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Lincoln High School welcomes new staff members
September 30, 2021
Lincoln High School welcomes 12 new staff members.
Andrew Jehle – Mathematics
After moving across the country from Massachusetts two years ago, new staff member Andrew Jehle knew that he wanted to teach math at Lincoln.
Throughout his life, Jehle continuously worked with kids in various jobs. He was a lifeguard in highschool, a swim teacher, a day camp counselor and a substitute teacher.
“I enjoyed helping people understand things, and so I liked teaching,” Jehle said. “Pretty much every job I’ve had I’ve worked with young people, and teaching just seemed like the natural course of events.”
Jehle has found it enjoyable to work with all sorts of different age groups.
“I thought that I would only ever want to teach high school,” he said. “But actually, after ending up working in middle schools and working with other students, I was surprised at how much fun I had working with different age groups. Every age group has its pros and cons, so they’re all fun in different ways.”
Last year, Jehle was a student teacher for Lincoln math teacher Erin Mahony, but after receiving the unexpected news that former math teacher Jeremy Johnson would be leaving Lincoln, Jehle was hired as his replacement.
“When Mr. Johnson left, [Vice Principal] Chris Brida and [Principal] Peyton Chapman were scrambling to find somebody to take over for the rest of the year,” Jehle said. “Since I was here, they asked if I would be willing to do it. I technically was a long-term substitute for the rest of the year.”
Katie Johnston, a junior at Lincoln, was one of Jehle’s students for the remainder of that year. Though she was initially confused about the situation, Johnston grew to enjoy Jehle’s open and easy-going mindset in class.
“I thought that the transition [from Mr. Johnson to Mr. Jehle] was good,” Johnston said. “At first, I was just confused about what was going on, because the students weren’t in the loop. I thought he was a substitute teacher for a couple months, but he transitioned slowly and used the same system that Mr. Johnson had been using.”
The temporary confusion, however, had a silver lining: Jehle became a full-time math teacher this year. He’s currently teaching Algebra 1-2 and Algebra 3-4 Applications.
This fall, Jehle has enjoyed being able to interact with other teachers and students face-to-face.
“This year has been great to get to meet people in person, and I feel like I’ve made a lot more relationships with students this year,” Jehle said. “I’m excited to keep doing that.”
David Valenzuela – Biology/Physics
As a teacher, how do you contribute to human flourishing in your life? New biology and physics teacher David Valenzuela asks himself this question when students enter his classroom each day. He says he aims to create a more equitable, peaceful and loving world for them through his teaching style, as well as mold them to be the best version of themselves.
Valenzuela grew up in New Milford, N.J., earning his undergraduate and graduate degrees from New York University in neuroscience and psychology. He attended another four years at Brown University to further his education in neuroscience. Throughout his time there, Valenzuela always felt a tug to teach high school and be in education, so he eventually moved to Portland to get a Master of Arts in teaching from Lewis and Clark College.
Valenzuela has held many jobs, such as working as a dean, a biomedical Career Technical Education teacher and a science department co-chair. However, he says he has never felt completely fulfilled in any of these roles as he does while teaching.
When the first wave of COVID-19 hit, Valenzuela, who was a vice principal at Roosevelt High School at that time, reflected on his role, and realized he missed teaching science and directly connecting to students.
“I have two young ones, so for me the balancing act as a vice principal was really hard, childcare was crazy, so education [returning to teaching] for me was not only friendlier but it was what I was called to do,” Valenzuela said. “COVID-19 [made] a lot of people reflect what is important in their lives, like what the metrics of success are that are given to you, and I think for me the place I was the happiest and contributed the most to human flourishing was in the classroom. So after reflecting with COVID-19, I knew that I wanted to teach.”
Former co-worker and dean of students at McDaniel High School Dave Kelly believes Valenzuela will fit right into Lincoln’s environment.
