Featured Teacher: Kimberly Clifton, 5th Grade

Mrs. Clifton joined the Tualatin Valley Academy team in 2013. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education with a minor in Art from Walla Walla University. Her Fifth Grade class is both fun and challenging, pushing students to learn and grow. 

When asked why she became a teacher, she replied: 

"I became a teacher because kids have so much potential and it is an awesome job helping them realize all that they can do."

She loves her class, the people she works with and the friendships she has created here at TVA, and we are very glad she is part of our family! 

Fun Facts About Mrs. Clifton: 

Biggest fear: Snakes
Proudest accomplishment: Becoming a teacher
Snack of choice: Apples with cinnamon
Qualities I most admire about others: Honesty, a good sense of humor, kindness
What inspires me: My students
When I was a kid, I thought I would grow up to be a: Journalist
In my free time I like to: Travel, do art and photography
Favorite place I've ever travelled: Ireland
Sports I love: Tennis, Volleyball
This store has a lot of my money: Target
If calories didn't count I would eat: Caramel apples with a side of cinnamon rolls

Featured Teacher: Phil Kahler

In early May Mr. Phil Kahler, our science teacher (grades 7 – 10) flew to Ithaca, New York where he participated in the BirdSleuth Strategic Planning meetings held at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  The team was composed of Cornell Lab of Ornithology staff and an advisory board consisting of seven education professionals including K-12 classroom teachers, a 4-H STEM Coordinator, and the Director of Education at the Atlanta Audubon Society.  Members were tasked with the responsibility of developing a 5-year plan for organizing, disseminating, and further developing BirdSleuth programs using the rich STEM resources at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds and is known for its scientific excellence and technological innovation.  BirdSleuth is Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s K-12 inquiry-based approach to science curriculum that engages kids in scientific study and real data collection through the lab’s exciting citizen-science projects.  Mr. Kahler and his students at Tualatin Valley Academy have had a long history of collecting bird observation data on campus at our bird blind to share with eBird, one of the lab’s citizen-science projects.  While participating in the BirdSleuth program, Mr. Kahler’s students conduct scientific investigations to discover answers to their own questions.   Over the years, we have had many Tualatin Valley Academy students publish their bird research reports and artwork in the BirdSleuth Investigator, a publication written by and for students.

This summer Mr. Kahler will make his fourth trip to the Amazon, where he will represent the BirdSleuth program as he works with science teachers participating in the Educator Academy workshops in Peru.   He will lead bird watching adventures while training teachers how to collect and enter bird observation data into the eBird data base.  “Early morning birding by boat is the most intense rapid-fire birding I've ever experienced”, recalls Mr. Kahler.  “At times our guides would be calling out 4-5 birds at the same time from opposite sides of the boat...all of which I had never seen or heard of before.  There just wasn't time to look in the field guide until afterwards.  The other teachers and I just wrote down names as fast as we could as the birds were being pointed out.  Later, we compared our notes back at the lodge as we compiled a complete checklist of birds observed that morning.  During my first three trips to the Amazon I have helped teachers report over 325 different bird species to eBird!  The diversity of bird life is simply incredible in the rainforest.”

During Mr. Kahler’s trips to the Amazon he became friends with Lucio Pando, one of the local Amazonian bird guides, who also had a passion for teaching children about birds.  “While talking with Lucio I learned he did not have adequate access to binoculars needed for teaching the children.  I just knew I had to do something to help Lucio obtain binoculars for his students!” exclaimed Mr. Kahler.  Sadly, last November Lucio unexpectedly passed away just as the Amazon Binocular Project began collecting donations of used binoculars.  Fortunately, two other bird guides who have been using the BirdSleuth-International curriculum in remote schools along the Amazon River are very excited to use the binoculars we have been collecting.  Some of Mr. Kahler’s students have been helping him evaluate, clean, and pack up the binocular donations.  Mr. Kahler recently shipped 23 pairs of new and used binoculars to a school group who volunteered to deliver the binoculars to the bird guides during their visit to the Amazon in early June.

Mr. Kahler feels honored to be on the BirdSleuth Advisory Board as he looks forward to the next five years of the program.  He enjoys hiking, beekeeping, and photographing birds.  

Featured Teacher: Steve Moor, 7th-9th Grade

Steve Moor, or Mr. Steve as he is known to his students, has a simple goal for his teaching career: 

Teach students how to build a better world.

