(503) 792-3803 x2110
- Born in Beaverton, Oregon
- Graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Oregon, also obtained a Minor in English
- Graduated with a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Lewis & Clark College
I was born and raised in the SW neighborhood of Beaverton, Oregon. I grew up working at my parents’ mailing warehouse, starting at the ripe age of 8 years old. My parents were diligent in raising their children with a strong work ethic. My summers and breaks from school were always spent helping the family business. I continued working there while in high school and college, although I held other after school jobs as well. My mother is a “southern woman” having grown up in a small town in Missouri. My father is an “intellectual” and has lived in Beaverton nearly his entire life. Both of my parents have instilled in me strong family values, the need to treat others well, and to work hard for what you have.
My hobbies include reading, movies, music, sports (especially the Ducks, Seahawks, and Blazers), traveling, and working on my house. One thing people don’t know about me is I play the piano (sort of).
I like to think we have “aha” moments in teaching every day. The moments I always value and remember are when students finish a book for the first time, or actually read a book they enjoy. It seems every year students tell me, “wow Mr. Aman…I actually finished a book, and I really read the whole thing”, or “I actually really liked this book.” One of my primary goals as a Language Arts teacher is to inspire students to enjoy reading.
I teach 7th grade Language Arts, 6th grade READ180, and an elective at Gervais Middle School.
Aman, FenyaBehavior Assistant
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My name is Cheryl Blanchard, and I was born in the town of Mt. Shasta, California, nestled under the majestic mountain that embraces the same name. I am the oldest of three and as a child was, (and still am!) crazy about horses. My dad was a California Highway Patrolman and my mom was a homemaker, and later, court administrator. I graduated from Trinity High School in Weaverville, California. During high school I was active in basketball, FFA, and band. After graduating I moved to Redding, California, where I attended Shasta Community College, waitressed to pay for my expenses, and obtained my AA degree two years later. I then moved to Chico, California, and did the same, graduating from Chico State University with a BA degree in Liberal Studies two years later. Two months later I married Dave, an amazing guy that I met in my U.S. History class at Shasta College, and I entered the Student Teaching Program and obtained my Multiple Subject Credential and a Math Supplement in the next year. Job opportunities took us to the beautiful, rural, logging town of Burney, California, where I taught 4th and 6th grades for five years. This then began a series of moves due to my husband’s job in the propane industry, in which I taught sixth grade a year in Santa Cruz and participated in the California Writing Project at UC Santa Cruz. This soon was followed by a move to Susanville, California where I taught 6th/7th/8th for a year, soon to pack again for our final move to Oregon. I was hired by the Gervais School District two months later, joining the wonderful staff at North Howell and Pioneer Schools. Eventually, we consolidated schools and I became part of the Gervais Middle School team, which is awesome! This is my 18th year in the district and my 25th year of teaching, a profession that I love. I’m so thankful for every teaching opportunity that I have had, as I’ve been blessed to work with wonderful co-workers and students in a variety of schools and geographic areas. Gervais has been my most favorite place to teach!
Dave and I have been married for 25 years, and have three children: Courtney, Dalton, and Jordan. My hobbies? They include riding my horses, flower gardening, beach trips, kayaking, working on various craft projects, and being a barista at my coffee shop. Important things to me? My faith, family, and friends.
I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Math.
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My name is Kristin Lebsack and I was born and raised in Corvallis, Oregon. Go Beavers!!!! When it came time to go to college however, I was ready for a change so I packed up and headed to sunny San Luis Obispo, California. There I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology at Cal Poly. I worked with emotionally disturbed youth in the community for 3 years before going back to school to get my Master’s of Education in Special Education. Gervais was my first and only interview. After talking with the fabulous Ann O’Connell, our director of special services, I knew this was the place for me. I am starting my fifth year in the district. Last year, I completed my reading endorsement and I am now certified as a Reading Specialist. I am also the Assistant Coach of the Gervais Cougars Girls’ Varsity Soccer team! I am so passionate about soccer that I continue to play on an indoor team.
It is my belief that the school staff, student and parent can make school a positive and successful experience by working together. My goal is for you, the parent, the student and myself to be equal partners in your child’s success this year. One of the goals of middle school is to help prepare your child for high school. To that extent, we focus on improving academic skills, study habits, and independent learning. I run the Learning Resource room in the middle school. As such, my practices look a little different than a traditional classroom. I strive to meet the needs of each individual, whether it be reading, math, writing, or organization. During the school day, I teach one Read180 class and I teach Academic Assist classes. My classroom rules follow those outlined in the student handbook.
