Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Passion for Teaching Students and the ....Bicycle.

Susan Handy hails from the "other" side of Portland. Her family lived in West Linn the first eight years of her life. Her father then had the family move to Northern CA for a job opportunity, lasting one and a half years. When the time came to move back to Oregon, the family voted to move back to the exact same neighborhood! (Different house) Susan went on to graduate from West Linn High School. After finishing school, Susan went directly into the job market, working five years in the title insurance industry in Wyoming. During this time Susan was doing volunteer work with special needs kids. Her heart was opened to the idea of working with children and making a worthwhile contribution to society. Susan came back to Oregon and enrolled at Western OR Univ. for four years, earning her teaching degree. Working for several years in private Catholic schools, Susan continued with her childhood love of bicycling. In 1990 Susan was loving her career as a teacher and being a part of the cycling world with involvement in Bike Centennial, a non-profit bicycle travel organization. While on a bike tour with this organization, Susan met Paul Handy. There were 12 in the group and they biked from Newport News, VA. to Florence, OR. The group camped the entire way across the US! Paul and Susan dated after the bike tour and married the very next year. Paul was from Maryland, moving to Oregon to be with his bride. Daniel was born in 1992 and David came along in 1994. When Daniel was born, Susan went to part-time teaching and began tutoring K-12th graders on the side. When Daniel was in kindergarten, Susan was hired by HB Lee Middle School, working in special ed. Susan was there for just a year and then transferred to Margaret Scott to teach 4th grade. In 2001 Susan was hired in Corbett as a 5/6th grade teacher. She has shuffled around the grade school over the years, teaching various grade levels. Currently she is teaching a 3, 4 ,5 blend. In her free time, she continues to bicycle, read, sew and crochet. She is looking to join the local Master's swim team with Paul and is even considering entering her very first sprint triathlon in 2015! Susan and Paul live in Corbett while both sons are away, working on their college degrees. Daniel will finish in 2015 and David in 2017.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Life Long Learner

Born in Portland, Michelle was not a Michael. Michelle Dawkins' father was looking to have a son, and out of the 14 babies born that day at Good Samaritan, she was the only girl. :) Michelle and her family lived in Portland until her junior year of high school. After moving to Gresham, she transferred from David Douglas to Sam Barlow High School. Just after the move, her parents divorced. For college, Michelle went to Mt. Hood Community College for two years and then transferred to Western Oregon University and finished with a degree in teaching. Michelle has always been a hard worker, putting in 30 plus hours per week all four years of college. During her freshman and sophomore year of college, Michelle worked at TJ Athletics in Gresham. There she met an "older man" (9 years her senior) who was her co-worker, and they started dating. Michelle and Chris Dawkins married in July 1983, just after she graduated from college. Both continued working at TJ Athletics until the store eventually went bankrupt. Chris then got his stock broker's license and went to work as a financial planner. Michelle went to work at Kaiser Permanente full-time where she helped start the pharmacy technician program. Her heart was always in teaching, but there was not a position available at the time. After 7 years with Kaiser, Michelle decided to go back to teaching, working first as a substitute teacher in the Corbett and Reynolds District. Chris was now working for Weyerhauser. Chris and Michelle started a family and had two children. Stephanie was born in 1985 and Joe was born in 1988. Frank Kosderka became the principal at the Corbett Grade School in 1994 so Michelle was asked to take over his second grade classroom. She has been teaching ever since in the grade school. Michelle considers herself to be a life long learner and wants her students to be as well. She has seen many changes over the years and has grown and learned along the way. One thing she most appreciates is that no matter what grade level(s) she is teaching, she has always had numerous parents on board to help out in the classroom. Michelle and Chris not only raised both Stephanie and Joe in the Corbett Schools, but in the community as well. They moved to Corbett in 1983, first renting a single wide trailer. Being very athletic, they recently purchased a condo on Mt. Hood in addition to their Corbett home, and are up skiing, snowshoeing and hiking every weekend!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Truly "Down to Earth"

Heather Freeman is currently the assistant secretary at the Corbett Grade School. Starting employment in 2011 with the school district, Heather was in the lunch room just three hours a day. Seeing that her warm personality and kind heart were a good fit for the students as well as the staff, she was asked to move to full-time and not only work in the lunch room, overseeing all the many students, but also help out at the front desk in the grade school office. Heather answers phones, greets visitors, does paperwork, and is available as needed to help out with various tasks. Having three daughters enrolled in the Corbett District School, Heather loves the fact that she is doing something she enjoys and is available for her daughter's as she is on the same schedule as they are! Born in Portland, Heather actually lived at a fish hatchery in Sandy with her family for the first four years of her life. Heather's father was a Wild Life Technician. At age four, the family moved to the Knappa, Or. area so that her dad could work at the Big Creek Salmon Hatchery. Having one younger sister, Heather grew up in Knappa until graduating from Knappa High School. Heather was active, playing both volleyball and softball in her youth. After graduating, Heather attended Clatsop Community College and got her associates degree in business. After finishing her two year degree, Heather moved to Troutdale with girl friends to rent an apartment and work. In 1996, Heather went on a blind date that was not a good fit- but the evening was not a complete loss. She returned to her apartment to meet a friend of friends across the hallway. Lee Freeman was visiting some friends the day after Christmas and saw Heather as she ended her date. Convincing his friends to introduce him to Heather, the rest is history! Dating one and a half years, Lee proposed in Sitka, Alaska and they married on July 31, 1999. Lee was also in the "fish business" like her father, as Lee was a fishing guide. Getting married at Bridal Veil Lakes, the couple moved first to Gresham, then Troutdale. The day before their one year wedding anniversary, Heather took a pregnancy test and it came back positive! Maddie is now 13, Elle 10 and Grace is 6. When living in Troutdale, Lee and Heather chose to look for a home in Corbett due to the reputation of the schools. Finding a beautiful Corbett home built in 1925, they settled in, and plan to stay for many, many years to come. In the limited free time that she has, Heather loves to go to estate sales to find old furniture to re-furbish for their Corbett home. Heather says she has a passion for both old homes and old furniture!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

FULL of Energy!