“He connects with students in an organic way which is accepting and nurturing,” Kelly said. “He is a very clear communicator and will do anything to help the students succeed in their education. [Valenzuela] is a great human being… an excellent father, husband and friend. He will give his all for his community.”
In Valenzuela’s first few weeks at Lincoln, he says he already feels welcomed into the community by not only the students, but also the science department. His colleagues embraced his years of thoughts and ideas from studying neuroscience and psychology, supporting and making him feel comfortable in his new role.
“They received me with open arms,” Valenzuela said. “I just think it’s been a really nice fit overall and I feel very fortunate in my position that I get to say I’m a Cardinal.”
Kayleigh Rose – Mathematics
Kayleigh Rose spent her whole life living in Brooklyn, N.Y. After deciding that she wanted to be closer to nature while still living in a city, Rose found that Portland was the perfect fit.
After finding Lincoln online while researching teaching jobs in Portland, she was immediately drawn by the welcoming atmosphere. At Lincoln, Rose– who has 13 years of previous math experience– will teach geometry and probability and statistics.
“I was really impressed by how welcoming the website was and how engaged the students and teachers seemed to be. Just general success was impressive,” Rose said. “I had the opportunity to talk to some teachers when I was applying and saw how happy they were working with the students, so it made me want to come teach here.”
Rose is excited to be back in the classroom this year. She says she is committed to her students and being part of the Lincoln and Portland community. Now that school is back in-person, her hopes are to get to know her students in class, and also to see her students outside of the building at other events.
Students enjoy having Rose as their math teacher.
“She has been a really helpful teacher who seems like she is actually interested in the subject and wants to be here,” freshman Nidha Eakambaram said.
Rose hopes students taking her class build a new range of knowledge, experiences and skills to use in the future.
“I hope students leave [my class] open to trying out new things in terms of math, taking risks and being willing to ask questions,” she said.
Outside of school, Rose loves to spend her time exploring Portland and all of the wonderful hiking trails that are available nearby. She especially enjoys hiking and camping on Mt. Hood.
“I am happy to be here as a new member of the community,” she said. “I welcome [Lincoln students’] thoughts and opinions about things to enjoy in Portland.”
Beth Bundy – Art/CTE
New photography teacher Beth Bundy took photography classes all throughout college, at her college graduation receiving her “first fancy SLR camera.” She was inspired to start teaching photography to give students skills they can use for the rest of their lives.
She has big plans for her students. She recognizes that students are always taking photos anyway due to the convenience of phone cameras. Her joy comes from teaching students how to take even better photos.
Bundy is not new to the high school scene. Before beginning at Lincoln this fall, she was a photography teacher at Franklin High School for three years. She also taught photography and graphic design at Oregon Connections Academy. Her teaching has included art classes at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
Bundy says she enjoys working with kids to find out what they’re excited about, as well as teaching skills that students can use in their everyday life. She enjoys teaching design because she feels as if it is all around us.
“Ms. Bundy has been super kind,” said Lydia Levy, a sophomore in Mrs. Bundy’s photography class, “and pretty chill with coming back to school after COVID.”
Levy says she’s enjoying the experience of photography class thus far because it is a way to exercise her creative ideas in school, and partake in outdoor field trips. She is excited to learn more about photography in her class this year.
Bundy has a multitude of hobbies when she isn’t teaching. Many of them include her 8-year-old son.
“We’re a soccer family,” Bundy said. “We like to go and kick the soccer ball around whenever we can.”
Bundy also enjoys hiking and road tripping throughout Oregon, relaxing on the river beaches around Portland and playing soccer at the park.
She says she feels extremely welcomed by the Lincoln community and is excited for the year to come.
“[My favorite part about Lincoln is] being close to downtown because we can go on walking field trips,” Bundy said. “And the students have been awesome.”
Jacob Hockett – PE
For Jacob Hockett, health is life.
