VCS High School Directory

Kelly Alfieri

Assistant Athletic Director | Kelly has served as the assistant athletic director since 2011 and the CYO athletic director since 2008. She earned an athletic scholarship to Oregon State University where she competed in track for four years. Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and worked in the Human Performance Laboratory for OHSU before becoming a full-time mother. She was an active volunteer parent in the Valley Catholic grade school before becoming involved in the athletic department. All six of her children have attended Valley Catholic.

[email protected]

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Assistant Athletic Director
Kathleen Beemer

Science | Kathleen “Kelly” Beemer has a B.S in biology from the University of San Francisco, and a M.S. in Tumor Biology from Georgetown University. She spent many years working in vaccine development and cancer research, even publishing papers, presenting at international conferences, and being named on a biotech patent. She was a stay at home mom for many years, and managed to tutor students in biology and AP biology in the evenings. She began teaching at VCMS in 2018 before making her way across the parking lot to the high school in 2019 for a long-term sub position and again in 2020 to join the science department. She will be teaching Health I, Anatomy and Physiology, and freshmen Biology. In her free time Kelly enjoys spending time with her family (and cats!), baking goodies in the kitchen, and traveling.

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Science Teacher
Eric Berge

Religion and Girls Cross Country Head Coach | Eric Berge teaches the freshman Intro to Religion and junior Catholic Social Teaching class. He began teaching at Valley Catholic in 2006 and, after a three year stint on the East Coast, returned to Valley Catholic in 2017. From 2014-2017, Eric taught religion and U.S. history at Cristo Rey New York High School in New York City, where he also served as the head cross country coach. He received a B.A. in Religious Studies, with minors in History and Philosophy, from Gonzaga University and a M.S. in Conflict Resolution from Portland State University. After graduating from Gonzaga, Eric worked for one year with the Passionist Volunteers International in Kingston, Jamaica. Eric serves as an assistant boys cross country coach, and served as the head girls cross country coach from 2007-2013, leading the Valiants to three district championships and two second place finishes at the OSAA State Championship meet.

[email protected]

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Religion Teacher
Ian Berge

History and Boys Cross Country Head Coach | Ian Berge teaches freshman Global Studies and an American West History elective for juniors and seniors. He has been teaching social studies at Valley Catholic since 2012. He received a B.A. in History and Political Science from Gonzaga University. After his undergraduate studies, Ian earned an M.A. in History from Portland State University. He has also been the head boys cross country coach at Valley Catholic since 2017, after serving as an assistant coach since 2011. During his time on the coaching staff, the Valiants have won 4 state championships in boys cross country.

[email protected]

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History Teacher
Joe Bernard

College Counselor | Joe Bernard, Valley Catholic’s college counselor since 2000, earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and a master’s degree in student counseling from the University of Portland. With 30 years of college counseling experience, Joe is Oregon’s first school-based Certified Educational Planner, the highest credential possible for college counselors. He chairs the Portland National College Fair, served as President of the Higher Education Consultant Association (HECA), and volunteers on Marquette University’s Admissions advisory board. He served six years on the executive boards of the American Institute of Certified Educational Planners,(AICEP), currently serves the board of the Pacific Northwest Association for College Admission Counseling (PNACAC), and he is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, (NACAC). Joe holds a charter membership in the Higher Educational Consultants Association, for which he served as vice president for six years. Joe was an admissions officer at the University of Portland for seven years and taught a graduate level college-counseling course for Lewis and Clark College. He enjoys his family, and spending time outdoors, camping, biking, water skiing, scuba diving, gardening and marveling at creation.

[email protected]

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College Counselor
Chris Bernards

Math and Religion | Chris Bernards teaches Advanced Theology and Ethics, A.P. Statistics, and Economics while also coaching the boys JV basketball. He came to Valley Catholic in 2014 from Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma where he worked for 8 years in the math department and as the department chair. Before teaching, Chris spent one year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corp and worked for 3 years in the business world for Pacific Star Communications. Chris earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of San Diego, master’s degree in teaching at Pacific University, and graduated from Jesuit High School in Portland. Chris’s wife, Malia, an alumna of Valley Catholic, now teaches at Jesuit, while Chris, an alumnus of Jesuit, teaches at Valley Catholic. They have two children, Tristan and Teddy, who attend Valley Catholic Elementary School.

