Faculty Profiles

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark Pritchard, US jazz band, at CG since 1998. Bachelor's in music, New South Wales Conservatory of Music.

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

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

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

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

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

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

David Reich, challenge course manager.

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

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

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

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

Alfred Schultz, interim Spanish teacher, at CG since 2014. Bachelor's in architecture, Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. Master's in humanities, Centro Panamericano de Humanidades.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love teaching because I love hanging out with teenagers.

I have a robin's egg blue refrigerator.

Tom Tucker, head of woodshop, US woodshop teacher. Bachelor's in design, Marlboro College.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I do not own a car.

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

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

Alison Ward, learning center administrative assistant, at CG since 2014.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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