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Pumpkin Patch Photo Gallery 2011

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Seniors and first graders

Seniors who attended first grade at Catlin Gabel remember going to the pumpkin patch in 2001! This tradition is a school favorite.

To see more photos, including pictures taken at the pumpkin patch, go to the first grade web page.

How does your garden grow?

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by Carter Latendresse, 6th grade English teacher

With each passing week, the garden behind the Middle School expands and improves thanks to the efforts of many community members. From shed doors created by the Upper School shop class to pavers laid by Upper School students, to the latest addition – a cob pizza oven – there are many wondrous elements to discover.

Last spring, Lower and Middle School students submitted 75 drawings for the phase 3 expansion of the garden. The Garden Club selected six winning drawings, all of which included a pizza oven and several new pizza-slice-shaped raised beds for growing pizza ingredients including wheat, tomatoes, basil, onions, garlic, and oregano.

Alumni Kai Yonezawa ’02 and Owen Gabbert ‘02 adapted the six winning drawings and drew up a landscape design and construction plans for garden structures with green roofs and a cob oven with tin roof.

At that same time last spring, then-junior Andrea Michalowsky worked on a design for the phase 3 expansion in her PLACE urban studies class. She designed a ten-by-ten foot chessboard that was completed this fall after a summer crew dug trenches, hauled stone, poured gravel and river rock, and created the area that is now two decks with the chessboard between them.

This fall, the pizza oven became the focus of our attention. Under the guidance of natural builder Eva Edleson, a team of students, teachers, staff, alumni, and parents came together several times in September and October to build the pizza cob oven and its foundation, posts, and tin roof. » Check out photos and a short video of our process.

In 6th grade art class students learned a Matisse stenciling technique and made clay paint to decorate the cob oven. Students and teachers all had a hand in the embellishments. And every year the new 6th grade class can repaint over the previous year's design.

The icing on the cake for this project is green roofs to protect our community garden. Parents of 6th graders are donating sedum and grasses to create this living legacy.

Stay tuned for information about the first annual chess tournament in the garden and for the inaugural firing of the cob oven. Pizza time!

At this time of new beginnings, it is important to look back and acknowledge the countless hours of volunteer time and professional expertise that have gone into the garden. Many hands and generous hearts have contributed, which makes this garden so very organic and special. Thank you to the more than 45 people who have helped to create this beautiful, growing space with artistry, dedication, and hard work.

Volunteers of note include staff members, parents, alumni, students, and friends: Paul Andrichuk, Zoe Edelen-O'Brien, David Ellenberg, Ema Elredge, Ann Fyfield, Herb Fyfield, Meghan Galaher, Peter Green, Larry Hurst, Henry Latendresse, Emma Latendresse, Theresa Long, Matt Maynard, Adam Maynard, Chenoa Ohlson, Barbara Ostos, Tchassanty Ouro-Gbeleou, Carol Ponganis, Dale Rawls, David Reich, Simon Schiller, Jason Stevens, Kellie Takahashi, Hen Truong, Katie Truong, Tom Tucker, Spencer White, David Zonana, and the students in the outdoor leadership and adventure class.

Science teacher giving talk about bats

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7th grade science teacher Peter Ritson speaking at Washington State University in Vancouver

Peter and his wife, Christine Portfors, associate professor of biology at Washington State University Vancouver, host their annual Bat Talk from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 29, in the Dengerink Administration building, room 110 at Washington State University in Vancouver. This event is an especially fun fall activity for families with children ages 4 – 12 and is free and open to the public.

While the season often calls for depicting bats as blood-sucking, vicious creatures, now families have an opportunity to see live bats up close and learn why these animals are largely misunderstood. In addition to teaching guests about bats, Christine and Peter will offer fun children’s activities including arts and crafts.

In their presentation, Peter and Christine dispel popular folklore and teach guests about the beneficial role bats play in nature managing insect pests, pollinating plants and dispersing seeds. They will showcase different bat species and introduce guests to a few of their captive tropical fruit bats.

WSU Vancouver is located at 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Avenue off the 134th Street exit form either I-5 or I-205. Parking is free on weekends.

Calling all fans to the last home varsity boys soccer game Friday

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Come support the seniors at their last home game of the season. Cheer on the mighty Eagles at 4:15 p.m.

Sculptor from Ghana to visit Nov. 7 for arts residency & slide lecture

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Eric Adjetey Anang, a 27-year-old fantasy coffin sculptor from Ghana, will give a slide lecture on Monday, November 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gerlinger Auditorium at Catlin Gabel. He will discuss the history of Ghana’s Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop and show slides that illustrate the process of building his sculptures. The slide lecture is free and open to the public.
Eric Adjetey Anang will be in Portland for residencies at Catlin Gabel (November 7-11) and the Oregon College of Art and Craft (October 31-November 4). He runs the Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop in Ghana, which was started by his grandfather in the early 1950s. Kwei’s coffins, sculpted into forms such as boats, cars, musical instruments, tools, or animals to describe or honor their deceased elders, was recognized worldwide. Anang began working in his grandfather’s shop at age 8, and he began running the shop seven years ago. Anang’s work has been shown in Antwerp, is in the permanent collection of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, and is in private collections around the world.
Anang’s recent travels include a trip in August 2011 to Novosibirsk, Russia, where he made two fantasy coffins for the Novosibirsk Cultural Museum (see He was an invited guest in September 2011 at the Gwangju Design Biennale in South Korea. A recent short film by a London producer about the Kane Kwei workshop can be seen at .

Homecoming 2011 photo gallery

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Alumni, friends, families, and great soccer

Thanks go to media arts teacher Brendan Gill for taking these great photos of the community gathering in the Barn, fans at the field, the jazz band at halftime, and awesome JV and Varsity girls soccer.

Interview with new Middle School head

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Meet Barbara Ostos

How is Portland treating you?

Really well. We’re definitely still tourists. The other day I was able to navigate from my house to Sauvie Island and back successfully. I’m beginning to understand how the 405 freeway loops around. Every week we try to do something new, which is easy here.

