Degrees and Certifications:
For Amy, becoming a teacher was a happy accident. She became a teacher at Alliance because she’s inspired by the students in alternative schools. She’s looking forward to working with the students as well as the new and old staff. If she weren’t teaching, she’d either be a cinematographer, or a director. She has a daughter named Bree, and a chihuahua named Stella. Her birthday is November 29th. If she could give one piece of advice to her high school self, it would be “Don’t stress out about your future career. Focus on training or schooling, and then it will all work out.”
Andy enjoys working at Alliance because it has the best students in all of PPS. If he wasn’t working at Alliance, he would be writing a play. One thing his colleagues should know about him is that he’s allergic to pennies. His favorite author is David Foster Wallace. His favorite snack is fried chicken. His birthday is August 17th. If he could give his high school self advice, it’d be to “get real world experience before going to college. Travel, join the circus, work, anything.”
Breanna has previously worked for the Forest Service, and has also worked on projects related to Native American student access to higher education. During this time, her family and mentors told her that she should teach science. So, she got her masters of science education last year. She’s excited to work at Alliance because here she gets to teach all areas of science, and can help students spend time on topics that interest them. One thing she’s looking forward to this year is to keep learning. Her birthday is July 26th. If she could give one piece of advice to her high school self, it would be to not worry so much.
Emily came to Portland 15 years ago to volunteer with Outside In. She immediately fell in love with Portland. She loves working with youth because her life has been impacted by adults during troubled times, so she wants to pay it forward. She’s always been interested in working with the school system, so she’s excited to be a part of Reconnection Center and get to know the students. She has a two-year old son and two cats. Her favorite memory from last year is seeing her son experience snow for the first time, and his first snowball fight. Her birthday is January 20th. If she could give advice to her high school self, it’d be to try and incorporate fu where possible, to not be afraid of the unknown, and to embrace change.
Joanna is the Art teacher at Alliance High School. Her birthday is February 5th ,1960. She received her undergraduate Temple University in Fine Arts and Post Baccalaureate credits in Art Therapy later working The Devereux Foundation and a Mental Health Therapist. She later received a Masters in Education from Naropa University, and Theology from UC Berkeley before becoming a teacher. She started teaching at Alliance because she also experienced an interruption in her high school education and later took advantage of an alternative program to graduate and knows the value of programs like Alliance@Benson.
Interviewed and written by Napoleon Scruggs
Ms. Kaller is a math teacher at Alliance at Benson, and I asked her various questions. One thing you might not think about her is that she was born and grew up in California. She went to college at Pacific University to earn her master's degree. She singly raised three kids that are now mostly grown. My favorite thing about Ms. Kaller is that she isn't judgmental about the music she listens to. The reason I say this is because music is a big part of my life, too. I asked her what one piece of advice she would give to her high school self, and her response was “that life gets better after high school” and “to try again for the things you can’t get easily.”
Interviewed and Written by Curtis Brown
Kelli is a hardworking Counselor at Alliance at Benson High School. Born October 29th, from the beginning she has always wanted to help others out in some type of way. The reason she became a counselor was because she values relationships and getting to know students. She loves being able to create a place where students feel safe and accepted and to be apart of schools that put students’ needs first. She started her career working in community health clinics and with people with impacted by substance abuse, mental health needs, and homelessness within her community. She came to Portland continue her work with families and youth. Since living in Portland she has worked for non-profit organization, charter schools, and Portland Public School District. She is continuing her career at Alliance and is excited to help anyone who walks through the doors.
The teacher I interviewed is named Ken. Ken is a teacher at Alliance because he feels it’s the place where he has the greatest ability to change society. He lives with his wife. He has half of his family that lives in the US, and the other half living in Japan. Ken grew up in Goleta , CA and Kyoto ,Japan, attended high school at Dos Pueblos,and traveled to Portland, Oregon this summer. Ken’s birthday is December 23rd. He studied history in college and was interested in ethnic studies looking at how different people survived in the world. One thing his colleagues should know about him is he loves food. His favorite music is hip-hop, his favorite snack is everything, his favorite memory from last school year is a picnic with his friends... and his favorite author is Yaa Gyassi. One piece of advice he’d give his high school self is to do the right thing. Lastly, he’s looking forward to helping his students graduate.
