Dr. Jenny Lind Withycombe, Assistant Director for Health and Adapted/Physical Education in Portland Public Schools (PPS), has over 25 years of experience within the field of health, physical education, and PK-12 instruction.
Dr. Withycombe is responsible for ensuring quality, inclusive, Health and Adapted/Physical Education implementation in a safe and supportive environment for all 50,000 PPS students PK-12. She has brought over $5.5 million in grants between 2017-2021 to support health and physical education in PPS.
Current Service to the District/Profession • Playspace Guiding Coalition, Portland Public Schools, 2021-Present • SHAPE America Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, 2020-Present • USRowing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, 2020-Present • School Health Advisory Council Planning Team, 2019-Present • Urban Wellness Coalition, Action for Health Kids, 2016-Present • Adolescents and Communities Together, Educational Subgroup, 2016-Present • Family Violence Coordinating Council, Prevention Subgroup, 2016-Present • Wellness Advisory Council, Coordinator, 2016-Present • PPS Erg Ed Program, Director, 2016-Present
Dr. Withycombe is a competitive Master’s Rower and Women’s Team Captain for Willamette Rowing Club. She has over 100 medals earned throughout her 20+ years of rowing. Her most special gold came from stroking the 2013 Head of the Charles Mixed Quad. Dr. Withycombe lives in Portland, OR with her husband, two daughters, boxers, cat, and bearded dragons.
Vanessa Peña-La Torre
Lexie Zimbelman has a Masters Degree in International Development with a Certificate in Global Health Affairs, focused on Maternal and Child Health from the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.
Lexie has worked in the field of public health for 12 years. Her experience includes providing Maternal and Child Health, Sexual Health, and Malnutrition Programming in India, Haiti, Nepal, and the United States (as well as interning with the United States Agency of International Development with the Office of Science and Technology). She has eight years of experience working with PPS as a sexual health educator and manager (first while working at Planned Parenthood, Columbia Willamette as an Assistant Manager and now at PPS as the Manager of a Centers for Diseases and Prevention-funded grant). She is fluent in French (having lived in France for three years and majoring in the language in college).
Currently, Lexie oversees the Schools Advancing Youth (SAY) Wellness Grant Program as the Program Manager. The SAY Wellness Grant is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded cooperative agreement that runs five years with a total budget of $2.1 million. It focuses on supporting grades 9-12 and gives technical assistance on all things related to sexual health education, access to sexual health services, and support for safer and supportive environments. In addition to this, Lexie oversees the implementation of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey in PPS and the School Health Profiles Survey.
Lexie enjoys traveling (40 countries down, many, many more to go), reading, learning languages, and playing piano. Her current favorite reads are The Broken Earth Trilogy, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Terra Nullius, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, A Fine Balance, The Kingkiller Chronicle (soon to be) trilogy, and the Ibis Trilogy.
Alyssa Linares (they/them) is a non-binary queer mixed chicane femme living on the ancestral lands of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, also known as Portland, Oregon. They work for the Health Education team at Portland Public Schools as the SAY Wellness LGBTQIA2S+ Program Coordinator, working on all things LGBTQ+ safer environment work for the district, as well as supporting queer and trans-inclusive sex-ed curriculum for high schoolers. In their current role, they work closely with GSA's and other LGBTQIA2S+ staff around the district to support various community-building projects and programming. Their background in community education began while working as a sex educator at Good Vibrations, and continued on when they moved to South Korea for two years to be an English teacher for kids ages 5-17. Most recently, they supported queer and trans youth locally at SMYRC, while also bringing their passion for teaching and equity to the Bridge 13 Community Education program, working closely with many schools in Portland. Outside of work hours, you can find them playing with their puppy Boba, watching Encanto (again), or sipping Mexican hot chocolate.
Alana is one of seven K-12 Adapted Physical Education teachers in Portland Public Schools. She serves over 10 schools on her caseload in North Portland. She provides specially designed instruction for students with disabilities who require adaptations and modifications to participate safely and successfully in physical education. This specially designed instruction includes a continuum of services ranging from direct service to consultation. Adapted physical education includes teaching fundamental gross motor skills, static balance, participation, and the knowledge and understanding of various lifelong activities to students with disabilities.
Alana graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.S. in Kinesiology and Physical Education Teacher Preparation and a Specialization in Adapted Physical Education. She also has a Masters degree of Science in Recreation Administration and a Specialization in Outdoor Pursuits Administration. She has been teaching Physical Education/Adapted Physical Education since she graduated from Wisconsin in 2004. Alana was also a division one varsity rower on the crew team at the University of Wisconsin. The Pacific Northwest is Alana’s true utopia as she loves to snowboard, kiteboard, wakeboard, wake surf, play golf and tennis with her partner, and adventure kitty Ocho. She truly loves all sports and inspiring students of all abilities to live a healthy and active lifestyle.
Portland Public Schools recognizes the diversity and worth of all individuals and groups and their roles in society. It is the policy of the Portland Public Schools Board of Education that there will be no discrimination or harassment of individuals or groups on the grounds of age, color, creed, disability, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation in any educational programs, activities or employment.
ADA Accessibility/District 504 Contact: 503-916-5460
ADA Employment Queries Contact: 503-916-3544
Title VI Contact: 503-916-6499
Title IX Contact: 503-916-3340 District Complaint Resolution Process