Mr. Michael Plein-5th grade

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Mr. Michael Plein-5th grade

Why do I do the work I do? The main reason is because I love learning and I want to help the students in my class develop a lifelong love of learning. So much perspective and understanding can be gained through learning. Not only that, but learning is empowering. It can build confidence and lead to new opportunities.  I want my students to have the chance to see how big the world can be, and how many possibilities await them.

Another reason I became a teacher was to pass on my love of school. School can be a hard place for many students. We ask a lot of them and don’t always give much in return. I grew up in a community that valued education and created environments where I was challenged and engaged. Because of this, I found school to be a positive place.  The fact is, students have to be here, and my job is to make school an engaging, challenging and positive place so that students WANT to be here.  



 Elizabeth Early-5th grade

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Elizabeth Early-5th grade

Why do I teach? By Betsy Early

As a child I was anxious and extremely shy. Most of my teachers seemed to teach to extroverts. For example, my teachers frequently called on students to read aloud or to answer questions. They praised the students who raised their hands often and required oral presentations which were graded. Needless to say, I spend a lot of my school time trying to be invisible so that my teachers didn’t call on me and then feeling bad about it. I have gotten over much of my shyness but looking back on these years makes me wonder how much I didn’t learn because I was so worried in class. Today,  I teach because I want to create an environment which serves all students and their learning needs. What I want most is to have students excited about coming to class and when they get there to feel like it is a place where they can be themselves.



 Sandy Donnelly-4th grade

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Sandy Donnelly-4th grade

I am a teacher because I love children.  I love how they inspire me to be a better person, and help me to continue to strive as a professional educator.  When I work with children, I can spark my creative side before, during, and after lessons. Early in my career, I was an instructional assistance in La Grande, Oregon.  I was newly married, with two young children. My husband worked in the local community hospital. Then, the staff discovered I played piano and sang. So, I began my career as a music teacher and this allowed me to evolve into the teacher I am now. I went back to school (my first degree was in music) and received my M.Ed. degree from Pacific University, with the endorsement for teaching all levels from Kindergarten through college level.  I have landed presently at a fourth grade position and over 30 years later, I still love my job. I believe teaching is a great opportunity to continue learning, helping, and influencing many young people now, and beyond their experience in my classroom. 



 Jeff Sturges-4th grade

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Jeff Sturges-4th grade

"What is amazing about being a teacher is that it fits my like an old shoe.  My parents were both teachers, my sister is a teacher, my grandmother was a teacher...it's just in my DNA.  When I work with students and hear them tell me and then show me that they understand what they are learning really reinforces their positive growth mindset.  My role in the classroom is to foster that love of learning on all levels so that my students come to class each day with a great attitude about school and all that it offers."


 Sean Pollock-3rd Grade

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Sean Pollock-3rd Grade

 

I was born and raised in South East Portland, Oregon and am a product of Portland Public Schools! I love Portland and feel very fortunate to live here. My wife, Meytal and I had our first child, Tsufi, in August 2017. We also have a cute little dog named Penny. Two years ago we moved from South East Portland to South West Portland. I am much closer to Rieke now!

I attended the University of Oregon for my bachelor’s degree and later attended Concordia University for my Master’s Degree in Education. I have lived and taught English, along with other subjects in Taiwan, Israel (where my wife, Meytal, is from) and Australia. Portland is my home and I’m happy to be back here working at Rieke! 

I started teaching English as a second language when I was 22 in Taiwan. There I came to the realization that I knew this was the profession for me. Teaching character and community building is a big reason I love teaching. If I can help students become productive, responsible and contributing members of society then I will feel successful. In addition to that I love the challenges and excitement that each day brings as an educator. I am thrilled to be teaching 3rd grade this year after teaching 5th for the past four years. 

When not in the classroom I love to be in the outdoors: hiking, rafting, kayaking, nature photography ( here are my photos). I also am a big fan of Oregon sports, most notably the Trail Blazers and the Oregon Ducks Football. 