I hear you are a dancer. Tell us more.

I love to dance for that feeling you get when movement takes over. My husband and I met at a salsa club, and we used to go salsa and merengue dancing a lot. We choreographed and practiced a dance for our wedding reception. Dancing is a big part of who we are. Lydia loves to dance. [Lydia is Barbara and Carlos’ toddler.] One of my favorite moments during Discovery Days was square dancing with 6th graders. It was great to see them take the risk, especially given the whole boy-girl dynamic at that age.

Can you reflect on a couple more highlights of your time here at Catlin Gabel?

Two Fridays ago at assembly a group of teachers—Tom Tucker, Deirdre Atkinson, Mark Pritchard, Spencer White, and Brendan Gill—played musical instruments and led 185 kids and 30 adults in a community sing. The high level of participation and incredible vibe was impressive. I’m going to make sure we have many opportunities for group singing.

Another standout moment was at Back-to-School Night. I tried to get around to see bits and pieces of all the teachers’ presentations. I sat in the 6th grade classroom filled with parents listening to the teachers talk about their work with students, and the real trust that we ask of parents. That was inspiring. And hearing about the teachers’ expertise and experience, not just the teaching and pedagogical experience and all that good stuff, but the life experience, too, kind of brought me to tears. I’ve really joined an outstanding faculty.

The spirit of team work and shared responsibility for everything we do—which is something I philosophically believe in—is a highlight that repeats itself over and over multiple times on any given day. Everyone pitches in, and there’s no sense that it’s any one person’s show. We're doing this together for the benefit of the kids.

What is your educational philosophy?

At the core I think the purpose of school goes much further than teaching reading, writing, math, and science. The fact that our students spend the great majority of their waking hours here on this campus with us implies a responsibility not just as educators but also as mentors in guiding young people to become socially responsible adults. The job of every teacher in our community is to engage with students and help them understand that they can pretty much do anything they want, but that they need to understand that there is right and wrong and they have a responsibility to each other. Maybe 96.12 percent of the time it’s not what you do but how you do it.

Our goal is to engage students in fully participating in everything we do. You’ll never have 100 percent participation, but schools should create an atmosphere where students can take risks, even pretty high-altitude risks, and feel safe trying.

This morning we saw a great example of high-altitude risk taking. A 6th grade girl had the lead part in a skit at assembly. I thought, wow, here’s a girl who’s been in this building fewer than 3 weeks and she’s putting herself out like that, not just in front of 6th graders, but 7th and 8th graders, too.

In terms of curriculum the idea of progression and partnerships is vital. Sixth, 7th, and 8th graders are all in such different places. Great schools and great educators meet kids where they are. It’s about the progress, not necessarily about the final outcome, because each one of our 7th graders is starting at a different place and ending at a different place. It’s about knowing our students well enough to recognize where they started and to give them support and kudos as they grow and progress.

We also need to teach kids that we’re not perfect, and everyone isn’t great at everything all of the time. It can be hard to give kids that kind of honest feedback, but that’s life. The bottom line is that we’re preparing these kids for life, not just for the next grade level. Sometimes people choose independent schools for the bubble it creates, and that makes it even more onerous on us to prepare them for life. Competition exists, and you’re not always going to be the best at what you’re doing. The way students can grow and really become better is through the critical feedback we offer them. It doesn’t serve anybody to always hear that they’re doing a great job. We can create an atmosphere where hearing supportive and empathetic criticism is the norm because our students understand everyone wants you to improve. Catlin’s narrative reports are a good piece of that, and I’m just discovering what those look like.

What are the academic tools Middle School students need for success in high school?

The ability to put thoughts together and connect ideas, which leads to critical thinking and comparisons. The ability to analyze, speak, and write clearly about ideas. The ability to put things together, figure things out creatively, and use core scientific inquiry skills, which of course includes math. The ability to be thoughtful in everything you do.

How do we reach students who have a wide range of skill levels at a stage in their lives when their maturity levels are so varied?

You need to meet students where they are. We can’t have the same expectation for every single 7th grader, because some kids will end up feeling like failures. No two people are the same, and if we don't recognize the individual child as the unit of consideration then we’re doing them a disservice. If they’re writing an expository essay about a hero in their life, for instance, and we know where that child started and ended, we can provide effective relevant feedback about their work. If they don’t feel like we are taking the time to really see what they’ve produced and offer them immediate feedback, then they wonder why are they really doing this.

Commenting about where a student started and ended is meaningful to them. At this age you really need to be concrete. You can’t just say, “Great job.” You have to say things like, “I’m impressed by how you used alliteration,” or “I noticed you connected this unit of math to what we did three months ago.” It’s very important to be specific both in accolades and in comments for improvement.

With all the distractions of adolescence, how do you keep Middle School students focused on school work?

You have to get them engaged. If they’re not bought into what is going on then it’s not meaningful. So the real question, and the challenge for each of us, is how to make something meaningful for a kid—especially in Middle School! You can make a student sit down and do 26 million math problems and lose their attention, or you can ask them to work out five math word problems that bring in things they actually care about. Then they’ll be interested and think through the problem. In language classes, you could have them fill out worksheets where they enter the right verb, or you can make their learning relevant by asking them to write about what they’re going to do this weekend. Connecting academics to their interests is something we really need to keep in mind, because Middle School students perceive themselves as the center of their universes. We need to be very clear about what we’re asking them to do, or the academic engagement isn’t meaningful to them. Does that mean that every single assignment in every single class is going to do that for every kid? No, that’s not realistic. But that should be our goal and our constant aspiration as educators.

What do you think of the myth that our math and science programs are not as strong as our writing and humanities?

Our math and science program is really strong. We need to do a better job of talking about what it is and being very clear about what we do in classes. I’ve noticed it’s a little ingrained in the culture of our teachers to be very humble about the work they do with kids. What’s happening in classrooms is amazing—and that includes math and science. There’s always room for improvement, but one of my goals this year is to tease out and share the excellent work we’re doing in math and science.

Do you have thoughts about our 8th graders considering other schools for their high school experience?