Growing up in NE Portland with her parents and a younger sister, Sara Brounstein was a very busy girl who played sports and was also involved with both dance and baton competitions. Sara has always had plenty of energy and channeled that into winning numerous awards for her dance and baton routines. Sara graduated from LaSalle High School. To begin her college career, Sara attended Mt. Hood Community College for two years, then saved enough money to go to Europe with a girlfriend. After her travels and working a bit, Sara enrolled at the Univ. of Oregon and graduated with a degree in Education and a minor in Spanish. After graduation, Sara moved to Mexico for a year and attended school. At this time Sara was also volunteering to help and assist students from low income families. The following year Sara moved to Michigan with a friend and worked in a Montessori school. Eventually she found herself back in Portland and enrolled in the Portland State Univ. graduate teacher education program. Upon completion of this schooling, Sara now had both a teaching license and a master's degree. Right away she was hired on at Riverdale Grade School in Lake Oswego to teach Spanish. Teaching for three years, she then made the move to teaching Kindergarten for two years. In 2011, Sara was hired to work at CAPS in Springdale as a primary teacher. Sara is one of two teachers that are in the K-2 classroom. Recently married to a long time family friend, husband Michael will help her welcome their son Morrie in March 2015! He will be joining sister Bettie, so the family is busy creating new space for the nursery in their Portland home. When she finds a free moment, Sara loves to be outdoors hiking!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Corbett's Curriculum Coordinator

The Curriculum  Coordinator for Corbett School District is Holly Dearixon, who previously taught at Corbett for 10 years. Holly grew up in Laguna Beach, CA with her parents and a younger sister. Living in the same home until age 14, Holly moved when her parents divorced. After graduating from Laguna Beach High School, Holly took off for Europe with a friend for four months. The purpose of the trip was not only to have fun, but to explore and experience different foods, sights and lifestyles. After her journey, Holly enrolled at Willamette University in Oregon. It was here she double majored in Elementary Education and Psychology, graduating in four years. It was in 1987 that she was hired to teach 5th grade in Corbett. Holly says she taught at the school that was across the road from the Corbett Water Dept. that has now burned to the ground. Teaching for 10 years, she met her husband Phil when he was a bus driver for one of their school field trips! It was at this time that Phil was a volunteer firefighter at Corbett and looking to be hired as a paid firefighter in Portland. After dating off and on for several years, they married in 1993. Their first daughter Alicia was born in 1996. It was at this time that Holly made a change in her employment, stepping away from full-time teaching to be at home with their new daughter. Holly was given the opportunity to work part-time as the Curriculum Coordinator for Corbett. Having their second daughter Clare in 1998, Holly continued working part-time and is still there today, enjoying both the position and the opportunity to be a part of the Corbett School District. Holly has a great love for the outdoors. She can often be spotted running (literally!) around Corbett. Having lived in the same Corbett home since 1993, she has twice run from home to the top of Larch Mountain! The trek is over 16 miles long, and she says Phil was kind enough (both times) to pick her up once she reached the top! :) Holly also loves to hike and backpack.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Music Man....of Corbett~!

Born in West Seattle, Tim Killgore lived in the same house from birth until he married! Tim's parents have both passed, but he was close to them and his three older siblings while growing up. His father was a minister and an accomplished trumpet player, playing at numerous churches and on radio programs. Everyone in the Killgore family was musically inclined and each played at least one instrument. But! Tim will tell you that he had a passion for the outdoors ever since he can remember. He never had any intention of being a professional musician, let alone a music teacher. After graduating from Chief Sealth High School, Tim attended Multnomah School of the Bible in Portland. This is where he met and fell in love with his wife, Patti. They dated and then married just before Tim graduated from Multnomah with a degree in music. After college, Tim worked in a cabinet shop for many years, joyfully creating beautiful cabinets. Tim also had a love of photography and attended the NW School of Professional Photography in Seattle. He did his photography on the side. Fulfilling his love for the outdoors, Tim spent eight summers as the director of a wilderness camp for kids in Canada. In the midst of all this, he and Patti had four children together. Today Cara is 35, Jamie 33, Loren 31 and Peter is 21. Their first grand baby is due in May 2015! Looking back, Tim chuckles how he became the music teacher at Corbett.....In 1995 he and Patti were renting a home in Springdale and went to his daughter's band concert at the school. It was at the concert that Tim KNEW he wanted to teach music. He immediately began taking evening classes at the Univ. of Portland. When it came time to student teach, he came under the mentorship of Chuck Bolton at Sam Barlow High. Tim says he was a fabulous mentor and is still a fabulous friend. Tim had the good fortune of being hired as a sub for the position of choir director at Corbett his first year. In 1997 he was officially hired as the Corbett Secondary music teacher. Currently he is teaching both instrumental and vocal music for grades 4-12. In his fourth year of teaching, he entered the band into their first ever competition and they got third in the state!! Over the years, the Corbett Band has consistently placed in the top five in the state, every single year since Tim began entering them in competitions. Hiking and backpacking with Patti is one of the very best things he loves to do in his time off. He also loves to spend time with their adult kids, work in his wood shop and continue to work on the Corbett home that he and Patti bought several years ago.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