[email protected]

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Math and Religion Teacher
Ed Braun

Religion and Boys Golf Head Coach | Ed Braun has taught at Valley Catholic since 1992 and is chairman of the religion department. Ed earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s in theology and ethics from the University of Iowa. Before coming to Valley Catholic he taught for three years at Bishop Garcia Diego High School in Santa Barbara while studying non-Western religious traditions at the University of California Santa Barbara. At Valley Catholic Ed teaches upper-division Relationships and Theology. Ed’s both a Valley Catholic teacher and parent: his daughter is a senior and his son a sophomore. Ed started Valley Catholic’s golf teams and is an avid golfer himself…and still the class of the campus’s linksmen.

[email protected]

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Religion and Boys Golf Head Coach
Brenna Brown

Dean of Academics and English Department Chair | Brenna Brown is the Valley Catholic High School Dean of Academics and chair of the English department. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English, as well as her licensure and certification in secondary education, at the University of Iowa and went on to earn a master’s of science in curriculum and instruction at Portland State University. Brenna joined Valley Catholic’s faculty in 1999 as an English teacher and continues to teach AP English Literature and Composition to seniors. When she isn’t grading student essays, Brenna may be found reading, cooking, camping, or walking her poorly behaved dog with her well-behaved husband.

[email protected]

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Dean of Academics and English Department Chair
John Brunecz

Math | John Brunecz came to Valley Catholic in 2006 after 38 years of high school math teaching, 18 in Pennsylvania and 20 in the Portland Public School District (where he was awarded in 2001 the Portland Schools Foundation’s Excellence in Education Teacher of the Year Award). At Valley Catholic John teaches Pre-Calculus, Algebra II, Advanced Algebra II, and Math 8. John also has 20 years of experience as a high school head coach of basketball, track, and soccer, earning four coach-of-the-year honors. John has a bachelor’s degree in math education and a master’s in education in math, both at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. John and his wife Wanda have a large family, whose most recent additions are three great-grandchildren.

[email protected]

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Math Teacher
Elizabeth Burgess

French | Elizabeth Burgess is the Valley Catholic French teacher and World Language department chair. She has been a teacher at Valley since 2012 and is an alumna of the school as well. She developed her love for languages here at Valley, went on to study French at the University of Portland, and then lived in France for a year after graduation, teaching English.

World Language

[email protected]

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French Teacher
Patrick Chapman

History and Psychology Teacher | Patrick Chapman joined Valley Catholic’s faculty in the fall of 2016. He teaches Government, Psychology, and Modern World History. Mr. Chapman previously taught at Monroe Catholic Jr./Sr. High School in Fairbanks, Alaska, where he was in both the PE and History departments, as well as being the Assistant Athletic Director at Monroe.  Mr. Chapman is a proud graduate of the University of Portland where he received a B.S. in Secondary Education and History, and has since gone back to get a Masters in Education (M.Ed) and Administrative Credential. 

[email protected]

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History and Psychology Teacher
Matt Coussens

PE and Health Teacher | Matt Coussens teaches PE and Health at Valley Catholic High School. Matt earned his bachelor’s degree from Gonzaga University in 2007, where he majored in history and political science. He also earned his master’s degree in teaching from Concordia University in 2017. Outside of school, Matt enjoys spending time with his wife and family, reading, and playing sports.

[email protected]

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PE and Health Teacher
Vanessa Davis

Science Department Chair | Vanessa Davis earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and physical science from San Francisco State and a secondary education teaching practicum from Portland State. Vanessa began her career at Mercy College Preparatory in San Francisco, teaching chemistry and physical science and serving as assistant in the admissions department. After her family moved to Portland she worked for five years in research with Boise Cascade before returning to teaching at St. Mary’s Academy as a chemistry teacher. After then staying home with young children for a few years, Vanessa came to Valley Catholic in 2012 as fifth and sixth grade science specialist before moving to the high school in 2014, where she now teaches chemistry and physics. Vanessa enjoys reading and gardening and, when they’re not all skiing, she and her husband enjoy watching their two sons playing baseball and basketball.