It would be my hope that all of our 8th graders move on to our 9th grade. While the school is broken up into four divisions—and appropriately so for children’s developmental stages and from a teaching and management point of view—I really hope that people see Catlin Gabel as a preschool through 12th grade program. I see it that way! It’s pretty amazing to have a place where you can be one school that is connected and interconnected in so many ways while appreciating the differences of age and what that brings.

As an aside, I am really impressed that the Beginning School is its own division. Science tells us there is a significant developmental difference between kindergarteners and 1st graders. That was one of the things I found very attractive about the school and its thinking about what’s best for kids.

Getting back to the 8th to 9th grade transition, it’s important to recognize that Catlin Gabel, just like every other school, may not be the right place for every student. The desire to look around at alternatives is something that’s probably natural to some. But I really caution against making decisions around assumptions. I’ve already had conversations with a number of 8th grade students and their parents where they have inaccurate assumptions about the Upper School.

Families that are considering other options need to keep in mind a few things. Don’t make decisions about what you think our Upper School program is. Look at our Upper School program and make informed decisions. Talk to US teachers, talk to me. Research Catlin Gabel as well as you research the alternatives you’re considering. Also, the decision to leave should not be solely made by the student or by the parent. Decision-making at this age really needs to involve parents and students in a way that all voices are heard. Parents must try to understand why students want to leave and consider if the reasons are good ones, and visa versa.

What is your hope for our graduates?

My dream for all seniors going to college, not just Catlin Gabel students, is that they are fully prepared, they know how to carry themselves, they understand how they learn, and they understand the space they take up not only in their school, city, and state but also in the world. We teach those things extraordinarily well and differently than other places. What is it to be a global citizen? Answering that question well is a really important 21st-century skill.


Second graders share insights about how the brain works

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John Mayer’s students had a conversation about how they think the brain works as they launched into a lesson about neurons, dendrites, and axons.

"I know there are different sides of the brain. Maybe it's that all the stuff you do know is one side of the brain and all the stuff you don't know is on the other side. So then the more you grow and learn, it's like a wave goes over your brain from one side to the other."

"That’s right. There are sides of a brain but I think it's different. It's like you do reading from here, riding your bike from there, and like math from over here (pointing to different spots all over her head). So it's like a highway between cities to connect them. Sometimes there might be something on the road…"

"Or the road got washed out."

"Yeah, or the road got washed out and that's the stuff you don't know. Then maybe you learn stuff and the road gets fixed."

John: "Hmmm… I guess we have a lot of thinking to do. Should we start by trying to figure out more about how our brains are put together?"


Five seniors named National Merit Semifinalists

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Five seniors have been named semifinalists in the 57th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The students are Ilana Cohen, Zoë Frank, Holly Kim, Dylan Shields, and Jeremy Wood. They are among 16,000 semifinalists nationwide who are eligible to compete for 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $34 million that will be offered in the spring, according to a release from the National Merit Scholarship Corp.

To qualify as semifinalists, about 1.5 million high school students took a qualifying exam during their junior year.

From those, the highest-scoring entrants from each state, who represent less than 1 percent of all U.S. high school seniors, were chosen. The number chosen per state is proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors, according to the release.

To be considered for a scholarship, semifinalists have several additional steps to complete. Each must be endorsed and recommended by his or her high school principal. Each student and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application including the student's essay and information about his or her participation and leadership in school and community activities, the release states.

About 15,000 semifinalists will be notified in February that they have been granted status as finalists. Scholarship winners will be selected from this group.


Welcome to new faculty and staff

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New folks join us in every division and in many departments
Link directly to new faculty-staff bios by division
Beginning School Lower School Middle School Upper School Staff

Beginning School

Isaac Enloe, kindergarten teacher
Isaac came to CGS from Presidio Hill School in San Francisco, where he taught 5th grade and co-founded its LEAF Academy, which provides a cutting-edge environmental education program for middle school students. He taught preschool, pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten at Kyoto International School in Japan, and kindergarten and 5th grade at Blue Oak School in Napa, California. Isaac served as a 5th grade intern at Catlin Gabel while finishing his MAT in early childhood education from Lewis & Clark College. He earned his BA in religious studies from Carleton College, in Northfield, Minnesota.

Colleen Connolly, kindergarten teaching assistant
Colleen has been the 2nd grade intern at CGS for the past year, mentored by Herb Jahncke. Previously she was the summer parks activity director for Portland Parks & Recreation. In 2007 she taught a jewelry workshop to young women at a small artisan school in Khemisset, Morocco. Colleen holds a BA in art history from Pennsylvania State University and has studied abroad at Temple University in Rome. She recently completed an MAT at Lewis & Clark College.

Lower School

Back row, l to r: 1st grade TA Galen Cobb, 3rd grade TA Tenley Feltz,, 2nd grade teacher Dawn Sieracki, 4th grade teacher Keli Gump; third row: 1st grade teacher Rachel Brown; second row, l to r: 3rd grade intern Elisabeth Neely, 1st grade intern Elizabeth Johnson, math specialist Courtney Nelson, 5th grade intern Olivia Rush; front row, l to r: 2nd grade intern Kelly Nichols, learning specialist Courtney Nelson, 5th grade TA Meghan Fernald; not pictured: 4th grade intern Catherine Shaper 

Rachel Brown, 1st grade teacher

Before coming to CGS, Rachel taught 1st grade in the New York area at both the Bank Street Lab School for Children and the Community Roots Charter School. Rachel is fluent in Spanish and is currently training with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She earned an MA in general childhood and special education from Bank Street College, New York, and a BA in Spanish literature from Washington University.

Dawn Sieracki, 2nd grade teacher
Dawn moved to Portland from Key West, Florida, where she contributed to the opening of the Sigsbee Charter School and taught 2nd grade. She has taught kindergarten through 3rd grade for the past 14 years in Florida; Burbank, California; and St. Louis, Missouri. Dawn earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Maryville University in St. Louis and a BA from Bradley University in Illinois.