First Paycheck Came at Age 8

Born in Iowa, Aaron and his family lived there until he turned five. Making a move, the rest of his childhood was spent in Galion, Ohio. Being the youngest of five children, his folks divorced when Aaron was in the second grade. It was at this time that he learned first hand what it meant to work hard. He earned his first paycheck at age 8, cleaning out brushes for a nearby beauty salon. He also got a paper route. His single mom was now raising all five kids on $6K per YEAR. All the children were expected to work and help contribute. By the age of 26, Aaron estimates that he had held over 40 jobs! and he had NEVER been fired! Aaron states that he and his siblings were not able to get any fancy clothes or toys as kids, but, they never went hungry. In school, all the Long children got excellent grades. Aaron states that he felt like a failure because he was the only one in his family to not graduate in the top three of the graduating class. Aaron was #20 in a class of over 200 students. Being determined, he used the Pell Grant and scholarships to attend college in Ohio where he was the editor of the school newspaper for 2.5 years and wrestled all four years. He was the first ever student at Findley Univ. to be an All-American in the sport of wrestling! Aaron went on to be a TWO time All-American. Aaron's siblings ALL graduated with a college degree, and three have also gone on to get a Master's degree. Aaron has two. Aaron went on to the Univ. of Montana to get his first Master's degree in Poetry. This is where he met his wife, Kris Fink. They dated nearly four years and then went on to marry and have three children, now ages 7, 5 and 2. The family currently lives in Portland, where Kris is also an educator at PCC. Aaron went on to get his second Master's degree (MED) once married. He has been teaching Corbett Middle Schoolers since 2003. He started on the main campus and then made the move to Springdale and  is currently teaching grades 6,7,8 at CAPS. When not teaching or coaching the Corbett High School wrestling team, Aaron loves to be with his wife and kids. He is a Steeler's fan, loves to garden, make things out of recycled materials, and cook. His specialty? Tri-tip roast!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's All About the Bike!

Born in Evanston, Illinois in 1964, John Neighbors literally spent his entire childhood in the same location.The middle of three boys, John did not move until he was 18 and leaving for college. When looking at numerous college choices, Lewis and Clark College in Portland seemed to be the best fit. It turned out to be true, as John attended school all four years at Lewis and Clark, graduating with a BS degree in Communications. Ever since John was a boy, he loved to ride a bike. Once he got started, he never stopped. After college, John became a bike mechanic. That led to sales, management and then design, all in the bike industry. Bicycling has always been a positive for John. John met his wife as a set-up by a friend. The first date was a bike ride and then he and Susie married a year after dating! Together they have a 12 year old son and live in Portland. As the bike industry began to change, John was going to be required to do a lot more traveling to China. He did not want to be away from his wife and son so often, so he began teaching at night at ITT Tech. Although he did not have a degree in engineering, he taught engineering and design. Through this experience, he realized how much he enjoyed teaching, and decided to go back to school at Concordia and get his MAT- Master of Arts in Teaching. John did his student teaching at Corbett, then worked as an Aide and was then hired at Corbett Middle School in the fall of 2011. Teaching grades 6,7,8, John moved to CAPS in the fall of 2013 when the need for a second teacher for this level of students was needed. John says it is a natural fit for him, as he gets along well with the other 6,7,8 teacher, Aaron Long. They are often collaborating! When John is not riding his bike by himself or with Susie, he is at his son's many soccer games. He also loves to cook! He says pizza is his specialty and he makes numerous types. His other specialty? Blueberry pancakes!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

From Volunteer to Administrative Assistant at CAPS

WHAT is CAPS?! CAPS is the Corbett Arts Program with Spanish housed in the historic Springdale School two miles west of the main Corbett School campus.They are not a charter school, but rather a part of the Corbett School District. The most noticeable difference for this K-8 school is the thoughtful decision to incorporate the arts throughout the curriculum as well as provide Spanish instruction for all the students. Nancy Gyerko is starting her third year at CAPS, after beginning as a parent volunteer at the Corbett schools about 10 years ago. Her volunteerism turned into being an "on call" aide position. Nancy was never a full time employee of the district until she started at CAPS. What exactly does her job involve? Nancy is a health assistant, does lunch service for all the students, takes care of the attendance, does needed clean-up (think child illness in the hallway) and calls for maintenance help for building issues. Nancy also organizes the facility use for all of the Corbett School buildings, does background checks on all parent volunteers, manages the DQ to Springdale buses, builds relationships with all of the students, and assists both Lori Luna (Principal) and the teachers as needed with various tasks. Nancy was in the medical field prior to working in Corbett. She met her husband, Peter when she worked at Suburban Medical and he was a doctor. Together they have two children. Ella is 17 and Riley is 14. Both kids have been in the Corbett Schools since Ella was in the 2nd grade. Currently the Gyerko's are living in Troutdale, and love outdoor activities as a family. Nancy is the youngest of seven children (same parents!) and grew up mostly on the Oregon Coast in the Newport area. She appreciates family, fun and furry friends! They have two dogs and several chickens. "Nothing better than FRESH eggs" laughs Nancy!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Corbett's Athletic Director