I teach Read 180 and 6th, 7th, and 8th grade reading and math support.
Ferguson, DevinInstructional Assistant
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Hidalgo, Apolinar “Polo”Custodian
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Bio for Lucas Hill
Mr. Hill grew up on a farm in southern Oregon and moved to Salem in 1992. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Willamette University, and a Master’s degree from the University of Oregon. He became a teacher in 2002, and has taught middle school and fifth grade. He lives in Salem with his wife, who is a fifth grade teacher, and their two sons, Owen and Silas. In his spare time he likes to direct and act in community theatre. This is his first year at Gervais Middle School, and he is loving it. Go Wolverines!
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I was born and raised on the Oregon coast in Tillamook. My mother was a 5th grade teacher and my dad an electrician. I was the youngest of 3 and the only girl. I grew up riding my horse and playing outside. After high school, I went straight to college at Willamette University, in Salem. After college I did not know what I wanted to do, and because it was difficult to find a job, I worked in insurance for a while. A job I did not enjoy. Finally, after many discussions with my mom I went back to college at George Fox in Newberg to get my teaching license. I LOVE being in education! I have taught in Gervais for 19 years, 10 of which in 5th grade and the other 9 in middle school.
I am married to Dwayne (no, not “The Rock”) and we have three great daughters ages 17, 11 and 9. We also have two dogs, one cat, and two hamsters. Yes, it is a full house, but I love it. We love to travel. Two of our favorite places are Disneyland and New York City.
I guess my ‘aha’ moment was when I stopped teaching for two years because of personal reasons, and how much I missed it. Education is in my blood, and I love every unique and sometimes crazy year.
Assessment practices: I try to create a variety of assessments: projects, tests, presentations, and research papers because different students excel at different assessments. I use small quizzes, classroom discussions, and homework assignments to help prepare students for the summative/final tests.
I love to teach history and try to bring it alive for my students. This year I have also taken on Dean of Students. In this position, I will be focusing on attendance. It is super important for students to be in school. I will also be starting a new 8th grade/6th grade mentoring program.
I teach 7th and 8th grade history.
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My name is Cassie Miller. I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Physical Education and Health. I grew up in Molalla, Oregon with three siblings on a farm. I have enjoyed the opportunity to participate in many sports from dance to swim team. I participated in track and field for 12 years and went to NCAAII Nationals while attending Western Oregon University, where I pursued my education in multiple subjects for elementary and middle school education with a focus on Physical Education and Health. I returned to Western Oregon University and completed my Masters in Health Education. Some of my hobbies are singing, sewing, reading and athletics. A unique fact about me is that I worked in Iraq with the military for 1.5 years. A fantastic moment for me every day is every time a student succeeds at a new skill.
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Hello! My name is Michael Mulkerin. I am proud to work in the Gervais Middle School. I have taught math and social studies for the majority of my nearly twenty years here. I started my career in Brooks as a substitute Librarian and computers teacher. Working in a smaller, family oriented, district has made me versatile. I have taught nearly every subject and coached all the sports we offer. I am glad to say that I have settled into math and coaching girls soccer for the high school. I am currently trying to get a middle school robotics program up and running. Many people express that I am crazy for teaching middle school for so long. That might be true, but I still find my smile when I see kids do new and great things.
I was born in Fargo, North Dakota, but moved to Walla Walla, Washington the summer before my first grade year. I had a great experience in the Walla Walla Public Schools. I admired and respected my teachers. Many of them motivated me to become a teacher. After graduating, I moved to the Willamette Valley to attend Willamette University. I earned my masters in teaching in 1996. I found Gervais and latched on to the community. I am married with two younger children. I enjoy spending time with my family. We like to go swimming on the weekends. When I was a younger teacher, I was a state of Oregon pickle ball medalist. I am hoping to get a chance to show the students some pickle ball this year in our new exercise facility. It is a fun, and uniquely Northwest game.
I teach 7th grade Math and Computers and Sports.
O’Connell, AnnPrincipal, Dir. of Special Services
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I was born in Seattle, Washington, but only lived there for a few years. My parents adopted me when I was a few months old and did I ever win the lottery with my parents. As a result, I have lived almost my whole life near my mom and dad in Salem. I did go to college in San Diego and lived in California for several years and met Mr. O’Connell in college. We have two children in their early 20s now. I love to garden, run, and read.
I have been blessed to have many “aha” moments in education. I became a special education teacher because I wanted to help students with the most challenging disabilities to learn and to be accepted by peers and staff alike. I knew this was the profession for me when I saw my students who could not talk, walk, or take care of their own needs demonstrate independence and growth. I loved the challenge of figuring out how to reach them in creative, non-traditional ways.