Keli Ann Gump, 4th grade teacher
Keli came to CGS from Austin, Texas, where she was a 4th and 5th grade teacher at an independent school similar to Catlin Gabel. She has taught grades 3, 4, and 5 in Texas as well as Bellevue, Washington, and Daly City, California, for 16 years – and most of this time she has taught 4th grade, her favorite. She holds a MEd in curriculum and instruction from City University in Renton, Washington, and a BA in English from the University of San Francisco.

Courtney Nelson, part-time math specialist
Courtney was previously director of professional development for STEPS Mathematics, where she developed and led courses for educators in the U.S., U.K., and Australia. Her experience includes 12 years as a classroom teacher and instructional coordinator. Courtney led our preschool-grade 8 math teachers in two workshops in the past three years and enjoyed the professionalism and motivation of our teachers.

Lauren Burns, part-time learning specialist
Lauren comes to CGS from Naperville, Illinois, as a national board-certified teacher with seven years of teaching experience as a primary classroom teacher and reading specialist. She earned her master’s in reading and literacy from Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois.

Galen Cobb, 1st grade teaching assistant
Galen has been the after-school care assistant for the past year, working closely with the teacher to provide enrichment programs. Previously, he served as a camp counselor in Colorado, taught and coordinated special events with Breakthrough Collaborative at Kent Denver (similar to a Summerbridge program), and interned with America Reads/Counts, tutoring children and providing homework support. Galen holds a BA in sociology from Whitman College.

Tenley Feltz, 3rd grade part-time teaching assistant
Tenley has interned at Willamette Primary in 2nd grade and has been an assistant teacher in grades 3, 4, and 5. She earned an MAT from Lewis & Clark College and a BS in educational foundations, with a minor in special education, from the University of Oregon.

Meghan Fernald, 5th grade teaching assistant, after-school care staffer
Meghan comes to CGS from Telluride, Colorado, where she worked with students from kindergarten to third grade. She has volunteered at a permaculture farm and agricultural center in Nicaragua and has taught ESL to adults. She graduated magna cum laude from Western Washington University with a degree in environmental education.


Elizabeth Johnson, 1st grade
Elizabeth has volunteered for SMART and assisted in a 2nd and 4th grade classroom in an elementary school in Gladstone. She graduated from Marylhurst University with a BA in English literature and creative writing.

Kelly Nichols, 2nd grade
Kelly is originally from Hawaii and just graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a BA in psychology and a minor in art.

Elisabeth Neely, 3rd grade
Elisabeth has more than 14 years of experience working with students in grades K-12. For the past year she taught one day per week in a nature immersion program at local natural areas and farms. Before that she spent 11 years as the park naturalist and education program coordinator for Metro Regional Parks, teaching students and adults as well as instructing adult volunteers to lead environmental education programs for children. She has also served at Sunnyside Environmental School as a reading volunteer.

Catherine Schaper, 4th grade
Catherine has served as an ESL assistant in a classroom for K-5 students and taught illustration to grades 3-12 in a number of educational settings, including Saturday Academy and Oregon College of Art and Craft. She graduated from Colorado College with a BA in fine art and a minor in Spanish.

Olivia Rush, 5th grade
Olivia’s educational experience includes serving as an assistant at the Emerson School, providing support and assistance to classroom teachers, and as a special education para-educator in several local elementary schools, working one on one with students. She has volunteered with children in an orphanage in Peru and at an after-school care program in Ecuador. Olivia earned a BA in environmental studies from Vassar College.

Middle School

MS After-School Care supervisor Tiffany Kenaley, Middle School head Barbara Ostos, challenge course manager David Reich '80. Not pictured: math teacher Glenn Etter, 7th grade English intern Michael Larsen, and MS art intern Shelly Redden

Barbara Ostos, Middle School head
Before coming to CGS Barbara was the middle school dean at her own alma mater, Francis Parker School in San Diego, a school with many similarities to Catlin Gabel. She has been a teacher and administrator for 10 years, with responsibilities that included teaching history in 7th and 10th grades and serving as diversity coordinator. She developed a character education curriculum and led a board committee that did a positioning study for the school. Barbara’s family came to the U.S. from Cuba, and she is the first person in her family to attend college. She speaks fluent Spanish and French. Barbara expects to complete an EdD in educational leadership at the University of California, San Diego, this year. She earned an MA in nonprofit leadership and management from the University of San Diego, and an AB in government from Harvard University.

Glenn Etter, math
Everyone who became acquainted with Glenn when he was the long-term 8th grade English substitute last year knows he is a true Renaissance man. While he has a PhD in cultural anthropology from Berkeley and a BA from Chapel Hill in English (and was a Fulbright Scholar), he also graduated with the highest possible honors in math—and has won numerous national math achievement awards. Glenn’s previous experience includes teaching language arts at Vermont Commons School, along with science at Woodleaf Outdoor School and at the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley.

Tiffany Kenaley, part-time assistant and supervisor of Middle School after-school care
Tiffany, parent of US students Rhythm and Kallisti, is well known at Catlin Gabel because of her work at school in both paid and volunteer positions during the past 13 years.

Cindy Murray, learning specialist (see below in Upper School)

David Reich '80, challenge course manager
David is a Catlin Gabel lifer who has been an active hiker, climber, mountaineer, and cyclist since early childhood. He made his first ascent of Mt. Hood with a Catlin Gabel group when he was 11 years old. He has worked as an engineering geologist for the U.S. Forest Service and in the private sector. He launched Oregon Geotechnical Services in 1994 and continues to provide consulting services to the construction industry. David holds an MS in geology from the University of Oregon and a BA in geology from Whitman College.


Michael Larsen, 7th grade English
Michael has more than nine years experience working with youth of all ages. Most recently, he was a program leader at Outdoor School. He earned a BA in journalism from the University of Minnesota and has dabbled in broadcast journalism.

Shelly Redden, MS art
Last year Shelly was a volunteer teacher and tutor at a school in Belize. During her summer holiday, she painted an educational 10x20-foot mural on the school wall. She has a BA in drawing, painting, and printmaking from Portland State University.