Jean Paul Soulagnet was born in 1963 to a father that was a milkman and a mother who stayed at home to raise the children. "JP" has an older brother and sister, and moved to Walla Walla, WA  with his family when he was in the 2nd grade. The Mayflower company that his father worked for was bought by Darigold and his dad became a manager in Walla Walla. JP remembers loving the heat and the onions! At age 10, the family moved to Seaside, when his dad was transferred to Astoria, OR.  It was at this time his mom started in real estate, working for Pete Anderson. JP was an excellent athlete in high school, playing basketball, baseball and football. Upon graduation, he headed to OIT (Oregon Institute of Technology) to try his hand at electronics. "NOT a good fit," and he left after one term! He then transferred to Mt. Hood Community College for 2 years. This is where he first met his wife, Linda. After finishing at Mt. Hood, he transferred to OSU. After completing two terms, he got mono and was bedridden for a month! It was at this time he decided to join the Army and "get some direction" in his life. His dad and brother had both served, so he was ready to do the same. At age 22, JP started in Missouri, went to CA, Texas, Mass., and then back to CA for the "Green to Gold" program to become an officer after four years. After going through the training, the military was downsizing, so JP decided to get out and finish his college degree at PSU, getting a BA in Physical Education. He then went on to earn his MED- Master's of Education. After subbing for a year in East Multnomah County, a job opportunity opened up for him in Corbett in 1993. After being hired, JP has been here ever since! JP married his college sweetheart after dating Linda for four years. A little known secret? They married TWICE! They eloped, then telling only their parents. A year later on the exact same day, they married again with all their friends and family present! JP and Linda have three grown children who have all graduated from the Corbett school system. With Linda working as a flight attendant since before they married, JP says over the years it has been good to play "Mr. Mom" when she was out of town flying. He grew to have a HUGE appreciation for all that Linda did with the home and kids on top of working!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Corbett to the Core~!!

Megan Shaw is a Corbett K-2 teacher who was raised in Corbett since birth with her parents and twin brothers, who are 13 months younger than her. Megan's parents are still married and living in Corbett. Megan spent her childhood in the area of Latourell Falls and graduated from Corbett High in 1996. A main focus for Megan growing up was working at her mom's produce market on Powell Blvd. Megan started at age 12 to work and save for college. Her life was filled with friends, family and work. After graduation, Megan attended Mt. Hood Community College for two years and then transferred to Portland State Univ. for two years, majoring in Social Science. After school, Megan traveled for a year along the East Coast as a nanny. Upon her return, Megan went back to PSU to get her Master's Degree in Education. Her teaching career began with jobs as a substitute teacher around the East County Area. In 2005, Megan was hired at Corbett Grade School and has been there ever since. When she received the job opportunity call from Penny Jordan on April 1st, she was hoping it was NOT a joke! Megan has been married for 11 years to Chris Shaw, whom she met in Corbett. They dated for three years before marrying, and now have two children together- Ethan, age 6 and Ellie, age 4. Currently living in Troutdale, their goal is to sell their home in the spring and purchase in Corbett! Megan loves the outdoors- especially hiking with close friends.  She also loves baking cookies with her children. Chris is a chef at Multnomah Falls, so she is happy to let him share in making meals. :) One of the greatest joys for Megan is seeing her students smile with joy when things "click" for them in the classroom. Bubbling with joy, Megan says she has a very "blessed" life and tries never to take that for granted.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Keeping Corbett Schools CLEAN!!

Growing up as an "Army brat" with her younger sister and parents, Robin Deeming literally moved ALL over the world! Robin's father was a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army and was from New York. Robin's mother was from Australia, and Robin describes her as "one of the kindest people ever." Both parents have passed, but Robin stays in close touch with her sister who lives with her husband. Together they have six grown kids and live in Kirkland, Wa. When Robin was in middle school, her family lived in Italy for 2 years and also in Germany for a year. When Robin started 10th grade, the family moved to Klamath Falls where her father could retire- and Robin did NOT enjoy her time there. After graduation in 1968, Robin went to college at SOC, Southern Oregon College. After a short time, she found herself restless and in search of what was important. Leaving school, she began to get "caught up in the movement of the times." Many times Robin started and then left college, literally moving all over the U.S. In 2005, she moved from Oakland, CA to be with her partner in Corbett. After choosing to end the relationship, they parted on good terms, and Robin stayed on in her house on wheels that was on the acreage. Seeing an ad in 2008 in the Corbett Schools newsletter, Robin applied for a custodian job. Getting laid off in 2010, she was hired back 14 months later when it was obvious that the schools needed more than just two custodians for all the many buildings and areas that needed attention. Robin will be eligible for retirement in two years and is considering traveling across the country, stopping to work as needed. In the mean time, she continues to keep the Corbett Middle School building and gymnasium clean. At home she loves on her dog, cat and rescue horse, as well as doing a great deal of reading.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Farm Girl from Iowa

Growing up near Cedar Rapids, Iowa with a farmer for a father, Olivia understands rural living. Her family grew corn, soybeans, oats and raised cattle, pigs, sheep and chickens. When Olivia was in the third grade, her parents divorced. She has one younger brother and six step siblings. Her dad is still farming and her mom re-married and started a carpet cleaning business. After graduating high school in 2000, Olivia attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa to study Vocal Performance and Costume Design. When 911 shook the United States, Olivia was drawn to move to New york to lend a helping hand via Red Cross. After such a powerful experience, she chose to work with Americorps in NYC for a year, tutoring and running an after school girl's group for high-risk families. Returning to Hunter College in NYC, Olivia switched majors to Political Science and graduated with her BA. She also minored in History. When school ended, Olivia decided it best to conquer a fear she held- She traveled alone to Europe to backpack for the entire summer and visit the Czech Republic, and a small, remote village where her family had come from. Olivia smiles broadly as she describes the trip as "Amazing." Olivia met numerous friendly people and "saw so much art and architecture that she fell in love with." Upon her return, she was offered a position at Hunter College as an Administrative Asst. for the Hunter Senate- the governance body of the college. After a year, she decided to move to London. Her now husband offered to buy her a book to help with the process. As they discussed her possible move, they fell in love! Together they moved to Boston and dated five years before marrying. While in Boston, Olivia went back to school to get her Master's degree and become a teacher. She ended up getting dual Master's degrees in Special Ed. and Elementary Ed. In April 2014, her husband, Dan Squires drove with her and their cats! across the country where Olivia met with 9 different school districts to see just where she wanted to work. The long story short is, she fell in love with Corbett and the staff -and they with her. Olivia now teaches grades 3,4,5 where students with special needs are blended into the classroom. In her free time, she is excited to create beauty in a new stained glass studio in her basement, and she is learning how to better play her accordian!