[email protected]

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Science Department Chair
Jenn Deal

Fine Arts Teacher and Cross Country and Track Coach | Jenn Deal graduated from Appalachian State University with a BFA in Graphic Design and earned a Masters of Art in teaching from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She teaches Art and Advanced Art courses. Outside of teaching, Jenn enjoys running, hiking, and spending time with her husband, two little boys, and their lab named Lily.

[email protected]

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Fine Arts Teacher
Kalani Efstathiou

Director of Admissions | Kalani Efstathiou ’06 now serves as the Director of Admissions. He came back to campus in 2015 to teach math at Valley Catholic Middle School and served as the Math Department Head for two years. Kalani is a returning alumnus of Valley Catholic High School and was involved in athletics and served as the Student Body President during his time at VCHS. Kalani continued his studies at Sacred Heart University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics in 2010. During his time at Sacred Heart University, Kalani received the Outstanding Achievement Award for his research in mathematical proofs and was also awarded the Silver Medal of Excellence by the mathematics department. Kalani returned to Sacred Heart University as the Head Men’s Volleyball Coach for three years before moving back to Oregon to raise his family. Kalani now coaches volleyball at Valley Catholic High School and for a local club. He is married to fellow VCHS graduate Katherine Efstathiou (Bamford) ‘06 and is the father of Lucien and Logan, who attend Valley Catholic School as well.

[email protected]

 

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Director of Admissions
Nathan Fisher

Science and Math Teacher and Basketball and Golf Coach | Nathan Fisher, who joined Valley Catholic in 2015, teaches Physics, Math, and Television Studies. Nathan graduated from Whitman College with a double major in mathematics and film/media studies and a minor in physics. For three years at Whitman, he served as a teaching assistant in both physics labs and classrooms. Nathan played golf for Whitman and was a member of the college’s bridge team, one of the best in the country. He wrote weekly movie reviews and articles for the college paper and edited articles on other subjects. Nathan’s also a jazz and classical cellist, a basketball and volleyball player, and a well-experienced backpacker. In addition to teaching, Nathan helps coach both Girls Golf and Basketball.

[email protected]

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Science and Math Teacher
Peter Gallagher

History Department Chair | Peter Gallagher earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in English and history from the University of Oregon and a master’s degree in teaching from the University of Portland. At Valley Catholic he teaches Junior U.S. History, Freshman Global Studies, and a new elective of his design, “Conflict Zones,” which studies Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Crimea, Palestine, Cyprus, the Basque region, Rwanda, Venezuela, Indonesia, and other conflict-stricken areas. At the University of Portland, Peter served as a summer tutor in many academic areas to prepare students entering high school and to address their parents’ concerns; at the University of Oregon he was a reading and writing associate, developing a tutoring program for writers struggling in English courses; he also worked four years at Camp Howard, is an avid backpacker, and assists in Valley Catholic’s outdoor program.

[email protected]

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History Department Chair
Kayla Gaspardis

P.E. Department Chair | Kayla Gaspardis came to Valley Catholic as a Health and P.E. teacher and head girls soccer coach in the fall of 2011. She played high school soccer at Jesuit for four years – leading the Crusaders to two State Titles and a second place. She then played four years at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, an NAIA powerhouse, where she was team captain. She led Westmont to the Final Four once and Elite Eight twice and was named Westmont’s Golden Eagle Scholar-Athlete Award for excellence in academics, character, and play. Kayla also coached five summers at the University of Portland summer camps and after college graduation became an assistant for the Pilot women. Kayla has a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from Westmont College and a master’s in teaching from the University of Portland. She is also certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Kayla’s Valiant girls soccer team was state runner-up in 2012 and state champion in 2013, when she was named State Coach of the Year.

[email protected]

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P.E. Department Chair
Allison Gates

Director of Student Activities and Girls Basketball Coach | Allison Waibel Gates '05, a long and cat-quick #1 on the Valiants press, earned three varsity letters in basketball at Valley and another three in soccer. She was a defensive whiz on Valley Catholic's 2004 state tournament team and in 2005 was team captain. Allison attended Oregon State University, graduating in 2010. In 2009, Allison was named co-director of the CYO basketball camp held annually at Valley Catholic. Allison currently works for the Sports Medicine Institute of Oregon in Beaverton. After serving as alumni relations manager for the SSMO Foundation, Allison was named director of student activities in 2017.