Please feel free to contact me anytime. Email is best for me: spollock@pps.net



 Maia Foley-Weintraub-3rd grade

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Maia Foley-Weintraub-3rd grade

My name is Maia Foley-Weintraub, and I am a mother of a 2-year-old. I grew up in NE Portland, and after high school I moved to San Diego where I got my BA degree at San Diego State University. In 2005 I moved back to Portland to pursue my MAT (Masters in Teaching) at Concordia University. 2019-2020 will be my 13th year teaching 3rd grade students! I consider myself lucky, because I have been a Rieke Rocket Crew Member since I started teaching. As an educator, I strive to inspire my students. I believe in the importance of building an environment for students in which they are encouraged to ask questions and share their opinions, and they feel safe doing so. I teach my students to value each other's differences, consider multiple perspectives, and make sure everyone's voice is heard.



 Kerrie Waymire-3rd Grade

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Kerrie Waymire-3rd Grade

I’ve been teaching at Rieke for 9 years, however, this wasn’t my first career. I worked in banking and investments for a few years, before I realized I had no passion for that career. I am an educator because that’s where my passion is. 

 

Every day I get to laugh and learn with my students. I get to wonder and ask why with my students. I get to succeed and make mistakes with my students. I never know what thought or revelation they’re going to have.  Every day is something new and exciting. 



 Brad Waters-2nd Grade

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Brad Waters-2nd Grade

I strive to make a difference in our community by forging a deep and lasting relationship with each student. Teaching is fulfilling, rewarding, and I take pride in my work with young people. I believe that all students are capable of success in a myriad of different ways. My main goal is to foster a passion for exploring and learning while developing critical thinking skills. I want my students to know that I care about each of them; and I value their diverse experiences. Students might not remember everything that I taught, but I hope they will remember how I made them feel.



 Jill Rebholz-2nd grade

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Jill Rebholz-2nd grade

Why do I teach? Growing up, school was always really hard for me. No matter how much effort I put in, I just never “got it”, what-ever “it” was. I felt like a burden on my teachers, the butt of the other kids jokes, and an outsider. Finally in 5th grade I had an amazing teacher who wasn’t as interested in reporting that I was failing, as she was interested in figuring out why I worked so hard but things never clicked for me.  With her support and guidance, my parents were able to find a group of professionals who discovered that I am dylexic. With the help of that teacher, my life’s path took a sharp turn. I spent the next three years paired with other amazing educators who specialized in my style of learning. For the first time in my life I felt like a learner! That is why I teach. I love building relationships with children and their families so I can better serve each of their individual needs, be it academic or social / emotional. I enjoy helping students figure out how they learn best. I am passionate about setting students up to be successful both inside the classroom and out in the big world. With these trusting relationships we can work on little things like how to properly hold a pencil to increase writing success, to big things like equity and social justice in the world around us. I teach because I believe in, love, and learn so much from the little people I work with every day. 



 Bekah Breed-2nd Grade

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Bekah Breed-2nd Grade

Why I work with young children: 

As an educator I have the privilege to see the world through the eyes of a child. Every day my students inspire and challenge me to discover, rediscover, and redefine how I interact or perceive my environment. Children have an immense amount of knowledge to share with the world and I believe that it is my job as an educator to provide children with the opportunity to validate their inquiries and honor the work they do. My goal is to have my classroom become a space to pose big questions that push the learning edges of my students and create powerful opportunities to share courageous ideas, connect with peers, and develop a strong sense of belonging. I view teaching as a way for me to repay my students for the lessons they continue to teach me. 



 Valoree Lancaster-PE

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Valoree Lancaster-PE

I believe a high quality of life is a balance of healthy body, mind and spirit.

 

I do what I do because I want our youth to be happy, healthy, confident and courageous. When you know how to move your body, can challenge your mind and have the skills to take care of both-- you love yourself, and others.

 

I am proud of myself for my determination and perseverance.

I am proud of my students for their bravery and kindness.

 

Aspiration: To inspire youth to take care of themselves and each other.

 

What sustains me: The students I teach fill me with great hope for our future.



