Catlin Gabel teachers are wise, dedicated, expert, approachable, and supportive. In a word, they are amazing. Our teachers are more than the sum of their credentials and previous work experience. We asked our teachers five questions that would reveal something about our their personalities. Each teacher chose one question to answer.
What was a great Catlin Gabel experience you've had lately?
What is your favorite movie, play, book, or pastime? Why?
What brought you to Catlin Gabel (if you are new to the school), or why do you like working at Catlin Gabel?
What is one surprising thing about you?
Who was an influential teacher?
Limit by division: Upper School | Middle School | Lower School | Beginning School
|Maggie Bendicksen, 5th grade teacher, at CG since 2002. Bachelor's in English, Amherst College. Master's in education, Lewis & Clark College. |
|Ali Berg, LS science teacher, at CG since 2013. Bachelor's in environmental education, Western Washington University. Master's in teaching, Willamette University. |
|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. |
|Katie Boehnlein, 5th grade teaching assistant, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in environmental studies & English, Seattle University. |
|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. |
|Rachel Brown, 1st grade teacher, at CG since 2011. Bachelor's in Spanish literature, Washington University in St. Louis. Master's in childhood general & special education, Bank Street College of Education. |
|Lauren Burns, LS learning specialist. Bachelor's in elementary education, Illinois State University. Master's in reading and literacy, Benedictine University. What is your favorite book? My current favorite book series is "The Game of Thrones" series by George RR Martin. I am currently on book three. The plot is intense and the characters are complex. I really enjoy how the plot is unfolded through various character perspectives and different time periods throughout the story. They are very long books, but Martin supplies many twists that keep you wanting more!
|Brendan Clark, LS PE teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in anthropology, Willamette University. Master's in teaching, Lewis & Clark College. |
|Galen Cobb, 1st grade teaching assistant, at CG since 2010. Bachelor's in sociology, Whitman College. |
|Michael de Forest, LS woodshop teacher, at CG since 1996. Bachelor's in sociology, Lewis & Clark College. Master's in visual studies, Minneapolis College of Art & Design.
In 1970 I made a bookshelf out of leftover 2 x 6s using a handsaw, a hammer, and nails. My friend Lee admired my work. I was very pleased. Four years later, I was a youth counselor looking for a career change. Lee, in the meantime, had begun designing and making hardwood furniture. After I begged and pleaded, Lee relented and hired me as his apprentice. Decades later, I bumped into Lee. He told me that when he had admired my 2 x 6 bookshelf, made with only hand tools and no training, he decided that woodworking might be something he could do. He had approached two furniture makers, begged them for a job, and was hired as an apprentice. When he hired me as an apprentice, he was working for the guys who took a chance on him. No wonder he took a chance on me, a chance that launched me on a 35-year journey as a woodworker and a teacher of woodworking.
|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. |
|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. |
|Enrique Escalona Fuentes, LS Spanish teacher, at CG since 2006. Bachelor's in journalism, University of Seville. Master's in Spanish, Stony Brook University. In the early '90s, while studying journalism in college, I directed a television weather show that aired at 2 p.m. No one in Spain dares to take a siesta without watching the weather information first. That's how I learned that "the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain" is a fallacy. Before directing the weather program I was an international reporter for the same TV channel. Between the war experience and the tedious weather reports (in southern Spain the weather is always sunny and warm with blue skies) I decided journalism wasn't my thing and that education is the pillar for a more civilized world.|
|Sara Etter, LS student teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in arts & letters, Portland State University. |
|Stephen Grant, BS/ls counselor, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in psychology, University of Oregon. Master's in social work, Portland State University. |
|Keli Gump, 4th grade teacher, at CG since 2011. Bachelor's in English, University of San Francisco. Master's in curriculum & instruction, City University. |
|Jordan Heintz, 5th grade teacher, at CG since 2004. Bachelor's in psychology, Whittier College. Master's in education, Whittier College. It’s 40 degrees outside. I’m on a bicycle looking down a two-mile mud track complete with bogs and hurdles. The guy next to me is wearing a chicken suit. Someone rings a cowbell and a Portland cyclocross race launches to life. For 45 minutes our lungs will burn, we will force our cycles through thick mud, and then throw our bikes over our shoulders as we scramble up hills too steep to pedal. None of the cyclists will win anything but smiles from this ride. All of us will be in pain — laughing and helping each other. As a teacher you have to embrace joy. Delight is alive in children and in the best of teachers. That’s what makes me seek out things like cyclocross racing. It’s a race much like teaching: someone will be the fastest, but that is not the main thing. Savoring the experience is what counts.|
|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.
