Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The "Key" is Working TOGETHER

The oldest of three boys, John Paul (J.P.) Balbo was born in Camden, Michigan. He grew up on a lake in a small and rural farming community. All grade levels from K-12 attended school in the same building. J.P.'s parents are still married and live in the same home that he and his brothers grew up in! As a child, J.P. started playing sports as far back as he can remember. Although his favorite sport is soccer, he also golfed, ran cross country and played baseball. After graduating from high school, his parents encouraged him to attend college, and he enrolled at the local community college. He said he was not ready and did not like it. After one semester, he dropped out and went to work laying tile with his uncle. He also traveled with friends, camping in the Teton Mountains, the Finger Lakes area and many other gorgeous locations in the U.S. In 2009, J.P. felt "ready" to attend college and got "serious." He enrolled at Central Michigan University and graduated in four years with a Bachelor's degree in Social Studies and Elementary Education. J.P. played intramural sports all through school, but never got to have the "freshman dorm" experience since he started at an older student and went right into apartment living. He worked at golf courses for extra cash and met his current girlfriend along the way. Morgan graduated ahead of J.P. and went to work in Portland for Adidias. J.P. finished school, student taught for a semester in Michigan (5th grade) and then moved to Portland to be near Morgan. In Jan. 2014, J.P. taught at CLASS Academy in Portland , teaching a 4/5 blend. He was looking to teach in a community he felt was similar to the one he grew up in- small and rural. He applied to Corbett in May 2015 and was hired. Currently J.P. teaches a 6,7,8 blend at Corbett Middle School. Morgan is six years younger and they both live in Portland, loving the area. They have no animals, but are both avid outdoors people. They both love to camp, fly fish, golf, and snowboard. J.P. feels very comfortable and happy in Corbett with his classroom students. He says they work together to learn and it is a very enjoyable atmosphere to be in for both himself and the students. J.P.'s mother taught for over 30 years, and feels that the "key" is having fun along the way- "If kids are having fun, they WILL learn."

Friday, February 5, 2016

A World Traveling Teacher

Having grown up in the heart of the Silicon Valley, Abby Steichen's father was a CPA and her mom stayed at home. She and her older brother grew up in a home that her parents still live in after 44 years of marriage! Abby played both the oboe and the flute while growing up. She also loved to read, be a part of Girl Scouts and travel. After high school graduation in 2002, Abby went to the Univ. of Oregon to study Journalism, but switched to Sociology and graduated in just three years! Immediately after earning her degree, she moved to Portland. She began working at See's Candy Shop (she also worked for them during high school) and then she began working at a day care center. It was there that she realized her desire to be a teacher. She "couch surfed" through Europe with a girlfriend for two months before starting grad school. In 2006, Abby began at PSU and earned her MED "Masters in Education" in two years. It was at this time she struck up a conversation with another student about her trip to Iceland. Tom had also been, and after dating, they married in 2009. It was also in 2009 that Abby was hired at Corbett after substituting for a year in the Portland Public Schools. Abby taught a 4/5 split for three years at Corbett Grade School, and then CAPS opened. She was quite excited for the opportunity to work there, so she made the move and now teaches a blend of 3, 4. 5. Tom and Abby have three daughters and they also love to travel. Last summer they went to 11 states on a road trip! They also journeyed to both Maui, Hawaii and Tulum, Mexico and the surrounding area. This year her family will try to visit as many National Parks as possible! They also set a goal this year to hike a total of at least 300 miles. They hiked 22 miles in January, despite the cold and rain! Abby is a very busy wife, mother and teacher, but loves to read when she can find a free moment. She is one to fully embrace life and create as many memories as possible for her kids at home as well as in the classroom.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Living Life in Mexico and Corbett!