Hockett was hired this year to serve as one of Lincoln’s new P.E. and health teachers. He previously worked as a teacher at Ida B. Wells for around eight years, but is excited to get started at Lincoln.
“I get to teach young kids about things that they’re going through now [and] things that will happen in the future. I get to be the teacher that prepares them for the real world,” he said.
Hockett’s role models growing up guided him to become the person he is today.
“I was very fortunate to have very good male coaches in my life. Those names, their conversations and what they did for us for four years, I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” he said.
Hockett has made a great first impression on the students. Sophomore Natalie Grewe, who is in Hockett’s health class, was happy to find out that he is an understanding teacher and willing to support his students the best he can.
“He’s pretty open about stuff, so I’ll be able to talk to him if I need help,” she said. “I feel like this class is going to be one of the least stressful ones I’m going to have.”
A concern that students have this year is whether or not their mental health will be taken seriously.
“I’m looking forward to learning how to manage my mental health, especially entering this school year,” Grewe said. “We’re going to have new types of stress which will need new ways to cope. ”
When classes are an hour and a half long, many students find it helpful to take small breaks. Hockett respects that and offers his students time to unwind during class.
“We’ll go for walks outside [and] he’ll give us a few minutes to chat with our neighbor or go on our phones, which can be a nice mental break from writing,” Grewe said.
Hockett is enthusiastic about teaching and being welcomed into Lincoln. He’s excited to teach about a topic he’s passionate about and start inspiring students at Lincoln.
“I’m super excited to be here,” he said. “I’m definitely looking forward to establishing myself in the community, being a part of the community and giving my time.”
Heather Seely-Roberts – PE/Boys Basketball
Coach Heather Seely-Roberts has big plans for the varsity boys’ basketball team. Coming off of her first boys basketball state title at Yamhill Carlton High School last year, where her team went 13-4– a big change from their 3-21 record from three years prior, before she was their coach– Seely-Roberts is excited to work hard with her new team at Lincoln.
“I’m hoping for the same [turnaround] here [that happened at Yamhill Carlton]. That’s the goal,” she said.
Seely-Roberts has had the goal of working with a basketball team since she was 10-years-old, when a player on the Oregon State University (OSU) womens’ basketball team signed her popcorn box.
“At that point, I knew I wanted to coach,” she said.
Now, after 16 years as a varsity girls head coach, four years as a college coach for women, and three years as a boys high school coach, she feels ready to coach the boys team at Lincoln.
Seely-Roberts played high school basketball at Crescent Valley High School, before there was even a women’s ball or a three-point line. After high school, Seely-Roberts played a year at Lewis and Clark College.
“[Eventually, I] went back to Crescent Valley and started coaching,” she said.
The biggest thing Seely-Roberts has learned from her time as a player and coach at Crescent Valley is her coaching philosophy. She teaches her boys to be coachable, to work hard and to be committed.
She knows what it’s like to work hard too, as she spent the majority of her junior year in high school on her team’s bench. She realized that, in order to play, she needed to put in the work.
And so she did. Working hard all offseason, she was able to earn a starting position the following year.
“I got everything I did through hard work,” she said.
Another thing Seely-Roberts took away from her time at Crescent Valley was something her coach, Craig Ellingson, demonstrated: how to treat players like athletes, not just boys or girls.
“[Ellingson’s coaching style has] helped me when I switched over to the boys’ side, [because] I treat the boys just like I treat the girls… I treat them all like athletes,” she said.
Junior Blake Johnson, who played varsity last year, has a good impression of his new coach, even though he hasn’t seen her in action yet.
“I think she seems serious and… she thinks pretty similarly to how I do,” he said.
Johnson is optimistic about what Seely-Roberts could bring to their team.
“I’m just really excited,” he said. “I just think she is [going to] be the first good coach we’ve had in a long time.”
With all of her players, Seely-Roberts likes to see their potential. She describes how kids can put limits on themselves, but her job is to push her players out of their comfort zones and get them to perform better.