 Jill MItchell-Art

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Jill MItchell-Art

I teach art to empower kids! From the very beginning of childhood development, kids learn they can change their world by making a mark on it.  Through visual art, I want to help children learn to express themselves and gain a deeper understanding of other perspectives and cultures. Our students learn valuable skills through the arts to become leaders, creative thinkers, collaborators and hard workers.  

 

When my students’ eyes light up with excitement as they enter the art room, when I witness them persevere through challenges during the creative process then experience fulfillment in seeing the awesome things they create; that sustains me as a teacher.

 

The arts are uniquely human. Experience and participation in the arts makes us more humane. Students can develop empathy and imagine a better world. For all these reasons, I am proud to work with our young people; our future.

 


 Jon Jeans-Principal

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Jon Jeans-Principal

I come from a family of educators that I have learned from during my 28 years of teaching and leading. My grandfather was the professor of music at Brown University, my Uncle Dick Cheshire was a University President. Several other aunts and uncles have taught, including Aunt Johanna and Aunt Linda taught 1st and 2nd grade. My Uncle Lee was a Mr. Jeans PE teacher, my Uncle Bruce was a history teacher. My mom remains a dance teacher.

It is from this background that taught me the rewarding nature of giving your attention and efforts to impacting the lives of young people. I graduated from Princeton University and started my teaching career in kindergarten. I then taught grade 1-2-3 in Selma, Oregon before teaching middle school in Cave Junction. I moved to southern California and started a tutoring company working with students of all ages in all subjects. When I returned to Oregon I began teaching 5th grade at Chapman Elementary before moving into administration at East Sylvan and then Robert Gray.

I am thrilled to be the new Principal at Rieke. I have prepared my whole career for this opportunity to serve and lead. I live in the community. My wife Tara and I live with our 2 children and zoo of animals only 2 miles from Rieke. My children attend Capitol Hill Elementary.

I was a serious soccer player, playing 4 years division 1 soccer while also being part of the 1987 Under 19 national champion Union Lancers from New Jersey. I have returned to coaching in the past few years and with my new bionic knee I am starting to return to a more mobile state. I play guitar, banjo and am a songwriter, leading two original rock n roll bands, the Elastic Memory Band and FIR.



 Julie Smith-1st grade

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Julie Smith-1st grade

I love teaching.  I especially love teaching at Rieke where children come to school eager and ready to learn, families are positive and supportive, and the staff rocks!  I aspire to open children's eyes to new ideas and help them be their best selves academically, emotionally and socially.  Rieke is my home away from home and the community is my extended family!



 Alicia Baker-1st Grade

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Alicia Baker-1st Grade

I teach because I love it.

 

I have always been a school person. Learning has been a lifelong passion. I was the kid who raised their hand all. the. time. I blurted the answers out in my enthusiasm. I relished homework. But becoming a teacher was not a straight line for me. I had graduated from college and lived some real life before I decided to go back to graduate school and make teaching and learning my full time profession. Once in the classroom, I felt like I had found my place.

 Watching kids grow, academically and emotionally, is one of the most rewarding things I can imagine.

 My own family, two boys and my husband, love to learn as well. We love to learn about new places and history so we travel to fun places. While we will not be physically travelling the world this year, we in Room 1 will be learning about new ideas and new concepts. We will be making new friends and new connections.

 I teach because I love it and I’m so happy to be able to share that with your child and your family.



 Kyla Walker-Kindergarten

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Kyla Walker-Kindergarten

My name is Kyla Walker.  The reason I became an educator is quite simple.  I wanted to teach children to read and write. I knew when I was in 1st grade I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up, but a little thing called dyslexia held me up for a bit.  I was diagnosed in 4th grade and spent many years learning “the code”, that others process easily, and rebuilding my self-confidence. It has been a long journey to fulfill that childhood dream, but one I would gladly take again.  



 Julianne Reddekopp

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Julianne Reddekopp

My name is Julianne Reddekopp and I have had the privilege of teaching students in the Portland Public School District for almost twenty years. I taught first grade and kindergarten students at Humboldt School for ten years and this is my tenth year teaching kindergarten students here at Mary Rieke Elementary School. Kindergarten is such an exciting time for children, parents and teachers. For each student, an amazing amount of change and growth occurs in one short year. I treasure that I get to witness this wonderful transformation each year. 