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Mr. Derek Jaques is Corbett's new EnviroSTEM Principle at Corbett High School. Derek is baaaaaack after beginning as a teacher at Corbett High in Sept. 2002. Getting his administrative credentials in 2008, Derek then job shared administrative responsiblities with Lori Luna and Phil Pearson until 2011. Leaving Corbett, Derek first took a job as Vice Principal at West Linn High School "The work load and long commute were horendeous" says Derek. After just a year, Derek moved his career path to Camas High School, just two miles from his home. Although the opportunity, location, pay and position were great, there was a heart pull for Corbett. It is easy to realize in a short amount of time that Mr. Jaques is all about relationships. Derek very happily chose to return to Corbett because of this. Corbett's intimate setting of knowing his students and having close relationships with co-workers ranks high on the list of what most appeals to him. Derek's parents divorced when he was just 6 months of age. He has an older bother and a younger half sister. For more than half his childhood, Derek's mom was a single parent, constantly on the move. Living in the general Portland area, Derek graduated from Centennial High in 1993. It was a football scholarship, teachers and coaches that got him to college. Derek got a need's based full-ride scholarship to Lewis and Clark College in Portland, graduating in four years with a major in both history and economics. Derek had a passion for many sports, not just football. He met a man named Roy Altman through his brother Chris, and Roy asked Derek to come to Corbett to help him coach kids. Derek was already employed after college, but soon realized as he was coaching kids that he really loved being around the students. A parent encouraged him to look into teaching, so he did! He applied for the MAT Program at Concordia College in Portland and was accepted. Prior to starting the program, he left his job and traveled. Derek backpacked through Europe with friends for 3 months then moved to Hawaii for 5 months to work with a close friend from college in the financial world. In 2004 Derek met his wife Lyndsay on a church rafting trip. What started as a light friendship turned into 10 months of intense dating before marrying in July 2005. Today Lyndsay and Derek live in Washougal, WA. with their children, Keaton (6) and Laila (3). Derek is thrilled to be back amongst friends and families in the community that still mean so much to him.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Meeting the Needs of Corbett Kids

The new Learning Specialist at Corbett High School grew up in Portland with three older siblings and her parents. Hannah Lizio-Katzen is an avid soccer player, playing year round both in and outdoors with coed and all women's teams. After graduating from Portland's Bensen Tech High School, Hannah headed to UC Berkely in Calif. to get her undergraduate degrees in both English and Education. For her Master's, Hannah came back to Portland. She was able to specialize in both Special and General Education. Last year was her first year of teaching at McKay High School in Salem. With over 2K students at the school and a caseload of 60 students, Hannah had her hands full. When the opportunity came up at Corbett High, Hannah was excited! Corbett's entire district was half the size of the previous school and she now had a caseload of 24. Corbett is a full inclusion district, meaning students attend classes with their peers, and are pulled out as needed for additional support. Currently there are 25 colleges in the U.S. that provide post secondary studies for those with intellectual disabilities. Hannah lives in Portland with her cat, Hugo and loves to garden as she is able. She also is working on a novel. Having a family member with special needs spurred Hannah to not only pursue her current career but also to put down on paper her own memoir to share with others. When will it be ready for print? "Not sure!" laughs Hannah with a smile.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

An OUTDOOR classroom in Corbett?!!

CAPS is the Corbett Arts Program with Spanish housed in the historic Springdale School two miles west of the main Corbett School Campus. They are a K-8 program serving less than 200 students who are part of the Corbett School District. They are NOT a charter program, but rather a small program that is part of the district. Students at CAPS have Spanish instruction every week, and a strong music program. The school follows the same philosophies as the Corbett Grade and Middle School, yet the notable difference is CAPS has thoughtfully chosen to incorporate the arts throughout the curriculum. CAPS has a thriving community garden that is organized and ran by parents, grandparents and community members. Hispanic neighbor, Ruben Grazura has been a vital part of keeping the garden in top condition as well as assisting with language skills! The garden provides hands on experiences and activities for each of the students on a weekly basis. If you have interest in volunteering, please contact Carolyn Coons at

Friday, September 26, 2014

Taking Care of Business

The Corbett School District has a Business Manager that understands the importance of good communication. Kristy Andrew's favorite things about working for the district are the relationships with staff and teachers. The culture at the schools is like that of a family, and she appreciates everyone's desire to work hard to create a safe and strong learning environment for all of the students. Kristy grew up with a younger brother and their parents in a very rural area just outside of Battle Ground, WA. She learned how to hunt, fish, work with her hands to both create and fix, and also play sports. Her parents and both sets of grandparents are all still alive and married to their original spouses. After graduating high school, Kristy went for a year to community college with a focus on pre-med. The following year she headed to Canada to attend Bible College for 1.5 years. Coming home from Canada, she actually started a junior high ministry at her church. Kristy's mom then gave her a job lead to be a Pharmacy Tech. This was something that was of great interest to Kristy, and she ended up teaching classes! Kristy then went on to New Horizons to teach computer applications. Soon after, a temp agency led to a job at Multnomah ESD as a budget analyst. Married in 2004, Kristy also took on the role of starting a business with her then husband in 2009. Both the marriage and the job ended, but Kristy settled into Corbett's Business Manager position in February 2011 and could not be happier! Kristy is currently finishing up her bachelor's degree in Business Administration as well as becoming a new home owner! Having two dogs and a cat, Kristy loves animals, playing softball 7-8 months of the year on a coed team and one day wants to travel. The biggest love in her life at the moment? The New England Patriots!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Teaching Math from a Different Angle

