Learning Community Members,
In April 1993, I was a brand new teacher, fresh out of college, having just received my teaching credential. The state of Washington had determined that I was prepared to enter this great profession, to be able to work with youth, and begin my career as an educator. Angie and I had been married 18 months and my oldest son was just 1 month old. We lived at 2114 Stapleton Road just to the west of Fort Vancouver High School. My very first substitute job was at FVHS and I remember that first day, walking across the road and checking in for my day’s work. I was excited and nervous for sure but ready for what being a teacher would be and mean in my life.
In August of that year, I entered the halls of Jason Lee Middle School for my first day as a full time teacher. I was assigned to an old sewing room that was converted into a classroom. A full walk in mirrored closet, over 25 electrical outlets, and tile floors for easy clean up. My teaching partner next door was in the cooking room with five range ovens and sinks to match. Those were exciting times for me and the 32 sixth graders in my class. I look back on those early days with fondness and a realization as to how far life’s journey has taken me.
Now it is August 2019. Angie (a 1989 graduate of Fort Vancouver) and I have been married almost 28 years. We have three sons, three daughters-in-law, one grandson (18 months) and one due to arrive in October. We no longer live across the street, but I am returning to Fort Vancouver just as ready and excited to serve the students, staff, parents and guardians of our school with dedication and love as I was those many years ago. Great teaching and focused learning are the key to each student doing well. No matter the circumstances, no matter the challenges, in spite of the obstacles, every student deserves a school where learning can and does occur every day. I promise you that we will look to close any opportunity and expectation gaps that may exist for students at our school. We will also look to maximize any strengths abilities and mindsets that have worked for students already. That is what we tried to do for our own children and what we worked to do with other’s children over these 26 years I have been teaching and leading in schools.
At our school, we will focus on two things: great instruction and school wide systems that enhance and support learning. Students will need to come prepared physically and mentally to learn. Students will be taught the expectations for being successful and we will help them learn and live those principles: show up every day, put forth strong effort, meet behavioral expectations, and be a better learner today than you were yesterday so that you can learn even more tomorrow. We will over teach and under assume. We will look to maximize the learning day and develop patterns, processes and structures that enable every learner to graduate prepared to open whatever doors they want to open.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve the families of Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies and I look forward to an exciting and fulfilling year of teaching and learning ahead.