Upper School

L to r: MS & US learning specialist Cindy Murray, creative writing teacher Carl Adamshick, English teacher Paul Donohoe, math teacher Traci Kiyama, history teacher Dave Whitson, drama teacher Elizabeth Gibbs '04, Knight Family Scholars Program director Chad Faber. Not pictured: science teacher Kathryn Slothower.

Carl Adamshick, part-time creative writing teacher
Carl won the 2010 Walt Whitman Award and received an Oregon literary fellowship from Literary Arts. He is the William Stafford Archive writer in residence at Lewis & Clark College. Carl’s poetry and essays have been featured in Poetry-in-Motion, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Missouri Review, Tin House, Beloit Poetry Journal, American Poet, and Narrative.

Paul Donohoe, English teacher
Paul has taught English at Central Catholic High School for seven years. He completed his practicum at David Douglas High School and Athey Creek Middle School. In addition to teaching, Paul brings experience as a screenwriter. Paul earned an MPhil in Victorian literature from Oxford University and a BA in English and American literature from Harvard. He is completing an MAT licensure-only program through Marylhurst University in both English and math.

Chad Faber, Knight Family Scholars Program director & history teacher
Chad brings to Catlin Gabel a strong background in leadership, teaching, and coaching. He will work with the Upper School faculty this year to develop the Knight Family Scholars Program curriculum, and in the winter and spring he will initiate outreach efforts to attract students for the inaugural year of the program in 2012-13. He will also teach in the history department. Previously Chad was an admissions and financial aid officer at Harvard College, where he had admissions, recruitment, financial aid, and academic responsibilities including serving as a freshman academic advisor. Before working at Harvard he was an academic adviser and cross-country and track coach at the University of Notre Dame, a history teacher and coach at Taft School, a survival instructor for the U.S. Navy, and a Naval flight officer. He holds an MA in education and history from Brown University and a BS in business administration from Georgetown University, and was a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Navy Flight School. He received the Air Medal for achievements in the former Republic of Yugoslavia, and was recognized for distinguished service in three combat deployments to the Balkans and Iraq.

Elizabeth Gibbs '04, part-time drama teacher
Elizabeth Gibbs '04 served as a substitute teacher at Catlin Gabel in 2006 and 2010. She has extensive teaching, choreographing, and directing experience at the Northwest Children’s Theater, Bigfoot Arts Education in London, and here at Catlin Gabel, where she directed last year’s production of The Fantasticks. Elizabeth earned an MA in advanced theater practice from the Central School of Speech and Drama in London and a BA in theater performance from Scripps College.

Cindy Murray, learning specialist
Cindy brings 23 years of experience as an educational and learning and resource therapist to CGS. Since 2006 she has worked with several CGS students, and their families and teachers, formulating tutoring programs to further their academic success. Cindy has worked abroad in France and England, and in the U.S. in California, Florida, and Kentucky. She holds a master's in special education from Michigan State University and a BA in education from the University of Missouri.

Kathryn Slothower, science teacher
Kathryn returns to the Upper School science department after taking time off to start a family. She was born and raised on Oahu and is a Punahou School alumna. Kathryn graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a degree in biochemistry. During college, she studied in Spain, took classes at the University of Hawaii Medical School, and spent her senior year creating mutant strains of the parasite Leshmania.

Dave Whitson, history teacher
Before coming to CGS, Dave taught humanities at Tesseract School in Phoenix, Arizona, and has also taught history at the Overlake School and Lakeside School. He has created and led long-distance walking trips in Spain and Italy; educational trips in Poland, South Africa, Chile, and Argentina; and a service trip in Ghana. He was also faculty leader of a professional development trip to China. Dave earned an MEd in curriculum and instruction and a BA in history and comparative literature from the University of Washington.

Traci Kiyama, math teacher
Traci has served at CGS as a tutor and substitute. Previously she taught at the Nightingale-Bamford School in New York and Montgomery Blair High School in Maryland and at Portland Community College. Traci earned an MA in mathematics education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a BS in mathematics with minors in applied physics and Japanese from American University, Washington, D.C.


Back row, l to r: custodial supervisor José C. Ruiz, assistant admission director Mary Braun, dishwasher & kitchen assistant Kaoru Wilson; front row, l to r: systems administrator Andrew Thomas, admission director Sara Nordhoff, dishwasher & kitchen assistant Woming Chen, caretaker Tchassanty Ouro-Gbeleou, HR director Linda Yoesel; not pictured: CFO Terry Murphy and athletic director Sandy Luu

Mary Braun, assistant director of admission
Mary started at Catlin Gabel last fall as interim assistant director of admission, overseeing admission to the Beginning and Lower Schools. She will retain responsibility for enrollment of those two divisions and lead various admissions initiatives. Mary brings a wealth of admissions experience at both the secondary and university levels.

Woming Chen, dishwasher & kitchen assistant
Woming’s cultural background is Laotian/Chinese. He raises tropical fish and works part-time at Uwajimaya.

Sandy Luu, athletic director
A certified athletic administrator, Sandy previously served as athletic director at Liberty High School in Hillsboro. Her experience includes positions at Morrison Academy, International School in Taiwan, American International School in Saigon, and in Vietnam and Guangzhou, China. Her first teaching position was at Thomas Junior High in Hillsboro, teaching middle school language arts and general math. Sandy has coached basketball, softball, and volleyball, and in college she played varsity in those sports. Sandy earned a master’s in athletic administration from Ohio University and a BA in education and PE from Concordia University.

Sara Nordhoff, admission and financial aid director
Sara has worked in admissions since 1993 for Bennington College, Mount Holyoke College, and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Before coming to CGS, she served as director of school sponsor relations for the Forté Foundation, whose mission is to increase the number of women enrolling in the best business schools across the country. Sara holds a master’s in communications from Boston College and a bachelor’s degree in history from Middlebury College.

