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?
|Paul Andrichuk, MS learning specialist, at CG since 1997. Bachelor's in history, Oberlin College. Master's in school counseling, Johns Hopkins University. Paul's answer is pending.|
|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.|
|Chris Bell, MS administrative assistant. |
|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. |
|Len Carr, assistant middle school head, at CG since 1989. Bachelor's in social sciences, Evergreen State College. Who was an influential teacher? Manvel Schauffler was an inspirational teacher and colleague of mine. As a student, Schauff lived a life and ran a school that was committed to blurring the lines between education inside classrooms and outside of them. He inspired me to organize my senior class 10-day Outward Bound outing into the Sisters, OR Wilderness Area. He taught me to drive a split axel, 5 gear, split axle - double-clutching-required rental truck on Caravan Day when we moved Rummage from the sorting center to the Coliseum. As a colleague at Bush School in Seattle, together we worked with students and families exploring the opportunities for learning inherent in hands-on experiential situations as well as the more traditional classroom setting. Whether teaching US history, sailing a boat or driving a school bus, Schauff exemplified for me progressive education, a zest for teaching and life, and a passion for the positive spirit in others.
|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. 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.
|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. |
|Sara Dier, teaching and learning center administrative assistant, 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.|
|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.
|Ema Eldredge, 8th grade math teacher, at CG since 2004. Bachelor's in mathematics, Pacific University. |
|David Ellenberg, 8th grade history teacher, at CG since 1991. Bachelor's in biology, Brown University. Master's in education, Portland State University. Mr. Molnia was my social studies teacher in 8th grade. He was smart and sharp-witted, and treated me with respect in an era when there was a lot of tension between students and their instructors. Mr. Molnia expected me to think critically about issues current and historic, and he pushed me to defend what I shared with reasoned responses. One lesson stands out. In a Queens neighborhood where Holocaust survivors were many, Mr. Molnia asked the class to list some of the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime. We then generated another list of punishments that we believed the Nazi leadership deserved. Although the lists were not identical in specific content, the two contained some surprisingly similar methodologies. It was clear that vengeance was a preferred aspect of the second list. The debrief was heartfelt and difficult. Seeing the summative lists side by side on the board implied an equivalency that made me squirm. The power of the activity has lasted all these years. Its memory helps guide me as I push my own students to use compassion and critical thinking when working with issues of controversy.
|Glenn Etter, temporary 8th grade history teacher, at CG since 2013. Bachelor's in English, University of North Carolina. Bachelor's in mathematics, University of North Carolina. Doctorate in cultural anthropology, University of California, Berkeley. |
|Ann Fyfield, 6th grade humanities teacher. Bachelor's in international studies, Portland State University. When I was a college student, I went through a phase in which I thought foreign films were the only films worth seeing. As a French major, I felt the need to appear cosmopolitan, so I would don a beret, hop on my moped, and ride off to become cultured. I missed some great American films made at the time, but saw some movies I will never forget. "Do Desu Ka Den" by Akira Kurosawa was so intriguing that I eventually changed my major to Japanese and Asian Studies. The film that truly inspired me, though, was "1900" by Bernardo Bertolucci. It was the first time I had seen a multinational cast -- Burt Reynolds, Robert DeNiro, Gérard Depardieu, Donald Sutherland -- acting together in a lush, epic film about fascism, love, war, and class. They couldn't all really speak Italian, could they? The film was at least six hours long, but I loved every minute of it. It made me want to study more history, enroll in Italian language class, and most of all eat some very good pasta.
|Brian Gant, MS health & PE teacher, at CG since 1984. Bachelor's in geography, Simon Fraser University, BC. |
|Brendan Gill, 7th & 8th grade arts media teacher, at CG since 2010. Bachelor's in film production, Loyola Marymount University. What is one surprising thing about you? Movies have completely shaped the way I view our world. I see the front page of the newspaper as a marquee in lights. I hear lectures as pitches for the next blockbuster. I write down the jokes told at big family dinners (only the ones that made me fall under the table). My earliest memory is seeing the snake pit from Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen. Only good pictures are worth a thousand words. When strangers ask if I can take their picture, I try to get all those words in there. I learned best by playing, imitating, and experimenting, and that spirit is alive and well in the middle school. 7th and 8th graders are even more eager to make movies now than I was as a kid. What is it about this medium that's so alluring?