Roger Binchus has lived a great deal of life in his 35 years, and he is more than excited to share things learned with his Corbett High School math students. Roger believes you must get the student's listening ear before they can be taught. Once engaged, students will learn more, so Roger interjects life experiences into his math lessons to help them problem solve. He is a strong believer that math is a skill that must be practiced, like other healthy habits. Born as the youngest of three sons, he also has a younger sister. For the first seven years of life, Roger lived in Alaska with his family. The family then moved to Salem, Oregon where they lived until Roger was in 6th grade. The next move was to Pendleton where he graduated from high school. Many in Roger's family chose the military for a career. Roger chose the Univ. of Oregon and architecture. Practicing architecture for five years after graduation, he was laid off from his firm during the economic downturn. Being an Eagle Scout and an avid outdoorsman, he turned to pursuing his dream of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail once he was without employment. After meeting both his hiking partners online, he started the journey at the Mexican border. Not quite finishing, he goal was to return. Working with Multnomah County's Outdoor School after his hike, he returned to the trail with his best friend from college, Lauren. They both started at the Mexican Border once again. At the highest point on the trail, Roger proposed. He and his now wife finished the trail! After many conversations on the hike from Mexico to Canada, Roger decided to return to school to get his Master's degree in teaching. In June 2014, Roger was given his final interview at Corbett. Both Roger and Lauren now live in Springdale and are enjoying the Corbett community and all that it offers. Any more planned big adventures for Roger? Oh yes!! Just ask him. :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Corbett's NEW Spanish Teacher

Growing up in Troutdale, Darcy Soto never imagined one day living in Mexico or teaching students the Spanish language. Today Darcy is finding herself in a position she "never wants to leave" as Corbett's newest high school Spanish teacher. After graduating from Reynolds High in 1998, Darcy attended Marylhurst College on a Phil Knight Foundation (Nike) academic scholarship. For her junior year, she transferred to Portland State, declaring math as her major. A fender bender car accident provided funds to visit Mexico before her senior year of college. Darcy chose to visit Guanajuato in Central Mexico for two months. Meeting her future husband, Luis while in Mexico, Darcy returned for her senior year of college with a different mindset. Darcy switched majors to Spanish, and moved back to Mexico after graduating from Portland State in 2002. Married to Luis in 2006 after living in Mexico for several years, Darcy had to return to the U.S. when diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. Receiving chemotherapy, Darcy also received a stem cell transplant in June 2008. Today, free from cancer and living in Gresham with her two daughters, Darcy is grateful. Her two daughters are "miracles of modern science" due to having been through chemotherapy, and now she has a career that she is passionate about. It is quickly obvious why her students appreciate having Ms. Soto as a teacher- Darcy is open, honest and cares deeply for those she "gets" the opportunity to teach!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring has SPRUNG~!!!

Well, it is here once again....Spring has officially SPRUNG! That is why I am once again putting up my pen to focus on real estate. With the market having changed from a buyer's market to a SELLER's market, you cannot believe how many people now want me to list their home! When summer comes to a close, I will once again have time to pick up my pen to write about the many, many wonderful people who live, sleep and breathe in Corbett. I just recently finished reading Helen Wand's book, "Where Eagles Nest." It can be found and purchased at the Corbett Market. It is an AMAZING read on some of the very strong (mentally and physically) pioneer families of Corbett that have roads now named after their families. I am so overwhelmed that I get to actually meet and know clients from these homesteading families. I also count it an absolute privilege and JOY to help new families move into our community. Recently I did some work with a local title company to create a report on the accurate history of housing in Corbett as well as the recent demographics of just WHO does live here in our community. I must say, it is quite fascinating. Please feel free to contact me at and I will email you the report at no cost! :) I want to close by saying THANK YOU to ALL of you who continue to refer me to others, as this is how I am able to grow my business. I love and appreciate the kindness of all of you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Corbett Contractor

AHO Custom Building and Remodel is owned and operated by Brian Aho, a Corbett native who married home town girl, Kaitlin (Wilson) Aho. Together they are now raising their children here in the Corbett community. Brian and Kaitlin decided to raise their family in a community where they both felt secure with plenty of friends and family nearby. They also chose to turn their 600 sq. ft. Corbett home into a 2800 sq. ft. "work of art." The home is a reflection of 15 years of construction experience combined with Brian's unique craftsmanship and creative style. Each day and each building opportunity becomes a new and creative opportunity. Besides the actual workmanship involved, Brian loves having his clients develop into friends. There is a strong appreciation for the history of Corbett and Brian wants to preserve it on any and every level that he can through his construction work. He recently partnered with a local roofing company and is now a roofing consultant, remodel expert and a builder of custom homes, decks, and out buildings. Many would describe him to be a reliable and trustworthy "stand up " guy. Recently Brian and Kaitlin ventured into Hood River to purchase a 1914 "fixer." Located in the downtown area, one can walk to restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques and the historic library. River sports, mountain biking areas and skiing/snowboarding are just a few miles away. The home has been completely renovated and is now available for rent. If you are interested in a free quote from AHO Custom Building and Remodel, please contact Brian at #503-313-3915 or If you have interest in renting the Downtown Hood River home, please call #971-409-4826 or go to