One thing Seely-Roberts doesn’t like is being told what she can’t do.
“[Sometimes] people say, ‘oh, girls can’t coach boys,’” she said. “But I’m like, ‘Well they can. Because I’m doing it.’”
Dr. Jason Breaker – Counseling
Dr. Jason Breaker, a Northwest native, is new to Lincoln High School, but not new to being an educator. Throughout his 20 years working in the Portland Public Schools district, Breaker has switched between being an administrator and counselor. Starting this year, he will serve as one of Lincoln’s new counselors.
“One of the things that I love about my job is getting to know young people and building relationships with them,” Breaker said.
When he isn’t at school, you can find him with his fiance at Powell’s Books or eating out at Toro Bravo. Breaker also climbs mountains.
“In my off-time, I am an avid climber and mountaineer,” he said. “I am a volunteer for a club called The Mazamas and I actually take people up mountains I’ve climbed throughout the Western United States.”
He loves climbing mountains so much that he named his dog after his favorite mountain, Mt. Baker. If you are a student assigned to Breaker, you will probably get to know Baker very well, because Breaker often brings him to school.
Breaker didn’t always want to be a counselor.
When he was in high school, he thought he would become an attorney, but, during college, he discovered that he was also interested in education.
“I found education, did some internships and I knew I wanted to work in schools and be a counselor,” he said.
Breaker also pursued an Ed.D., a research and professional doctoral degree focused on education.
“It was kind of for the challenge of learning, and it was probably the best three years of education I ever had,” he said.
Breaker’s fellow counselor, Danielle Holloway, who went to graduate school with him 20 years ago, thinks he will be a great addition to the counseling team at Lincoln.
“He is a hard worker,” she said. “He does what is in the best interest of his students, and he brings a great dog to school!”
Anita Agudelo – Library Assistant
Among the new staff working at Lincoln this year is library assistant and world traveler Anita Agudelo. You can find her in the library reading or helping students find books.
“I just help [librarian] Lori Lieberman with anything she needs… and help the kids find books they’re interested in. I love talking to students about books and also helping them become interested in reading,” she said.
She also helps promote new books.
“She makes library displays for literature promotion,” Lieberman said. “For example, there are three amazing displays right now promoting Hispanic Heritage Month.”
Before getting hired at Lincoln, Agudelo used to volunteer in the counseling office.
“I volunteered once a week in the counseling office for the past four years,” she said. “I don’t volunteer there [anymore], as the volunteer time conflicts with my work schedule.”
In her free time, she is an avid reader and loves historical fiction and biography.
“One thing that’s great is that it becomes kind of your job to read a lot of books when you work in the library, and I love to read,” she said. “[My favorite] book is Jane Eyre. It was probably one of the books that made me love reading. I love classic mysteries, they are my go-to for a fun read. I love Agatha Christie and P.D. James.”
Prior to moving to Portland, Agudelo lived internationally and volunteered in a variety of schools around the world.
“[My family] lived in Malaysia, Brazil and Germany,” she said. “[I worked at] the Graded American School in San Paulo, Brazil, then the Bavarian International School in Munich, Germany. Just volunteering, doing the same type of things.”
She decided to start working at Lincoln because two of her kids are Lincoln graduates. Her third is currently a junior.
“I really liked volunteering, and I feel like [working here] not only allows me a chance to get involved, but I also find it’s really rewarding for me. Kids are interested in so many different things and the teachers really facilitate those interests along with the schoolwork,” she said. “I can interact with students, and [young people are] very in tune to things. They see the world in a different way. They see all the possibilities.”
The other library staff love to have her around too.
“It’s great working with her. Anita has really positive energy and she’s fun to be around. She genuinely likes students and libraries so this is a perfect fit for her,” said Ms. Lieberman.
In her free time, Agudelo loves traveling and cooking. She might even bring in some treats for students in the library.