|Mariam Higgins, 4th grade teacher, at CG since 2006. Bachelor's in medical illustration, Ohio State University School of Medicine. Master's in teaching, Lewis & Clark College. Carefully striding down the rock-strewn path, I revel in the electricity in the air and gusting wind of an impending storm. Admonishing, finger-wagging Haitian women, old uncles, even children would run up to me, always with a smile, warning me again of the obvious and ominous dark clouds. I adore exploring, particularly in foreign environments. I am well prepared, but impulsive, open to new opportunities. This engaging pastime has taken me to the deepest rainforests of Malaysia, remote islands off Mexico, mountains of Haiti, swamps of Florida, rivers of China, ruins of Malta, and coasts of Ireland, not to mention many not-so-civilized pubs and cafés around the world. Nearly every weekend I discover a new trail somewhere in the Oregon woods. I hope the feeling I enjoy is similar to that of my students’: curious, alive, observant, and eager to experience more.|
|Leslie Hillman, 3rd grade teaching assistant. Bachelor's in physical education, Linfield College. |
|Herb Jahncke, 3rd grade teacher, at CG since 2007. Bachelor's in biology, Rollins College. Master's in teaching, Lewis & Clark College. My animal physiology teacher in high school, Mr. Scarano, had an easy way of being in the classroom, a sense of humor, a gentle playfulness about him, and high expectations for his students. I learned from him to enjoy time and interactions with the students, without sacrificing academic expectations. Serious learning can be fun.|
|Kyle Jolley, LS student teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in human development & family science, Oregon State University. |
|Colin Laing, LS student teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in sociology, University of Oregon. |
|Jennifer Marcus, LS woodshop teacher, at CG since 2004. Bachelor's in art, Mills College. I transferred to Catlin Gabel in the middle of my sophomore year of high school. This was not my decision. At first I was baffled by the friendly teaching style and the respect my new teachers gave me. I especially loved Paul Dickinson's biology class. I was inspired by the way he guided us through labs and discussions with stimulating and exciting challenges. "Mr D" taught by asking questions, not by answering them. This is the key to how I teach today.|
|John Mayer, 2nd grade teacher, at CG since 2006. Master's in education, Lewis & Clark College. My most influential teacher was a whimsical wonder woman named Nura Yingling, who taught my 11th and 12th grade English and writing classes at a small Quaker school in Virginia. After going to school in a series of large public schools, everything about my new school felt different on my first day. Nura's room was organized in a circle of large tables with no assigned seats, instead of the desks in rows that I was accustomed to. The other kids were filing in and hugging each other while catching up on their summers. I quickly felt like I did not belong. Nura strolled into class, finding the last chair open and settling down to chat with the kids to either side of her. I didn't understand. Wasn't she the teacher?! Why wasn't she at the front of the room? A minute or two later she quietly said, "For those who don't know me, I'm Nura, I love writing, and I can't wait to learn from you all about how to make my writing better." I remember thinking, "I'm John, I love writing too, and I've never been asked to teach a teacher anything." This sharing of the direction of the classroom was a new concept to me, and I was thrilled to be a part of it. I credit Nura for inspiring me to want to be a teacher in her image.|
|Emmarose McDermott, LS student teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in elementary education, Pacific University. |
|Peggy McDonnell, LS music teacher, at CG since 1978. Bachelor's in education, University of Maryland. Master's in curriculum & instruction, Portland State University. |
|Shizuka Morse, 4th grade teaching assistant, at CG since 2010. Bachelor's in linguistics & business administration, University of Oregon. When I first worked at Catlin Gabel in 2005 as a 4th grade teaching assistant, I had such an exciting year. Education at Catlin Gabel is very different from what I experienced as a child growing up in Japan. All the teachers and staff here work and interact very closely with each student. No matter who you are (teacher, staff, or student...), everyone respects each other. It is a learning place for everyone.
|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. |
|Erin Porter, temporary learning specialist, at CG since 2013. Bachelor's in rhetoric & communication studies, College of Arts &Sciences. Master's in teaching k-8, University of Virginia. Master's in international & intercultural communication, Royal Roads University, Victoria, B.C.. |
|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. What keeps me here? The students' genuine love of learning keeps me here. I love working with truly outstanding teachers who know how to engage students deeply in learning. I have seen some of the strongest parenting skills in my career right here. The strong sense of community continues to amaze me since our families are spread all over the greater Portland area. There is magic here every day and it warms my heart.
|Colin Rupp, 2nd grade teaching assistant, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in music education, University of Portland. |
|Sue Sacks, LS learning specialist, at CG since 1991. Bachelor's in special education, NW Nazarene. Master's in learning disabilities, Northwestern University. As a volunteer at a shelter for women and children I was asked to teach computer skills. I met Susan, a recovering meth addict trying to stay clean and restart her life. She had limited schooling and no confidence in her abilities. We sat together at the computer and she told me that she knew nothing. Susan had become frustrated and unsuccessful with an earlier typing assignment. Together we found an online typing program that turned out to be perfect for her. She bravely began practicing. The look on her face when she saw her first score of 10 letters a minute with 89 percent accuracy was amazing. Priceless, even. That is why I teach. Whether working with a 4th grader learning to solve algebraic equations, a struggling reader who figures out a challenging word by herself, a parent or teacher who gains understanding about why a child learns the way he does, or a middle aged woman learning to type four letters on the computer, being a part of those “aha” moments is why I am here.|
|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 first came to Catlin Gabel riding on the shoulders of my father, choir and woodshop teacher Dave Schauffler. I was three — a little transplanted fish from an Illinois farm. From that squirmy young age until I was 18 years old I received the most amazing education a little Illinois fish could ever ask for. The greatest teachers of my life (my father at the top of the list) nourished and challenged me until I was ready to swim. My destinations were Europe, the East Coast, West Coast, and many places in between, until I was drawn back to Portland, my home. With my own children in arms, I looked for the best education I could find for them. I looked for the most challenging and nourishing teaching environment I could find for myself. I was very fortunate to find Catlin Gabel again. Now, young students look into my eyes every day, asking for nourishment and challenges. I teach them, as I was taught, so many years ago.|
|Dawn Sieracki, 2nd grade teacher, at CG since 2011. Bachelor's in elementary education, Bradley University. Master's in educational leadership, Maryville University. |
|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. |
|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.|
|Lauren Tuey, LS student teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in education & learning, Pacific University. |
|Sheila Williams, LS PE teacher, at CG since 1990. |