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Corbett Yoga with Emily Aronowitz

Emily Aronowitz, Certified Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Emily feels grateful to be a practitioner of such an ancient, holy lineage as yoga, and her classes are not merely physical asanas, but a path to mental clarity and spiritual development. Emily is a FindBalance certified Vinyasa yoga instructor, who includes the yoga of devotion (Bhakti) and intellect (Raja) in her classes, allowing for a deeper experience Yoga first found Emily at the age of six, while accompanying her parents to Breitenbush Hotsprings Retreat Center. Her childhood included living in ashrams in India and Oregon, experiences that influenced her personal lifestyle and spirituality. Emily found an adult connection to yoga ten years ago, and began practicing regularly. Emily was first attracted to the physicality of yoga. She believes that Western people tend to have a difficult time getting out of our heads, and getting into our bodies allows us to find mental peace. Emily has studied with teachers from various schools of yoga, including with the Omega Institute, and continues her study with gifted Vinyasa teachers, such as Lisa Mae Osborn and Uma Hulet of the Bhaktishop (Portland, OR) and Suniti Dernovsek of People’s Yoga (Portland, OR). She has taught in South America, Southern Oregon, and is currently teaching in Corbett. Last year she organized and led a successful yoga retreat outside Portland. She teaches a dynamic, flowing class, which focuses on the alignment of breath and movement to increase mental clarity, strength, and flexibility. Her focus on alignment and presentation of adjustments and variations for individual bodies ensures safety and challenge for all levels of yogis. She has also been influenced by the nurturing practices of Yin and Prenatal Yoga. Emily believes that through conscious and joyful physical movement, one can find a greater connection to spirit. Emily will be holding yoga classes in Corbett on Wednesdays 8:30am-9:45am and Sundays at 5-6:15 pm. Emily can be reached at:

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Community Square Dancing- Multi-Generational FUN~!!

Caroline Oakley

It all began with a desire. A desire to blend her talent and love of playing music with dancing. At the Kennedy Center in Portland, Caroline was first exposed to an atmosphere of electricity and joy as she witnessed a multi-generational crowd enjoying square dancing without the demands of knowing and following complicated dance figures. Meeting her mentor, Bill Martin helped to shape her current career. Although Bill has since passed, he poured years of his own knowledge and experience into an eager to learn, Caroline. Fast forward 11 years- Caroline and husband Peter Leone are raising three active boys in the Corbett community. Their oldest, Simon played fiddle last night as she and Pete joined a fellow Corbett teacher to put on a Corbett Square Dance at the Grange. Over 100 folks of all ages turned out to enjoy the fun, no-cost event which included desserts and beverages for all!
Being a strong advocate of building community, Caroline applied for and received grant money to teach children the art of square dance. Next month she will begin instruction at the CAPS school in Springdale. The grant money will also cover the expense of three more community dances at both CAPS and the Grange. Dances will be held March 13, April 18 and May 8th. For more information, please visit Caroline's website at:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Take Shape For Life

You may remember Chemae from her time in the grade school library about seven years ago. It was eight years ago Chemae regained her health by losing 32 pounds. She is married to Eric and their two kids have both graduated from Corbett. Son Matt is a senior at the University of Oregon and their daughter Madison is a freshman at the University of San Diego, both of them doing very well.  You will still see Chemae and Eric around the school, but they may be even busier with their kids off to college.

When Chemae left the library, she had a big dream in mind. She wanted to help change the health of America.  She had personally transformed her own health and had found a way that she could help others do the same.  Today she is helping people all across the country transform their lives and create vibrant health.  She has learned that almost everyone is looking for better health.  The problem is, they just aren't quite sure how to get there.  Helping people awaken their desire for health and guiding them towards their goals is the essence of what she does every day.  Getting healthy for some may mean more energy, better sleep, or losing
weight.  Health means many things to many people and helping them identify just what it is that they want is the key to what she does.  After folks are clear on what they want, laying out the path to get there becomes pretty easy.  If you are interested in what your Optimal Health might look like, you should have a cup of coffee with Chemae and find out.  Chemae has always had a heart for helping others and she is making a difference in the health of America every day.  If you would like more information on what Chemae does, her website is , e-mail is and cell is 503-703-0770.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Oregon Outback Mining Company

I have to admit, I have the best job in the world!  As the designer of the Natural Line of polished Oregon Sunstone Jewelry from Oregon Outback Mining Company, I get the pleasure of creating unique, hand crafted jewelry and home accessories with one of the most dazzling gemstones there is!  I take part in and enjoy every aspect of the creative process; from hand mining, polishing and shaping these beautiful gemstones, to designing and creating eye catching items that shine with energy, sparkle and glamour.  Working with my family has been a blessing.  We’re a team on a mission to share this rare gem with the world

Straight from the mine to you, Oregon Outback Mining Company, a local, family owned business, is your direct source to the stunningly beautiful and varied Oregon Sunstone. Our focus is on increasing the awareness and worldwide recognition of this cherished Oregon treasure.

Oregon Sunstone, state gem of Oregon since 1987. Found only in the breathtaking high deserts of the Oregon Outback. Discover the stunning beauty of this rare, all-natural gem!

See for yourself, the beauty of the South East Oregon Outback on our Facebook Page!

