Saturday, February 17, 2018

Bringing Cheer to the Classroom

Bekah Tucker was a cheerleader for all four years at Barlow High School. She absolutely loved the experience and has continued to be a cheerleader in her Corbett classroom. She is passionate about teaching her students. Bekah was born in Portland and grew up in Gresham, OR. She is the second of four daughters born to her parents. Her folks are still married and continue to live in the same home Bekah grew up in. Bekah was quiet as a child and says she always wanted to be a teacher, like Laura Ingalls Wilder. Bekah was a compliant child at school and yet a bit more rambunctious at home. She attended Good Shepard School for K-8 and her family attended church at Good Shepard. Bekah played volleyball and basketball both in middle school and high school. All of Bekah's sisters attended Barlow, and all were cheerleaders at the school, just like her! Bekah also sang in the school choir all four years, traveling out-of-state for numerous competitions. During her high school years, Bekah worked at Izzy's Pizza, across the street from Gresham High School. After graduation, she attended Warner Pacific College in Portland and graduated with a degree in Human Development. She minored in Christian Education. During her senior year, she studied at the University of Oxford in England for a semester. She absolutely loved the experience. During her college years, she dated a man and yet the relationship ended after graduation. She worked at her church after graduation as an administrative assistant for five years. She had thought it would only be a one year position! After her five years, she decided to move to Prague, The Czech Republic to teach in a pre-school for one year. While there, Bekah traveled all over the area on weekends and holidays. She said she made a lot of friends and created many wonderful memories. When she came home to Oregon, she had a renewed passion for teaching. She met for coffee with Desiree Chiu and got a job at Troutdale Elementary as a Special Education Asst. for three years. She was attending Concordia University in the evenings to to earn her Master of Arts in Teaching. Bekah did her student teaching at Corbett with Susan Handy and Dee Dee Hanes. The following year after graduation, she covered three different maternity leaves for Corbett teachers! Then, the following year a full-time position opened up for K-2 teaching. She has been at Corbett Grade School ever since. Bekah now teaches K-1 and really appreciates the encouraging and supportive staff that she is able to work with. She says the kids benefit from the collaboration that goes on between the teachers and aides that work so well together. Bekah lives in SE Portland and enjoys being able to walk to nearby restaurants and shops. She enjoys exploring the City of Portland, trying out the best spots for food, beer and coffee. She also loves to explore the world and is always planning her next trip!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

A Passion for Both Learning and Teaching

Yianna Belesiotis was born in Portland as the middle of three children. Her parents immigrated from Greece and had to learn English once they arrived. They ended up opening a restaurant and found support with other Greek families through the local Greek Orthodox Church.  Yianna began kindergarten barely knowing English, so began watching Sesame Street on TV to better learn the language. She then attended a second year of kindergarten to reinforce what she had learned. Yianna had two brothers and lived in the family home from birth until the time she left for college. Every summer her family went back to Greece to visit family. Her dad worked hard at the restaurant with his brother and would end up joining the family later in the summers. Yianna was shy as a young child and but later became a very curious, outgoing and energetic child. In her childhood she played the flute, guitar and also sang. She danced and had private dance lessons. She loved to read and later gravitated towards philosophy. Friday nights Yianna attended Greek Language School to be able to read and write Greek as well as speak it. When Yianna was just 12 years old, her father passed away from cancer. Her mother was devoted to the children and refused to marry again until her youngest child had grown up and left the house. At age 16 to 21, Yianna was a barista at Coffee People at the PDX Airport. She graduated from David Douglas High School then attended PSU and studied Classical Language and Literature. She finished with a degree in Liberal Arts. The year Yianna graduated from PSU was the same year she met her husband through a mutual friend. They have now been together for twelve years, marrying Dec. 29, 2014. Yianna married Justin Votos at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. Both Yianna and Justin are climbers and literally travel the globe to find mountains and big rocks to climb. Justin is a wildlife biologist and a member of Portland Mountain Rescue, conducting rescue searches. In 2009, Yianna decided to continue her education and went to Concordia Univ. in Portland to earn her Master's in Teaching. She then took a year off and moved to Colorado with Justin to focus on climbing and becoming better at the craft. She then returned to Oregon and began subbing at Corbett and was hired in the Corbett Grade School the following year. She currently teaches K-1 and really enjoys her classroom, calling it her dream job. Her passion is environmental education and appreciates being able to create and implement Columbia Gorge Studies. Yianna and Justin currently live in Portland.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Perfect Fill-In

