventures or when awed by the power and beauty of Mother Nature. How grateful I am that my professional duties allow me to synthesize it all via global and outdoor education programs at Catlin Gabel.

Isaac Enloe, kindergarten teacher, at CG since 2011. Bachelor's in religious studies, Carleton College. Master's in early childhood and elementary education, Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education & Counseling.

I was about to graduate from college when I realized that I wanted to dedicate my life to doing good work. I was drawn to working in schools because, when at their best, schools are places where people of all ages work together to support one another in learning and growth. For me, kindergarten epitomizes this kind of learning in community.

I play several styles of old-time five-string banjo with various square-dance bands on the West Coast.

Enrique Escalona Fuentes, US Spanish teacher, at CG since 2006. Bachelor's in journalism, University of Seville. Master's in Spanish, Stony Brook University.

The most amazing thing about teaching is building relationships with so many people: students, parents, colleagues, and administrators. It's almost like gardening. It requires constant care but when you see things grow, the sensation is unparalleled.

I play rock and roll with a band, I love playing soccer, and I love gardening and building projects around my house. I once climbed the highest mountain in peninsular Spain (Mulhacen). As soon as I summited, I was attacked by a mountain goat. Oh… and I used to be a journalist, a kick-boxer, and a marathon runner.

Marianne Falk, fund director, at CG since 2012.

Lauren Figi, LS learning specialist. Bachelor's in elementary education, Illinois State University. Master's in reading and literacy, Benedictine University.

There is nothing like coming into a classroom full of children to make each day fulfilling. Children make every day better; what they learn, how they learn, what they say, and the relationships you establish with them as their teacher - it's all special and one-of-a-kind. There is nothing else like it.

I am a Chicago native and a lover of the Chicago Bears and Chicago Blackhawks. While a part of my heart will always be in Chicago, I love the beauty and nature that Oregon has to offer. I enjoy spending my time hiking the various terrains in Oregon, skiing, and taking advantage of what Mother Nature has to offer in this part of the country.

Ric Fry, LS woodshop teacher, at CG since 2013. Bachelor's in anthropology, University of Western Ontario.

Ann Fyfield, 6th grade humanities teacher. Bachelor's in international studies, Portland State University.

I wasn't drawn to teaching at first; I was drawn to languages, French and Japanese. I wanted to travel and learn about other cultures, learn about other people. It was this desire to travel that drew me to teaching English, and I found my passion for connecting with students, both young and old. My first teaching job was on a street corner in San Francisco. My friend and I were asked by a young Brit at San Francisco State to teach a classroom of Italian students. We had no idea what to do. But after two weeks of conversational English, the reviews from the students were that I was a natural teacher. I went from teaching Italians to teaching Hmong and Mien refugees, then Japanese and Vietnamese speakers, and now Catlin Gabel students.

I hitchhiked through southern France when I was young and naive. I met the most wonderful people on that crazy journey. One family in Aix-en-Provence took us to their home, complete with monkeys and ocelots! It was a wild ride, but one I'll never forget.

Brian Gant, MS health & PE teacher, at CG since 1984. Bachelor's in geography, Simon Fraser University.

All through my formative years I had teachers that had a great influence on me. They taught me to value education, the people around me, and the larger community. Their values became some of my values, and those years are still so vivid in my memory. My aunt was a teacher and inspired me to really look into pursuing it as a profession.

I love coaching! I have played team sports since I was 5 years old, and that has been one of the greatest influences on my life. I first started coaching when I was 13 and fell in love with everything about it. Coaching and leading a group to success provides an incredible feeling of accomplishment. Blending a variety of talents and personalities is challenging, but oh so rewarding.

Aline Garcia-Rubio, US assistant division head, at CG since 2004. Doctorate in medicine, LaSalle University Mexico.

I trained in medicine because I wanted to work in science and wanted to work with people. During my training, I was deeply influenced by my physiology professors, who made me think carefully about the way things work, challenged my assumptions, and believed that I could excel as a student and physician. As I began my professional life, I realized that what I enjoy most is thinking and problem solving with other people, serving those around me, and being challenged to learn and learn and learn. I see no better place than a school to do all of those things.

I like to work with clay. I especially like small human figures. My brain works in two languages, Spanish and English. The lingo around education is always in English but I do math in Spanish, and songs generally arise in the latter. I once spent a year traveling the world. Ever since then, my focus, outside of family and work is always on how to get back to Tibet and southern Europe, and how to walk through Bolivia.

Elizabeth Gibbs, US drama teacher, at CG since 2011. Bachelor's in theater performance, Scripps College. Master's in advanced theatre practice, Central School of Speech and Drama.

Teaching theater is a fascinating exercise in personal development. The most exciting thing for me is watching formerly timid students gain confidence in vocal and physical presentation and seeing that transformation spill over into the rest of their activities and pursuits.

I have an enduring passion for classic movie musicals. Growing up I always wanted to be Ginger Rogers, and I still completely geek out over Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. .

Brendan Gill, 7th & 8th grade arts media teacher, at CG since 2010. Bachelor's in film production, Loyola Marymount University.

I grew excited about teaching after my junior year because of my high school English teacher, Mr. Curtis. He once created a montage of movie clips that he played silently behind music and burning incense, and we all instinctively knew not to talk. He led us out after that to pick a spot of our own in the forest, where I later realized I'd meditated for the first time. I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker, and along the way decided I would pick up a teaching gig at an art center or college in between film projects. I quickly learned I got more out of teaching. I love that exchange between teacher and student, where the roles switch and blur. I have learned so much about filmmaking and self-expression from the work my students produce.

I love karaoke. It's a great way to appreciate music - it's live, loud, participatory, and a way to share the love of a song. Through karaoke I overcame stage fright, became a better singer, and was approached to audition for the band I'm now in. I host the Middle School karaoke club because it's important to offer a variety of arenas for students to discover their inner performer and build self-confidence.

Madeleine Girardin-Schuback, US French teacher, at CG since 2005. Master's in education, College de Mirecort, France.

We did not have school on Wednesdays in France. On those afternoons, I would gather all the children in the neighborhood and teach them songs and games. I became known as “Maitresse Girardin.” The teacher who most influenced me was my high school math teacher. Through his persistent teaching and reaching out to me, I came to love a subject I had once disliked and learned to never give up. I was proud of my accomplishments, and now I want my students to enjoy the same kind of success.

I spent the winter of 1978 heli-skiing with the French Olympic ski team in Canada and the U.S. Undisputed adventure!

Meredith Goddard, US history teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in history, Carleton College. Master's in secondary social studies education, Duke University.

I view teaching as a pursuit of truth, love, and justice. I have the incredible opportunity to teach students to ask powerful questions, to deeply care for students and nurture their dreams, and to connect students with global challenges and solutions to make the world a better place. I can think of no more meaningful way to spend my days.

I enjoy talking about seaweeds. I am incredibly psyched by the untapped potential of algae. It's wonderful to bathe in and will most likely be an abundant and renewable source of food and fuel in the future.

