Wilson High School is pleased to introduce new staff for Fall 2016. Welcome!
Check back soon for more new staff bios and email contact information.
"你好Ni3hao3 (Hello!) I'm originally from Taiwan where I received my bachelor's degree in special education and taught visually-impaired students for seven years. Because of my passion for language learning and teaching, I earned my master's degree in English Language Teaching from the UK and a teaching certificate in teaching Chinese as a foreign language from Taiwan. After teaching and traveling in New Zealand for six years, I moved to Portland for my second master's in education at Portland State University. I'm happy to call Portland my second home. I enjoy cycling in this very cycling-friendly city and I also love running and aim to run another marathon in this lovely city. I am excited to be part of the Wilson community and I look forward to starting the Mandarin program in this school year."
"Hi, my name is James Cho and I feel very excited to join the Wilson community. I look forward to building lasting relationships with the students and their parents, the staff, and all the support that make up the community.
"I was born in Portland, Oregon, and raised in Beaverton. I went to Sunset High School, and then spent five years in Eugene to earn a bachelor degree in business and a master’s degree in education at the University of Oregon. I spent a year after graduation teaching at an alternative high school in the Reynolds district, so this will be my second year teaching. I’m grateful for the opportunity to build my roots and give back to the community that raised me.
"Along with my passion for education and its ability to encourage for growth and transformation, my other passions lie in basketball, arts, and music."
Susanne Cuatt spent the first 20 years of her life about 90 miles northwest of New York City in Wappingers Fall, New York. She made her way to Austin,Texas, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in education, minoring in psychology and special education. Susanne began her career teaching at Texas School for the Deaf. During this time, she took up windsurfing and was lured to the Columbia River Gorge where she worked as an Elementary Resource Room Teacher and earned a master's degree from Portland State University in curriculum and instruction. She has spent the last nine years at Roseburg High School teaching reading intervention and English courses. In April, she received her Administration License from Concordia University at Chicago.
Susanne enjoys, biking, snowboarding, reading, windsurfing, gardening, cooking, and laughing. Her family is looking forward to the Portland life. She says, "I am elated to be part of the Wilson High School team and embrace Wilson's mission to educate the student's mind, body and spirit."
Megan Jackson has spent her whole life living in various parts of beautiful Oregon. Miss Jackson earned a bachelor of science degree in physical rducation and health from Eastern Oregon University and a master of arts in teaching from Concordia University in Portland. She taught PE and health at Gladstone High School, followed by eight years at McKay High School in Salem, Oregon, where she taught math, health, PE, yoga/mindfulness, the AVID elective, and was an AVID site coordinator. Miss Jackson absolutely loves teaching and loves talking life, goals, hopes and dreams with her students. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, hiking and backpacking, playing sports, practicing yoga, traveling, and going on adventures with friends and family. She is extremely excited and thankful for the opportunity to work in the Wilson community and make connections with students and staff.
Jaydra Johnson is thrilled to join the Wilson community this year as a Language Arts teacher. She spent the past year at Lewis & Clark’s Graduate School of Education and Counseling completing her master’s degree to teach language arts and English for speakers of other languages. Before that, she completed her BA in Liberal Studies at Portland State University and spent several years working in social services and alternative education serving youth exiting the juvenile justice system and other marginalized populations.
Jaydra believes that education should be a truly liberating and empowering experience that equips students with critical thinking skills, confidence, and hope. She strives to serve all students with love and joy and to inspire students to take action to better our world. Her classroom is a safe place for all of us to learn and grow as writers, readers, thinkers, and members of our human community as we explore the world through words.
Outside of school, Jaydra writes poetry and creative nonfiction while devouring magazines, blogs, news, and books. She also spends her time thrift shopping, following fashion, cooking, drawing, practicing yoga, and traveling anywhere and everywhere possible.