Check out our Website at:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Smooth Sailings and Travel

I have been a travel agent for over 24 years and during that time, I have assisted clients with everything from a trip to Disneyland to a very complex trip of 21 days around England, Scotland and Ireland. I listen to your travel needs and can advise you and make reservations for you on a package that might include transportation and hotels to cruises. I can make arrangements for private sightseeing or simple airport pickup. Or train reservations from Paris to Barcelona/ a European River Cruise with extras like private guides in Budapest or Prague. My specialty is travel within Europe including the British Isles (where I was born and raised) but I also handle trips to Hawaii, Mexico and domestic destinations. Also, I love assisting groups – both the planning and escorting – whether it is a group cruising or escorting a group of teens to Paris and the Normandy beaches! What does this cost you? Generally nothing! We get paid by the cruise lines, hotels, tour companies etc., so we are anxious to make sure all goes well with you. In the unlikely event that there is a problem along the way, I will fight, for you my client, to make sure all is resolved! You only have to check the Sunday paper to realize that the internet sites are often little help! Customer Service is my number 1 priority! I only deal with reputable companies that can be relied upon! The same companies that I have been using for most of my career in travel. I can supply several references from local Corbett people who have used my services. So for your next vacation – contact me and let me assist you! I can be reached at Smooth Sailings and Travel 503-888-5840 or
Taken at the Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Germany

Friday, January 17, 2014

Old McDonald's Farm on Evans Road

Old McDonald’s Farm, Inc. (OMF) is a nonprofit, children’s charitable organization that uses livestock, agriculture, gardens and natural resources as educational tools. We teach children to be kind, caring, and capable, “can do” kids. Additionally, we teach science, mathematics, history, geography, reading, writing, and public speaking as a part of language arts, and healthy life-skills, etc. We offer educational Day Visit Programs (field trips) for families or up to 80 students at one time with four different Day Visit Programs packages. Check out our week-long, Summer Programs (or camps) for elementary age students. We have a Farmer-For-A-Day Program for folks to stay the night and we work with children with special needs one-on-one or in small groups also. We offer horse back riding lessons or horse boarding as well. New this year, are Saturday Samplings classes and an over-night, weekend camp for Summer Program alumni kids. We have taught nearly 20,000 children since we began Old McDonald's Farm, Inc. more than two decades ago. It began as a passion to reach kids in a unique way. It came from an awareness of what was not working in our society or not working in schools for kids as much as from a passion to offer something worthwhile, meaningful and different for school children. I worked at 1190 KEX Radio in the Marketing and Promotions Department. They happened to have their own non-profit, children's program (still do-it is called the KEX Kids Fund now) that provided glasses and hearing aids to low-income kids. Over time, I cared more and more about the good we were doing for children in the Portland Metropolitan area. I became the Director of the Needy Kids Fund, Inc. and worked for KEX for three years. That is where I got my "non-profit" bug as I like to call it. I do not think I had heard of or could even spell non-profit back then. Well, being young and cocky, I thought hmmm...if I can run a non-profit, I likely can start my own non-profit so that is what I did. Starting a non-profit is not recommended for the faint of heart though. In the olden days, my maiden name was McDonald so we had to go with that name. I would have not called it Old McDonald's Farm, Inc. if it was not my name, believe me. And thus, we are 22 years later and close to 20,000 children taught in classes since we began. It has been an amazing amount of work but quite worthwhile. I feel blessed to be a part of it and to be able to see children thrive out at our farm program.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Local Corbett Mom Becomes Top Notch Photographer~!!

Karen loves the challenge of capturing the true personalities of her clients and loves hearing their reactions to her work. There's nothing more exciting to her than being on a shoot with amazing natural light and a fun client... and watching the magic happen. "I've made more than one mom cry when she's seen my photos... I guess that's my goal; to elicit reaction from my clients and to capture a time in their lives they want preserved forever." While Karen has practically lived with a camera around her neck since high school (Corbett Grad... class of '82!), she only recently started her business in 2011. And business is good! This year she has been privileged with photographing more than 20 Corbett seniors from the class of '14, and many more from surrounding schools. Numerous Corbett families have hired her as well for family portraits. She is also loving photographing weddings. Her summer schedule is filling up fast! Be sure to check out her website and see how many people YOU know!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sharon Hocking Interiors

Merging her background in art and graphic design, Sharon Hocking, a 30 year Corbett resident, creates interiors that are livable, functional and beautiful. “The environment we create in our homes has a direct effect on our well being." No home is perfect. But ‘home’ should be a place that re-energizes you and fills you with happiness so you can go out the door and tackle your world. When a home isn't functioning well, is cluttered and doesn't reflect the best of who you are, it can feel like a frustrating place to be. With space planning, editing, and a design plan, and smart furniture purchases, I can help your home function in a way that makes sense for your family.” I love helping people see their home in a new and fresh way... Here’s what people are saying: “Your style appealed to me." "You have a personal vision that I admire." "You are easy to talk to." "There are too many choices out there, and I needed help narrowing down choices for furnishings, and I don’t want to make a mistake in buying." "I appreciate that you took time to interview me and ask lots of questions to draw out of me, what I really was envisioning for my space." "You were easy and fun to work with." "You did not rush me and were professional and listened to my ideas, and then gave me ideas I would not have thought of on my own." "You were able to take time to really make the right purchases with me for my home." "My room looks put together and it makes me happy to live in it." “Creating a home that you will love coming home to.” is Sharon's motto. Sharon is also a Miller Paint Designer and gives color advice the first Saturday of every month from 11:00-2:00pm at the Gresham Miller Paint store. A recent article on Sharon’s advice for displaying your art collections and family photos. Contact Sharon: #503-886-9875 OR OR