How does he do that? Through mentoring. Mr. Steve has BA's in Religion and English, and a Masters in Teaching, and he uses that knowledge to really reach kids. He mentors students by modeling Christ's behavior and asking kids to apply Christian principles to everyday problems and life events. 

Mr. Steve has many interests, and this year he is most excited to be teaching and mentoring students in the areas of Music, Videography, Yearbook and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). He incorporates communication technology into his English, Social Studies and Publications classes, which enriches students' learning and gives them valuable skills in today's world. 

Mr. Steve prepares students not just for college, but for life through his mentoring and skill building. We are glad to have him as part of our TVA team!

Fun Facts About Mr. Steve:

Proudest accomplishment: Being a dad
Snack of choice: Maui potato chips
Quality I most admire about others: Expertise
One thing I hope to achieve in my lifetime: Doctorate
When I was a kid, I thought I would be a: Psychologist
3 qualities to describe myself: Quirky, passionate, flexible
If I could be any literary character, it would be: Willy Wonka
In my free time, I like to: Write music and shoot video
Favorite place I've ever travelled: Koh Phi Phi Island
Sport I love: Basketball
This store has a lot of my money: Amazon
My at bat song would be: Everybody's Got Their Something (Nikki Costa)
If calories didn't count I would drink: Smoothies
Best movie ever was: Lord of the Rings

Featured Teacher: Clark Woodworth, Kindergarten

Clark Woodworth joined the Tualatin Valley Academy team as our Kindergarten teacher in 2015. He earned his Elementary Education degree from Walla Walla University, and dove right into teaching some of the most curious, energetic learners out there - Kindergarteners!

Hearing students ask well thought-out questions is one of the highlights of Mr. Woodworth's job. He loves interacting with students, and the reason he became a teacher was to promote a love of learning in the kids he teaches, both in his classroom and on the basketball team he coaches. 

Mr. Woodworth has a knack for making students feel heard. He draws out even the most quiet of students, getting to know them for who they are and encouraging them as they get their start in an academic learning environment. 

We are very glad Mr. Woodworth joined our team!

Fun Facts About Mr. Woodworth:

Least favorite food: Zucchini
Biggest fear: Fish
Snack of choice: Orange juice
Qualities he most admires about others: Honesty and genuineness
What inspires me: Passionate people
Least favorite household chore: All of them
One thing I hope to achieve in my lifetime: Dunk a basketball
As a kid, I wanted to be this when I grew up: NBA player
In my free time, I like to: Read, work out, play piano, listen to music
Favorite place I've ever travelled: Laos
Sport I love: Basketball
This store has a lot of my money: Nike
If calories didn't count I would drink: Soda
Favorite color: Green

Featured Teacher: Sara Beck, 7-9 Mathematics

When a close friend of Mrs. Beck's was unable to pursue his dreams in college because he couldn't pass the necessary math prerequisites for his major, she determined to become a math teacher so that she could help other students pursue their dreams by teaching them solid math skills. 

"I want all students to gain the math and reasoning skills needed to pursue their dreams."

With 10 years' experience, a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics with minors in Education and Chemistry, a Master of Science in Teaching Mathematics and Professional Teaching Certificates in Advanced Mathematics (Middle and High School) and Chemistry, Mrs. Beck is definitely well-equipped to make an impact on Tualatin Valley Academy students' education! She has taught subjects ranging from Pre-Algebra to AP Statistics, and is always pursuing new ways to capture students' interest in her math classes. 

When asked what she loves most about her job now, she says "I enjoy being able to openly worship and pray with my students. I am grateful to work at the same school my children attend. I am excited about the possibilities as we expand into high school."

We are excited that Mrs. Beck is pouring her knowledge, dedication and passion for learning into our 7th, 8th and 9th grade math students!