Terry Murphy, chief financial officer
Terry is well acquainted with the school’s operations and history. He was a trustee from 1998 to 2007 serving as treasurer, finance committee chair, audit chair, and campaign and executive committee member. This past year, he rejoined the board but resigned to accept this position. Terry and his wife, Carolyn, are the parents of Lindsay ’01, Bret ’99, and Ashley. Terry has a BA in economics and an MBA from Stanford University. Early in his career, Terry held various finance jobs at Boise Cascade, Intel, and Tektronix, then turned his attention to high-tech start-ups. He has been a CFO and financial administrator for Lightware, Raveism, Simutech, and Vigilan.

Tchassanty Ouro-Gbeleou, caretaker
A fluent French speaker, Tchassanty came to CGS from the French American International School, where he served as an extracurricular aide. He has also served as a landscape and maintenance supervisor at the Bahá’í World Center in Haifa, Israel, and as a volunteer translator and guide for visitors to the Bahá’í Gardens. Tchassanty has previous experience as a caretaker and community development coordinator at the National Ruhi Training Institute in Dakar, Senegal, and as caretaker and coordinator in Lome, Togo, West Africa. He earned a baccalauréat de troisième degree, with an emphasis in mathematics and natural sciences, in Togo. Tchassanty will live on campus with his wife, Marya.

José C. Ruiz, custodial supervisor
José came to Catlin Gabel after 11 years as head custodian for the Hillsboro School District. Before working for HSD, José served with the U.S. Marine Corps and was a sergeant in the Army National Guard for 16 years. He trained with the San Diego Police Department SWAT team and the FBI anti-terrorist unit in San Diego.

Kaoru Wilson, dishwasher & kitchen assistant
Kaoru’s cultural background is Japanese. She enjoys skiing and spending time with her daughter.

Linda Yoesel, director of human resources
Linda has extensive experience in human resources at both the corporate level and in education. She previously worked at the Cascade School District, a K-12 district with 307 employees. Before that, she worked for HR at the May Company/Meier & Frank and Macy’s. Linda also served as the director for an early childhood program and wrote several grants to establish early literacy interventions with families. She earned a graduate-level certificate in human resources leadership from Portland State University and a BA in communications from Linfield College.

Directories available for pick-up in Toad Hall

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The 2011-12 Handbook•Directory is available at the front desk in Toad Hall. Each family may have one directory. Once initial distribution is complete, directories will be available for purchase ($7).

Arts Are at the Core

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By Nance Leonhardt

From the Summer 2011 Caller

In these troubled times “arts are at the core” are fighting words. My morning commute is peppered with reminders of the campaign to save the arts in schools. From the Campfire billboard offering to paste back what has been cut in schools, to my neighbor’s Subaru packed to the gills with supplies she’ll need to teach her son’s after-school art class, the evidence is clear: we are blessed to be at Catlin Gabel School.
Arts have been at the core of Catlin Gabel’s philosophical and pedagogical underpinnings since day one.
From Priscilla Gabel’s earliest writings: Let him daily tell or write or sing or dance or act or paint all that he has seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted. We aim to develop in each child an inquiring mind that wants to search out facts and truths about the world in which we live.
To Lark Palma’s current charge: We want to create conditions that support students to know the power of their own ideas, develop new-to-them ways of doing things, and be able to think inventively.
The arts are inherent to the culture of teaching and learning across this campus. The approach leaves an indelible signature on our alumni, many of whom may never set foot in a ceramics studio again, but when faced with a professional dilemma will conjure the memory of wrangling a shapeless mass of mud and water into a sleek vessel under Judy Teufel’s watchful eye. They will remember how the idea was so clear in their mind and slipped away so easily once the wheel began turning. The feel of the clay veering determinedly off course and then, with persistence and a steady hand, the sense of it righting itself as the circuit came to a close. They will not only remember the success, they will remember the journey and the dividends its lessons paid.
For some alumni, their Catlin Gabel arts education sparks something more, a lifelong commitment to the creative process. In addition to those profiled in this Caller, notable alumni include filmmaker Gus Van Sant ’71, opera director Elizabeth Bachman ’74, painter Margot Voorhies Thompson ’66, Broadway lighting designer Carl Faber ’01, and Pixar animator Nathan Matsuda ’03. We send an increasing number of students to colleges with exceptional (and competitive) arts programs: last year that list included the Rhode Island School of Design, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the California Institute for the Arts, the University of Southern California Schools of Music and of Cinematic Arts, and Cooper Union. Our faculty would never claim these achievements as personal trophies, but like any parent we can certainly feel pride in our ability to cultivate talent and act as stewards of the values that enable these kinds of minds to grow and thrive.
Our 15-member arts department attests: from preschool through 12th grade the arts are alive and well at Catlin Gabel. Following Priscilla Gabel’s directive, we weave creative habits of mind into the daily experiences of our student body. Students learn to know themselves and the power of their ideas through our various disciplines. We identify with our students and have the unique opportunity to collaborate with them.
Last February I had the pleasure of sitting with my colleagues and devoting two days to exploring our professional practice. Rob and Elizabeth Whittemore, professors and parents of CGS alumni, led us through a series of discussions and reflective writing activities to help tease out our core values. We asked ourselves the big questions: What is the essence of what we do? How do we scaffold this individually and as a department? How do preschooolers with pipe cleaners and pine needles evolve into regional and national Scholastic Gold Key art award winners? How does the shy and awkward 6th grader leap on to center stage as a junior in The Fantasticks? In a program as rich and varied as ours, what are the universal truths behind our diverse methodologies and media?

