Barrar, Snyder, Clingan depart for new adventures next year

The school year is coming to a close, and along with that comes the end of the Lincoln career of three of Lincoln’s most appreciated staff members: Dave Clingan, Chris Barrar, and Susan Snyder


Chris Barrar:

Ever since she was child, Chris Barrar knew she always wanted to work alongside high school students. That desire was strongly inspired by her lifelong role model, her father.

“My dad was great. Really good guy,” says Barrar.

Due to her father’s career, Barrar found herself most interested in the counseling side of the education system, rather than working in a classroom as a teacher. With this in mind, she got her undergraduate degree in psychology at Oregon State.

For the next four years, she substituted at a public school in Tahoe, California, without teaching credentials. While substituting, Barrar sought to finish out her education with a masters in psychology. That plan didn’t play out, however, as she surprisingly became a mother of twins. With the constant attention needed by the newborn children, she couldn’t attend school.

Her family ended up moving back to Portland as her husband was to begin law school at Lewis & Clark College. While her husband was attending, the family lived in the dorms for three years where she worked as a resident director.

However, after having a third child, they were forced to move out. While raising the children for the next three years, she returned to Lewis & Clark, except this time to continue her own education.

After achieving her master’s there, she worked as a counselor at a middle school until she found Lincoln three years later. Little did she know, but Lincoln High School is where she would be spending the next 17 years of her life. Remembering her past 17 years here, she recalls nothing but positivity.

“I really have enjoyed it. It’s a great community,” says Barrar.

Barrar has many extraordinary memories, but perhaps her favorite was the girls night outs. She enjoyed hanging out and enjoying life with the West Sylvan middle schoolers, but most of all loved watching them grow and mature alongside LHS Cardinal mentors.

She is driven by her passion for all students.

In the end, Chris Barrar has a single desire for each and everyone of her students and companions.

“I just want everyone to find their passion and be really happy in life,” says Barrar. “I think everybody has wonderful strengths and sometimes they might feel like academics isn’t their strength, but I have seen students go on to do amazing things.”


Susan Snyder:

She has seen a lot, she has done a lot, and she will be missed a lot. After 26 years of teaching history of the Americas, Modern World History, and Intro to World Literature and History, teacher Susan Snyder has decided to retire.

Who knew that a little girl from  Chicago could have such a large impact on the  Lincoln Community in Portland? At a young age she wasn’t too sure of her future career. Nothing really stood out until high school.

During the midst of her high school days, she found her passion towards working with people to help them advocate for themselves. This strong desire drove her to become a community organizer during the college years, and for some time after.

“What could I do that was very similar to help people get confidence in making change and feeling effective in the system?” she said. She decided to become a teacher. Due to her previous teaching skills (of adults on self-advocation), it sounded like a simple “transfer over” for Snyder.

After finishing her program in education, she began substituting at Lincoln. The staff liked what they saw and decided to make her a full-time teacher.

She did not take this promotion lightly. During her 26-year teaching career at the high school, she has accomplished hundreds of things. However, perhaps Snyder’s largest accomplishment was the fight for flex period – a time after first period during which students can talk with teachers, complete assignments, or retake a test.

This idea wasn’t supported at first, but through strong backing from parents, staff, and students, the proposal passed. Snyder sees it as a huge milestone in her career. To this day, Snyder couldn’t be prouder of all the effort that paid off.

She  also created the first annual Modern World History Teach In – a time during flex where the students give presentations on self chosen topics to their fellow students.

“When kids are teaching each other, and teaching things they really care about, it’s just a fabulous learning opportunity,” says Snyder.

Snyder has fallen in love with the school and its atmosphere, and she won’t take her retirement easily.

“I feel I have got just as much out of my teaching as I possibly could have, being in a wonderful situation of meeting students that really had passion for learning…” says Snyder. “Definitely mutual respect and mutual learning happening.”


Dave Clingan:

He may have entered the system late, but after his services at Lincoln High School, Dave Clingan quickly became one of the most beloved members of the LHS community.

Not only do the students love him, but he also puts Lincoln’s community second to none in his long list of careers.

“I feel really fortunate. It’s been a really good experience for me,” says Clingan.

Clingan’s strong desire for psychology began at a young age. He knew that it was something that interested him, and eventually he would love a career in it. But he had a some interesting detours leading up to it, some much longer than others.

For seven years in the 1990s, he worked as a graphic designer for a flight simulator company in California’s Silicon Valley. The job was exciting while it lasted, but eventually he found it was time to move on. After some thought, he decided to come to Portland, where he opened up his own music shop. It became so successful that it still operates today off Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard.

In spite of the ever changing journey he never lost his passion for psychology. While running the music store, he decided to attend grad school at Lewis & Clark College. While attending, he was required to intern at a high school for a year.

Clingan knew Lincoln’s  track coach at the time, who also knew Chris Barrar. Upon discussion, Barrar gladly agreed  to oversee his internship at Lincoln. He must’ve done something right, because after college he found his newest career right here at Lincoln as a counselor. Even though it only lasted six years, Clingan is very pleased with finishing his work at Lincoln.

“I wanted to work with high school kids. I wanted to work in a building where there was a lot of mutual respect among staff, and I wanted to feel supported by the administration, and I wanted to have good experiences working with kids. All of those things happened here,” says Clingan. “I’m just really grateful that I’ve been here. I will have lots of really great memories when I move on.”

Before he leaves however, there is one thing he wants all the students to know: “Every student here has something of value as part of the Lincoln community.”

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