Sheila grew up in Ashland, Oregon, and then attended Pacific University in Forest Grove to earn her bachelor’s degree. She stayed at Pacific after graduating and worked as an Admissions Counselor, recruiting students to Pacific from around Oregon, Washington and Colorado. After earning her Masters in Counselor Education from Portland State Universtiy, she lived in Amsterdam for a year working at the International School and traveling around Europe. After returning, she began work at Tigard High where she was a counselor for 15 years. Sheila is thrilled to be at Wilson now, working and living in the community. Sheila has two children, three and four, who keep life very exciting, but when she has a free moment she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and biking, and taking trips to the beach with the family.
Joe Minato grew up in beautiful Rockwood, Oregon, youngest of six children. He had a childhood of explorations in nature and investigations in science, a gift he wishes for every child. He was born to be a science teacher. He even started a school in his parents’ basement at age 16. While classically trained in physics and math, Joe is a lifelong natural historian with a broad background and endless enthusiasm for exploring the wonders of the natural world from subatomic physics to cosmology, from the geologic history of the Earth to biological evolution, and wherever else his curiosity takes him.
Joe has taught in a wide variety of settings, urban and rural, public and private, and to a wide variety of students, gifted scholars to troubled youth, small children to veteran educators. His favorite students are whomever he is teaching right now. His favorite lesson is whatever lesson he is doing right now.
He lives in Multnomah Village with his wife Amy and daughter, Ruby, an eighth-grader at Robert Gray Middle School. His son, Mateo, graduated from Wilson last spring. Joe is excited to be teaching Physics and Earth & Space Science at Wilson High School, and says, "Let’s make some discoveries together!"
Born and raised in Portland, Scott Montanaro attended the University of Oregon and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history and Spanish. After college he worked as an ESL teacher in Oaxaca, Mexico, and traveled throughout Mexico and Central America. Upon returning to the states, Scott moved to New York City and earned a master’s degree in teaching social studies at Columbia University Teachers College. He began his teaching career at Jesuit High School in Portland, where he has worked for the past six years as a teacher of Spanish and history and also as a coach of the mock trial team. Outside of teaching, Scott enjoys backpacking in the mountains of Oregon and Washington, cooking (especially Italian), reading (especially short fiction), and listening to music (all kinds–even a little country). He has also been conducting an exhaustive non-scientific study of Portland’s best tacos. Ask him about his conclusions sometime.
Scott is thrilled to be joining the Wilson community and can’t wait to meet his colleagues and students.
"Bonjour! My name is Andrea Mumford; please feel free to call me Madame. I grew up in the small town of Squamish, Washington, on the Kitsap Peninsula, and have always had a great love of the outdoors. I earned my B.A. in French from the University of Washington, then moved to San Francisco during the dot com boom and eventually landed in Normandy where I worked as an assistante d'anglais in a French high school. It was there that I discovered my love of teaching, and went on to earn my M.A.T. in French at Oregon State University. My first teaching job was at Wilsonville High followed by several years at Century High in Hillsboro before taking an extended maternity leave with my daughter. In addition to sharing my love of the French language and culture with students, I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling, hiking, cooking, and reading. I'm delighted to be joining the Wilson team and am excited to get to know the students and staff in the coming year!"
"I grew up in Denver, Colorado, where I spent happy days exploring, tinkering, and inventing. I have always been a scientist at heart; I learned from experience that it is impossible to turn rocks into gold using home cleaning products and that appliances seldom work right after they have been taken apart and re-assembled by a seven-year-old. On a quest to learn more about rocks and machines, I headed east to Dartmouth for college and studied earth science and engineering. After college I spent five years working as a geophysicist for CH2M Hill before an opportunity in a classroom made me realize how much I loved teaching. I have been teaching all levels of physics for seven years and particularly enjoy finding ways to tie physics to other classes and students' outside interests.
"My husband and I live in the Wilson district with our two little guys (1 and 3), so when I’m not working I am usually trying to keep them from throwing (or eating) rocks or sticking things in electrical outlets. It must be genetic. We spend lots of time outside and are eagerly anticipating the day when backpacking trips are a reality again. In the meantime, I am looking forward to settling in to my new home at Wilson!"
