Art, Music & PE Specialist Faculty

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

Sarah Harpole
Art Specialist

  • From Albany, Oregon
  • Master’s in Art Education from Pacific University
  • BA with a minor in Art History from the University of Oregon
  • Teaching since 2007; teaching full-time at TIS since 2014

Growing up I knew I wanted to be an Art Teacher. While in high school, I was lucky to have an amazing, fun, dynamic and creative Art Teacher who also taught me the importance of making sure your students know you care about them and believe in their ability to do great things. I’m blessed to have the amazing job of encouraging young people to find their own way of expressing themselves through visual arts. I value the importance of teaching students to try their best, to be helpful and to be kind to others. One of my favorite things about being a teacher is seeing kids feeling proud to create something with not only their hands but also with their hearts.

I grew up in Albany, Oregon and have a deep appreciation for our natural world. I have had the chance to appreciate Oregon’s fabulous wilderness by camping, fishing and hiking with my family and friends throughout my life. My husband and I still enjoy getting outdoors with our giant and very well-loved Chocolate Labrador, Brutus. Many students know all about Brutus and I like to think of him as a bit of a celebrity among our school community;) Some of my hobbies include painting, photography, cross-stitch, pottery, cooking and attempting to maintain a garden. I am so happy to be a part of the TIS community! Feel free to stop by the Art Room to get a glimpse of what we are learning. Also, please go check out the Specialist updates to learn more about our students’ amazing creative work!

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 TIS 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 TIS and am still celebrating multiculturalism as well as learning with each year that goes by.

Sarah Burvill
Music Specialist

  • From the United Kingdom
  • Dalcroze Music Teacher Foundation Award
  • BA Psychology (focus on Autism), University of Liverpool
  • MA in Disability Studies, University of Leeds
  • Fluent in English and Danish
  • Six years of teaching experience

I believe that music is central to learning, and am spending my summer holidays teaching music to refugees in Greece; in a UNICEF school and in the refugee camps. I look forward to sharing my experiences here with TIS. I love the PYP, and collaborating with young inquirers, colleagues and parents. Teaching music, dance and drama is such fun!

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 TIS 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 TIS 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. The International School 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 TIS 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