Features

New Staff Interviews

By Sarah O’Donnell

Eryn Van Horn

What classes do you teach at FGHS?

English 1 and English 2.

How long have you been teaching?

I have been a high school teacher for 12 years, but this is my first year teaching English. I was an special education case manager and teacher before coming to FGHS.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about teaching.  I love my job and I hope that students learn more than just how to write a good essay (although, I do hope they learn to that too). I hope students can learn to believe in their own capabilities to be successful in whatever they put their mind to.  

What’s the best class you’ve ever taken at any point in your education?

Dyslexia and the Brain was the name of the class, if I remember correctly.  I loved this class because dyslexia affects around 15% of students. This means I have students who are super smart, but who are struggling to read in my class.  As an English teacher, that is important for me to understand. I’m fascinated with the way the brain works.  

What does the perfect dinner consist of/favorite food?

A blanket spread out on a grassy field surrounded by the mountains with a picnic basket filled with crab, salami, crackers, a variety of cheeses, fruit, and skittles.  

What brought you to FGHS?

Forest Grove is the community I have lived in for almost 4 years now.  I wanted to invest in my community and feel connected to more of my students’ lives.  Now that I teach here, I will be able to go to games and other school based activities.  My kids will go to school here someday and I’d like to help make Forest Grove High School a place where students feel safe and want to be.  

 

Travis Torcher

 

What classes do you teach at FGHS?

I am teaching World Studies and Street Law.

How long have you been teaching?

This will my fourth year full time, but sixth when including substitute teaching.

What are you passionate about?

Other than history and teaching, I truly enjoy reading and being outside. During my summers I spend a lot time hiking, camping, rafting (I am whitewater river guide during the summers), and reading with my wife.

What sports do you play or have you played in the past?

I played football for four years at Linfield College. However, I grew up playing multiple sports: basketball, baseball, track & field, wrestling, and golf.

What’s your perfect vacation spot?

It is a toss up between Hawaii for the sun and Germany for the history.

Would you rather travel to the future or past?

Why? Past, just to be able to witness historical events first hand and develop my own opinion on what happened.

What do you enjoy most about teaching/what got you into teaching?

I love being able to talk about topics I am passionate about with students. I also enjoy helping students make the connection from past events to our current world. I have always had a strong interest for history and felt teaching would be the best option to be around the topic.

 

Paige Jensen

What classes do you teach at FGHS?

English 10 and 12, Transcript English.

How long have you been teaching?

First year 🙂

What are you passionate about?

Making each student feel cared for and appreciated. I also love music, staying active, and spending time with my friends and family

What sports do you play or have you played in the past?

Basketball, volleyball, softball, and soccer.

What’s the best class you’ve ever taken at any point in your education?

Political Science in college.

What does the perfect dinner consist of/favorite food?

Taco salad, chips and salsa.

Would you rather travel to the future or past?

Past, I’d like to go back to a time that wasn’t so technology focused. Don’t get me wrong I love technology, but I think we tend to miss out on important interactions because we are too distracted with our devices.

If you had to be trapped on a TV show for a month, which show would it be and why?

One Tree Hill or The Office. I’d love to hang out with both of the casts from those shows.

Valerie Dambach

What classes do you teach at FGHS?

Pre-Algebra and Transition Algebra 2.

How long have you been teaching?

17 years total–All levels k-12.

What are you passionate about?

My family… Husband Ryan, Mayson (5) and Jackson (1).  I would do just about anything for them. Also teaching and organizing…

What’s your perfect vacation spot?

Fiji–on the beach, snorkeling, enjoying the beautiful scenery and weather.

What brought you to FGHS?

I came HOME!  Graduated in 1996 from FGHS, and 20 years later I moved back home

from Southern California.

If you had to be trapped on a TV show for a month, which show would it be and why?

Survivor! I have watched every single episode. Love it!

If you weren’t a teacher, you would be a. . . ?

Veterinarian.

 

Katherine Talbott

What classes do you teach at FGHS?

I teach Geometry and Transition Algebra 2.

How long have you been teaching?

This is my first year teaching.

What sports do you play or have you played in the past?

I played volleyball and soccer for 13 years each.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about learning, math, and my relationships with friends and family.

Who is most important to you?

My family is most important; my mom, my dad, and both my sisters.

What’s the best class you’ve ever taken at any point in your education?

The best class I’ve ever taken was Econometrics. It was a combination of Statistics and Economic theory.

If you weren’t a teacher, you would be a. . . ?

Definitely an Economist.

 

Lynn McCune

What classes do you teach at FGHS?

I teach English 1 Honors and English 2 Honors. I’m also the advisor for GSA!

How long have you been teaching?

This is my 10th year of teaching.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about my work with teenagers and helping them see a variety of perspectives.  I also love live music and sporting events, spending time with my family, and exploring my new state.

What sports do you play or have you played in the past?

I used to play softball, basketball, and rugby.  Now I stick with CrossFit.

Have you ever broken a bone?

I did a very good job of shattering my wrist when it slammed into the steering wheel of my car (my tire blew out on a highway and I hit a pole).  Four surgeries later, and I have a fair amount of mobility in my wrist and some wicked scars.

What’s the best class you’ve ever taken at any point in your education?

I’m very fortunate to have taken a number of excellent classes in high school and college, but the one that sticks with me the most is Peace Studies, a class I took for a semester in high school.  Ms. Peacock’s course was absolutely incredible, and spending time studying people who worked hard to bring about peace was gratifying in the midst of my typical history classes which seemed perpetually mired in war.  She also taught us an elegant lesson about the need for questioning authority that somehow hit home for us without resulting in chaotic rebellion.  I hope some day to inspire my students the way that she inspired me.

What brought you to FGHS?

Another FGHS teacher (the amazing Ms. Nelson) and I worked together a few years back at a school in California.  Near the end of the last school year, I came up to visit her and she mentioned that FGHS was looking for an English teacher.  From everything I heard, FGHS seemed like a great community to join and the English curriculum aligned well with my values in regards to education.  How could I resist?

 

Bobby Kirkman

What classes do you teach at FGHS?

AP Psychology and CALC Social Studies.

How long have you been teaching?

10 years.

What sports do you play or have you played in the past?

Football, Basketball, Soccer, Baseball, Hockey, Volleyball, Track, Snowboarding.

Currently, Futsal.

Have you ever broken a bone?

Avulsion Fracture to the Left, Fifth Metatarsal.

What does the perfect dinner consist of/favorite food?

Seared Ahi.

What’s your perfect vacation spot?

Iceland.

Who is most important to you?

Shannon, my better half.

What brought you to FGHS?

The people and a desire to be an Oregonian.

Would you rather travel to the future or past? Why?

Past. More to do/more interesting people to meet.

If you had to be trapped on a TV show for a month, which show would it be and why?

The Office; play pranks on Dwight with Jim.

 

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Categories: Features, School News

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