Language Arts/Long-Term Sub
"Hello wonderful Wilson community,
"I grew up across the river in Milwaukie, Oregon, with a love for reading, writing, dogs, gardening, and humor. In 2011, I graduated from the University of Oregon/Robert D. Clark Honors College with a B.A. in English. Writing my undergraduate thesis, “Stereotypical Characters and Discredited Readers: Young Women and The Bell Jar,” allowed me to examine how female stereotypes function in literature, pop culture, academia, and American society in general. My fascination with the social construction of gender runs deep.
"After moving back to the Portland area, I served a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer for the Future Connect education initiative through the City of Portland, which aims to make college more accessible for low-income and first generation students. After that, I volunteered in the College and Career Center at Cleveland High School while I was a nanny in NE Portland. I earned my M.Ed. from Portland State University recently and had the pleasure of student teaching at Wilson last year.
As an English Langauge Arts teacher, I feel that some of my most important work is nurturing the development of empathy and critical thinking in our students while empowering their unique voices. I look forward to welcoming and getting to know some of the newest members of the WHS family as a freshman teacher."
"I am very excited to be teaching math at Wilson High and also very excited to be living in Portland with my wife. We love walking, running, and biking around the city and have found the residents to be very kind and welcoming (especially to our Labrador).
"I was born and raised in Northern California and received a Civil Engineering degree from UC Davis. After engineering stints in Los Angeles and San Jose, I had the incredible opportunity to be a stay-at-home father for my two kids as my wife pursued her own civil engineering career. It was during this time that I fell in love with being in the classroom and was prompted to attend the University of Nevada to obtain my teaching credential. This has proven to be one of the best decisions in my life and allowed me to spend the past 12 years teaching at Reno High School.
"As our kids were growing up we spent many family vacations in Oregon and have always talked of someday living here permanently. Recently, with both our kids out of college, a job opportunity that opened up for my wife suddenly gave us the chance to fulfill our dream by moving to Portland. It also puts us much closer to our son who now lives in Seattle, and no further from our daughter in New York City. We are thrilled to be living and working here and to have the chance to more intimately explore the city, its surroundings, and (our family favorite) the coast."
Brittney Rigtrup is excited to be joining the Math Department at Wilson High School. She recently graduated with a master’s degree from Concordia University here in Portland. Her student teaching at Robert Gray Middle School was a wonderful experience and she looks forward to working with such an amazing group of individuals again. In fact, she is grateful to have a familiar group and is excited to meet the rest of the Wilson students, families, and friends. Prior to working in the Wilson community, Brittney was working in the banking industry just outside of Seattle in her hometown of Renton, Washington. She moved home after graduating from Western Oregon University, where she earned a degree in mathematics while playing soccer for four years. While working in the banking industry, Brittney realized how much she enjoyed helping people find solutions to their problems. With this realization and the support from her loving finance, she was able to achieve her goal of becoming a teacher. Brittney is an avid Seahawks fan who loves cats and more cats.
Jay Rishel is a native of Northeast Ohio. After earning his undergraduate degree in English and graduate degree in English Education from Ohio State University, he moved to Portland with his wife Paige and is now raising two daughters, Nora and Eva. He comes to Wilson High School after teaching English at Wilsonville High School from 2000-2016.
Jay was drawn to teaching through his work at The Thurber House, a literary center in Columbus, Ohio, and service learning courses at Ohio State. During his career, Jay has taught all secondary grade levels to students with a range of literacy abilities. He thoroughly enjoys his work with young people, supporting their cognitive and affective development. He is passionate about language and literature, and sharing that verve with his students. Jay is honored to be a member of the Wilson community and looks forward to building meaningful relationships with students, parents, and staff.
"Ciao a tutti!