Kate Grant, director of college counseling, at CG since 1997. Bachelor's in American studies, Smith College. Master's in psychology, Harvard University.

I've been interested in education as long as I can remember. My aunt was my 2nd grade teacher, and a progressive one at that. My most influential teachers outside of my parents were my high school vice principal and my religion professor at Smith. Both took an interest in me as an individual. I have worked at schools and colleges since college and studied counseling, consulting psychology, and human development in grad school. I believe in the developmental process and have great faith in the natural development that happens, particularly during the high school and young adult years.

I grew up in Mexico, Missouri, the saddle horse and fire brick capital of the USA! I lived in Siena, Italy, for six months with my family and loved the food, culture, and particularly the people. I sailed one summer in Greece with a former Smith professor! I believe in education as a social, intellectual, and personal experience that can help us know ourselves, others, and our world better. In the words of a mentor of mine, "The purpose of a liberal arts education is to make us feel more keenly the moral issues of the day." I believe it can also help us solve or resolve those issues.

Stephen Grant, LS counselor, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in psychology, University of Oregon. Master's in social work, Portland State University.

I was drawn to counseling because I have always been interested in how people develop. How much is nature and how much is nurture? How much of what is natural can be shaped and changed by nurture? How does our thinking and sense-making about the world shape our behavior? I was drawn to working with children because changes happen so quickly at younger ages. Though I don't feel much closer to having the answers, I'm sure having a great time collecting data. Kids are just plain fun!

I spent my formative years living on both coasts of the U.S., from Brooklyn, N.Y., to my grandfather's dairy farm in Skomokawa, Washington. I'm both a country mouse and a city mouse.

Peter Green, outdoor program director, at CG since 2005. Bachelor's in psychology, Williams College. Master's in ecology, University of California, Davis.

I came to teaching in a school setting relatively late in life, after a career in natural resource management. I was inspired by a man I met at a friend's wedding who had left a lucrative career in banking at age 60 to become a high school teacher. He told me it was the best thing he had ever done. Leaving the world of politics was a deliberate move on my part after realizing that educating the next generation may well be the best way to influence how we take care of the world.

I worked as a logger one summer in college. It is a truly dangerous profession, and three times in that summer I came within a hair's breadth of buying the farm.

Dan Griffiths, upper school head, at CG since 2007. Master's in biological science, University of Oxford. Doctorate in zoology, University of Cambridge.

My A level biology teacher, Paul Gainey, started me on my convoluted journey. His enthusiasm and passion for the natural world, combined with his unique teaching style and humour, inspired me and many others. An amazingly high number of students who took his class ended up studying biological sciences at university. He also instilled in us a sense of personal responsibility, allowing us to learn that ultimately the stimulus that drives you to success must come from within.

Keli Gump, 4th grade teacher, at CG since 2011. Bachelor's in English, University of San Francisco. Master's in curriculum & instruction, City University.

I traveled to Brazil in my late teens, and on the streets of Rio de Janeiro saw homeless children huddled under movie marquees asleep at night. It might sound clichéd, but this trip changed my life. I decided right then that I had to be a teacher, and have spent the rest of my life fulfilling this dream.

I hiked the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu when I was 18. This tested my endurance beyond all measure.

Katie Gunderson, MS French teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in French, Portland State University. Master's in French, Portland State University.

Ever since the first time I was asked, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I've answered, “I want to be a teacher.” When I fell in love with French on the first day of high school, it was the missing piece to my puzzle. Through the years, I have learned that the subject taught is not as important as the way students feel when they leave your classroom. I have worked with students of all ages: high schoolers in Vancouver, Washington, and elementary students in France. But middle schoolers are the most fun!

I am an Oregon native but loved the year I spent living and working in France, and I almost feel as if I have two nationalities.

John Hamilton, head boys golf coach, at CG since 1974. Bachelor's in physical education, Western Oregon University.

When I was younger, my friends always encouraged me to explain rules and tactics for our outdoor, card, and board games. This was my first teaching assignment. My oldest first cousin taught history and coached in California. When I was in grade school I looked forward to our conversations about how much he enjoyed his interactions with his student athletes.

In 1967, while running in the state cross-country championship, I spotted a lone runner running in the opposite direction of the course, and I thought, "Doesn't that guy know there is a really big race here today?" We found out later it was Steve Prefontaine. This was the first of his many significant racing victories including a 4th place finish in the 1972 Olympics.

Sia Haralampus, kindergarten teacher, at CG since 2010. Bachelor's in child development, Tufts University. Master's in education, Harvard University.

I am drawn to teaching because it is a direct connection to the health and prosperity of our planet. Creating healthy, safe, and caring spaces for collaborative learning opens the door for kindness, activism, and community spirit to lead the way.

I recently found out that my great grandmother was a kindergarten teacher! This age group fascinates me, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover this connection.

Dianne Harris, assistant girls tennis coach.

Norman Harris, head varsity girls tennis coach, at CG since 2011.

Brandon Haughton, head varsity boys basketball coach, at CG since 2010.

Jordan Heintz, 5th grade teacher, at CG since 2004. Bachelor's in psychology, Whittier College. Master's in education, Whittier College.

The act of learning feeds the good stuff in us all. As a teacher I'm lucky enough to spend my day with children exploring the world, building ideas, and discovering. It's simply awesome.

In college I supported myself as a DJ, designed studio lighting for clubs, and took on additional coursework in film production. What do I do with these skills? I play cheesy dance music for Lower School children during our Disco Friday celebrations, complete with full lighting and a film that showcases the kids' sweet moves.

Hayden Herder, assistant baseball coach, at CG since 2012.

Julie Higgins, LS administrative assistant.

What was a great Catlin Gabel experience you've had lately? We just had Harvest Festival which is my very favorite tradition at Catlin Gabel. All of the Lower School teachers and students, and many parents gather in the Fir Grove to celebrate the changing of the seasons. We have a bonfire and the kids sing, recite poetry, play instruments, and dance. After the bonfire we all gather to roll a giant oatcake marked with an X on one side, and an O on the other side. If the oatcake lands on O we'll have a mild winter, if it lands on X, we'll have a long cold winter. Of course we hope for a long cold winter with lots of snow days! Then we all have treats. Harvest Festival is the perfect example of the community coming together to celebrate and the community is why I work here. 

Shaun Higgins, jv boys soccer coach, at CG since 2011.

Leslie Hillman, 3rd grade teaching assistant. Bachelor's in physical education, Linfield College.

Beining Hu, US Chinese teacher, at CG since 2006. Bachelor's in Chinese, University of China. Master's in Chinese, University of Oregon.

I am passionate about education because I am a constant learner myself. I have a contagious smile and open personality, which helps me interact with my students as I guide them through their learning process.

I used to work as a journalist and TV program host in Canton and Macau before I came to the United States.

