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Riffel leaves math department

June 17, 2020


Courtesy of Andrew Riffel

Math teacher Andrew Riffel is leaving Lincoln after four years.

Math teacher Andrew Riffel started working at Lincoln in 2016, the same year as graduating seniors and is now leaving Lincoln along with them. 

“It almost feels like I’m graduating with the class of 2020,” he said. 

Prior to working at Lincoln, Riffel taught classes at Portland State University and went to India for a gap year. In high school, Riffel liked to sing, and is currently part of the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Choir, and has sung with the Oregon Repertory Singers. 

While at Lincoln, Riffel taught students in all grades and many different math classes including Newcomer/Foundational Mathematics. 

“I’m not sure everyone knows about our small-scale Newcomer program at Lincoln High School” Riffel explained. “We have a couple dozen English Language Learners, and many of them are unaccompanied minors who have fled from difficult circumstances in their home countries.”

For the past two years, Riffel has enjoyed teaching these students foundational mathematics.

“I grew up speaking Spanish and it’s been a lot of fun learning math vocabulary in Spanish while working with the Latinx kids,” he said. 

Overall, Riffel found the Lincoln staff very supportive and appreciative, and he noted the students as special, and enjoyed interacting with them over the years. 

“[The students] have an astonishing level of maturity and candid ‘realness’ that I’d never witnessed from my students before,” Riffel said, “It’s been so much fun getting to know many of you and inspiring to see you grow into yourselves.”

In the fall, Riffel will be teaching at Catlin Gabel’s Upper School but plans on visiting Lincoln often. Riffel wanted to share some words of advice for the departing class of 2020 as well as all other students at Lincoln. 

“Be adventurous and explore, but look for those people who build you up and provide you with stability” said Riffel, “Look for classes or extracurriculars that feel like home. Hang on to those people and communities. Life is long, and they’ll provide you with fulfillment, support and purpose.”

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