 Laura Nelsen-Kindergarten

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Laura Nelsen-Kindergarten

I have been with PPS for 40 years and have had the pleasure of teaching at Rieke for the last 27 years.  For nearly all of those years I have been a teacher of Kindergarten students. I take very seriously my responsibility to lay important social, emotional and academic foundations.  I want my students to see our classroom as a safe, engaging and fun place to be. But more than anything I want to provide experiences which allow each child to see him/herself as a capable, confident and valued learner.

Laura Nelsen



 Amy Vaughan-Media Specialist

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Amy Vaughan-Media Specialist

I do this work because I love the fact that children are unpredictable, funny, curious, and they teach me something new every day.  This career is never boring. I enjoy seeing students develop a love for a particular series or author or discover something totally new to read.  Watching students use Destiny Online Catalog to help them locate their first book in the library, or hearing students share ways to stay safe online, or how to be a digital upstander, is satisfying to see and hear.

I’m proud of my previous 16 years of teaching experience in the elementary classroom where I taught students in grades 2-5.  I’ve taught in two states, and I have learned how beneficial it can be to not only experience Washington State’s teaching methods, but also to teach in a variety of schools in both Oregon and Washington.  Each school is very different from the last and they are truly their own community. I have taken many valuable lessons and experiences from the schools where I’ve taught in the last 19 years of teaching. 

I really enjoy being a media specialist, and having teaching experience prior to taking this position has helped me tremendously.



 Janet Stearns-Gannet-Resource Room

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Janet Stearns-Gannet-Resource Room

Growing up in Portland I attended public schools in Beaverton and have enjoyed a satisfying career in Portland Public Schools working with pre-grade school and grade school kids with special needs. 

 

My husband and I have been married for 27 years and have a daughter who recently graduated from college. When I am not at Rieke I love traveling with my family to other cities and foreign countries, learning about history, finding the local bookstores and visiting farmers markets. In Portland I have a wonderful life with family and friends, and some of our adventures include eating out at local restaurants, cooking together and going on hikes with our dog, Webster. 

 

Rieke is a community of students who are eager to explore the world of learning with a caring and dedicated staff and supportive families. I am very thankful to be a part of this wonderful community. 



 Yvonne Carpenter-Resource Room

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Yvonne Carpenter-Resource Room

My name is Yvonne Carpenter. I am thrilled to be joining the Rieke Elementary School team for the second year as a Learning Resource Teacher. Prior to becoming a teacher, I worked as a newspaper reporter for approximately five years. During my time as a reporter, I focused on human interest stories that spotlighted people who gave back to their community in some capacity.  Once I became a mother, the fast-paced life of journalism became difficult to navigate with parenthood. Still, I knew that I wanted a career that would allow me to give back to the community much in the same way that many of the folks I’d written about had been able to do. I began a Master’s program in Counseling and worked as a Substitute Teacher along the way. I soon discovered that I enjoyed working most in Specialized Instruction classrooms. I decided to obtain my Master’s in Education with an emphasis in Special Education and soon began working with students from elementary to high school levels. During my years in education, I have worked as a behavior interventionist, special day class teacher and learning center teacher.  As a person who embraces the multiple forms of intelligence and learning styles of students, I look forward to the opportunity to help children find their strengths and pathways to success. It is something that brings me a great deal of joy and that I feel privileged to do to this day.   



 Betty Carter-Widyaratne-ESL

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Betty Carter-Widyaratne-ESL

I am very fortunate to have grown up around other cultures and languages, and this created a desire to learn even more.  My interest became cemented to turning this love of languages and cultures into teaching, when I taught EFL (English as a Foreign Language) in China.  Over the decades, I’ve worked in many different PPS schools and programs ranging from a self-contained classroom of non-English speakers, to helping kids in groups attain English proficiency.  I continue to do this work because seeing the dazzling sparkle in a child’s eye when they understand something that they’ve been struggling with, still gives me the goose bumps.