WPS Department Introduction
Language & Literature
Our talented Language and Literature Department, pictured from left to right: Mr. Ethan Smith, Ms. Leilani Verango, Ms. Dana Van Reeth, Ms. Reaba Mall, and Ms. Marina Goguen, can often be found with a book in their hands.
Together, these five teachers provide instruction in language and literature to 6th – 12th grade students here at Willows Prep. They love to see our students express themselves in writing and accomplish challenging tasks in collaboration with their peers. Our teachers come to work every day with high expectations for our students and enjoy providing focused instruction to individual students made possible due to our class sizes at WPS. Each of these teachers challenges our students to think deeply, make connections and analyze the role of literature in the world around them. When not in classrooms at WPS, our Language and Literature department enjoys a range of activities including travel, hiking, yoga, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, playing musical instruments and, of course, reading.
Mr. Gary Dineen, Ms. Lara Swenson, Ms. Tina Gao, and Mr. Dennis Blum (pictured from left to right) are the mathematicians who spend their days at Willows Prep, challenging our learners to think deeply about the connections that exist in the world of mathematics. These teachers encourage their students to consider the why behind the how, and to explore the ability to model the world using numbers and relationships. They get joy seeing our Willows students believe in themselves as mathematicians and develop confidence to tackle real world problems with the skills learned in the classroom. When not teaching, you can generally find these teachers outdoors enjoying time with family, training for a marathon, skiing, cycling, or backpacking.
Individuals & Societies
Our engaging Individuals & Societies Department consists of (pictured from left to right): Ms. Marina Goguen, Mr. Jeff Glynn, and Ms. Ava Brown. (Not pictured: Ms. Dana Van Reeth.)
These four teachers challenge and inspire our 6th – 12th grade learners to think critically about the human experience and behavior, along with the various environments that people occupy, and the history of societal and cultural institutions. They are passionate about our diverse student body, the thematic nature of the IB and WPS curriculum, and working with students to express themselves in writing as well as speech. When our teachers are not inspiring and challenging our students here, they enjoy reading, traveling, yoga, jiujitsu, and being outdoors.
Our science department (pictured from left to right): Mr. Kevin Honz, Mr. Matt Owen, Ms. Jennifer Duckworth, Ms. Anu Padhye, and Mr. Luke Slotton.
Together, these creative teachers provide science instruction our middle school and high school Willows Prep students. They are passionate about discovery and student learning, and routinely build learning experiences that engage students in creating and testing hypothesis built on observation of the world around us. These teachers value the “ah ha!” moments our students experience when they are able to take a challenging theory and put it into action in a way that allows for true understanding. These teachers share a love for the curiosity and enthusiasm for learning that embodies our WPS students. When not in the lab, you can find these teachers outdoors enjoying all the Pacific Northwest has to offer including hiking and swimming, or indoors crafting, reading, or playing Dungeons & Dragons.
5th Grade Teaching Team
Our wonderful 5th grade teaching team, from left to right: Mr. Pete Nini, Mr. Matt Bergvall, Mrs. Bailey Rojas, Ms. Maddy Hurley, and Ms. Joanna Zhang.
These amazing teachers spend every day with our 80 5th grade students. When asked to articulate some of their favorite parts of being 5th grade teachers at WPS, they shared, “being around students and their eagerness to learn”, “being in the presence of students and their lively energy”, “the vibrance and creativity of teaching upper elementary”, “students’ reactions when they learn something new”, and “seeing students taking their past and present knowledge and going further with their ideas and interests.” When outside of WPS, our fifth-grade teachers can be found doing things like watching sports or movies, hiking, playing musical instruments, spending time with pet, reading, puzzling, and working on fiber arts. Though four of our five teachers are new to the WPS family this year, they have made quick work of collaboratively building a community in our 5th grade wing, inspiring our learners to take learning risks and build new knowledge every day.
Design Technology & Performing Arts Departments
Pictured, from left to right, are Mr. Sam Leeper, Ms. Becky Gil, Mr. Adam Romeo, and Mr. Ken Weller.
Mr. Sam Leeper and Mr. Adam Romeo, along with Ms. Tina Gao (not pictured) are our Design Technology Department. Ms. Becky Gill and Mr. Ken Weller make up our Performing Arts Department. These teachers inspire our students to look at the world holistically, embrace their creativity, and believe in themselves as they perform on stage, with the band or in our theater performances. These teachers find great joy in sharing what they love with the students and truly appreciate the opportunity to know each unique student on a personal level. Outside of the classroom, they can be found performing in local shows, enjoying the outdoors with family – human and furry, and reading or cooking.