The White Salmon Valley School District has filled five teaching positions for the 2001-02 school year.
Four of the new teachers -- Heather Whidden, Steve Kingsford-Smith, Jill Shelley and Patty Neuÿwirth -- are assuming full-time positions at Wayne M. Henkle Middle School.
The fifth, Maggie Roediger, is joining the staff at Hulan L. Whitÿson Elementary School under a job-sharing arrangement.
Whidden, a White Salmon resiÿdent since 1991, has been hired as a reading specialist at Henkle.
Her position is one of three being funded with revenue provided to the district through the state's K-12 Student Achievement Initiative.
She has worked in schools in both Klickitat and Skamania counties during the last 10 years: four years teaching reading, six years as a substitute teacher.
All told, Whidden has 14 years of experience in the education field. She is attending Portland State University to earn a master's deÿgree in curriculum and instruction.
Whidden graduated from New England College with bachelor's degrees in environmental studies and visual arts. She later got her elementary education certification from Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawaii.
She and her husband, Bill, have two children, ages 4 and 9.
Her interests include reading, being a mom, hiking, mountain biking, tennis, sailing, gardening and music.
Kingsford-Smith replaces the reÿtired Sherman Rouse as a sixth-grade teacher in the east wing of Henkle. He also plans to do some coaching in his first year here.
He comes to White Salmon from Seattle, where he earned a bacheÿlor's degree in international studies from the University of Washington, got married to his wife, Glacier (yep, that's really her name, he says), and received a master's deÿgree in education from Seattle University.
Kingsford-Smith's teaching exÿperience includes five years in the Mercer Island School District.
He says he can't wait to meet his new students and "infuse [them] with a lifelong love for learning and a healthy serving of fun in the classroom."
Fun is an operative word for Kingsford-Smith, who spent many days of his youth in the great outdoors of his home state of Colorado, fishing for crawdads in Rocky Mountain lakes and explorÿing the rural ponderosa pine backÿwoods.
He says he is "thrilled to return to a beautiful place that feels like home after spending two decades under soggy Seattle skies."
Teaching math to Henkle eighth graders will be Shelley's primary responsibility. Like Whidden, her position is funded with Student Achievement Initiative money.
A White Salmon resident, Shelÿley got her bachelor's degree in human development in 1996 from Warner Pacific College in Portland. She completed her master's degree in 1998 at Portland State University.
She and her husband, Guy, have three children attending school in the district.
Says Shelley: "I love this area and I'm very excited to be working with a great team of teachers and administrators."
Originally from Minneapolis, Minn., Neuwirth marks her ninth year in the Northwest by returning
to the classroom as a special educaÿtion specialist at Henkle.
She had been out of education for several years, working as a manager at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson and at the Hood River Best Western Inn.
Previously, Neuwirth, a graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, taught second grade, speÿcializing in reading instruction.
She resides in Hood River with her pets, Timmy and Oscar.
Roediger's position as a third-grade teacher at Whitson is only half time, but it's a step up from previous substitute teaching stints. She will be sharing the elementary position with Geraldine Logan.
Roediger says the shared posiÿtion (her half is funded under the Student Achievement Initiative) will increase her involvement with Whitson but leave her time to maintain her commitment as a Hood River Swim Team coach.
After receiving her master's deÿgree in 1995 from Marymount University of Arlington, Va., Roeÿdiger "took a couple of years off to play, which is when I found my way to the Gorge."
She met her husband while snowboarding at Mount Hood Meadows and moved from Seattle to the Hood River area in 1997.
Since then she had been subÿstitute teaching in both the White Salmon and Hood River school districts, as well as serving as a swim coach.
Besides snowboarding and swimming, Roediger's interests, which vary with the season, range from landscaping, running and hikÿing to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
"My husband and I love our life in the Gorge," she says, "and we're looking forward to strengthening our ties with the community through Whitson."