“When is your ride coming?” asks Meagan Williams, GSE master’s student. He doesn’t know. Meagan hands the student, Robert, her phone to call the TriMet Lift Service. The room begins to fill with the chatter of students arriving, greeting friends and getting organized for an afternoon of classes. Meagan is working part-time at PHAME Academy in NE Portland. She teaches theater class on Monday afternoons, and also serves as teaching lead/closer on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Saturday afternoons her students rehearse for the big spring musical production, Bye Bye Birdie. Continue reading
Laura LaMarsh is a dedicated PSU Viking. She earned her BS, MS, and Initial Administrator License all at PSU. Laura’s career in special education started when she became as an education assistant at Northwest Regional Educational Service District (NWRESD), working with a student with severe orthopedic needs. One day the director told her that she had been selected to be part of a pilot team working with children with autism. When she asked why she had been selected for this position, Laura was informed that it was because she “had a good record of showing up daily and on time.”
This quiet start has led to a remarkable career in the field. Laura is currently the coordinator of autism services and coordinator of the elementary deaf and hard of hearing program in Hillsboro, a facilitator of the Autism Statewide Leadership Grant through the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), a commissioner on the Oregon Commission for ASD (OCASD), and an adjunct faculty member at PSU. Laura emphasizes that her career is not just a job, but a passion for making a difference in the lives of children.
To say that Dr. Samek is dedicated to the field of education is an understatement. She has taught students at every level during her career in education, starting as a middle school math teacher before moving to high school and later elementary school. Currently, Dr. Samek serves as Dean of the School of Education at George Fox University where she occasionally teaches an online course, but most enjoys mentoring faculty for future leadership positions and working on accreditation and assessment for the school. Dr. Samek takes pride in working to provide resources and remove barriers for teachers and students alike. One of her recent projects has been fostering peace and establishing a reconciliation curriculum for Quaker high schools in Kenya in collaboration with Kenyan educators. Teaching is not a one-way road—she insists that there is no one from whom you cannot learn a meaningful lesson.
“We must continue to challenge and stretch teachers … in a country where the most frequently occurring number of years in teaching in public education is one.”
How can school leaders implement really meaningful changes so that all children can succeed? What works and what doesn’t is a complicated question for American educators today.
For inspiration, the GSE invited well-known author and lecturer Professor Andy Hargreaves to address students, faculty, and guests about his innovative ideas on educational reform.
Over 250 educators and guests attended an evening lecture by author Andy Hargreaves where he presented ideas on educational reform in America. The event, hosted by the Graduate School of Education, concluded a series of activities in Portland for Dr. Hargreaves, who currently holds the Thomas More Brennan Chair in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College.
Longtime Graduate School of Education friends and donors, David and Christine Vernier, have pledged to meet the $60,000 challenge set forth by donors Irving Levin and Stephanie Fowler, for the GSE Renaissance Foundation Scholarship, recently established by Levin and Fowler with a three-year pledge totaling $120,000. The Verniers are making a generous gift totaling $240,000, including $210,000 to support PSU scholarships. The gift includes $60,000 that will go to the GSE Renaissance Foundation Scholarship fund.
The Vernier’s gift to the GSE Renaissance Foundation Scholarship will be spread over three years, and will provide support for students who are the first person in their family to graduate from a four-year college, and who intend to make a career of classroom teaching.