Kathleen Shelman has lived for 30 years in an original Corbett schoolhouse (The Hurlburt School) that was built in 1923. She and her husband Dave have been married for 41 years and they raised both of their children in the schoolhouse that was converted to a single family home in 1935.
Born in Portland, Or., Kathleen went home with her parents to  Seaside, Or. When Kathleen was just six months old, her mom was hospitalized with TB. Kathleen moved in with her grandparents and did not see her mom for three years. Kathleen was very loved and cared for by both sets of grandparents as they lived so close to one another. When her mom healed, she and her mom joined her dad in Elsie, Or. Two brothers eventually joined the family and then the family moved to Vernonia when Kathleen was in the third grade. The family lived there until Kathleen finished her freshman year of high school. During 7th grade, her parents decided to help a child in need and adopted Bruce to join the family. He is 10 years younger than Kathleen and he fit right in! When her dad got transferred again with Crown Zellerbach, Kathleen was 14 and the family moved to Seaside. Her dad was promoted from logger to assistant manager. She graduated from Seaside High School and attended Seattle Pacific College, which is now Seattle Pacific University. She then transferred after two years to Oregon State Univ. and majored in Elementary Education. Kathleen says she learned many life lessons in college and as a result, chose to make some changes and joined a campus ministry in San Jose. After this, she was hired to teach special education on an Indian reservation in Montana for one year. This was a very positive experience. Later she got a job as an aide in a behavior classroom in Park Rose. Here she learned a tremendous amount. Kathleen's grandmother found her a husband during this time. Dave Shelman attended the same church as her grandmother and introduced them. It was love at first sight! They dated just nine months and then married in her parent's wheat field in Molalla. Kathleen got her first full-time teaching job as a reading specialist, teaching three years. She gave birth to a daughter and then two years later, a son. Dave was transferred to Colorado as an architect and they lived there for four years. Kathleen taught nursery school during this time. In 1986, they moved back to Oregon. In 1988 Kathleen began working in the  Reynolds School District as a kindergarten teacher, part-time. She later taught first grade. Both her kids went to Corbett Schools K-12 and graduated. She retired in 2013 and has subbed in both the Reynolds and Corbett School District ever since. She mostly volunteers now. She loves to garden, do yard work, hike, kayak and travel. Her and Dave are happy at home with their one dog and two ducks.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Behind the Scenes

Cathy Taylor was born in Lake Oswego as the third of four children born to her parents. There were two girls and two boys. Cathy says she was very shy as a child, always reading books and playing the violin from age 10 until high school. She was involved in Brownies and then Girl Scouts, up until middle school. She did not participate in any sports, and spent her entire childhood in Lake Oswego. During high school she worked for two years at Kentucky Fried Chicken. After graduating from Lakeridge High School, she became a bank teller at Willamette Savings and Loan for three years. The bank closed, then Cathy took a job at Burns Brothers, quickly moving into an accounting position. She enjoyed her work and stayed eight years with the company. During this time, she met and married a man from Corbett and they moved to Troutdale. Jeff and Cathy had one son together in 1997. After her time with Burns Brothers, she went to work for Hoffman Construction as an accountant, staying four years. Cathy then went on to work for Toyo Tanso USA in Troutdale and stayed for twenty years! Cathy and her son live in Boring and she has been with her boyfriend Lynn the last seven years. Recently Cathy was looking for a job change and was notified of the position available in Corbett as the Business Manager. She was hired and has been with the school district since November 2017. Cathy brings a lot of experience to the table and although she works in an office tucked away in the administrative office, she loves being on campus with so many friendly students and staff! She says she is excited to be in such a positive environment and wants to make this a great year! In her free time, Cathy enjoys snowmobiling and riding motorcycles with Lynn. Cathy says she is a permanent passenger for the motorcycle rides! Cathy has a dog named Cheech and loves doing yard work on the property. She also volunteers for Soulful Giving, a non-profit group that feeds the Randall Children's Hospital. She does inventory and registration for the yearly Soulful Giving Blanket Concert held at Junki Yoshida's Troutdale home. The concert is held the first Saturday every August.