[email protected]

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Director of Student Activities
Krista Gram

Dean of Students | Krista Gram serves VCHS as the Dean of Students. Krista grew up in the Beaverton area, attending St. Cecilia Elementary School before attending Valley Catholic High School. A member of the Valley Catholic Class of 1995, Krista has a notable educational background and experience in education, spanning from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. Krista spent her early years teaching and coaching at Blanchet Catholic School in Salem, Oregon. She earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Western Oregon University and holds an Administrative License from the University of Oregon. Krista spends her free time reading, enjoying the outdoors and spending time with family.

[email protected]

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Dean of Students
Jeremy Grondin

Math Teacher and Cross Country and Track Coach | Jeremy Grondin earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Miami University, Ohio, and master’s in education, specializing in mathematics, from Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program. At Miami he also tutored in pre-calculus and calculus and worked as a supplemental instructor in the math department. Jeremy taught four years (2010-2014) at Mount St. Mary Catholic High School in Oklahoma City, where he was assigned for two years as part of his ACE responsibility and then remained. At Mount St. Mary’s Jeremy taught Algebra I, II, and III, Geometry, and Pre-calculus, served as an assistant track coach and assistant and then head cross country coach. In the fall of 2012 his girls cross country team won the state championship, his boys were second, and he was named State Coach of the Year. As an undergraduate, Jeremy was a member of Miami University’s Mock Trial team that placed in the Top 10 at the National Championship Tournament three years straight.

[email protected]

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Math Teacher
Dan Hannon

Religion | Dan Hannon, who came to Valley Catholic in the fall of 2013, teaches all sophomore religion classes. Dan graduated from the University of Portland with a bachelor’s degree in history and earned a master’s in education, also from UP. After receiving his master’s degree Dan joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JCV), for whom he taught in Newark, New Jersey before joining JVC’s national staff in Baltimore. Dan worked for four years at UP’s Office of Residential Life and Moreau Center for Service and Leadership, advising service and justice coordinators in residence halls and students considering post-graduate service.

[email protected]

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Religion Teacher
Travis Hatton

Fine Arts | Director of Orchestras at Valley Catholic, Travis Hatton has proven to be one of the most versatile conductors of his generation. His wide interests have led him to work with opera companies, orchestras, chamber orchestras, choruses and bands.

Mr. Hatton held two posts during his five years in Europe (1992-1997): Conductor of the Moravian Opera Theater (Olomouc, the Czech Republic) and Artistic Director of the City Opera Theater of Usti nad Labem (also in the Czech Republic). As an orchestral conductor, Mr. Hatton has appeared as a guest conductor with orchestras in Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic while in Europe. As a wind ensemble conductor, Mr. Hatton served as Interim Director of the Symphonic Band and taught classroom conducting at Oregon State University (1998-2000).

As a teacher, in addition to his position at Oregon State University, Mr. Hatton was Assistant Conductor of Orchestras at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, Instructor in Conducting at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, and Conductor of the East Central Indiana Youth Symphony. He has also served as the On-Site Director of the International Opera Workshop in Opava, the Czech Republic (1993-1997), organized by Symphonic Workshops, Ltd. of Toronto.

Mr. Hatton is the Music Director of the Sunnyside Symphony at the Sunnyside SDA Church in Portland, Oregon. He is also the Music Director of the Beaverton Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Hatton holds a Bachelors of Music degree (awarded Magna Cum Laude) in Music Theory and Composition from the University of the Pacific and a Masters of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from the New England Conservatory of Music.

[email protected]

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Fine Arts
Andy Haugen

Librarian and History Teacher | Andy Haugen joined Valley Catholic's faculty in the fall of 2015. He is the Middle School and High School librarian, in addition to teaching ninth grade global studies and being the head JV2 blue boys basketball coach. He has a B.A. in History (2011) and a M.A.T (2013) from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, and received his M.A in History from Arizona State University. A 2007 graduate of Valley Catholic High School, he helped the Valiants boys basketball team win their first-ever OSAA state championship. He then went on to play basketball for four years at Pacific University. Outside of academics, Andy enjoys being outdoors, spending time with friends and family, and going to the beach. He is chairman of Citizens Participation Organization 10.