“Once we have less COVID-19 restrictions, I’m sure I’ll be baking and cooking snacks and bringing them in,” she said. “That’s sort of my thing.”
Alex Park – Counseling
New counselor Alex Park has ridden his bike all across the country and loves to go on fishing adventures. His favorite color is green. He loves the show “Ted Lasso.” His favorite food is wood-fired pizza, specifically from Lovely Fifty Fifty, and recently he’s been listening to the new Tyler the Creator album “Call Me If You Get Lost.”
After a day of work, Park rides his bike home to take care of his two daughters. Inga is five and just started kindergarten. Frances is three and just started preschool. His wife is a nurse at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).
“I ride my bike to work and my bike ride home is kind of a nice decompressor. I like getting some exercise and getting a chance to be outside a little bit after spending most of the day indoors,” Park said. “[My daughters] keep me very busy once I get home. Most of my post workday is pretty busy being a dad.”
This is his first year as a counselor after being a history teacher for 13 years. He says getting to know those he’s working with is really important to him.
“The thing I always really liked about teaching was having relationships with students and getting to stay connected with them, and counseling seemed like a good avenue to do that,” Park said.
Park went to high school at Ida B. Wells-Barnett and then went on to graduate from North Park University in Chicago, Ill. He returned to Oregon to get his Master’s degree from Lewis and Clark College. Park then spent a few years traveling and biking across the country. He taught in Chicago for a short period of time before moving back to Portland 13 years ago, where he taught middle school before deciding to become a counselor.
Park says he’s experienced a sense of community since coming to Lincoln. He’s impressed with Lincoln’s willingness to get to know him and he’s excited to be working here.
“I feel like everyone has been super welcoming,” he said. “The staff and the students have been super kind. I get a sense that there’s a lot of highly motivated kids here and I’ve been impressed with their drive.”
Cherry Chen, a sophomore, says Park has been supportive and efficient.
“He was extremely helpful when I was trying to change up my schedule,” she said. “He is very easy to talk to.”
Sophomore Abdul Alansari also has Park as his counselor. Alansari has been impressed with Park’s willingness to help out.
“[He is] really chill and did everything quickly and efficiently,” he said.
Park is ready to help students find their place at Lincoln and connect with them as much as possible.
“My door is always open. I love checking in with students and getting to know them and hearing about what they’re interested in and figuring out if there’s anything that I can do to help them achieve the goals that they have,” Park said. “I’d encourage any kid with the last name A-Da to come and say hi.”
Bozena Barton – Speech Language Pathologist
Bozena Barton, Lincoln’s new speech and language pathologist, grew up in Poland, by the Baltic Sea. She has also lived in Sweden and Australia.
She immigrated to the United States with her family when she was in the third grade, inspiring her to pursue a career in language.
“I was often an interpreter for my non-English speaking parents and saw the difficulties they encountered as well-educated adults with a communication difference,” she said. “They were sometimes treated as less than, mocked or simply not understood, which deeply affected their self-worth and willingness to engage in daily life. I wanted to help others feel confident in their communication, even if it doesn’t fit the expectations of society.”
Barton describes her job as working with students to enhance their communication skills so they can feel confident in and proud of their unique voice. She says she first observed Lincoln as “huge and overwhelming,” but noted that she was excited to be around young people this year.
In her spare time, Barton enjoys hiking and making ceramics. She is a self-described “dog mom/walker, foodie, travel junkie and anatomy nerd.”
Barton encourages Lincoln students to enjoy the ride as much as they can.
“Try to remember that there’s a whole world outside of high school,” she said. “You’ll all find your place in it eventually.”
Andrew Porter – Paraeducator
After spending a whole year online, coming back in person has been a hard adjustment for some students, and having the resources to help them is critical. One of those resources is the study skills class, an offshoot of the Lincoln special education program. Andrew Porter is a new paraeducator in teacher Linda Edington’s study skills class, and he’s excited to help with this difficult transition.
