Instructional Staff

Bethany Spinler

Principal, Lead Advisor

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As the founding principal of Bellevue Big Picture School in 2011, it is with great pride, honor, and respect that I have the opportunity to serve and lead our fabulous school community. My values as an educator are rooted in my upbringing, being raised on a dairy farm in rural upstate New York by parents who encouraged authenticity, integrity, curiosity, resilience, and an understanding of the interdependence we have with all living things and our environment. My parents believed in the power of education and supported my siblings and I to be the first in our family to attend college. I graduated from Randolph Central School in 1991 and headed to Cornell University where I earned a B.S. in Neurobiology and a M.A. in Science Education. I taught chemistry and AP chemistry for a few years in New York prior to moving across the country to become a founding teacher of The Center School (TCS) in Seattle. I taught all levels of high school science at TCS ranging from physical science to AP Biology, building the department and entire science curriculum with my teaching partner. It was there I was first introduced to advisory, internships, project-based learning, and small school design principles. I went on to earn my school administration credential from the University of Washington and served as assistant principal and principal of Newport High School prior to opening Bellevue Big Picture School. I am grateful for our amazing students, staff, families, and community partners who make coming to work each day joyful. Outside of school, I enjoy gardening, cooking, camping, crafting, and spending time with my daughter, Georgia, our 2 dogs, Doug and Jasmine, and bunny, Lil Debbie.

Mission: To lead innovation and reform in order to build robust, inclusive, equitable and joyful learning environments where students can bring their whole selves, explore their interests, deepen critical thinking skills, develop socially and emotionally, grow as leaders and change agents, and graduate prepared to thrive as adults.

Matt Stokes

Assistant Principal, Lead Advisor

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It is an incredible honor to introduce myself as the Assistant Principal at Big Picture. The Bellevue Big Picture School is where my teaching career began six years ago – providing the setting and support that refined my classroom management and introduced me to Project-Based Learning.

My journey as an educator began, in some respect, fifteen years ago teaching swimming lessons at the local YMCA in Marysville, Washington. Following the completion of my undergraduate degree in Mathematics Education from Western Washington University, I taught field-experience courses in Montana and Colorado, spent time volunteering with universities in Kenya, training teachers in Tanzania and supporting dental hygiene work in El Salvador.

The last four years, I have lived in New York City, where I taught ‘Regents’ Algebra 1 and served as the Mathematics Coordinator at the International School of Brooklyn. While working in Brooklyn, I earned my administrative credentials from Fordham University Graduate School of Education. Life in New York allowed me to become profoundly involved in the nonprofit, “Brooklyn to Alaska,” where we bring brave and adventurous urban teenagers each summer to the wilderness of Alaska.

I am most passionate about – and professionally dedicated to – helping students develop academic confidence and self- efficacy and supporting and encouraging the teachers who make this a reality every day. I believe all students deserve a classroom environment that is safe, supportive, encouraging; alive with hope and optimism for their future in academics and the world.

I am excited to be back at Big Picture and to return home to the Pacific Northwest with my wife, Juliana. When I am not ‘at work,’ I am likely trying to find somewhere to hike, climb, fish or ski.

Amy Stephens

High School Counselor

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I was born and raised in the greater Los Angeles area, but I have lived in the Pacific Northwest for over ten years now. I love visiting my family in California, but the PNW is my home. I attended the University of Washington where I earned my B.S. in Environmental Science and Resource Management with a minor in Marine Biology. I spent a few years working at organizations that celebrate education like the Burke Museum, Seattle Aquarium, and the University of Washington before deciding I was ready to return to school to earn my M.A. Ed in Counseling at Seattle University. I live in Seattle and in my free time, I enjoy going to concerts, reading, exploring local parks, playing video games, and relaxing at home.

I love being a school counselor because I enjoy supporting students as they learn, grow, and make plans for the future. I am so excited to join the Big Picture team as the high school counselor!

Jamie Ginter

Middle School Counselor

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I grew up in Vancouver, WA and went to high school in Portland, OR. After high school, I attended the University of Washington and earned a BA in psychology. I worked in a daycare teaching preschool for a couple of years and then studied at Seattle University and earned a Masters of Arts in Counseling. I began my work in Bellevue at Interlake high school. After 6 years of working with a great team of counselors at Interlake, I took 2 years off with to have my boy and girl twins. I then returned to work at Stevenson Elementary before coming to Big Picture.

I love my job and I love working with our students. I am grateful for the opportunity to work to remove barriers to student learning. Learning can be fun and exciting as well as challenging and frustrating. Helping students manage the daily ups and downs as well as supporting families in need with connecting with resources beyond school are all aspects of my work.

Quite simply, I want students to enjoy school…maybe not all aspects, all of the time, but overall enjoy being a member of our Big Picture community and develop into caring, engaged adults. I encourage parents to communicate with me via email with any questions or aspects of concern.