Create , Perform, Respond

CPR are three little letters that communicate our directive to revive the imagination day after day, year after year. Our program is about process, the cycle of inspiration leading to action leading to reflection. Like the wheel in the potter’s studio, ideas follow a circuit, and results emerge before our eyes. We guide students’ explorations of the tools and skills needed to perform, and we offer prompts from various sources (art history, current events, poetry, student-generated themes) to draw out their unique points of view as thinkers. More specifically, we agreed that regardless of medium (instrumental music, film production, oil painting, woodworking, lighting design) we shelter our students’ development under the following core values:
Community building and trust
Creative problem solving
Risk taking and resiliency
Finding voice
Valuing process
How this plays out at the classroom level is as varied as our subject areas. In the Middle School, every student participates in a full complement of arts offerings annually, including instrumental music, fine art, theater, woodworking, and media and graphic arts. Our Upper School program offers more than 30 electives in the realms of drama, technical theater, narrative and documentary filmmaking, painting, printmaking, chamber choir, jazz band, photography, ceramics, and more.
Perhaps nothing espouses the value of community building and trust more than the Middle School theater program, developed by traditions of St. George and Gilbert and Sullivan, Middle Schoolers perform in more than 14 productions yearly. Deirdre Atkinson creates a safe, energetic environment that allows students to tackle everything from 20-minute renditions of Shakespeare to developing their own plays through a method called devising. When devising, an anything-goes approach allows students the creative space to brainstorm theme, share ideas on visual and auditory components, and physically construct a representation of their thoughts on the chosen topic. Whether it’s a piece on immigration, cyber-bullying, or gender identity, the students proudly step forth in front of packed audiences to share their message and engage the community in a wider dialogue.
In the Upper School, students in Laurie Carlyon-Ward’s honors art seminar engage in a three-semester quest to produce a portfolio of work that reflects the development of their voice as an artist. Visitors to the gallery in the Cabell Center foyer in May see the culmination of this process with displays that include self-portraits, figure drawing, journals, and a personal statement. Whether it’s Mary Bishop 11’s use of line and color to depict her musings on women’s Western attire, or the fleshy graphite textures of Kashi Tamang ’11’s portrait subjects, their voices are etched in the gallery space as distinctly as fingerprints on glass.

The Space to Collaborate and Connect

As colleagues we deeply value the collaborative avenues opened by the artistic process. For the Middle and Upper Schools, physical proximity places limits on the depth and frequency of our and our students’ opportunity to mingle creatively. We have moments of incredible synergy—like when a student in Mark Pritchard’s music composition class works on a score for one of my student’s films or sound design for one of Deirdre’s plays. Collaboration is a core value, yet restrictions of time and distance push these moments to the periphery.
As education theorist Heidi Hayes Jacobs observes, the most authentic integrations are those driven by the students themselves. Picture the student dance group working in conjunction with photographers to build a multimedia performance for the Diversity Conference, the painter developing a mural for the math building based on mathematical algorithms, a group designing sustainable furniture for community partners. Our students are already making these things happen—we’ve fostered that habit of mind in spite of limited physical space. The legacy of Priscilla Gabel is most alive in these moments. Imagine the future where our core values move to the physical core of our campus—a space where the creative process can be witnessed by our community at large, where distinct voices of student artists and musicians meld into a dynamic cacophony of inspiration, and where collaboration and creative risk-taking can thrive, unbridled.
Nance Leonhardt teaches Upper School media arts.  


A Campaign for Arts & Minds

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From the Summer 2011 Caller

In this issue you will meet some of our most creative and talented alumni, all of whom found their time at Catlin Gabel important to their creative development. Creative freedom takes place in the science lab as much as it does in the painting and drawing studio. The way the robotics team comes together to map out their technical strategy for competition is akin to drama students coming together to write, cast, stage, and perform their annual one-act plays. And the thought process a student uses to troubleshoot a buggy line of code in computer science class involves the same set of synapses as when that same student tries to figure out why her timing is off in her original film score.

Exercising the creative mind is at the core of a Catlin Gabel education. We are currently in the leadership phase of a capital campaign to raise the necessary funds to elevate this commitment to our students and their education. Catlin Gabel’s Campaign for Arts and Minds has two components: building our endowment, with special emphasis on financial aid, and building a new Creative Arts Center for the Middle and Upper Schools.
The campaign began quietly in the fall of 2007 and has picked up momentum during the past year. Our most loyal and engaged donors have stepped up to the challenge of investing in our students, their creative minds, and their bright futures.


As the campaign continues, we will tell you more in future issues of the Caller about the enormous effect that our various endowed funds have on our community. With an emphasis on building endowed funds for financial aid and for general purposes, this campaign effort experienced strong growth over the past year with a lead gift from Phil and Penny Knight. As of June 30, all of our endowed funds were valued at $21,800,000.


“The arts are a core of Catlin Gabel’s philosophy and are key to a well-rounded education. In no other discipline do critical thinking, problem-solving, predicting outcomes, analyzing, re-assessing, and creativity come together as they do in the arts. . . . The intellectual challenges posed by visual art, music, and theater facilitate learning in all other disciplines. These vital pursuits help make our children more thoughtful, interesting, and well-rounded—and create a life of more profundity and beauty for all of us.” —Lark Palma, head of school

As you’ll discover in this issue, Catlin Gabel alumni have the creative bug. They credit their time on campus, their teachers, and their progressive education for influencing their ability to create and innovate in life and in work. If organizations should play to their strengths, then Catlin Gabel’s commitment to building a creative arts center for the Middle and Upper Schools is our way of demonstrating how fundamental creativity is to our educational philosophy.
Above: Creative Arts Center facade; right, aerial view; below, lobby.