|Katie Gunderson, MS French teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in French, Portland State University. Master's in French, Portland State University. |
|John Hamilton, MS PE teacher, at CG since 1974. Bachelor's in physical education, Western Oregon University. When I first began teaching and coaching in 1974, veteran teacher and coach Dave Corkran had guided the girls cross-country program to the top of the state rankings. During the past 20 years I have had the great pleasure to work with the cross-country program. During that time the girls have worked hard to become the all-time number-one ranked class 3A program in the state.|
|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. |
|Hedy Jackson, MS health & PE teacher, at CG since 1996. |
|Christa Kaainoa, 7th grade English teacher, at CG since 2004. Bachelor's in journalism, University of Oregon. A bird flew into my classroom window within the first minutes of my first class today. Left a cloud of tiny feathers suspended in the air outside the window. Of course the class ran to the window to see the bird on the ground below and watched as it struggled for breath, bleeding from the mouth. It was terrible. I made everyone sit down and write a poem about the bird - from the bird's perspective, or from the student's, a eulogy or a prayer for recovery. We spent five minutes writing silently, and then looked outside again. The bird had stopped breathing. I sat there for a good minute or two, trying to figure out what to do. Was it okay to continue my class and listen to "Ice, Ice Baby" while searching for poetic devices within the lyrics? It just didn't feel right. So we took our bird poems and headed outside. The kids chose a burial spot in a cove of trees, and I dug a hole with a serving spoon and a Tupperware bowl, and we buried the robin. One kid assumed the role of minister and read a passage from a Bible he had found in the classroom, and other kids read their poems out loud. We had a moment of silence and covered the bird with dirt. Marked the grave with a stone and a branch. RIP, birdie.
|Carter Latendresse, 6th grade language arts teacher, garden coordinator, at CG since 2007. Bachelor's in English, University of Washington. Master's in English, University of Washington. When I'm not roller skating, bike riding, or gardening with my family, I'm often talking about books with friends. Some of my favorite writers include Mary Oliver, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Rumi, Gloria Anzaldúa, Morris Berman, Marcus Borg, Walt Whitman, Lucille Clifton, Elaine Pagels, Anne Lamott, Wendell Berry, James Baldwin, Shakespeare, Molière, Joseph Heller, Zora Neale Hurston, Dostoevsky, Tolkien, Tolstoy, Marilynne Robinson, and J.D. Salinger. Just rattling off these heroes makes we want to get back to my quiet reading chair and a cup of tea.
|Jesse Lowes, MS science teacher, at CG since 2012. Bachelor's in biology, Colorado College. Master's in teaching, Lewis & Clark College. |
|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.|
|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. Thomasine Wilson at Berkeley High School taught me the power of concise speech, clear writing, and logical thinking. She allowed me enough time to understand Descartes, and, more importantly, to be able to explain his teachings to my classmates. Then there was John Richards, longtime Portland Symphony tuba player, grandfather of a Catlin Gabel student, and professor at Lewis & Clark College. John taught education psychology not just by lecturing, but by actually encouraging his students to experiment and experience all things psychologically related to education. Finally, Eugene Williamson, Cedar Park Middle School, taught me the value of maintaining high standards for students, creating demanding curriculum, and taking students on field trips. Gene was never satisfied in the classroom: he lived the ideal that experiential education is the only real kind of school kids need.
|Cindy Murray, MS learning specialist, at CG since 2011. Bachelor's in education, University of Missouri. Master's in special education, Michigan State University. What brought you to Catlin Gabel or why do you like working at Catlin Gabel?
