News from Alfonso - Aug 9

Dear Friends,

It is good to be back in the office. It occurs to me that I nervously began my first post teaching university undergrads 34 years ago, so this will be year 35. I am just as excited, apprehensive and attuned to possibilities as I was that first year. My colleagues and I are fortunate in our choice of profession. In education we have the luxury of having a new beginning every year for which we can put into effect all that we have learned in the previous years.

New teachers this year
While I was in China we learned that Carol Olson, our music teacher, would not be returning next year as she has chosen to pursue other opportunities. We thank Ms Olson for her years of service to the school and wish her all the best in her next steps.

While still in China, I sifted through around 40 music teacher resumes that Jhoanna had forwarded to me. I began a long string of interviews the day I returned. I am happy to report that we have hired Mr. Peter Musselman to take over the music program. Peter, as I was told by his references at Oregon Episcopal School, is beloved by parents, students and colleagues for his openness, creativity and obvious passion for music. With an MFA in Music, Peter is proficient in french horn, guitar, piano, and electronic music.

We have also hired Mr. Gilberto Rios- Garcia to teach one of the Spanish Kindergarten classes. Mr. Rios-Garcia began his career as a teacher and Principal in Guatemala, and since moving to the States he has worked at Chiquitos, at David Hill Elementary School, and at the OC Development Center. We were struck by his warmth, humor and passion for teaching and are excited that he will be joining us.

For third grade Spanish we are fortunate to have found Ms. Norma Torres Alonso. Ms. Torres Alonso began her career in her native Cuba in 1992. In addition to having been a primary classroom teacher, she did post graduate studies in Speech language pathology and Special Education. Since moving to the States, she has worked at the Portland Early Learning Project and in a Montessori School. We are confident that with her knowledge and experience, she will be a great asset to TIS.

Security update
In other news, Rob Timmons has arranged for a new card access pad for the southeast door of Stearns Hall to help the "curb-side pick-up and drop-off" staff. He has also arranged for new "door ajar" sensors on all external doors that have card pads, and a new on-line alarm monitoring system. Rob is also working with a TIS parent to explore a security camera system. Furthermore, based on excellent advice from parents Rick and Cindy Jones, we are advertising for an off-duty EMT to be here on an ongoing basis to help with campus security and to do first response for any injuries.

Facilities update
On the facilities front, Frank and Michael have been working on or overseeing a number of campus projects. As a result of the creation of a new classroom behind the library, all offices will be moved out of that area. Development Director Kelsey Cleveland and Marketing and Communications Director Linda Bonder will move down to the Pre-K Building at Arthur Street, and Jhoanna Co will be a new neighbor to Lauren at Stearns Hall. Frank and Michael have been involved in too many other projects to mention here, but they will be evident when you return.

I must include a big thanks to Linda Bonder and parent Pete Wright for the elegant and clear redesign of the TIS website. Linda, Kelsey and board members and parents have also been working on plans for our 20th anniversary celebration this September 19th from 3 to 6pm, so mark your calendars!

URGENT REMINDER: Please let me know immediately if you would be willing to host a teaching intern from Spain or China or possibly Japan!!!!

I need to get back to preparing for faculty inquiry week, which begins August 30th. I know you will have plenty to read with all of the back to school forms and instructions and handbooks, but if you have a moment, take a look at this article on what we can learn from other countries about language instruction. Seems we have learned a lot at TIS and that we can learn even more.

Take care and more soon,

Dr. Alfonso Orsini, Head of School,, 503-226-2496 x109