Larry Hurst, 6th grade science teacher, at CG since 1998. Bachelor's in biology, California Poly State University. Master's in Latin American studies, University of Florida.

In the Peace Corps I worked at a zoo where I would often bring tame animals to visit local schools to educate teachers and students about Jamaica's native wildlife. That's when I discovered the power of teaching and how one “aha” moment can wake a child's interest in learning more.

I put myself through college by working on a huge cattle ranch near San Luis Obispo, California. My favorite courses were ornithology, vertebrate zoology, tractor operation and maintenance, and best of all, colt breaking, where I roped my own horse instead of the target bale of hay during the final test.

Dawn Isaacs, 2nd grade teacher, at CG since 2011. Bachelor's in elementary education, Bradley University. Master's in educational leadership, Maryville University.

I'm drawn to teaching by the endless possibilities. Teaching is a creative, intellectual, emotional, exhausting, energizing endeavor. Each morning I wake up eager to come to school and excited by the opportunity to create the just-right conditions needed to draw out the potential of each child. I leave school each evening honored to be a part of my students becoming who they will be as learners, as thinkers, as people in the world.

For four years, I lived aboard a sailboat, and completely off the grid, a mile from the shore of Key West, Florida. My commute each day included a dinghy ride to land and a quick trip on my moped to school.

Hedy Jackson, US PE/health teacher, at CG since 1996.

Shahr Jahanshir, MS volleyball coach 2, at CG since 2012.

Herb Jahncke, 3rd grade teacher, at CG since 2007. Bachelor's in biology, Rollins College. Master's in teaching, Lewis & Clark College.

The heart of education for me is creativity. Students are always creating ways to understand the world, and developing their logic and problem solving skills to make sense of experiences, ideas, and concepts. In order to construct this knowledge, they take what they already know and build on it. As a teacher, I am allowed to participate in this remarkable process of watching student creativity blossom and grow and to help encourage, support, and challenge students to help them move out of their comfort zones and explore new ideas. No two students are the same, nor do they come to the classroom with identical backgrounds or perspectives. Creativity in the classroom involves discovering how these learners think when they walk in the door, and finding ways to guide them along their educational pathways. Being able to listen to the students, encourage their ideas and plans, and watch them grow is one of the richest experiences one can have.

Renee Jenkinson, outdoor program teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in public health education, Portland State University.

I teach because nothing's more exciting than connecting with others. Growing up, I was a tactful and masterful Truth or Dare champion and channel this skill today by empowering people to face their challenges, take risks, and find their voices. I came to Catlin Gabel after spending more than a decade traveling the world guiding youth and adults outdoors, and teaching wilderness medical courses and high school health, biology, and anatomy. I was stumped about how I would manage to stay outside, teach at a great school, and connect with kids. I hit gold here at Catlin Gabel.

I have told stories on the Moth, Backfence PDX, and Russian Roulette.

Christa Kaainoa, 7th grade English teacher, at CG since 2004. Bachelor's in journalism, University of Oregon.

Teaching snuck up on me slowly, and it's been one of the best surprises of my life. I had been headed toward a career in journalism, PR, or politics until I spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, West Africa. A group of children in the small village of Kokojo taught me to speak basic Bambara, showed me how to operate the foot pump so I could get clean drinking water, brought me embers from their families' fires so I could start my own fire for cooking, and basically introduced me to the people and culture of the village. They were patient and kind, friendly and fearless, and they became my good friends. When I returned to Portland to work in public relations, I missed being around kids! I quit my job, enrolled in a masters of teaching program, and haven't looked back since. If it weren't for my young friends in Kokojo, I may never have discovered how brilliant, fun, complex, interesting, and important children are and how meaningful and satisfying it is to work with them!

Allie Kautz, 4th grade teaching assistant, at CG since 2013. Bachelor's in child & family development, San Diego State University.

Kellie Kawasaki, jv girls volleyball coach, at CG since 2013.

Tiffany Kenaley, story craft teacher, at CG since 2011.

Joseph Campbell helped form my opinion that the character of the teacher is what captivates the memory in the student, thus retaining information. When you think back to your elementary years, what and whom do you remember most?

In 2011, I received President Obama's Volunteers of the Year Award for my service with Girl Strength, a program sponsored by the Portland Police Bureau. Girl Strength teaches girls ages 10-18 a holistic approach to self-defense.

Ginia King, US English teacher. Bachelor's in comparative literature, Yale College. Master's in comparative literature, University of North Carolina. Doctorate in comparative literature and literary theory, University of Pennsylvania.

I am passionate about exploring life -existence, identity, ethics, the history of ideas --through reading and writing. I can't read or write enough. There is not enough time in a day. Where better to explore than in the classroom, with Catlin Gabel students and their open, curious, hungry, inspiring minds? I have the best job in the world.

Although I am an English teacher, I have no degrees in English.

Traci Kiyama, US math teacher, at CG since 2014. Bachelor's in mathematics, American University. Master's in mathematics, Teachers College Columbia University.

Who was an influential teacher? Josh Davis was the best teacher I had in high school. He was my Latin teacher for 3 out of the 4 years. I still go to my school to visit him when I can. I initially signed up for Latin because people said it would help me build vocabulary and do better on the SATs. Mr. Davis turned Latin into my favorite subject. He brought the language and ancient Rome to life. He clearly cared about his students and was always willing to listen. He was always there for me when I needed some extra support. Mr. Davis was more than my Latin teacher. He inspired me to be a better student and helped build my confidence to conquer the obstacles in my life.

Emily Krohn, LS student teacher, at CG since 2014. Bachelor's in elementary education, University of Portland.

Joseph Lanigan, MS student teacher, at CG since 2014.

Carter Latendresse, 6th grade English teacher, at CG since 2007. Bachelor's in English, University of Washington. Master's in English, University of Washington.

I got into teaching after reading Jonathan Kozol and bell hooks when I lived in Berkeley in the mid 1990s. At that time, I was working at a book wholesaler cooperative and volunteering at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House. After visiting Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley and seeing Alice Waters and the incredible teachers there starting the Edible Schoolyard program, I decided I also wanted to “educate as the practice of freedom,” in hooks's phrase.

My family and I did a yearlong Fulbright Teacher Exchange in Istanbul, Turkey-a Muslim nation-four years after 9/11. The experience was fantastic, as I learned that people are people, despite the xenophobia and ahistorical misinformation ubiquitous to our popular news media. The Turks helped us open our eyes and hearts to diverse cultures, an experience that we will always have, as we are still in touch with many of our friends there.

Veronica Ledoux, US science teacher, at CG since 2008. Bachelor's in biochemistry, Mercyhurst College. Doctorate in neurobiology, Northwestern University.

Nance Leonhardt, US art teacher, at CG since 2007. Bachelor's in fine arts & radio, tv, film, Evergreen State College. Master's in teaching, Seattle University.