By: Queen Frazier
Mark Bond’s nickname in High School was “The Counselor”, so it was inevitable that he’d end up working in a school. He likes working at Alliance because he digs working with amazing students who possess a myriad of skills, abilities, and strengths. If he weren’t working at Alliance, he would be an interior designer. This year he’s looking forward to more students getting off campus to explore career options. His birthday is July 2nd. If he could give any advice to his high school self, it would be to take advantage of opportunities, revel in making mistakes, and to be yourself.
Mic grew up in Chicago and Minneapolis. He went to public high school for the first part, but then he got into some trouble and had to go to an alternative school. In his journey to his career, he would write and freestyle with his friends cracking jokes and making each other laugh. It wasn’t until later in life he decided to follow music and make a career which has 3 parts: Hip Hop Education, social justice activism, and being an independent artist. Mic’s immediate family consists of his wife, 8 yr old daughter, and his 92 yr old grandmother. One thing his colleagues should know about him is that he is very determined to make his dreams come true, and if he is put on a project, he won’t stop until it is successful. And ...if you ever wanna bring him a snack, chilaquiles are his favorite.
Interviewed and Written by Austin Marcell
Nathaniel became a teacher because he was told he might be good at it. He discovered that he liked helping out students, and became a teacher at Alliance because of its atmosphere, and small class sizes. He’s looking forward to the digital music program. If he weren’t teaching, he would be a carpenter. One thing his colleagues should know about him is that he’s a team player. His favorite memory from last year is his first day here, as a substitute for Joanna. If he could give one piece of advice to his high school self, it’d be to know your truth.
Noelle originally thought that she would hate being a teacher. But when she worked as an education assistant, she found that she loved teaching, and the meaning that comes with it. She loves that Alliance’s small class sizes and unique structure allow her to come up with creative projects and bond with her students. She has two daughters, Maggie and Aeraby, two cats, Mac and Jayne, and a turtle named Tillie that she inherited from a (still alive) aunt. Her birthday is March 17th. If she could give one piece of advice to her high school self it’d be to reach out for help, and don’t make assumptions.
Paul is the new social worker at Alliance at Benson High School. One thing Paul wants his colleagues to know about him is that he is passionate about his work. Some of the things he is looking forward to this school year is building positive relationships and continuing growth. He’s had a lot of experience working with youth. For example, he worked with The Juvenile Justice program and Portland/Vancouver Parks. Paul enjoys working with youth because he wants to help them reach levels they might not have thought were possible.
Susan is a math teacher at Alliance@ Benson and Reconnection Center. She was born on July 22nd, 1963 and grew up in Schenectady, New York. In June, 1981 she graduated from the local public high school and went on to attend Brown University, where she majored in geology and biology, because she thought she wanted to be a paleontologist. One piece of advice she would give her high school self is “don’t plan too far ahead”, because that can be an unnecessary source of anxiety. After college she got involved in grassroots political work for several years, before going back to graduate school to become a science teacher. She taught science in Ecuador, China and Switzerland, before landing back in Portland, starting a family, and deciding to switch to teaching math. She started teaching at Alliance and RC because she enjoys all levels of math, writing curriculum, and most of all, the opportunity to work with students individually.
Interviewed and written by Napoleon Scruggs
Yuki works as the SPED Learning Specialist at Alliance High School. If she wasn’t teaching, she would be a dog trainer. She’s looking forward to graduation. Her favorite movie is Funny Face. She doesn’t like ants. She grew up in Tokyo. Her birthday is August 17th. If she could give any advice to her high school self, it would be “learn to love yourself”.