I no longer teach, but I like to believe my new class is now 220 students in 6th through 8th grade at Gervais Middle School. This is my favorite class so far J. I am lucky to have many committed staff help me teach our students in our school. My goal is to support our students to be the best humans they can be academically, emotionally, and physically. I am the principal of Gervais Middle School.
Ponce, YolandaOffice Manager
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I was born in Edinburg, Texas and lived the first five years of my life in Mexico with my grandparents then moved to the Willamette Valley. I am the second in line of ten children. We all live in Salem or Independence. I graduated from Central High School in Independence. My husband and I have been married for 41 years and have three children, who graduated from Gervais. Our oldest is a captain for the Portland Fire Department, second is a supervisor with a construction company and our daughter is a respiratory therapist for Randall Children’s Hospital in the neonatal unit.
At Brooks, the principal called me to see if I could sub for an IA who was getting married and needed coverage for one week, it has been 23 plus years and I am still here. So you can tell I truly like my job.
This is my first year at Gervais Middle School and it is a learning experience, since I have been with the Elementary School all those years. The advantage is that I knew the students and now I am getting to know them again in Middle School. Some have told me with smiling faces “Mrs. Ponce you are here with us now”.
My favorite hobby is spending time with my grandchildren. I also enjoy listing to music (the oldies and some country music) reading, cooking and sewing for my grandchildren.
I am the Office Manager for Gervais Middle School.
Silva, RudyInstructional Assistant
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Hi I’m Mr. Tavares and I mostly teach 7th and 8th grade science at the middle school. I have spent my entire teaching career in Gervais and I have enjoyed how much I’ve learned from my students, my colleagues and this community. I was born and raised in the Willamette Valley and live in Keizer with my wife Melody and two sons; Noah (12) and Jack (10). When I’m not teaching I love hiking, photography, hanging out with my family, traveling, and teasing our Golden Retriever Ruby.
I have been blessed to teach here and have had many amazing moments, but my favorite memory has to be a former student saying they wanted to be a science teacher because of my 7th grade class.
Bachelor of Arts: History, Western Baptist College
Masters of Education: ESOL specialist; Corban University
This year I teach:
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I graduated from Portland State University in 2007 with my MEd.
I was born in 1981 in the small town of Hermiston. I moved to Portland, Oregon soon after graduating high school in Pendleton, Oregon. After obtaining my job as a Gervais Middle School teacher in 2007, I moved to Keizer, Oregon where I currently reside with my husband, who teaches High School in Salem, and my daughter.
I enjoy reading, cooking, and singing. I love to travel and have been outside of the country many times. I even lived in Argentina for 4 months while pursuing my undergrad.
While I was student teaching in Portland in a 5th grade classroom I had an epiphany. I was looking around at the rapt faces of my students while teaching from a book, and I realized that there can’t be a better or more honest job than to open the imaginations of children. I love middle schoolers and their wacky sense of humor and interesting views. I wouldn’t want to teach any other level.
I teach 8th grade Language Arts.
Ventura-Lopez, MariaInstructional Assistant
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I moved to Oregon my Senior year; attended Gervais High School. I started working in the education field the year of 2006 as a substitute in the Woodburn School District. I found that I really enjoyed working with children. There was a deep feeling of satisfaction when I saw the change in behavior, academics or even knowing that the students had confidence in me and felt safe. Teaching is my passion so I am pursuing a career in Education. I love the outdoors, sweets, and my family of cats; Sammie, Grito, and Prowler. I also have a son that is in the military which I am very proud of. I am an instructional assistant in the middle school.
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My name is Helen Warberg. I have had the pleasure to teach in the Gervais School District for the past 20 years. Over the years I have taught a multitude of things, but I currently teach eighth grade Math and Science. Of all the grades I have taught, eighth grade is my favorite year. Students are on the verge of just having it all come together. I have had the opportunity to run the Washington DC program for the middle school. Over 200 kids have been able to take advantage of this program. I take great pride in the fact that this program has been able to survive over the years.
Many years in a small school has afforded me to build many relationships with former students and parents. I really appreciate the fact that many former students have come back and said that I have made a difference in their lives.
I was born in Portland, but grew up in Hillsboro. In 1992, I graduated from Western Oregon State College with a degree in Elementary Education. I have both a reading endorsement and an English language Endorsement. When I am not teaching, I spend time with my family. My latest hobby is chasing after my young kids. Before kids, I put myself through college by river guiding on the Deschutes. This past September, I surprised students (both former and current) by jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.
I teach 8th grade Math and 8th grade Science.