The White Salmon Valley School District is bringing in 10 new teachers and staff members this school year and they are ready and raring to go. Here is a little about each of the new hires:
Art Teacher, Henkle Middle School
Shawna Caldwell graduated from Columbia High School in 1990 and holds a B.A. in Art from Linfield College where she graduated magna cum laude. She taught art at Hood River Valley High School for several years. During a short break from the classroom, Caldwell pursued other business endeavors as a restaurateur with her husband and the two have owned and operated several restaurants in Hood River. Along with teaching art at Henkle Middle, Caldwell is also pursuing a Master’s degree in Art Education and when she’s not teaching she enjoys spending time with her two kids.
First grade, Whitson Elementary School
Jill Chance was raised in Hood River and went to high school there. She holds a B.A. in Spanish and Special Education from the University of Oregon along with a Master’s in Teaching from Concordia University. Chance loves sports, including soccer, basketball, and tennis and still plays soccer in an adult coed league. She has been a substitute teacher in Hood River and The Dalles and when she isn’t in the classroom she enjoys traveling. Chance studied abroad in Spain and has visited Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico.
Mike Church Principal, Henkle Middle School
Mike Church follows former Henkle Middle School Principal Rick George, who retired in 2013. Church, who is from Morton, started his career in education in 1988 after attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and 11 years of active duty in the Army. For another 11 years, he taught middle school mathematics in Tacoma and moved into an administrative role as principal at a middle school in Unalaska, Ala. Church was also in administrative roles at the Universal American School in Kuwait and the Surefoot American International School in Nigeria. Church now lives in White Salmon with his wife and enjoys being closer to his four children, who are all grown and live in Washington.
Trisha Eddy Fifth grade, Henkle Middle School
Trisha Eddy was born and raised in Red Bluff, Calif., and graduated from the University of Alabama as a college athlete with a B.S. in Psychology. She also has a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and is certified to teacher kindergarten through 8th-grade in five states. She has taught multiple ages in Park City, Utah, and in Sun Valley, Idaho. She most recently taught at the Gorge Discovery School in Hood River. She fell in love with the Gorge years ago on a windsurfing and biking vacation and vowed to make it home. Trisha enjoys all outdoor activities that the Gorge has to offer. The move finally happened in March 2012 and she couldn’t be happier being part of the community.
Todd McCauley Principal, Whitson Elementary School
Todd McCauley follows former Whitson Elementary School Principal Vicki Prendergast, who retired in 2013 after 13 years. McCauley, who is from Corbett, Ore., holds a B.A. from Portland State University and received his teacher licensure from Warner Pacific College in Portland. At the Reynolds School District, McCauley taught primarily elementary school for several years before taking a job as vice principal at Westside/Dos Mundos Elementary in 2006. McCauley and his wife, Jennifer, live in a house in Husum with their three children, Sawyer, 8; Lilly, 6; and Jasper, 3.
District Curriculum and Instruction Facilitator
Jerry Miller is serving in a newly created position within the district as the Curriculum and Instruction Facilitator. He and his wife, Jan, are returning to White Salmon, where they both taught at Whitson Elementary from 1984 to 1990. Jerry is beginning his 32nd year as an educator in Washington. He has been a classroom teacher, District Curriculum Director, Professional Development Coordinator, and was the Statewide Reading Specialist at the Office of Superintendent for Public Instruction in Olympia. In his off hours, Jerry enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, entertaining and spending time with his grandson. He and his wife are looking forward to moving into their new home on Vine Street later this month, and to reconnect with the White Salmon community. He will be serving pie at the Huck-Fest on Friday, Sept. 6 and Saturday, Sept. 7 from noon until 2 pm and hopes to see some of his former students and families.
Peter Prosch-Jenson Music Teacher, Columbia High School
Peter Prosch-Jenson, or Mr. PJ, is originally from Kirkland, and studied music education at Central Washington University. Prosch-Jenson spent four years in Ellensburg and is excited to take advantage for the outdoor activities within the Columbia River Gorge and is ecstatic about the support for the arts in the community. He has performed in concert bands, choirs, and jazz ensembles and is looking forward to creating new musical experiences with the students and community of White Salmon.
Mark Wilhelms Special Education Teacher, Columbia High School
Mark Wilhelms was born in Niagara Falls, N.Y., but also grew up in Virginia and New Jersey. Wilhelms holds a B.A. in Political Philosophy from Ursinua College in Collegeville, Pa. and obtained his teaching certification from Eastern Washington University in duel Special and Elementary Education Programs He has run campaigns and state initiatives in New Jersey and Massachusetts for multiple environmental grassroots organizations and prior to moving to White Salmon lived in Spokane for 18 years where he ran Supplemental Education Services at six Title I schools within Spokane Public Schools. He was also Education Coordinator and Special Education Teacher at the Tamarack Center, an adolescent psychiatric residential treatment facility. Wilhelms and his wife, Betsy, have four sons, Oshyn, 20; Phoenix, 17; Jonah, 14; and Ezra, 10.
Jack Wilkinson Special Education Teacher, Henkle Middle School
Jack Wilkinson was born in Milwaukee, Wis., and moved to Wabasha, Minn., and eventually went to school in Berlin, Germany; Budapest, Hungary; Beijing, China; and London, England. Wilkinson holds a B.S. in Psychology from Northern Arizona University and has worked and managed a children’s domestic violence shelter in Flagstaff, Ariz., and worked in residential youth group homes in Sacramento, Calif., and Portland. He holds a Master’s degree in Education from Portland State University with certifications in Secondary Social Studies and Special Education. He has a fiancee, Lindsay, and two cats, Lewbowski and Virgil, that live in Portland.
Becky Williams Fourth Grade, Whitson Elementary School
Becky Williams was born and raised in Wyoming and got her first job after graduating from the University of Wyoming teaching 2nd grade in Reedsport, Ore. Williams then taught at a university in southern China and then 2nd- and 3rd-grade in Seattle. She and her husband have lived in White Salmon since 2005. Williams has been working part-time, most recently as the Safe Routes to School Coordinator with the Klickitat County Health Department, while home-raising her three young children. Now that her twins are entering kindergarten, Williams is excited to be back in the classroom and enjoys being with her family and friends, biking, camping, running, gardening, reading, and laughing.