As a student teacher majoring in art instruction, I was required to teach across the K-12 spectrum. I remember developing a great lesson plan based on the work of Eric Carle, where I was going to have kindergartners create cats out of collaged triangles. I had the tables set with assorted paper scraps, different sized triangles to trace, and scissors. Nobody told me that a primary developmental task in kindergarten is learning how to operate a pair of scissors. By the end of the 40-minute session the entire class, including me, was in tears! I love that teenagers (for the most part) have mastered fine motor skills and that I can coach them on the ideas behind the work.

An essential duty I've had in every job I've held is to operate a popcorn machine. Another funny fact: I was suspended in first grade for drawing a full-frontal nude portrait of Adam and Eve.

Amanda Lighthiser, US English teacher, at CG since 2014. Master's in creative writing, University of Oregon.

David Long, head MS track & field coach, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in political science, University of Oregon.

Alicia Lopez, kindergarten teaching assistant, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in human development & family science, Oregon State University.

Jesse Lowes, MS science teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in biology, Colorado College. Master's in teaching, Lewis & Clark College.

I grew up with a voracious drive to explore and understand the world around me. Immeasurable childhood moments spent overturning rocks in search of salamanders and climbing trees to gain a better view of birds paved the way for ecology field research in college and beyond. However, research on its own never seemed enough without the human component. I discovered the missing piece while working as an environmental educator at an outdoor school in California and immediately knew teaching was for me. Teaching is the perfect blend of personal inquiry and community, challenge and support, work and fun. I feel extremely lucky every day that I am able to work with students to facilitate deeper understanding, respect, and stewardship for our community and the natural world.

On separate occasions I have found myself within 20 feet of a big cat: a mountain lion while solo backpacking in the North Cascades and an African lion only an arm's length away through my tent door in Tanzania. Both times were powerful and chilling and both times I felt fortunate for the experience…and more so for the lack of scars.

Sandy Luu, athletic director, at CG since 2011. Bachelor's in education and pe, Concordia University. Master's in athletic administration, Ohio University.

What brought you to Catlin Gabel (if you are new to the school), or why do you like working at Catlin Gabel? I came to Catlin because I love the small school environment. Within this model, Catlin is mindful about seeking out the interests of the students. We have an amazing number of offerings with sports, clubs, and activities. The kids are so talented here and can do anything they set their minds to.

Vu Luu, technical varsity girls volleyball coach.

Jennifer Marcus, BS woodshop teacher, at CG since 2004. Bachelor's in art, Mills College.

When my oldest daughter attended preschool in Los Angeles, I agreed to open up the woodworking shed during their recess. That first group of 4-year-olds introduced me to something so special that I had no choice but to make a career of teaching woodworking to as many kids as possible.

I worked in the advertising department of Wham-O Manufacturing as a graphic designer when Frisbee golf was being introduced in the United States.

Jessica Marlitt, outdoor education sub, at CG since 2013.

What brought you to Catlin Gabel or why do you like working at Catlin Gabel? I truly feel like each week in this community brings me great, memorable experiences. Most recently, we held class elections for the class of 2015. Not only was the campaigning positive and funny, but the speeches also rang with optimism, good will, and hope. No mudslinging in the students' democracy! I advise the US student government - CGSA - and am honored to explore with students how they can develop and practice good leadership.

Chris Mateer, US art teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in fine arts, Massachusetts College of Art. Master's in fine arts, Ohio University.

Growing up, I filled my class notebooks with drawings, played the drums in my garage, and thought my art teachers were the coolest adults I knew. When I realized that my favorite teachers and professors were working artists, and that they loved teaching because it complemented (and even inspired!) their own art, I knew that was what I wanted to do. I strive to be an enthusiastic collaborator who promotes creativity and provides opportunities for students to explore multiple modes of visual communication. I love making things, working with artists of all ages, and learning new things.

In addition to making art and teaching, I play the drums and some mandolin. I also write a music blog called Uprooted Music Revue, and regularly contribute to the Bluegrass Situation and No Depression. I have interviewed Lucinda Williams, Chris Isaak, Old Crow Medicine Show, and many more artists, musicians, and authors.

Brett Mathes, US English teacher, at CG since 2007. Bachelor's in English, Dartmouth College. Master's in English literature, Middlebury College.

My most inspirational teacher, other than my parents, is Michael Rossman, a former leader of the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley in the '60s. He went on to teach elementary school science and lead summer camps. Michael brought in road kill animals to inflate their lungs with a straw, handed us tarantulas and snakes to help us overcome irrational fears, and led us on long walks to learn about local minerals and the paths of creeks and rivers that had vanished under the concrete.

My love for the outdoors and for racing sports inspired me to return to distance running in 2012. I enjoy races of half marathon distance or longer and complete them at a very slow pace.

John Mayer, 2nd grade teacher, at CG since 2006. Master's in education, Lewis & Clark College.

During college I thought I was going to change the world by fighting for social justice in courtrooms and the halls of government. But then when I was 21, I was a delegate to the United Nations Conference Against Racism in South Africa…an experience that soured me on bureaucracy. Later, I saw that my work for social justice could be much more satisfying in a classroom of young people. How wonderful to be able to grapple with the biggest issues our world faces with the people who are going to continue the work beyond me.

In 2004, after dating my future wife for six months, we quit our professional jobs, sold most of our possessions, packed up a 1989 Toyota Land Cruiser with a rusty bumper, and took off. Our goal was to travel the U.S. and Canada together until our savings ran out-a luxury of youth, luck, and circumstance. We drove over 20,000 miles, visited 34 states and all of the Canadian provinces, hiked hundreds of miles, connected with long-lost family and friends, and only spent two nights in a hotel.

Peggy McDonnell, LS music teacher, at CG since 1978. Bachelor's in education, University of Maryland. Master's in curriculum & instruction, Portland State University.

My grandmother played piano by ear for silent movies. She could not read a note. My family had weekly sing-a-longs, and I was exposed to music throughout my childhood. I went into music education in my sophomore year of college and never looked back.

I am a bi-coastal resident. I live in Ocean City, New Jersey, in the summer and in Portland during the school year. Every summer my husband and I explore the expanse of this great nation and visit different sections of our county and national parks as we drive east.

Mary Medley, US administrative assistant. Master's in theater, University of Portland.

Robert Medley, US theater teacher & theater director, at CG since 1981. Bachelor's in education, University of Portland.

Andrew Merrill, US computer science teacher, at CG since 1999. Bachelor's in mathematics, Swarthmore College.

Beth Merrill, LS science teacher, at CG since 2013. Bachelor's in environmental studies, University of Oregon. Master's in general science, Portland State University.

I have always enjoyed the outdoors and was fortunate to spend my childhood in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada outside of Yosemite. I spent a good deal of time wading through creeks, climbing boulders, and observing animals. As a teacher, I aim to give students opportunities to develop a connection to nature through science. Kids see the world with such openness and honesty. I feel fortunate to be part of the learning and discovery that happens every day at school.

