Art, Music & PE Specialist Faculty

All students study art, music & PE with specialists as an integral part of the ISP curriculum.

Carolina Barros
Art Specialist

  • From Porto Alegre, Brazil and Boston, Massachusetts
  • BA in Visual Arts, BA in Theater from College of Charleston
  • Masters in Teaching from Lewis and Clark College
  • Teaching since 2008; teaching at ISP since 2010

I became interested in learning about different cultures after living in the Boston area. Upon returning to my native Brazil, I brought with me a new perspective of a world full of different cultures and languages – and a lot of wonderful diversity. I returned to the United States after being accepted to Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, Massachusetts, a school which taught students to celebrate their different backgrounds and all walks of life.

My passion for diversity, art and teaching grew with my college years, as I taught Portuguese privately and to fellow students. These experiences have allowed me to, without a shadow of a doubt, enroll in an M.A.T. (Master of Arts in Teaching) program at Lewis and Clark, where multiculturalism is emphasized. And now I am a proud member of ISP and am still celebrating multiculturalism as well as learning with each year that goes by.

Scottie Grimes
Art Specialist

  • From Virginia and North Carolina
  • Degree in progress from Western Governor’s University, Elementary Education
  • Teaching since 2011; teaching at ISP since 2021

I became interested in global education as a school-age teacher many years ago. One day, I showed up with a large world map and plastered it to the wall. We took turns closing our eyes and tossing a sticky hand to the map, charting what countries the palm would land on. We compiled a top 6 list and I decided that for the weeks leading up to winter break, we were going to fully immerse ourselves in each of those countries. 

We called it “Holidays Around the World,” and we spent a week in each country, learning about language, holidays, celebrations, food, music, traditional dress, art, and literature. We cooked food from the countries and I watched my most squeamish children who practically lived off French fries and nuggets (by choice) try empanadas from Colombia and shendetlie from Albania. I watched as they explored the ways seemingly common items were used as new art materials, and would catch glimpses of conversations attempted in Swahili. That first year showed me so much about the value of stepping out of your own culture and exploring someone else’s; the growth and wonder from that class was tangible. 

I am a big believer in being the light for the ones coming behind you, and teaching is my greatest passion and pleasure. Every day, I get the chance to learn alongside my students, because no matter how many times I teach a particular lesson, both the process and the outcome differ from year to year, which is a direct reflection on all of my students’ many different personalities, abilities, and intelligences. Being fluid is necessary, and making art accessible for all is the goal. Together, our exploration lands us in a sweet place where we realize that art is so much more than crayons and paint. Art is also movement, conversation, science, math, and writing. Art is exploration and asking questions, even when it’s hard. It is cooking and singing and feeling and growing. It is messing up and starting over and messing up and turning it into something else. It is practicing for better and not for perfection. It is trying to understand a different perspective even when you don’t agree. As the kids say now: “art is everything!” We are  rethinking and reforming our relationship with the arts as a whole and finding that in the process, we are experiencing our own evolution within ourselves. Art is transformative. 

In my “free time,” I like to work on my books, create with my hands, lesson plan, bake, work on my yoga certification, plan adventures, celebrate the people in my life, take aimless walks, and stare at the walls.

Christopher Varley
Music Specialist

  • Master’s in Education: Early Childhood and Elementary, Antioch University
  • BA Political Economy, Georgetown University
  • Orff Schulwerk Music and Movement, Level 1 Certification
  • Teaching since 2012; Teaching at ISP since 2019

I grew up attending international schools in Honduras and Bangladesh. I am grateful for this early exposure to different cultures and perspectives and am excited to share these experiences with a new generation of children.

I love music and the story it tells about how cultures influence each other; how they borrow from the past, unpack the present, and project possible futures. I love silly songs and dances as much as beautiful ones and believes that people need to play with music before they can learn to play music.

I don’t have any free time anymore because I have a one-year old daughter named Zelma who keeps me busy outside of school. And that’s just fine with me… for now.

David Platt
Physical Education Specialist

  • From Norwalk and Glastonbury, Connecticut
  • Bachelor’s Degree in English from Bowdoin College
  • Maitrise in American Literature from Paris 8
  • Teaching since 2000; teaching at ISP since 2005

I love those moments of discovery for students when they take something I had to offer as a teacher and makes it theirs. When I see how something is understood, I learn as a teacher. International School of Portland is a thriving multicultural environment and it is interesting for me simply to be around people from so many different countries and backgrounds.

Read about Coach David’s Early Childhood PE program.

Jan Vanderstraeten
Physical Education Specialist

  • From Belgium
  • BA with honors, Sports Sciences – University of Ghent, Belgium
  • MA with honors, Sports Sciences – University of Ghent
  • Advanced Professional Degree, Physical Education – University of Ghent
  • Fluent in Dutch, English, and French
  • 10 years of teaching experience

I am very excited to join The International School, and I am the most excited to get to know all the students, staff and everyone else involved at this international community. I really want to learn all about the students’ favorite games, sports, and exercises, and teach them some of mine ;). I love teaching kids gross motor skills in a fun way. I love thelook on a student’s face when they realize they just did something they could not do before.

My personal motto is a healthy mind derives from a healthy body. I would love that motto/attitude to become a part of the ISP community. I knew that I wanted to become a PE teacher at a very young age, which is why I studied Sports Science starting from High School. I believe that it is very important to create a positive attitude toward physical activity and exercise. I really hope that I can proactively encourage all students to share the international values of fair play and all that that entails.

I am President and Head Coach for the Portland Sasquatch Handball Club, the only Olympic Team Handball Club in Oregon. This is the hobby that keeps me pretty busy after school hours; it is another International Community with 30 players representing 20 different nationalities. I’d also like to call myself an avid cyclist (watching and riding). One of my favorite new hobbies is playing with my young daughter, whether it is in the park, pool, or simply at home. I am also a huge Portland Timbers and Portland Trailblazer fan. Last but not least, I love cooking fresh meals from our vegetable garden for my family