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Eight new teachers join district

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The Enterprise

Following are brief introductions of the White Salmon Valley School District's newest faculty and staff members.

Jeff Agar

, a 10-year resident of White Salmon, is the Columbia High School music department's new director. He comes to White Salmon after 10 years in the Trout Lake School District and, before that, six years at Klickitat.

Moreover, Agar comes from a family of educators--his father taught school for 35 years and his sister has been a teacher for more than 25.

Agar, who grew up in Stevenson, received a bachelor's degree from Portland State University and his teacher certification from Oregon State University.

At Trout Lake, the high school jazz band under his direction placed third at the Clark College Jazz Festival in 2007 and third at Jazz Unlimited at Columbia Basin College in 2006.

Away from school, Agar is in his fifth year as a member of the White Salmon Jazz Band, for which he has served as musical director the last two and a half years.

Said Agar about his new posting: "I'm very excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to working with the students, staff and parents at Columbia High School."

Scott Bliss

is the new director of the White Salmon Academy, the local alternative high school, and Columbia High School's new head wrestling coach.

Bliss, who comes to White Salmon from Othello, last served as a social studies, physical education and special education instructor in Bonners Ferry, Idaho.

The University of Oregon graduate holds a master of Education degree from Southern Oregon University and a Principal's certificate from Central Washington University.

In Washington, Bliss has taught school in Auburn, Othello, Royal City, Soap Lake and Spokane. In sports, he served as head coach at the University of Montana (1981-87; Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year, 1987) and the University of Wyoming (1987-89; Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, 1988).

Robert "Joe" Cates

is teaching six periods of mathematics per day at Columbia High School. His class load comprises Algebra II (three periods), Algebra I (one period) and Segmented Math I (two periods).

Cates, who's taught math for six years, graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor of science degree in Physics and earned his certification in education from Eastern Washington University.

In March 2007, Cates, who flew in P-3 aircraft in the U.S. Navy, retired from the reserves.

A native northern Californian who grew up around Redding and Placerville, Cates said he is familiar with Klickitat County because of its hunting and fishing, and an uncle who lives in Goldendale.

Jennifer M. Clark

is teaching kindergarten this school year at Hulan L. Whitson Elementary School. Clark, who grew up and attended school in White Salmon, graduated from Central Washington University this year with a bachelor's degree in her major of Elementary Education, with a minor in Science Education.

Noted Clark: "I'm excited to give back to my community through education."

Dawn Glasser

, who's lived in the White Salmon area for 15 years, is coordinator of the district's new Arts Consortium. In her new capacity, Glasser will coordinate arts programs in all three schools.

Glasser grew up in the Midwest and first came to the Columbia River Gorge to windsurf. She said she "fell in love with the area" during that visit and soon thereafter returned to make it her home.

Glass and her husband have an eight-year-old daughter and, on the side, farm garlic organically.

Chad Myers

is teaching Algebra I, Geometry and Computer Applications this year at Columbia High School.

The Lyle product graduated last December from Eastern Washington University, where he majored in mathematics.

In addition to his teaching assignment, Myers is fulfilling a love for sports by serving as an assistant football coach at CHS. Noted Myers: "I think we're going to have a great year."

June O'Dell

is back for a full year as Whitson Elementary School's Reading Intervention Specialist, a position she began working in last January. Before her hiring, O'Dell served as a substitute teacher at Whitson.

"My passion for teaching reading has brought me to work at Whitson Elementary," said O'Dell who moved to White Salmon from Kansas City, Mo.

Betsy Petrick,

in her second year as a public school teacher, is Wayne M. Henkle Middle School's new reading specialist. She also is acting as adviser for the school's student government.

Petrick said she "taught intensive English as a Second Language classes to adults at universities and community colleges" in Oregon and Washington for 25 years before moving to White Salmon in 1999.

Once here, she taught an ESL course locally through Clark College for several years before going back to school to become a public school teacher. She graduated with a master's degree in Teaching from Eastern Oregon University in 2007 and spent her first year in the profession teaching first grade in The Dalles, Ore.

Prior to becoming a teacher, Petrick worked as a field archaeologist in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming for several field seasons. Among her degrees are a bachelor of arts in Anthropology from the University of New Mexico and a master of arts in Linguistics from the University of Colorado.

Petrick, who's married with two children, said her personal interests include outdoor activities, running, reading good books, and learning other languages and cultures.


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