[email protected]

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Librarian and History Teacher
Catalina Huidor

Spanish | Profesora Huidor joined Valley Catholic High School in 2017 and currently teaches Spanish I and a new class on the history of cinematography in the Spanish speaking world. She relocated to Oregon from Texas in 2015 where she worked as an educator for several years in public schools (elementary through high school), college, and a retirement community. She earned her B.A. in Italian/ Art History from UCLA, and her M.A. in Spanish from Indiana University. Her interests include playing Scrabble, taking road trips across the country with her husband, hiking in national parks, biking, traveling in the USA and abroad, reading and eating. She has studied abroad in Italy and Guatemala, and if she were younger, she would do it again, but this time it would be an Asian country! Catalina is passionate about exploring and learning about other cultures, and enjoys sharing her passion with Valley Catholic students. She is leading a trip to Spain this summer, and the following summer to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

[email protected]

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Spanish Teacher
Doug Ierardi

Principal | Doug Ierardi is principal of Valley Catholic High School. He came to Valley Catholic in 2010, and has served as academic vice principal, dean of academics, social studies and religion teacher, head football coach and assistant softball coach. Before coming to Valley Catholic, Doug was principal for four years at Regis High School in Stayton, Oregon, where he had served as dean of students, teacher, head football and track coach. Doug, a native New Englander, has also taught religion and history and coached football, track, cross country, and soccer at high schools in New Hampshire. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from St. Anselm College in New Hampshire and his master’s degree in education (Catholic School Leadership) from Marymount University in Virginia. Doug’s wife is an instructional assistant at Valley Catholic Elementary School. All three of their children are graduates of Valley Catholic High School; Allison (2016), Matthew (2018), and Joseph (2021).

[email protected]

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Principal
John Innes

English | John Innes, who joined Valley Catholic in 2003, teaches sophomore English and senior Creative Writing. John graduated from St. George’s School in Spokane, where he played soccer, basketball, and baseball. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College in New York, where he played golf and was voice of the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Before joining Valley Catholic, John was a professional fly fisherman in Sun Valley, Idaho, and released a DVD called “A Season on Silver Creek and the Big Wood River.” John served four years as boys’ JV basketball coach at St. George’s High School. He was Valley Catholic’s head girls’ basketball coach between 2004-2018 and accumulated a record of 305-89. He was named the West Valley League’s Coach of the Year in the ’06-’07, ’07-’08, and ’08-’09 seasons, leading his teams to back-to-back-to-back WVL league and district titles. John led the Valiants to OSAA state tournament second places in 2007, 2012, and 2014; a third in 2008; fourth in 2009 and 2018; and a fifth in 2015. After four Final Four appearances in six years, the Valiants won the state championship in 2013 and John was named Oregon State 3A Girls’ Basketball Coach of the Year. He continues to assist the girls’ basketball program alongside Coach Pat Thomas.

[email protected]

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English Teacher
Kipp Johnson

Math | Kipp Johnson has taught mathematics at Valley Catholic since 1986, and is the chairman of the math department. His current assignments are AP Calculus I, AP Calculus II, Accelerated PreCalculus, and Honors 7th Grade math. Kipp earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Princeton, a master’s in mathematics from Portland State, and a master’s in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. His hobbies are doing the New York Times crossword puzzle (best Saturday time: 15 minutes) and playing the piano (and still, after 60 years, working on Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in E flat minor).

[email protected]

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Math Teacher
Becky Kemper

Math | Becky Kemper joined Valley Catholic’s faculty in 1994. She has taught advanced seventh-grade math through advanced algebra II but primarily teaches geometry and advanced geometry. Becky graduated magna cum laude from Western Oregon University in 1990, where she was a member of the Wolves volleyball team from 1988 to 1990. During her years at WOU her team finished second in the nation, and she was named an NAIA All-American and NAIA Scholar-Athlete. Becky is head coach of Valley Catholic’s perennially successful volleyball team. The Valiants were back to back  State Champions (2018 and 2019). She has been named the OSAA 4A Coach of the Year  and also the NFHS Section 8 Coach of the Year.  Becky and her husband Warren have three children: Clay, Sam and Tori all graduated from Valley Catholic, where they were star athletes.

