Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Dynamic Duo

Tiffany Pearsall is part of a dynamic duo. She and Nikki Hjelm work together in the Corbett Preschool at the Corbett Grade School. Together, these two women bring a beautiful blend to the classroom for teaching and learning in a fun and creative atmosphere. Tiffany was born in CA., but soon after moved to Bend, OR. where she was raised as an only child. She was extremely close to her grandmother, who lived next door. Tiffany's parents are in the computer industry and so she spent hours after school and her summers with her grandmother. She would read constantly, and would often use workbooks to go over different subjects and then grade herself! Her grandmother was a research librarian, so she learned a great deal about reading and organization from her. Graduating from Bend High School, she then went on to Reed College for four years, averaging about "four hours of sleep a night" between school and working at the nuclear reactor on campus. She also helped children in a science outreach program. While at Reed, Tiffany began dating Kurt Pearsall, also from Bend. Graduating with a degree in Biology, she then began her Master's degree program just two weeks after finishing at Reed! Receiving her MAT (Master's of Teaching) from Lewis and Clark, she then went on to teach at a small preschool in West Linn. The following year she taught at a SE Portland preschool. Looking for a new job online, she came across an opening at Corbett. Not even exactly sure where Corbett was located, she clicked on the application and filled it out. Soon after she was offered an interview and was hired in 2012! During this time, her boyfriend of seven years proposed and they married a year later in Bend. Currently living in SE Portland with their dog Tomato, and their cats Ace and M, they both enjoy outdoor activities. Tiffany also admits to being quite crafty, spending lots of time on Pinterest to get ideas for the classroom as well as herself. She says she loves preschool because it was "meant to be fun." Tiffany is a strong believer in play-based education, giving the children the tools needed to explore and learn.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Corbett Preschool

Each school day at Corbett Preschool, there are up to 20 children that show up to enjoy either a half or full day of fun, adventure and learning. Children need to be at least three years old and "mostly" potty trained. Nikki Hjelm is one of the two teachers that greet the children each day. There is both before and after care, but Nikki and her co- teacher are there 8 am -3 pm each school day. Nikki helps to teach the children "soft skills" which includes raising your hand to ask questions, standing in line, cutting open a package of fruit snacks, etc. Nikki just loves to see the twinkle in the eye of a child that "gets it" when a connection is made on how to find success with the many, many soft skills that are taught. Of course, children also learn academics, yet it is through a fun and exploratory manner that things are taught. Nikki was born in Charlotte, NC and then eventually moved to Oregon to grow up in the SE Portland area. There was a short move to The Dalles and then in 8th grade Nikki spent the rest of her school years in Gresham, OR., graduating from Gresham High School. Nikki laughs when stating that she was always a teacher's pet in school, wanting to help and organize classrooms with her teachers. Nikki also pretended to "teach" her siblings when growing up! After high school, Nikki explored several options for careers. First, she became licensed in the state of Oregon as a cosmetologist. During her three year run at this, a client introduced her to her son. Knowing "of" him, they formally met and started dating. Married in 2006, today they share two sons, ages 8 and 6. Working in cosmetology for three years, her sister was involved in a very serious car accident, and Nikki stepped aside to care for her disabled sister for two years. When her boys were babies, Nikki wanted to stay home, so she started an at home day care. It was in March 2012 Nikki was hired as an aide after volunteering consistently. In 2013, Nikki was hired as a full-time Corbett employee. Currently living in Corbett with her husband and two sons, they enjoy camping, floating on the river and at home movie nights. When Nikki has quiet time for herself, she love to  crochet, recently making a dress for her niece!

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Grateful Heart

Dorthy Hayden was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She was the fourth of five children born to her parents, and the only daughter. At a very early age Dorthy moved with the family to Northern Calif. When Dorthy was 12 years old, her world turned upside down and inside out. Dorthy's mom was murdered . The next several years were a blur, as her father married another woman and the family was uprooted, moving numerous times to different states. Dorthy and her brothers had to attend several different schools as a result. Dorthy's new step mom was not fond of her and let it be known. Dorthy got a job at Taco Bell when the family moved to Gresham and kept herself busy with long hours at work and at school. Graduating from Barlow High School, she then got a waitressing job at Burns Brothers in Troutdale. It was here she became friends with a mechanic, Mark Hayden. After a year, Mark asked Dorthy on a date. They married in 1977 and have now been married 37 years! Anxious to have a family of her own, Dorthy became pregnant one month after getting married and then again 9 months after their son was born. Today they have their son and daughter and three grandchildren, ages 13, 7 and 6. Family is everything to Dorthy and she is grateful beyond words to have a tight knit family that she is close to and even vacations with. Not remembering a great deal of "fun" in her childhood, at age 28, she began playing on a women's softball team that her husband coached. Playing for several years, one year, they ended up going all the way to the regional playoffs, getting second place! In 1985 Dorthy decided to leave waitressing behind and get a job that put her on her children's schedule. She was hired at Corbett Grade School by Principal, Fred Martin and she has been there ever since! Hired originally as an aide, they asked if she could drive a bus for 3 months as a sub. That turned into a 20 year gig! She is now back to being a bus driver only as a sub and works full-time as the GS Secretary. Dorthy's husband Mark will soon be retiring as an engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad, but Dorthy says she is NOT ready to leave/retire from Corbett! Mark attended Corbett Schools, their kids attended and now their grand kids are attending.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Woman of Many Talents!

Debbie Baker wears many hats at the Corbett Schools! Debbie is the Health Assistant, Special Ed. Secretary, and also the Asst. Secretary for the grade school office. The regular RN comes in twice a week, but Debbie is there full-time to cover several bases!
Born in Portland, she has just one sibling, and her brother is 16 years younger! Sharing the same parents, Debbie said she feels she was basically raised as an only child since she graduated at age 18 from Reynolds High School and then left for college. Before leaving for college, she worked as a camp counselor at Trout Creek Bible Camp. It was here she met the love of her life. Debbie started college at Lewis and Clark and then transferred to Mt. Hood Community College. She wanted to be near Tim Baker, whom she met at the Bible Camp in Corbett! They married when Debbie was just 19 and she moved to Corbett (Aims) to be near his family, who has been in the area for over 100 years! Debbie finished the program in Accounting at Mt. Hood Community College and became the bookkeeper for the family logging business that Tim purchased in 1989. Growing up, Debbie's grandmother was a strong influence, teaching her to sew and create many different arts and crafts. Over the years she has created and sewed numerous costumes for Corbett Children's Theater, Mt. Hood College Theater and Oregon Children's Theater. Together Tim and Debbie have raised four children together. Their youngest is attending Corbett High, their oldest daughter just gave them a grandchild, and the two middle sons work for the family logging business. Debbie loves working at the Corbett schools and said she came after getting laid off due to budget cuts at Hartley Elementary. Debbie says that as long as she is able to work with and be around kids, she is very happy! In her free time, she loves to be with Emma, her granddaughter, enjoys gardening, cross country skiing and doing sewing, arts and crafts.