In my free time, I enjoy gardening, hiking around Portland, and discovering interesting treasures at yard sales. I'm an avid reader who is always looking for another good book to pick up.

Casey Mills, US counselor, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in communication disorders, Colorado State University. Master's in education, Western Oregon State College.

I love working with children and families and I am intrigued by family dynamics; I think family dynamics is a major contributing piece of the world's puzzle. Working with kids keeps me young . . . or at least young at heart. I believe that one must ask a child to find out what the Hokey Pokey is really all about.

My parents met on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" over 50 years ago and have been together ever since. I have an older brother who is one of the hardest-working people I know and continues to impress me daily. I have a wonderful wife and two awesome sons.

Leanne Moll, US English teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in music history & literature, Mills College. Master's in education, English language arts & literacy, Lewis & Clark College. Master's in musicology, Cornell University.

I am a first-generation college graduate who has an unwavering belief in the transformative potential of education. As a high school student I was encouraged to not apply to college. My counselor viewed my gender, mixed ethnicity, and family's legacy of under-education and illiteracy as detrimental. I see these now as unique strengths. I am (still) driven by exceeding these low expectations and try to encourage my students to strive past any limiting expectations placed on them.

I grew up in rural southern Oregon and am Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa.

Paul Monheimer, 7th grade world cultures teacher, at CG since 1995. Bachelor's in German, Lewis & Clark College. Master's in education, Lewis & Clark College.

I was drawn to teaching when my parents gave me the gift of a younger sister. In order to converse, plot, and connive, we needed to talk, so I taught her to speak. At Berkeley High School, Thomasine Wilson taught me to fill my life with heroes, beginning with Thomas Jefferson. Since those formative years, I humbly stand on the shoulders of giants. Retired Catlin Gabel art teacher Judy Teufel taught me the value of trusting middle schoolers to do the right thing, and always maintaining a strong safety net when they need one. Retired Catlin Gabel science teacher Lowell Herr taught me that allowing kids to discover solutions to problems taught them to puzzle out answers instead of looking for the right one. Verna Bailey taught me that the best education happens outside school walls. I have long been interested in how the brain learns, and I love asking students to explain their thinking.

I have taught every grade level from kindergarten to seniors, for at least one year, and have taught on three continents in six countries. I enjoy travel and constantly look for opportunities for adventure. Returning to Catlin Gabel to share stories is a real treat.

Shizuka Morse, 1st grade teaching assistant, at CG since 2010. Bachelor's in linguistics & business administration, University of Oregon.

While I was growing up, I always had teachers that I liked, but my 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Hagino, made the greatest impression on me. Due to my family moving, I only had her for about four months, but I remember wanting to be at school all the time. I want to be a part of children's lives in a way that gets them excited about something - if not everything - just the way Ms. Hagino did for me.

I learned to speak English when I was 16 years old. Having my educational career split between Japan and the U.S. taught me so much. Even after 10+ years of living in the U.S., I am still learning things about American culture!

Cindy Murray, US learning specialist, at CG since 2011. Bachelor's in education, University of Missouri. Master's in special education, Michigan State University.

I knew I wanted to teach from the time I was 10 and had my first neighborhood nursery school charging 50 cents per week. Then as a camp counselor, when a deaf camper couldn't receive her horseback-riding award because she didn't know the parts of the horse, I figured out a way to teach her and experienced her joy firsthand. From that time on I have worked with students who needed “just a bit more of something” to succeed and realize their potential.

I love the outdoors, including camping with my family, rejuvenating my gardens, some of which have been cultivated for 100 years, and most memorably, have tiger fished in the Chobe-Zambezi River in Namibia.

Courtney Nelson, lower school math specialist, at CG since 2011. Bachelor's in landscape architecture, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Master's in elementary education, Lewis & Clark College.

I worked as a landscape architect after college and realized there, in the design office, that my favorite days at work were the days when the administrative assistant brought her children in and I could explain our projects to them. I realized then that I wanted to teach.

Outside of school, I play on a coed field hockey team, surf, snorkel, garden, and try to visit places and people all over the world.

Kenny Nguyen, US math teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in mathematics, University of Chicago. Master's in learning technologies, University of Michigan. Doctorate in mathematics education, North Carolina State University.

Through Cosmos, author Carl Sagan was the first teacher to impact my thinking when he declared, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” And what an ineffable and beautiful cosmos! When my faith in that beauty attenuates, I remember that two things exist. The first is field theory, which posits that every field has a unique algebraic closure. The second is the fugue that follows the Klagender Gesang lament in the third movement of Beethoven's opus 110. I think it's the most beautiful thing that's ever been written. A close third would be the YouTube video of Tegan and Sara baking a shepherd's pie topped with tater tots.

Kristin Ogard, MS counselor, at CG since 2001. Bachelor's in physical education, Pacific Lutheran University. Master's in counseling psychology, Lewis & Clark College.

The experiences I had in school and in sports led to my desire to work with children and teens. During those formative years I had connections with some very special teachers and coaches who clearly cared deeply for their students and were very interested in making a difference.

My high school my drama teacher, Mr. Lesch, encouraged me to audition for a Dairy Farmers of Oregon commercial. I was selected for the lead role and briefly became the "face of milk." My career path did not lead to further auditions or any other roles in television, and I am quite happy and content in my role as a middle school counselor: no cameras, no lights, but lots of drama!

Chenoa Ohlson, director of before/after school care program, at CG since 2006. Bachelor's in anthropology, University of Nevada.

As I make my way through life, my 7th grade English teacher, Mr. Palucci, is never far from my thoughts. At an age as precarious as thirteen, I felt seen and heard in a way I hadn't experienced in other classes. He introduced us to great literature, but it was our voices and ideas he encouraged most. When I stepped through his classroom door I entered a safe, warm harbor from the confusion of junior high. He put his whole heart into his work-and that is the kind of teacher I aspire to be every day.

Barbara Ostos, middle school head, at CG since 2011. Bachelor's in government, Harvard University. Master's in nonprofit leadership & management, University of San Diego. Doctorate in educational leadership, University of California, San Diego.

I love school. I have always loved school. I love the energy, creativity, and possibility that schools create. School allows me to be part of something bigger than myself for societal good - it inspires me every day.

It's a privilege to work with students and their families. Independent schools are not ivory towers. Our work is to provide a microcosm of the real world.

Monica Palmesano, LS student teacher, at CG since 2014. Bachelor's in educational foundations, University of Oregon.

Rhonda Patten, BS music teacher, at CG since 2006. Bachelor's in music, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

I love the writing of Margaret Mahy, a children's author from New Zealand. Her ability to play with words and language, sense of place, and her use of magic in the everyday world transport the reader (or me) to a place where the story so much more than the words and images. Reading her work is like listening to a well-crafted concert. The sound, emotion, and story wash over me and leave me feeling transformed.