Catlin Gabel has dreamed about a creative arts center, one that consolidates the visual, music, and drama classrooms scattered around campus, for the last 20 years. In the late 1980s, then-headmaster Jim Scott spoke seriously about bringing all the arts under one roof. And ever since current head Lark Palma set foot on campus in 1995, it was abundantly clear to her, a veteran drama teacher, that the arts facilities needed updating.
And the need has continued to grow. During the past two decades, the school and our arts offerings have grown, but the square footage per student dedicated to the arts has decreased. The lack of adequate space for teaching the arts has been singled out as an important area for improvement in our last two accreditation reports by the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools.
Finally, in 2007, Lark and the board of trustees, with input from the Catlin Gabel community, decided we could not put this off any longer. Planning for a new Creative Arts Center began in earnest that spring, led by a committee of staff, faculty, alumni, and trustees. The arts department faculty developed a set of needs and a vision for the art curriculum. Committee members visited peer schools up and down the West Coast and gathered data on best practices. All of this good work informed the original building design presented to the community in the fall of 2008 (see that issue of the Caller). Unfortunately, efforts fell short of the mark, and this initial Arts Center design did not fulfill all the programmatic and aesthetic requirements.
As the designs were being finalized, fundraising began in early 2008 just as winds from the looming “Great Recession” began to stir. The weak economic conditions of 2008 and 2009 exacerbated the tepid community response to the initial building design, forcing the school to make the hard yet courageous decision to pause the project so we could reevaluate and regroup.
In early 2010, with a year passed and time to reflect on the initial launch, the school brought the project out of hibernation. The recession had officially ended, and both enrollment and the Annual Fund were healthy. This renewed economic outlook served as a signal for the school to refocus on the project and explore new opportunities.
With a chance meeting between former trustee Jim John and world-renowned Portland architect Brad Cloepfil (see “Allied Works,” at right), a new phase to the project began. Brad had just finished high-profile arts projects in New York City, Montreal, and Dallas and was looking for a project back on his home turf. Jim, a seasoned developer and builder, thought that Brad would be just the person to reignite our Arts Center with a fresh and inspired design. We hope you’ll agree, when you see the design renderings, that Brad and his team delivered the right design at the right time.


For US visual art, US choir, US media arts, MS drama, MS music, MS visual art
Current Square Footage: 6,786
Future Art Square Footage: 20,000
Creative Arts Center Layout Main Level
Courtyard (outdoor)
Media Arts
Theater Control Room
MS Visual Arts
US Visual Arts
Shared print room
3D Studio
Lower Level
Black Box Theater (two levels)
Theater Tech Space
Drama Classroom
Instrumental Room
Choir Room
Music Laboratory
Practice Rooms
Instrument Storage Lockers  


We expect to break ground in the fall of 2012, and the project will take about 15 months to build. This timeline is dictated entirely by how quickly our community raises the funds for design and construction. The overall project budget is estimated at $6.9 million. Prudently, our board mandates that we raise 80% of projected costs in pledges in order to break ground. As of June 30 we are just shy of having raised half of this amount, with approximately $2.3 million to go. We will look toward leadership donors this summer and fall to get us there. Please contact development director Eileen Andersen, 503-297-1894 ext. 306 or, to to learn more about our fundraising efforts. Catlin Gabel funds major capital projects entirely through contributions.
The board and administration’s conservative fiscal management has positioned the school with zero outstanding debt after completing the major construction projects of the past 20 years. The Murphy Athletic Complex, Warren Middle School, the Beehive, and most of the Upper School buildings were built without incurring debt. While this is unusual in the sea of heavily financed cultural projects throughout the city and region, it’s a distinction that makes us proud and contributes to the school’s financial health.


The original project phase used a “design-build” strategy, where the school would contract with one firm that managed both the design and construction processes. This contractor, the Arts Center design committee, and the greater Catlin Gabel community vetted and chose the original designer after a thorough series of design proposals and presentations from a long list of architectural firms. When this second phase of the project began in early 2010, all the criteria and specifications for the building established by the committee and arts faculty in 2007 could be transferred to the new architect. This streamlined the hiring of the current designer, Allied Works Architecture. More important, this allowed us to save on the normally high costs of the schematic design phase and significantly shorten the project timeline. With the new project phase ready to launch, the school sought more project control and opted to engage both the contractor and architect directly, using separate contracts. The new arrangement encourages a healthy tension between our builder and architect by forcing both parties to balance the budget.

James E. John Construction

James E. John Construction (JEJ), the project general contractor, is a subsidiary of C. E. John Company, Inc., a diversified real estate development and management firm founded in 1947. Although JEJ is known for its Class A office and retail projects, it became clear early in the process that the firm not only had the talent and the resources to build a Brad Cloepfil building, but a keen understanding of how the new classrooms and spaces fit the needs of students and teachers. Current parent and former trustee Jim John, the project principal, provides close and careful management.

Allied Works

We are privileged to have our building designed by a world-renowned museum and creative space architect. Brad Cloepfil and his Allied Works Architecture team developed what has been overwhelmingly received by our community as an inspired, practical, and beautiful design. Portland native Brad Cloepfil studied architecture at the University of Oregon and earned an advanced degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture. In fact, his teacher and mentor at Oregon was Thomas Hacker, the principal architect and master planner for much of the Upper School you see today, including the Miller Library and Hillman Modern Languages buildings. Since Brad founded Allied Works in 1994, he has won commissions for some of the highest-profile cultural projects across the country, from the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis to the adaptive reuse of Manhattan’s Museum of Arts and Design on Columbus Circle. His West Coast projects include the renovated headquarters of Wieden + Kennedy in Portland’s Pearl District, the Seattle Art Museum, and a recently completed expansion of the Pixar Animation Studios headquarters in Emeryville, California. Allied Works’ art education facilities include the award-winning Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas (alumnae include Nora Jones, Edie Brickell, and Erykah Badu), the University of Michigan Museum of Art, and the Caldera Arts Center in Sisters, Oregon. “Catlin Gabel’s project for the new arts building means a tremendous amount to me,” says Brad. “To build on that beautiful campus, with the legacy of great architecture by John Storrs and Thomas Hacker, is a true gift. We have worked with faculty and students to create a building that will be a beautiful catalyst for creativity, not only in the visual and performing arts, but for the entire curriculum of the school. It truly is a laboratory, one that will encourage the students to develop new ideas and forms of expression.”


Summer Programs has a few spaces available

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Classes begin Tuesday, July 5

Classes for kids of all ages!

Review our catalog (below) for course descriptions. 

Enroll today! Tell your friends!

Contact Len Carr, program director, for additional information.

Summer Programs ~ our difference is learning

Thanks to all: Annual Fund reaches goal

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We did it! The Annual Fund reached its $935,000 goal!
Thank you to everyone who participated and gave so generously this year.

For additional information about annual giving, please contact:
Sara Case
Annual giving program director
8825 SW Barnes Road
Portland OR 97225
503-297-1894 ext. 423