"I am so looking forward to joining the team at Wilson High School! I grew up in Eugene, Oregon, and always enjoyed making trips up to Portland. I went to the University of Oregon, where I earned a B.A. in English Literature, a B.A. in Italian Language and Literature, an M.A. in Italian Language and Literature, and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Teaching, with certification in English Language Arts, Social Studies, and English as a Second Language. My teaching career began during my Italian Master's degree, when I taught first-year Italian at the U of O. After that, I circled back to my English roots and got my teaching degree, and have been teaching English, Social Studies, and Italian (whenever possible) ever since. I've taught in Eugene, Roseburg, Sheridan, Woodburn, and Newberg, and it has been my goal to teach for Portland Public Schools, so I couldn't be happier to be landing at Wilson!
"I am a voracious reader, and I love to write. I can often be found journaling, working on short stories or poems, or even (gasp) writing letters and cards to mail to friends and all the many members of my large family. Photography is a hobby of mine; I especially enjoy hiking with my husband and taking photos of all the glorious nature we have here in Oregon. Aside from my husband and our kitty, Josephina, music is my friend and constant companion. I love to sing, play piano, and I'm starting to learn acoustic guitar.
"I have heard such great things about the Wilson staff and students, and I can't wait to work with everyone! Arrivederci!"
"Originally from Southern Indiana (where I grew up on a goat farm), I've called Portland home (off and on) since I graduated from Butler University in 1999. I say 'off and on' because between then and now, I've left to become an ESL teacher in Boston and then live/teach in Santiago, Chile. After my time in South America, I returned to Portland to go back to school again (University of Portland), this time to become a public school teacher. After receiving my MAT in 2009, I taught at both the Pauling Academy @ Marshall and Franklin High School.
"But my family and I like adventure so I had to leave Portland for a bit again. Since August 2014, I have been on a professional leave of absence from PPS to live abroad. My family and I have been living in Uppsala, Sweden, where I have been an English Teacher at the Internationella Engelska Skolan. Now It's time to come home again and I am extremely excited to become a part of the Wilson community!
"It is also important to note that I am an avid comic book collector (going on 30+ years), mostly in the Marvel Universe. I am married with 3 children. When I have free time, I enjoy hanging out with my family & friends, cycling, hiking and of course reading a good comic book."
Melissa grew up in Yakima, Washington, until she left for college at Pepperdine University, where she played soccer. She finished her undergraduate degree and collegiate soccer career at Portland State University and got her masters degree in special education immediately after. She has taught in Vancouver since 2013, but is looking forward to teaching in her community of Portland. She has always known that she wanted to work in an environment with young adults impacted with disabilities, and believes that teaching intensive skills is the perfect job for her.
Other than teaching, Melissa is an avid rock climber, adventurer, hiker, backpacker, and anything else that will get her outdoors. She loves spending time with her friends and family and is crazy about her St. Bernard, June.
Rey moved to Portland from Los Angeles and is eager to explore her new home in the Pacific Northwest. She received her bachelors of arts in World Arts and Cultures at UCLA, studying visual and performance art (intercultural literacy). Much of her teaching instruction is rooted in her own experience with an interdisciplinary and project-based approach of inquiry. In 2010, Rey went back to school for her masters in education and teaching credential in secondary English at UCLA. She taught 9th- and 10th-grade English throughout Los Angeles, as well as coordinated Title 1 programs and student leadership. Rey is excited to be a part of the Wilson family and can’t wait to meet its wonderful students!
"I was born in Portland and raised in Beaverton where I attended Westview High School. I was a two-sport athlete playing football and baseball. After high school I attended Western Oregon University playing football and completing a degree in exercise science. Upon completing my degree I moved back home to Beaverton where I worked as a personal trainer and coached football at my old high school. Several years later I decided I wanted to pursue a career in teaching, so I entered into the Masters of Arts in Teaching program at Concordia University. In the Fall of 2015 I student-taught in the health department at Wilson and am excited to be coming back. Outside of teaching I like to spend time in the outdoors hiking, camping, and fishing. I love sports and hope to get back into coaching soon. I am excited about joining the Wilson Health and PE department. I cannot wait to get started!"