Fun Facts About Mrs. Beck: 

Bucket list item: Take my daughter scuba diving with manta rays
Proudest accomplishment: Developing a proficiency grading system and program with the technological support of my husband
Snack of choice: Dried young coconut and mangoes
Qualities I most admire about others: Work/Life balance
What inspires me: Possibilities
One thing I hope to achieve in my lifetime: Writing Pre-Algebra and Algebra textbooks
3 words to describe myself: Observant, purposeful, prepared
In my free time I like to: Contemplate, plan, cook, watch cooking and travel shows, read, spend time with my family
Favorite place I've travelled: Cook Islands or Little Cayman
This store has a lot of my money: Costco
My at bat song would be: Multiplied by Needtobreathe
If calories didn't count I would eat or drink: Haagen-Daz or Ben&Jerry's ice cream and Dr. Pepper or Cherry Coke
Favorite color: Turquoise

Featured Teacher: Amy Halversen

This week we have the pleasure of getting to know one of Tualatin Valley Academy's Third Grade teachers, Mrs. Halversen! 

TVA has been blessed to have Mrs. Halversen teaching at our school since 2003. She is one of our two Third Grade teachers this year, and she brings 25 years of teaching experience to her classroom. With her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, her Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies, and her Reading Specialist endorsement from Portland State University, she is a valuable resource for students and colleagues alike at TVA. 

Mrs. Halversen enjoys the kids, families and people she works with. Every year she looks forward to her new group of students, saying "Every group of kids is different. I'm always excited to get to know each child and see where the year takes us."

When asked why she became a teacher, she said: 

"Kids are fun and I wanted to do something that made a difference in the world."

And make a difference, she has! From superhero Christmas plays to a creative reading buddy program, she is teaching kids to learn in fun new ways!

Fun Facts About Mrs. Halversen:

Bucket list item: Visit Antarctica
Least favorite food: Cauliflower
Who I most want to meet: Jesus
Proudest accomplishment: My children
Snack of choice: Mixed nuts
Quality I most admire about others: People who are generous with their time
What inspires me: Ordinary people doing extraordinary things
As a kid, I wanted to be this when I grew up: A princess at Disneyland
3 words to describe myself: Caring, Cautious, Empathetic
If I could be any literary character, I would be: Nancy Drew. Her life was always filled with mystery and adventure (and she drove a cool car!).
In my free time, I like to: Read
Favorite place I've ever travelled: Italy
My at bat song would be: The theme to Sesame Street
If calories didn't count I would drink: Burgerville milkshakes - raspberry and pumpkin are the best!
I've never: Pumped my own gas
Favorite color: Navy blue

Featured Teacher: Alice Boyer, Music

This year TVA was fortunate to hire Alice Boyer to lead our music program! Mrs. Boyer covered for our music teacher last year, and she produced a phenomenal Spring Concert that was energetic, relaxed and just plain fun! The highlight was an all-school praise and worship song, with both vocals and accompaniment done entirely by students. 

Each month we are going to feature different teachers and staff at TVA to help our TVA family get acquainted with each other even better. This month we are featuring Mrs. Boyer. Let's get to know who she is!

About Mrs. Boyer

Mrs. Boyer has 35 years of experience in music and music education. She studied Opera Performance at Penn State University and Music Education at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Her career began in performance and she pursued that for many years, but eventually she decided that she preferred teaching as it was much more rewarding!

Teaching is not new to Mrs. Boyer. She has directed Douglas County Children's Chorus in Denver, CO, taught music at Scappoose Adventist Academy, co-founded the Scappoose High School Jazz Choir, and she is an adjudicator for Oregon State Solo and Ensemble. 

When asked what she loves about her job now, she talks about the diversity. Teaching both band and choir is exciting! 

What is Mrs. Boyer most excited about doing this year with her class? Developing young worship leaders and helping students to grow outside the box.

We are excited to see the amazing things that Mrs. Boyer will accomplish this year, both in teaching students about music and teaching them to lead and grow outside of that box!

Fun facts about Mrs. Boyer: 

Bucket list item: Travel to Australia
Biggest fear: I have Jesus, so I don't fear
Who I most want to meet: Eric Whitacre - an amazing composer!
Proudest accomplishment: Raising 4 children to serve the Lord
Snack of choice: BBQ potato chips
What inspires me: Scripture, creating music, starting to learn a new instrument
Least favorite household chore: Vacuuming
One thing I hope to achieve in my lifetime: Sing in Carnegie Hall
Three words to describe myself: Purposeful, dependable, unconventional
In my free time I like to: Bead, watch movies, hang out with my husband and my children
Sport I love: Curling
My at bat song would be: Don't Stop Believin'
If calories didn't count I would eat: Indian food and chai tea every day!
Favorite color: Aqua or lime green are tied for first place!