Sue Phillips, upper school librarian, at CG since 2004. Bachelor's in English literature, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Master's in English literature, Portland State University. Master's in library science, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

There is a thrilling moment when working with a student on a research question, and suddenly the question shifts from theoretical to something real, urgent, and meaningful. That's the moment when the student digs in, and I never tire of witnessing it.

I play a modern copy of the 15th-century Trinity College harp, a wire-strung instrument that has an ancient, resonant voice. When I say I love early music, I mean early!

Joan Piper, US math teacher, at CG since 1999. Bachelor's in mathematics, Bates College. Master's in mathematics and curriculum and instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Over the years, I have worked in the banking, software, and publishing industries, in addition to teaching in five independent schools and a public school. Teaching has been the only profession that never seems like a “job,” but rather an exciting and meaningful activity that I look forward to every day.

Even though I teach mathematics, I also love language and love to read. I am always reading two books at once and I attempt the New York Times crossword puzzle every day!

Carol Ponganis, 6th grade math teacher, at CG since 1988. Bachelor's in biology, University of California, Santa Cruz. Master's in education, Portland State University.

I fell in love with marine biology and field ecology when I was in high school. My senior year, I did an internship in which I had the opportunity to teach in an outdoor school setting on the coast. I had a fantastic mentor there who was a huge influence on my teaching style today. I quickly discovered that sharing my passion for marine science with young students made my love for the field twice as rich!

Many moons ago, the 6th grade math teacher at Catlin Gabel got me interested in whitewater rafting on a Middle School Breakaway trip. Since then, I have rafted on 10 different rivers in Oregon and have taken about 200 middle schoolers rafting.

Mark Pritchard, MS music teacher, at CG since 1998. Bachelor's in music, New South Wales Conservatory of Music.

I had decided I wanted to be a music teacher when I was in the 7th grade. The chance to share what I love (music) with others has always been incredibly appealing to me. Teaching gives me the opportunity to set up situations where people can have musical experiences like performing and composing. It's given me great joy over my career to teach music at all levels-from preschool to college.

I was born in Australia, lived in Austria, and now live in America. Perhaps I'm ready to move on to a country beginning with the letter B!

Dale Rawls, MS art teacher, at CG since 1989. Bachelor's in art, Portland State University. Master's in education, Lewis & Clark College.

Art professor Ray Grimm was an important role model for me. Not only did I meet the love of my life and wife of 34 years in his college class, but I was his studio apprentice during several summers in college. He modeled problem solving as an effective way to teach and continued to have shows and make art during the 35 years that he was a college professor. He continues to be a friend and mentor to this day.

Lauren Reggero-Toledano, US Spanish teacher. Bachelor's in education, University of Miami. Master's in Spanish, University of Salamanca, Spain.

My maternal grandfather was Greek and I was raised in a very proud Greek-American family. I began the formal study of Modern Greek during the spring of 2007 when I spent the semester in Spain. My husband and I had classes twice a week with a Greek exchange student. I had to start from zero while my husband could pull from his memory of the Ancient Greek class he took in college. Our classes with Fotini prepared us well for our first trip to Greece that spring. After returning to Portland, we found a wonderful teacher and we take independent Greek with Erna once a week. Learning Greek has made me appreciate nuances of the culture in which I was raised. It has made me a more empathetic Spanish teacher. I have also recently joined the programming committee for the Hellenic-American Cultural Center of Oregon and Southwest Washington.

David Reich, challenge course manager.

Vicki Roscoe, lower school head, at CG since 2002. Bachelor's in early childhood, Central Washington University. Master's in teacher education, Bank Street College of Education.

I decided to teach while living in a classroom culture of public humiliation in the 3rd grade. Horrified, I realized the powerful influence of teachers and vowed to have a positive impact on children.

My passion is travel, especially overseas. I crave the cognitive dissonance you get when you are immersed in another culture. Travel has been one of my greatest teachers.

Shannon Rush, US math teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in mathematics, Seattle Pacific University.

JD Russell, head baseball coach, at CG since 2012.

Bob Sauer, US science teacher, at CG since 2001. Bachelor's in physics, Whitman College.

I am drawn to teaching because I love working with high-school-age people. Their enthusiasm and passion are energizing, and seeing their eyes open to the discoveries and methods of science as a way of understanding the world is very rewarding. It's so much fun to share in the delight of discovery and adventure, whether in learning science, doing service projects, exploring on outdoor program expeditions, or traveling internationally. I particularly value and appreciate the positive, constructive, teamwork, and collegial aspects of the profession, especially as it is practiced at Catlin Gabel.

I love traveling. I was born overseas, and spent time abroad with my family in Turkey and France while growing up. On my own, I taught a year each in Cyprus and Poland. My own kids have traveled with me to New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, Finland, France, Turkey, England, and Hawaii. I've led, or helped lead, Catlin Gabel trips to Turkey, Peru, and France, as well as innumerable outdoor adventures in rafting, skiing, backpacking, biking, and rock climbing.

Peggy Schauffler, LS art teacher, at CG since 1994. Bachelor's in art education, University of Oregon. Master's in education, Portland State University.

I come from an enormous family of teachers, the most influential being my father, a music and woodshop teacher. He gave me the love, the voice, and the desire to teach students in the most creative way possible. Teaching art is the answer for me.

I love to sing and play guitar, and have written many songs throughout my life.

Meg Schmidt, preschool teaching assistant, at CG since 2013. Bachelor's in education, political economy, Evergreen State College.

RJ Schuppert, MS boys white team basketball coach, at CG since 2012.

Emily Shoemaker, head varsity girls basketball coach, at CG since 2011.

Peter Shulman, US history teacher, at CG since 2003. Bachelor's in history, Haverford College. Master's in history, University of Michigan.

I was fortunate to find three different passions converge in the realm of independent school teaching: a love for the freshness that each day brings when working with ever-evolving youth, a desire to help people become assets to their community, and an undying curiosity to facilitate rich inquiry through the lens of history and a wide variety of disciplines, including evolutionary psychology, ecology, and economics. Thus, every day is rich with possibility, unexpected turns, and discovery.

Other than having a truly wonderful family, the best thing that ever happened to me was being 21 and on the wrong side of a revolver on a beach in Mexico, and having the hand attached to it belong to a cool-headed professional thief. He stole my money, my passport, my playing cards, and my prized leather jacket, and left me completely unharmed, if psychologically traumatized for a short time. When I gathered my senses about me, I learned the most important lesson: material objects and the money used to get them are not worth that much. My health, wonderful people, brilliant ideas, and the stunning quality of the natural world are truly priceless. Teaching and coaching are pursuits that have helped me keep these lessons at the core of my days.

Lynn Silbernagel, MS librarian, at CG since 1995. Bachelor's in English, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Master's in library science, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Master's in education: curriculum & instruction, Portland State University.