[email protected]

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Math Teacher
Sarah Kermoyan

Spanish | Sarah Kermoyan’s passion for language began during her time studying at Oregon State University. While pursuing her B.A. in Spanish at OSU, she spent a summer in Guatemala teaching English and in her spare time playing with the local women’s soccer team. Then, after working as an educational assistant at a dual-immersion elementary school, Sarah went on to earn her M.A. in Spanish at Portland State University while also teaching undergraduate courses. 

[email protected]

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Spanish Teacher
Linda Lawyer

Fine Art and Technology | Linda Lawyer has taught graphic design in the high school and art in the middle school at Valley Catholic since 2009. From 1998 to 2009, Linda was an art literacy coordinator and instructor in local schools. She graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and after graduation worked 10 years as an art director at a Portland advertising agency. For the past 15 years, she has also had her own business as a freelance graphic designer, working with local businesses creating logos, brochures, and advertisements. Linda enjoys spending time with family and friends, gardening, and playing golf. Linda’s son, Matt, is a 2013 alumnus of Valley Catholic.

[email protected]

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Fine Art and Technology
Adam Lifsics

Science | Adam Lifsics, who teaches biology, AP Biology, and Environmental Science has been at Valley Catholic since the 2018-2019 school year. He was a sustainability teacher one year in the Beaverton School District, and taught for eleven years at Norman High School out of Norman, Oklahoma. In Norman he taught forensics, physical science, physics, biology, and AP environmental science. Adam earned his bachelor degree in science education with a minor in Judaic Studies (2006) at the University of Oklahoma where he also earned his Master of Natural Science degree (2013). He grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and graduated from Union High School. Adam is very passionate about working to improve the environment and loves sharing that knowledge and passion with students.

[email protected]

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Science Teacher
Danielle Lomartire

Spanish | Danielle Lomartire joined Valley Catholic’s faculty in the fall of 2020. She is a Middle School and High School Spanish teacher. She also coaches both the high school Charisma Dance Team and the Varsity Girls’ Tennis Team. She has a B.A. in Elementary Education K-8 (2019) from Carroll College in Helena, Montana and completing licensure for Spanish Education K-12. Danielle is a VC alumni, graduating in the class of 2015, and she enjoys dogs, fitness, and the outdoors.

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Spanish Teacher
Melissa McMillan

Administrative Assistant to the Principal | Bio coming soon. [email protected]

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Administrative Assistant to the Principal
Matthew Nelson
Director of Campus Ministry | Matthew Nelson is the Director of Campus Ministry and a religion teacher. He earned his bachelor degree in Theology, with minors in Education and Mathematics, at the University of Portland in 2017 and earned his Master’s in Theological Studies at Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary in 2020. Before joining the Valley Catholic staff, Matt was the Youth and Young Adult Minister across the river at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Vancouver, WA....
Director of Campus Ministry
Ginnie Paterson

Fine Arts Department Chair and English Teacher | Ginnie Paterson, who came to Valley Catholic in 2004, teaches English, drama, and journalism and serves as director of drama production. Ginnie graduated from Presentation High School in San Jose and then came north to Gonzaga University, where she majored in theatre arts and English, studied abroad in London, was a founding member of the Alpha Psi Omega theatre fraternity, served as a directing member of the Student Theatre Guild, won an Irene Ryan nomination for her role as Olivia in “Twelfth Night,” and graduated magna cum laude. Ginnie then earned from the University of Idaho a master’s degree in performance, with double emphases on directing and voice. In Moscow, Idaho, she was also a company member of Idaho Repertory Theatre and, in Portland, she has been a founding member of the theatre company 2Boards Productions and directed their inaugural show, “Measure for Measure.” She has also performed for Lakewood Theatre Company and Portland Theatre Guild. Ginnie’s interests include cooking, watching NFL football and college basketball, playing tennis and softball, and watching live performance in its many forms.

[email protected]

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Fine Arts Department Chair and English Teacher
Nancy Podgorski

English | Nancy Podgorski teaches English 11 and Advanced Placement Language and Composition. She and her husband and their two dogs moved to Oregon in 2020 after residing briefly in Wyoming. Nancy spent fourteen years in Alaska teaching secondary language arts. She grew up in Ohio, earned a liberal arts degree from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, returned to Ohio to earn her Juris Doctor from The University of Akron School of Law, and decided to pursue a career in education rather than law. She earned a master’s degree in the Cultural Foundations of Education from Kent State University and taught pre-service teachers at several universities in the Midwest. After moving to Alaska, she taught developmental reading and writing classes at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and later obtained her secondary teaching license through the University of Alaska Fairbanks. When she is not reading, she often can be found with her binoculars at one of the many parks or wildlife refuges, enjoying the beautiful Pacific Northwest and trying to add new birds to her life list.

