I feel fortunate to have started working at Trillium in its very first year. It is a thriving school and an environment in which I can use all of my skills and challenge all aspects of who I am. Over the years I have been not only a teacher and parent at Trillium, but also served on the board of directors, as administrative support and as a program director and coordinator. I am excited about how the school has progressed and to work with the loving and amazing staff and students.
My background includes work as a professional actor (with a bachelor’s degree in theater arts), a musician, a certified yoga instructor (continuing to study a contemplative yogic path), and a published writer. My professional qualifications include a Master’s Degree in writing and over eleven years of classroom experience.
For the three years previous to Trillium I worked in public school programs at Clear Creek middle school, SUN schools, Community of Writers, Writers in the Schools, as an ESL instructor, and as a writing teacher in community college. I lived and studied in Mexico, traveled abroad and I have an outdoor education certificate from what seems like a previous life. I was born in San Diego and moved to Portland in 1994.
In my personal life I have a wonderful wife and partner and two beautiful daughters. They inspire me to be the best teacher I can and to be more present.
The son of a law professor and an elementary school teacher, I am genetically engineered for this job. I have no real choice in the matter. The only place I attended from kindergarten to 12th grade was a small independent school whose motto is “Freedom in Learning.” This liberal bastion in my hometown of Nashville, TN was truly a home away from home. It was there that the nurture combined with my nature and it was only a matter of time until I became a professional teacher. From years in the Blue Ridge mountains teaching at a therapeutic wilderness education program for emotionally impaired adolescents, to a decade at a public alternative high school for at-risk teens. When my wife and I moved to Portland in 2006 I was thrilled to discover Trillium.
When not teaching (and often when I am!) I love playing West African drums, reading, yoga, playing strategy games, trying new things, spending time in the wilderness and meditating. I have recently come to truly appreciate beauty of impermanence in our lives.
At Trillium, I have found a perfect place to continue to nurture my own love of learning and at the same time provide others with the caring encouragement that so many wonderful teachers had given to me. And thankfully, neither Trillium nor my students are anything but normal.
I grew up outside of Seattle in Kent, WA. My twin sister, younger brother and I spent many hours making up games, plays, and doing everything we could to make each other laugh. The family I grew up in is very academically minded and so school was always made a priority. I loved everything about school—learning new things, hanging out with friends, participating in sports and music, and getting summer months off to do whatever I wanted. I was destined to be a teacher.
After graduating from Pacific Lutheran University with a degree in social studies education, I packed my whole life into a Toyota Camry and drove with my mom down to Fort Worth, Texas to start a career as a middle and high school history teacher. My reasons for leaving the Northwest for the land of Texas were three: 1. I was sick of the rain. 2. I wanted to move somewhere and acquire an accent. 3. I wanted to visit a real working ranch. After three years down south, I still didn’t have an accent (although I do tend to say y’all a lot), I had never been to a ranch, and I decided I could buy an umbrella to deal with the rain. So back I moved to Oregon.
While in Texas, I was teaching history, but students often would come in to my room with questions on their math homework. From an early age, I was a true math nerd so this worked well for me. I quickly realized I was a terrible history teacher, but a pretty good math teacher. So, it was back to school for me at Western Governor’s University where I received a master’s in Math Education. I love teaching math but more importantly I love working with students. Trillium appealed to me because I will be able to individually help students academically, socially, and emotionally. This is why I got into teaching.
When I’m not in the classroom, I love spending time with my nieces and nephew who are 4, 2, and 9 months old. They live close enough that I get to see them at least once a week and they are the highlights of my week. Another joy I have is reading. I’ll read just about any book someone recommends. I also enjoy judging a book by its cover—anything pink, or striped, or with any kind of jewelry on it and I’m in! Running is a way I relax and have time to think so I also try to do that everyday.
Carolyn, forever and always a Portlander, was born and raised here in Oregon. After spending a few years finding her way at and participating in activism at Oregon State University she transferred to Portland State University. Carolyn received her BS in Organismal Biology in 2005, but will always be a OSU Beaver at heart. She then went on to get her Masters in Education at University of Portland.
Carolyn has been interested in teaching ever since her first experience as a high school counselor at outdoor school at age 16. She continued to have more teaching experiences by working in camps as a naturalist, camp counselor, and science instructor. Whether she was tying knots, lighting fires, launching rockets, or building Lego towers she was teaching. She received her first ‘real’ job teaching 8th grade science at Reynolds Middle School. Then Carolyn was lucky enough to teach for a year at a bilingual school in central Taiwan.
When not teaching Carolyn enjoys playing sports, especially dragon boating. She has been practicing and competing for the last 6 years. She enjoys other outdoor activities like camping, biking, and hiking. To relax and unwind Carolyn works on puzzles and builds with Legos. She loves sushi, coffee, and chocolate. She lives with her amazing wife and young son. Both of whom she is blessed to have in her life and make her a better person.