I feel very lucky in my life because I have had the opportunity to pursue two passions at the same time. One is to travel and the other is to guide and teach students who learn in unique ways. Because I am married to a non US citizen, whose focus was international business , we moved often. I was allowed to live and work in many wonderful cities both in the US and Europe. I benefited from the varying cultures, attitudes, trends and expertise of educators from many educational institutions. I find myself again rewarded by being part of the Catlin Gabel community that not only supports but celebrates the unique learning style in each and every one of us.|
|Kristin Ogard, MS counselor, at CG since 2001. Bachelor's in physical education, Pacific Lutheran University. Master's in counseling psychology, Lewis & Clark College. When I was a student growing up here in Portland my high school my drama teacher, Mr. Lesch, encouraged me to audition for a commercial being filmed here in town. It was for the Dairy Farmers of Oregon. If I were selected for the part I would be promoting milk consumption and the dairy industry as we knew it in 1982. As it turns out, I was selected for the lead role and I became the "face of milk" for a brief period. 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!
|Barbara Ostos, middle school head, MS Spanish teacher, 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. Middle schoolers are amazing people. They change daily, and the impact their school environment has on them should not be underestimated. It's a privilege to work with them and their families. Independent schools are not ivory towers. Our work is to provide a microcosm of the real world. We must provide a diverse, student-centered education that prepares our students for their futures through teaching and practicing critical and flexible thinking, collaboration, and communication skills in all we do.|
|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. We recently held a field test for our upcoming trip to Japan. All the kids brought their packed luggage so we could practice taking public transportation, buying train tickets, eating out as a group, and hauling our luggage around. We even had simulated Japan Rail Passes that the students had to present on command. It turned out to be a great learning experience for all because Murphy's Law was in full swing that day. Everything that could go wrong did. The school building alarm went off as we tried to leave for the train, which made us 15 minutes late for the train. When we got to the train station, a ticket machine was broken, so 20 people had to buy tickets from one machine. Needless to say, we missed the train. But lunch went off without a hitch, so we returned to school patting ourselves on the back for a job well done. Then a student reported that he had left his backpack with all his money and camera on the bus! It was great practice for the resilience and resourcefulness we were going to need on our trip abroad!
|Mark Pritchard, MS music teacher, at CG since 1998. Bachelor's in music, New South Wales Conservatory of Music. Who was an influential teacher? Most high schools in Sydney are grades 7-12. My most influential teacher was my music teacher. He got me into playing the flute and piano and I liked so much what I was doing that I had decided by the 8th grade that I was going to be a music teacher in the future. David got the job as lecturer in music education at the Sydney Conservatorium where I studied with him an additional four years once I was done with high school. I always make a point of contacting David any time I go to Australia to visit. He's a good friend and a mentor throughout my career.
|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.
|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 seven years old, I knew I wanted to be a librarian. I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, and stayed there through graduate school and the start of my career. I was happy as a children's and young adult librarian at a public library. I had not considered deviating from my path until I got a call and several e-mails from Catlin Gabel's Upper School librarian telling me about a job opening in the Middle School. I did not think I was interested in working in a school, where my responsibilities would expand into classrooms and curriculum, but I was persuaded to visit Portland. After doing extensive research about the school 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.
|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. |
|Tom Tucker, MS woodshop teacher. Bachelor's in design, Marlboro College. pending|
|Holly Walsh, 8th grade English teacher. Bachelor's in psychology, University of Vermont. Master's in education, St. Michael's College. |
|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. |
|Spencer White, MS Spanish teacher, at CG since 1996. Bachelor's in hispanic studies, Lewis & Clark College. My own middle school experience was horrendous. I felt as if no adult could tolerate my presence. Was I like the students I teach now? I have so much fun spending my days with young adults and their boundless energy. They are by far the most exciting people around. Running a close second to my students are my fabulous colleagues. This place is magical.
|Dale Yocum, MS robotics 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.|
|John Zingale, middle school student teacher. Bachelor's in history, Northern Illinois University. |