Before working at Lincoln, Porter graduated from Portland State University. He’s served as a substitute paraeducator for the past year. Porter graduated from Lincoln five years ago. He says being back is nostalgic, and working in the same place he used to learn is a great experience.
“My senior year, I had a really amazing teacher, Mr. Lynch. He was an amazing inspiration to me when I was a student. He encouraged me to speak up more in class, which encouraged me to further my education,” Porter said.
A paraeducator works in the classroom under a licensed teacher to help students learn. The study skills class works with students who have Individual Education Plans (IEPs) which create accommodations for students’ specific needs.
“Perhaps [a student] is struggling in a certain subject, or they need accommodations to make learning better for them,” Porter said. “That can be very different from student to student, so it is very specific.”
As the year progresses, Porter wants to be available for students in any way they need. This includes helping them with work from other classes, or answering any questions a student may have.
“I let students know I’m interested in English so they can come to me for help with essays. I definitely have to refresh my math a little bit; I’m not always going to have the answer for complicated math problems,” he said. “Other than that, academically I feel it’s important to have individuals you can talk to.”
Although Porter is just getting started in the class, his role is already proving to be very important. Edington, who teaches the study skills class Porter works in, thinks paraeducators are vital for the success of her students.
“It’s extremely helpful because I have three [paraeducators] who were able to help me out. They were able to each work one-on-one with a student, and it’s always going to work better when you can focus on that student and what they need,” Edington said. “They were able to really focus in and really understand what the student was working on and help them through it.”
Despite what is sometimes a tough adjustment of coming back to in-person school, Porter is staying positive. He’s excited for the year to come, and to help as many students as possible. Porter says it’s his favorite part of working at Lincoln.
“It just makes me feel good that I’m helping students prepare, I’m helping students who are struggling, and I’m helping them prepare for their adult life and to succeed,” he said. “I feel that I’m spending my time in a really valuable way.”
Tyler Schay – AVID support/Assistant FB Coach
Lincoln High School was empty on a late August day. Sunbeams reflected off building construction into the main office windows. Vice Principal Mariam Higgins heard an echoing of notes and honeyed drips of song down the hallways. The source? A football coach.
Born in Sacramento, Calif., Tyler Schay ended up in Oregon through the foster system. Adopted by his elementary school music teacher, Schay graduated from Franklin High School and went on to get a degree in economics at Willamette University.
Working as support-staff for the AVID program (Advancement Via Individual Determination) this year, Schay will help students reach their max potential.
“I’m here to help kids grow and understand what they’re capable of doing [by figuring] out what works best for each individual, and actually creating a relationship with these kids,” Schay said.
Schay also coaches the varsity football team’s defensive line.
“You have some good students here; you guys listen, you guys have a lot of respect,” he said. “You guys are [also] brutally honest.”
When he’s not in the classroom or on the football field, Schay likes to sing and play music.
“I dabble in all instruments, just well enough to sing to it, [and] that’s all I care about,” he said. “I like to freestyle, I rap, I sing, I do a lot of stuff. I make music. That’s my hobby.”
Vice Principal Higgins attests to Schay’s music abilities.
“When [Schay and I] first met, he was new to the building, so he asked me, ‘Do you have a piano here?’ Once the custodian unlocked the piano he started playing and singing beautifully,” she said.
Schay said he took to music through his mom.
“[My mother] and I met in her music class. In the foster care system, you don’t necessarily like the family sometimes, so I would stay in school as long as I could,” he said. “I would stay after school and play the marimbas, play a bunch of instruments, and that’s how we created a connection. She adopted me, and took in my sister as well. I’ve played music ever since, and she has molded me into the man I am today.”
Schay offered a message to Lincoln’s students.
“Don’t be afraid to approach and get to know me,” he said. “I listen a lot, I love having conversations.”
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