From the time I was 7 years old, I knew I wanted to be a librarian. Early in my career I worked as both a children's and young adult librarian at public libraries in the Midwest. I did not think I was interested in working in a school, where my responsibilities would expand into classrooms and curriculum, but after doing extensive research and over the course of a daylong interview on campus, I discovered that Catlin Gabel was, indeed, exceptional. I knew this was a place where I could be a learner as well as a teacher and librarian. The school has supported me in earning a degree in curriculum and instruction in progressive education.

Chris Skrapits, 8th grade science teacher, at CG since 1998. Bachelor's in biology, State University of New York at Geneseo. Master's in education, Lewis & Clark College.

I am not sure what drew me to teaching. My high school teachers told me not to go into teaching because I was too smart for it. In college I had the opportunity to TA for many classes, and I really enjoyed it. Science and teaching were a couple of things I enjoyed; the combination is almost like a Reese's peanut butter cup.

I love to run.

Kathy Sloan, US math teacher, at CG since 1996. Bachelor's in mathematics, Middlebury College.

I was hired as a high school senior to tutor a sophomore who was failing math. I brought him from a D grade to a high B grade over the course of a few months and watched as he transformed from a student who hated math to one who enjoyed it. I was hooked.

I withdrew from college twice to travel and work around the world. My first stint was six months in Britain, later a year in New Zealand and Australia, and upon my eventual graduation from college, I secured a job teaching in Japan. I found I could survive on little or no money if I was creative, and that creativity allowed me some truly great adventures.

Kathryn Slothower, US science teacher, at CG since 2011. Bachelor's in biochemistry, Lewis & Clark College.

My fascination with the world around me on both microscopic and macroscopic scales has always been something I've wanted to share. From diagramming the life cycle of HIV in the sand while playing on the beach in high school, to explaining my senior thesis about the metabolic pathways of the parasite Leishmania in terms of the war on Iraq, I realized that creatively explaining science is perhaps as gratifying to me as learning science. By teaching, I get to do both on a daily basis!

During college I was part of the “Team Hawaii” outrigger paddling club and won world titles during races in Fiji and Australia. After moving from Hawaii to the mainland, I took up rock climbing since paddling in the Willamette isn't quite the same as in the warm waters of the tropics.

Sue Spooner, LS sub PE teacher, at CG since 2013.

Tony Stocks, US English teacher, at CG since 1999. Bachelor's in English, Oberlin College. Master's in English, Cornell University.

One February morning, my senior film studies class was engaged in a lively discussion of editing practice in Sergei Eisenstein's The Battleship Potemkin when the earthquake drill alarm went off. My students dutifully ducked under their desks, but once the alarm had subsided, they continued to chat enthusiastically about graphic matches and the dialectical clash of images without missing a beat. Eventually the all-clear sounded, we returned to our seats, and I was once again reminded of why I love being a teacher.

I am an unfortunate subscriber to Victorian art critic John Ruskin's dictum that “if a book is worth reading, it is worth buying.” Hence, my library contains volumes like The History of Syphilis, Why the French Love Jerry Lewis, and What the Ruling Class Does When it Rules.

Guimin Tang, LS Chinese teacher, at CG since 2011. Bachelor's in English language and literature, Guangdong University. Master's in applied linquistics, Guangdong University. Master's in education, Portland State University.

I have a deep love for education, and recognize education as the noblest profession in the world. Education is the transmission of civilization. In Chinese culture, teachers are often compared to gardeners and engineers of human souls to indicate the significance of education. To represent the pride, commitment, and devotion I have in being a teacher, I share one of my favorite Chinese sayings: “The spring silkworm will only end its thread when death befalls; the candle will not stop dripping with tears until it turns to ashes.”

My passion outside of work and family is reading and listening to music. I think reading broadens my horizons and enriches my knowledge, while music brings me peace of mind.

Mimi Tang, 1st grade teacher, at CG since 2005. Bachelor's in English, University of Washington. Master's in education, University of Washington.

Although my memory of what my 3rd grade teacher looked like or sounded like has faded, I will never forget how Mrs. Cleveland made me feel. When she looked at me, she saw me. She truly saw me. As a shy, introverted, voiceless child, I was never invisible in Mrs. Cleveland’s universe. She succeeded in drawing me out of my typical way of being, challenging me and including me in the culture of the classroom seamlessly and respectfully. Many of her former students became teachers. Her spirit of kindness and ability to include all children lives on in us. I feel so fortunate to have learned from a master teacher and memorable human being.

Nichole Tassoni, US English teacher, at CG since 2007. Bachelor's in English, Wesleyan University. Master's in English education, Columbia University Teachers College.

I love teaching because I love hanging out with teenagers.

I have a robin's egg blue refrigerator.

Ethan Tucker, music teacher (long-term sub), at CG since 2014.

Tom Tucker, MS woodshop teacher. Bachelor's in design, Marlboro College.

When I was a middle schooler it seemed to me that my teachers were having fun. They got to teach subjects that were dear to their hearts, coach sports, take kids on class trips that got everyone out of the usual classroom setting, got them singing songs and playing Botticelli, and trading their own ideas in exchange for my peers' and mine. What's not to like?

Lisa Unsworth, assistant director of admission, at CG since 2010. Bachelor's in physical education, University of Calgary. Bachelor's in education, Gonzaga University. Master's in education, Drury Univesity.

Rob van Nood, educational technology coordinator, at CG since 2013.

Roberto Villa, US Spanish teacher, at CG since 1984. Bachelor's in French, Pacific University. Master's in French, Portland State University.

I met Professor Falzon when I was trying to decide on my college major. He was a terrific French professor who had a reputation for turning a language class into a vibrant cultural experience. He spoke seven languages, was inspirational and caring, and projected a sense of exuberance and excitement. By the end of his course I had formally declared my major in languages.

I was the vice president of the 15,000-member Italian Beatles fan club from 1964 to 1966. I saw them in concert in Rome in 1965 after sneaking out of the house and buying a ticket from a scalper with money from my piggy bank.

Charles Walsh, US music teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in music, Kenyon College.

My mother was a Middle School English and music teacher and my father was a high school English and theater teacher. I was drawn to teaching by the desire to spend my life learning. Every interaction with my students teaches me something new and every moment is reinvented. The moments in which I sing with people are the moments I understand the world and why humanity exists.

I do not own a car.

Holly Walsh, 8th grade English teacher. Bachelor's in psychology, University of Vermont. Master's in education, St. Michael's College.

I first began school at the age of three. I attended a tiny Montessori school where most of my classmates were years older than me. Initially, everything seemed gigantic and out of reach because of the age difference, but my teacher, Miss Salomi, encouraged me to work with the older kids. Somehow, she always made their lessons accessible to me, which was incredibly empowering. This early experience and a great liberal arts education focused on humanities prompted me to consider teaching others. Eighth graders never cease to amaze me.

I have enjoyed teaching reading and writing to students from 2nd to 12th grade, to students whose first language is English, Vietnamese, Spanish, Mandarin, and French. I have worked in public schools, at an international school, and in an inner-city school where I was a minority. I have internalized the school calendar, so my “New Year's Day” is celebrated in September.

