To the wonderful Trillium community,
It has been ten years since I was first given the opportunity to take part in this exciting experiment we have all come to know and love. As a high school advisor, I have watched Trillium grow from a chaotic, joyful enterprise of 200 students in a small building near the Rose Quarter to a more organized, joyful experience of 350 students at its current location. I have taught in classrooms, tents, and campouts. I have seen many hundreds of gifted students come through my classroom and have had the gift of working with many talented and dedicated teachers.
My experience at Trillium has helped shape me as a teacher, a learner, a community member, and as a person. In fact, I feel as much a product of Trillium as a creator of it. Trillium has challenged me and supported me. As we encourage our students to push their boundaries and pursue their passions, so too have I had the opportunity to model those behaviours. The strategies that we support in our community have become central to my life as a healthy adult, inside and outside of Trillium’s walls. The process of peaceful conflict resolution, which includes healthy conversation, mediation, collaborative problem solving, and restorative justice practices have helped transform my own ability to interact with myself and the world in the healthiest ways possible. These have been lessons of accountability and compassion which I believe are critical for leading healthy, productive lives as individuals, and as a society. Trillium has supported, and will continue to support, creating a world we all deserve to live in.
As much as I adore this place and the people in it, it is with mixed emotions that I announce my departure from the Trillium teaching community.
After many years of being the entirety of the high school social studies department, I am excited to collaborate with what I consider to be one of the most innovative and progressive social studies departments in the nation, at Madison High School in Northeast Portland. I have colleagues there with whom I have collaborated over the years and am looking forward to developing and implementing curriculum with other talented folks in my same content area.
It is also worth noting, that finances play a role in my decision to leave. The realities of the current funding structure for charter schools in Oregon make it difficult to remain long term as I look toward helping my children pay for college in the not-too-distant future, and as I make plans for my own retirement. Oregon Senate Bill 819 has the capacity to address some of these inequities. If you have not already contacted your state congressperson to support the bill, I encourage you to do so.
I leave with an open heart, an intense fondness for the people I work with, and affection and respect for the students it has been my honor to serve. One of the gifts of our small, dynamic institution is our ability to adapt and respond to the needs of its population. Trillium has always been a place of change, and I hope that it always will be. As the we learn from challenges and embrace new ideas and members of our community, it would be irresponsible to do anything but adapt and transform. Trillium is a stronger, healthier, more sustainable institution than it has ever been, and I am proud to have been a member of this vibrant community for the past decade.
As much as possible I would like to leave Trillium in the same spirit with which I have embraced my many years in this community - with joy, honesty, and an open heart. In that spirit, I would like to invite everyone who is interested in sharing and celebrating with me to a potluck party at Overlook Park on Friday, July 10th at 6:00 pm. I look forward to being with you.
I cannot express enough my sincere appreciation for gifts that my Trillium experience has brought me. I am indebted to every Trillium community member, past and present, who has made this journey with me.