4th & 5th Grade Teachers

Patricia Velasco
4th & 5th Grade Teacher
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Hello! I grew up in Reno, Nevada, after my family immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines. My parents raised the five of us siblings to value education. Having that upbringing really instilled in me a discipline and appreciation for education, and its power to change people’s lives for the better.

For college, I stayed in Nevada and went south to Las Vegas, where I majored in Print Journalism and minored in Anthropology. After graduation and some various news related positions, I worked at the Girl Scouts.

I moved to Portland to explore more opportunities working with youth. Through volunteering at the Immigrant Refugee and Community Organization (IRCO), I met a family of Burmese refugees who I tutored in English. That meaningful experience is what helped cement my decision to pursue teaching as a career. I obtained my Masters in Teaching at Lewis and Clark College and student taught in 3rd and 5th grade with Beaverton School District.

My most recent position was coordinating an after-school enrichment program that included family engagement nights, parent education, a weekly food distribution and other wrap around social services with Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) at an elementary school in Southeast Portland.

I was inspired by the progressive teaching philosophies we learned at Lewis and Clark and am excited about the opportunity to apply what I learned in my class at Trillium! I believe that each child is unique and has an innate desire to ask questions and find their own solutions. My hope for my students is that they leave my classroom with the ability to think critically about the world and a commitment to creating positive change in their communities and globally.

When I’m not teaching, I enjoy eating, cooking, reading, camping, seeing live music, running, playing tennis, dancing to Zumba (though I can’t salsa or anything) and kickboxing. I volunteer at the Oregon Food Bank assisting in cooking classes. I’m hoping to do some service learning with my students this year!

Bijal Makadia
4th & 5th Grade Teacher
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Bio Coming Soon!







Michael Koopman
4th & 5th Grade Teacher

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My name is Michael Koopman and I have been working in education for over six years.  I grew up in a small town in Eastern Oregon called La Grande.  It’s a quiet beautiful farm town nestled in the Blue Mountains surrounded by river, lakes and forests.  I was born in this town and stayed through High School.  In High School I was involved in our leadership program and took the position of class representative for three years.  I played trumpet in our marching band and sang in our acapella choir.  I started performing on stage in our musicals and began to love acting and theatre.

I went to college at the University of Oregon where I began to gravitate towards Theatre Arts as my major.  Through the theatre program I was able to travel abroad in London for four months where I took acting classes and watched many plays.

My experience in London motivated a move to NYC where I resided for two years.  In New York I waited tables at a high end restaurant while auditioning and booking for acting and modeling jobs.  After my NYC stint I decided the east coast was amazing but not meant for me as a home.  I returned to my home and felt that Portland fit me better than the big apple.

In Portland I pursued my acting career further and appeared in many television commercials, print ads and local film projects.  I longed for something else in my life so I decided to take a part time job working with children at Kids Community Learning Center in northwest Portland.  At that time everything changed.  I found a profession I cared about more than acting and devoted my life to education with children.

I worked for KCLC for a total of 6 years, taking one year off to go to Lewis and Clark and receive my teaching credentials.

My current position at Trillium is a new adventure that I am thrilled about.  My goals are to be able to apply my life experience as well as my years of work with youth to my classroom position.  My ultimate goal was to be a full time classroom teacher and I am honored to begin that journey here at Trillium Charter School!