Joe Walsh, controller.

Patrick Walsh, US history teacher, at CG since 2006. Bachelor's in art, University of California, Berkeley. Master's in history, California State University, Chico. Doctorate in history, University of Texas.

When I was a kid, there was a low-rent movie house in the warehouse district of Berkeley that showed Marx Brothers movies each winter right around my birthday. I don't know how many times I watched "Duck Soup" or "Horse Feathers" with a bunch of friends in lieu of a "regular" birthday party. Thirty-some-odd years later, I still watch them regularly. Harpo and Chico and especially Groucho are like favorite uncles, old friends who help me with what it means to be a grown-up.

Yen-Ling Wang, MS Spanish teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in Spanish, University of California, Riverside. Bachelor's in biology, University of California, Riverside. Master's in Spanish literature, Stanford University. Master's in education, Stanford University.

Robyn Washburn, US registrar, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in English literature/communication studies, University of Montana.

My favorite teacher was Mrs. Johannsen. Because I attended a very small school, I was able to have her for English three out of four years. She influenced me in many ways, but most significantly, she encouraged me to attend college straight out of high school. It's hard to imagine what I might be doing now if I hadn't had her as my mentor.

Rick White, US math teacher, at CG since 2014. Master's in education, Whitworth College.

Spencer White, MS Spanish teacher, at CG since 1996. Bachelor's in hispanic studies, Lewis & Clark College.

I'm drawn to teaching by two forces: the desire to be a positive influence in the lives of adolescents at a very challenging time of growth and the profound desire to maintain my youth. A close third is sharing my love of Spanish language and culture with kids who can, and will, go change the world for the better.

I am pursuing the hobby of bike racing, mostly cyclocross, but road criteriums, Kermesses, and mountain biking. Not sure whether it keeps me young or makes me old. What I do know is it's a blast!

Hannah Whitehead, beginning school head, at CG since 1982. Bachelor's in English literature, Reed College.

After long and winding careers, both of my parents ended up teaching at universities - my father genetics, and my mother English. The way that they talked about their work, their students, and their colleagues made it seem like hard, but exciting and fulfilling work, and it became my career as well. My mother was a big fan of John Dewey, and so I learned about progressive education at her knee.

I lived with my family for several of my growing up years in Sydney, Australia, where my father founded a department at the University of Sydney. Although Australia was an amazing and wonderful place, I did not enjoy the pre-reform era of Australian education. I was sure that there must be a better way!

Dave Whitson, palma scholar program director, at CG since 2011. Bachelor's in history and comparative literature, University of Washington. Master's in curriculum and instruction, University of Washington.

WIn my senior year of high school, we were all required to run a class session in my English class. I remember feeling exhilarated by the process, by the challenge of facilitating a discussion that achieved a particular objective while also maintaining a free-flowing, open-ended quality. That set the wheels in motion for a career in education.

At this point, I have hiked well over 10,000 kilometers of hiking trails in Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, England, Norway, and Turkey. Nearly half of those have been with student groups!

Wendy Wilkinson, US French teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in history, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Doctorate in law, Lewis & Clark Northwestern School of Law.

I have loved teaching ever since I was a little girl. While attending a public elementary school in France, I would come home from school most days and be the “teacher” to my little sister and her friends who lived in our building, teaching them what I had learned in school. They all started school knowing some reading and math, and I was hooked. I continued to teach while in high school, college, and law school before finally turning my full attention to teaching.

My favorite week of the year is spent at a wilderness camp with family and friends every summer in the Trinity Alps of Northern California. We spend the week hiking, camping, making crafty gifts for our loved ones, and cooking and singing together around the campfire. Oh, and drinking the best water straight from the spring!

Sheila Williams, LS PE teacher, at CG since 1990.

Tracy Williams, human resources assistant, at CG since 2012.

Rebecca Wirth, preschool teacher, at CG since 2008. Bachelor's in English literature, Reed College. Master's in early childhood, Bank Street College of Education.

I loved being in preschool so much that I decided to find a way to stay there.

I love the feel of a busy, brightly lit classroom when the weather outside is cold and gray.

Becky Wynne, US science teacher, at CG since 1998. Bachelor's in architecture, Portland State University. Bachelor's in chemistry, Swarthmore College. Master's in science and math education, Cornell University.

I thought I wanted to be a research scientist because I love science. However, I discovered that I also love helping people, and I crave variety in what I do. My first job out of college, teaching at a small independent school in New York City, allowed me to do all these things and cemented my love of teaching.

I love to travel and have traveled to over 35 different countries. I attended kindergarten in Moscow and spent half of 8th grade in Warsaw. I have run three marathons, the first one at age 39.

Jim Wysocki, US math teacher, at CG since 2010. Bachelor's in mathematics, Niagara University.

When I was young I was very good at mathematics. I picked things up very quickly in elementary school and often worked beyond my classmates and enjoyed the challenge of learning math. It wasn't until I left teaching for a year to pursue graduate work that I slowly began to realize that what gave me joy was working with young adults, watching their faces light up when they understood things, and even seeing their faces bunch up when they are struggling through ideas. I love helping students learn - not just mathematics - but about how to live, how to make choices and accept responsibilities.

Mary Yacob, admission & financial aid coordinator, at CG since 2010.

What brought you to Catlin Gabel or why do you like working at Catlin Gabel? I really like working at Catlin Gabel because of the fantastic community.  There is a wonderful sense of family, and I feel appreciated and supported.

Dale Yocum, engineering program director, at CG since 2007. Bachelor's in computer science, University of California, Santa Barbara.

When I was in high school, my electronics teacher was a pack rat. He loved to go to government surplus sales and take back to our lab everything nobody else wanted. Why? It was free! We had stacks and stacks of random electronic gizmos to fix, take apart, cannibalize, and puzzle over. He had every electronic component under the sun salvaged from this stuff. When I sold my company after 25 years in software and electronics management, I vowed to recreate that sense of exploration and fun here at Catlin Gabel. That's why you won't find rows and rows of neatly stacked identical kits in our robotics labs. A little chaos is good for the soul.

George Zaninovich, place director, at CG since 2008. Bachelor's in environmental studies, University of Pennsylvania. Bachelor's in political science, University of Pennsylvania. Master's in urban and regional planning, Portland State University.

My mother was the Russian teacher at my high school and my dad was a professor at the University of Oregon. I had no intention of following in their footsteps. But right out of college, and desperate for a job, I fell into a teaching position at a very progressive K-8 school where I learned the importance of experiential education and student leadership. I also felt a kinship to my own learning style as I was always more engaged when a lesson was hands-on. Now at Catlin Gabel, I am lucky to work with students on real-world projects out in the Portland community.

Some of my most memorable and influential life experiences include living in Botswana, playing in a band at Joan Baez's commune, riding a bike around the state of Oregon for a graduate school project, rescuing three sweet pooches, and adopting my son with my wife.