[email protected]

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English Teacher
Gina Portillo

Science | Gina Portillo joined Valley Catholic’s faculty in 2013 and teaches advanced chemistry, AP chemistry, and an awesome AP physics II class, as well as coaches our science bowl team. Gina grew up in Modesto, California and graduated from Beyer High school. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Portland (UP) and a master’s in education, also from UP. Since graduating in 2011, Gina has taught almost all sciences—chemistry, advanced chemistry, general chemistry, physics, biology, advanced biology, and physical science—at five local high schools and tutored college chemistry and organic chemistry. She was awarded the Murdock Partners in Science grant in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to bring industry level research into our classrooms. 

[email protected]

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Science Teacher
Beth Smith
VCHS Counselor | Beth started working as the High School Counselor at Valley in 2019. She has a B.A. in Spanish and Education from Texas Christian University and an M.A. in school counseling from the University of Colorado. She has taught high school Spanish in Colorado and has counseled middle and high school students in Colorado and Iowa. She has traveled all over the globe, lived in Spain for four months, and worked as a camp counselor and high ropes director for three summers. She enjoys hiking, yoga, and being outside as much as possible. [email protected]...
VCHS Counselor
Lisa Rank
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Secretary and Registrar
Dan Schauffler

Fine Arts Teacher and Band Director | Dan Schauffler - who has directed Valley Catholic’s concert, jazz, and pep bands since 2000 - graduated from Catlin Gabel School, earned a bachelor’s of fine arts from Warner Pacific University, and studied music at the City College of New York. Dan was the saxophonist for the Crazy 8s, one of the all-time great college bands. Their “Johnny Q. Public” was number one on many college radio stations. When the band recorded a live album at the University of Oregon, the crowds from Eugene and Corvallis set a Memorial Union Hall attendance record. In 2007, Dan was inducted twice - once as a member of the Crazy 8s and again as a member of NuShooz (whose “I Can’t Wait” rose to number three on the Billboard Pop Chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award) - into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame, along with James DePriest, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Robert Cray, and Doc Severinsen. In 2012, Dan was inducted yet again, this time as an individual sax player. Dan leads Valley Catholic’s bands with all the energy and fun that put his bands and himself into the Hall of Fame. In 2017, Valley Catholic honored Dan Schauffler for receiving a gold record for his contributions to “I Can’t Wait.”

[email protected]

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Fine Arts Teacher and Band Director
Pat Thomas

English and History Teacher | After having coached baseball and basketball for the Valiants, Pat Thomas returned to Valley Catholic in 2006 from Archbishop Murphy High School in Everett, Washington, where he had taught English and served as assistant varsity boys’ basketball coach. Pat graduated from St. George’s School in Spokane in 2001, where he was a multi-year All-Conference baseball player and cross country runner and started for the 2001 Dragons basketball team that played for the Washington State Championship. In his senior year he was named co-Athlete of the Year. At Whitman College he was a starting pitcher and two-year baseball captain. In 2018, Pat became the Varsity head basketball coach after assisting Coach Innes for twelve years. Pat also teaches English and History at Valley Catholic.

[email protected]

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English and History Teacher
Kelliann Wright
Choir Instructor | Kelliann is the Choir Instructor for Valley Catholic Middle School and High School.  After graduating from VCHS in ‘05, she received her Bachelor of the Arts in Music from the University of Portland and earned a Master of Fine Arts in Vocal Performance from California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. Over the past several years she has enjoyed wearing the hats of music producer, actress, choral director, and professional singer in Opera, choral ensembles, and Musical Theater. She has enjoyed her time as a music teacher and choral director at CalArts, Community Arts Partnership, Norris Center of Performing Arts, St. Francis of Assisi school and parish, and her own private studio in Beaverton. When she is not performing and teaching, she loves beach trips with her family (and Doodle!), reading, and recording vocal projects in her home studio.
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Choir Instructor