Lori Luna grew up in the Park Rose area of Portland. She was adopted at birth. A few years later her parents adopted another child, Scott. The home Lori grew up in was built by her dad in 1949, and although he has passed, her mom at age 88 is still in the home! Lori says she was outgoing as a child and yet became shy in middle school. Although she was quiet, she says was was a real jokester! She played sports, sang in the choir and loved to read. In high school, she read books cover to cover in one setting! After graduating from Park Rose High School, she attended Mt. Hood Community College and then Portland State for a short while. Lori thought a better education might be backpacking through Europe with a girlfriend, so she did! For nearly five months, she and friend Marci traveled all through Southern Europe. Looking back, Lori believes it was a life changing experience- very empowering and educational. She was able to spend her 21st birthday in Spain! When Lori returned home, she worked at B Dalton bookstore and then at the Migrant Head Start Program. It was at this time that she decided to marry her best friend from high school. Joe Luna had joined the Marines after high school and they had stayed in touch via letter writing. Joe and Lori married in Portland in 1986. Together they moved to CA to live in Marine Corp housing (in the middle of nowhere!) Daughter Antonia was born in 1988, just six weeks after Joe finished up with the Marines. Twin sons Gabe and Ben were born just 20 months later! Surprise! They had bought a two bedroom 720 sq. ft. home and now were going to have three kids, two adults and two dogs living in the home. :) They lived there six years. In 1995, Joe and Lori built a beautiful home on acreage in Corbett that had belonged to Lori's parents. Joe, Lori's dad and uncles all worked together to create and build their current home. After being a stay at home mom, Lori went back to school in 1996 to finish both her Associate's and then Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. Her first teaching job in 1999 was in the Oregon Trail School District. The following year she applied at Corbett and was hired as a middle school teacher. During this time, the middle school went through a major change, moving to a project oriented style of learning with combined grade levels in the classrooms. At this time Lori went back to school to earn her Masters of Education (MED). She later earned her Initial Administrative License. She also went on to study in Mexico, finishing her coursework for a Masters of Teaching Spanish. In Dec. 2015 at Concordia University, she finished her Continuing Administrative License. After teaching middle school for nine years, she became a 9th grade teacher while also being an assistant Principal with Mr. Phillips and Mr. Jaques. The following year she taught Spanish part time and was a part time principal. In the Fall of 2012 the district opened up the CAPS School at Springdale. Lori is the principal, but also teaches math and spanish! Lori is now the grandmother for Antonio's son, Enzo. Her twin sons are both living and working in Portland. Joe is a brick layer and is currently building the retaining wall on Hwy. 101. Lori is passionate about cooking and loves to entertain with all her new and different recipes that she tries. Joe and Lori have a second home in Mexico and she loves to visit as much as possible. Each year Lori brings her 8th grade students to Mexico for a week to attend school and experience the culture. Lori is truly living out her dream life - both in Mexico and Corbett!

Friday, January 1, 2016

From the Kitchen to the Classroom

Jenny "Mrs. Rad" Radulesk teaches ninth grade Core and that includes AP Human Geography, ninth grade English and ninth grade Health. Mrs. Rad and Mr. Cooper together teach all of the ninth grade students, each for three hours at a time, having a morning group and then a different afternoon group. (A total of four groups of ninth grade students). Originally, Jenny was hired as the Culinary Arts Teacher and worked out of the kitchen for five years. She loves the change and being in her own classroom with desks instead of ovens! She feels she has found her niche by helping ninth graders transition to high school, and all the expectations that come with that. Jenny was born in Bellevue, Wash. and raised there until leaving for college. She was surrounded by extended family that lived in the Seattle area. As a child, Jenny was very outgoing, but only with her close friends and family. At school she was a bit shy, now giving her a soft spot for her own shy students. She was on a gymnastics team for a total of 15 years, practicing 5x/week, 4 hours a day. When she reached high school, she cut back on gymnastics and added springboard diving and cheerleading to the mix, for variation and balance. When college time rolled around, she chose NOT to follow friends to Univ. of Wash., but instead became a Duck at U of O! She said it was a huge leap of faith but she was up for trying something different. She majored in Anthropology and also focused on Business and Geography. She claims these four years as some of her very BEST, becoming a HUGE Duck fan along the way. It was here she fell in love with learning and made life long friends. After graduation she went to New Zealand on her own. Again, wanting to try something new and different. She tried her hand at sky diving and bungee jumping while circling the islands twice to check out all of the beauty. Jenny was there for a total of six months and worked at a hotel buffet to pay the bills. It was here she decided to become a teacher. She wrote all her strengths on a piece of paper and then had an "Ah ha" moment. She came back to the states and immediately enrolled in grad school at George Fox University. In 1.5 years she earned her "MAT," a Masters of Arts in Teaching. She also received endorsements in Health and Family as well as Consumer Sciences. While in grad school she decided to try something different and started taking golf lessons. Her golf instructor turned out to be more than just a good golfer. She and Kyle started dating and he proposed her first year of teaching! She went to the education fair just prior to graduation and met Mr. Dunton and Mr. Trani. Once she secured an interview, she arrived an hour early because she was not sure of just where Corbett was, and did not want to be late! Although her commute is a full hour each way, she says her heart to continues to be at Corbett and she just loves the small community feel at the school. Kyle and Jenny welcomed daughter Henley into the world six months ago. Jenny admits having a baby has been a great and wonderful experience, but it is a game changer, for sure! World travel and activities such as snow skiing are currently on hold for a bit. No worries, she and Kyle enjoy spending as much as eight hours each weekend watching football together on TV. Her dream? Traveling with him to games all over the country!