The Willamette MAT Grads who share their stories below are thriving and making a difference in their schools and with their students, here in Salem and throughout the world. We are justly proud of GSE alums, and are always interested to learn about what you are doing. Please email Sue Crothers when you have news you would like to share through this newsletter.
Nicole Smith (MAT 2000, BA Willamette 1999) Receives Fulbright Teacher Exchange Grant
Greetings, everyone! I have taught in the Tigard Tualatin School District for the past 11 years. I was recently notified that I have received a Fulbright Teacher Exchange Grant for the 2011-2012 school year in the UK. So exciting!! The essay that accompanied my application included Willamette's motto, "Not unto ourselves alone are we born." I speak fondly of my education at Willamette and feel my experiences at WU are what have made me a productive and successful educator.
Nicole on a recent trip to Indonesia.
May O'Hara (MAT 2010)
Hi everyone! The 2010-2011 school year at Punahou School is finishing up in a few weeks, and the 1st graders in my class are already starting to look like 2nd graders! We recently had a May Day celebration (pictured below) where the K-3 students all gathered and danced the hula and sang a few Hawaiian songs. It was a special day for all of us here in Hawaii. I will be teaching Kindergarten over the summer at Punahou, but am planning to move back to Oregon in the fall, where I will complete my ESOL endorsement through Willamette this fall and take the ESOL ORELA in June. Still looking for a job... Thanks! Hope to see some of you soon.
Amy Aichele Pasterczy (MAT 2000, CLA 1998)
Amy, shown below with one of her students in Monaco, is completing her 11th year at Purnell School in Pottersville, NJ, where she is the Foreign Language Department Chair and Director of Off-Campus Studies. Pernell School was presented as a national model of the best in 21st Century education and individualized learning in The Profile Series on the Discovery Channel on April 7, 2011. Amy lives on campus with her husband Peter and 2-year-old son Finian. "I love being a part of other students' lives, both in and out of the classroom in this residential community!"
Douglas and Lisamarie Hanson (MAT 2003)
Hi everyone! In May 2003 (before graduating) we both found teaching positions in the same middle school in urban south Los Angeles. We spent three amazing, challenging, and rewarding years there, but missed our overseas lifestyle... hence, in 2006 we headed back to Seoul, S. Korea.
Even though our time in L.A. was short, we still maintain close contact with students, parents, and colleagues. It's been thrilling and humbling to continue seeing our former students grow and develop towards adulthood. We return to visit every year, and are delighted to learn some of our students planning to become teachers themselves, or are studying Japanese, art, or math (all subjects we both taught). Some are attending UCLA, Berkeley, Smith, Stanford, various other UCs and Cal State colleges, a few are young parents, are working, or in the military—but we're proud of all of them!
We are assistant professors at a private college in NW Seoul, and love living and working (and traveling) overseas. I (Lisamarie) am in the IT Department teaching Business Writing, Public Speaking, and Computer English. Many of my students go on to international internships or employment. Douglas teaches both IT and Accounting classes (he recently earned an additional B.S. in Accounting from Linfield College). He is currently a CPA candidate and is now studying to take the exams.
We make use of our four months annual vacation time to travel and experience Korea and the rest of the world. Living and teaching in Seoul is amazing; it's not for the faint of heart or inflexible (he-he!) If anyone has questions about teaching here, we're happy to help—just email us. Best wishes to our cohorts from 2003 and all teacher candidates from the GSE.
Mark Gardner (MAT 2002)
Hello, fellow Grads. I teach English 9 at Camas High School in Camas, Washington, where I am also English Department chair. I earned my National Board Certification in 1006 and was a finalist for Washington State Teacher of the Year in 2007, shortly after I finished my fifth year of teaching. I write for the non-profit Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession where the focus is about education policy and how it affects classroom practice. My wife Brie and I have three little boys, ages 6, 3 and 1. We presently live in Vancouver, Washington.
I credit my MAT experience at Willamette and my superior supervising teachers at Woodburn High School (Mrs. Wendi Kuntz and Mrs. Jan Franke) for starting me on a successful trajectory in this field!
Jessica (Duff) Morgan (MAT 1996, BA 1995)
Hey teachers! Since graduation I have been teaching elementary level in Salem-Keizer. I have been a State Writing Assessment Rater for over a decade and have trained my staff and scored papers for other schools in preparation for the 4th grade test. This year I finished my ESOL endorsement to better meet the needs of the diverse population in my school.
Since 2002, I have been a teacher leader with People to People Student Ambassadors, traveling the world with middle school students. This summer, I was chosen to lead a national delegation to Costa Rica, where we will be doing multiple service projects, exploring the rain forest, and learning about the people and culture. The travel has been great for my teaching, as I now teach a thematic unit on Australia, and can show students photos of the different places I've been, as they relate to what we're studying.
Greg Sykora (MAT 2010)
Hello, friends! I've just completed my first year of teaching PE at Mid-Valley Christian Academy, where i had the challenge, privilege and fun of coordinating an all-school track meet. Read about the fun here.
All the best, Greg.
Heather Hamilton (MAT 2002)
Heather is on alert these days due to a tough job market and potential State of Oregon budget shortfalls. But she has found her niche mentoring students that have failed in the public school system, teaching English/Language arts at MacLaren's Youth Correctional Facility. Changes and potential lay-offs loom, but meanwhile Heather is called upon to serve in an astounding array of roles in addition to "classroom teacher." That includes chair, recorder and secretary of various committees, writer for her school's newsletter The Sixth Sense (email Heather if you would like a copy), editor of the LHS Staff Handbook and School Calendar, PLC Chair, and others. She's living her motto (from Rumi): "Let what you do be what you love."