Mission: To contribute to the school community so that all members can be engaged and grow socially, emotionally and academically.

Dustin Abrahamson

HS Language Arts, Social Studies & Advisory Advisor

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Hey Y’all!

I was born and raised in Federal Way, WA and still absolutely love living in the Pacific Northwest. I am a proud Double-DAWG, graduating from the University of Washington for both my bachelors and masters degree. In undergrad, I studied history, American Ethnic Studies, and American Indian Studies and, in graduate school, I earned my Masters in Teaching.

My journey as an educator started at a young age. As the son of two educators growing up, I have long been inspired by the transformative, empowering impact schooling can have on students, families, communities. Since then, I have jumped on every opportunity I could to become an engaging, culturally responsive educator. I am thrilled to be joining the Big Picture community and look forward to working with all the amazing students and families of our school.

In my free time, I like to play ice hockey (yes, I am excited for the new team ? ), read great novels and history books, travel, and continue learning how to sew.

Mission: To empower every student academically, emotionally, and socially to become advocates for themselves and causes they believe in.

Laura Blasquez

MS Science & Advisory Advisor

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I am so excited to be here at Big Picture School! I am passionate about teaching through fun and engaging methods. I build a classroom culture that fosters laughter, learning, and positive collaboration.

I am originally from Federal Way, WA which is where I spent my first 5 years of teaching. I received my B.S. from Oregon State University (GO BEAVS!) and went on to receive my Masters in Education at the University of Washington. When I am not teaching, you might find me: watching sports (especially football), hiking, traveling, cooking, and being active with family/friends.

My mission is to create a fun, collaborative, and inquiry-based classroom where students are driven to seek answers to questions through project-based learning.

Jandel Cabasura

MS Math Advisor

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Toby Casey

MS Science Advisor

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Kelly Clark

Social Studies & Advisory Advisor

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I was born and raised in the LA area but am so excited to have made the move to the Pacific Northwest in the summer of 2022! As for my education, I attended California State University, Northridge (CSUN) for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both in history. While studying, I spent several years working in hospitality management and traveling before pursuing my dream career in education in 2017. I got my teaching credential (also from CSUN- amazing place, I tell you) and I worked at a few public and private schools in the LA area before moving up to Washington. I have always enjoyed teaching and learning- especially anything related to history! In my free time I read, play guitar, visit with family, and travel. I am thrilled to continue my career with BSD and I look forward to living and growing as a part of the community here!

My mission in education is to empower students and create a safe and nurturing environment for all to learn and grow. I hope to help inspire and support individuals as they learn to take charge of their lives and educations.

Trina Cooper

Art & Digital Media Advisor

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Trina has a MCS from the Visualization Lab at Texas A&M, and a MFA in sculpture and painting from UC Berkeley, and a BFA in ceramics from Kansas City Art Institute. Trina is an accomplished artist who has participated in curated shows and exhibitions globally. She’s published conference papers, and been a Fullbright Fellow in Malaysia. Trina has taught at the college level, and most recently taught at Mt. Rainier High School. Trina attended alternative schools in Washington as a child. Trina’s family has been in Washington generationally and she likes raspberries.

Marta Covarrubias

Spanish Advisor

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Rebecca Davis

HS Language Arts, MS Drama & Advisory Advisor

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I am so excited to be on the Big Picture Team. I love language and books and the power of words. I want to pass on that love to my great 6th grade students. I have a son, Isaac, who is 8 and attends Eastgate Elementary. I love the theater and dancing, all types. I enjoy playing video games and watching anything science fiction. I look forward to getting to know all of my students and guiding them through the wonderful world of English Language Arts.

Rebecca’s Mission Statement:

Language Arts…the final frontier.

These are the voyages of the Starship Davis.

It’s continuing mission:

To explore new words,

To see out new texts, new imaginations,

To boldly go where no English class has gone before!

Bailey Edgley

Science & Advisory Advisor

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I enjoy having an active, dynamic, hands-on classroom. I genuinely enjoy working with teenagers and making science as fun as possible. I am happy to be here at Big Picture; I fell in love with it when I interviewed in 2013. Our school is a wonderful community and I thoroughly enjoy working with the staff, students, and their families. 

I’m an art, science, nature, outdoors person. I have an A.A. in Graphic Arts Technology from Mt. Hood Community College, a B.S. in Botany from Oregon State University, and a Masters in Teaching from The Evergreen State College. I received my National Board Teaching Certification in 2012 and I renewed my certification in 2022. Outside of school I love gardening, barre, yoga, and spending time with my family.

My Mission: My classroom is a learning community that students and I create together. I will do everything I can to make sure all of my students have resources, support, and information that they need to be successful science students.

Kevin Eiene

Special Education Advisor

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I have worked in Bellevue’s special education department for several years. While in the BSD, I taught at the middle school level and the high school level – in resource-based programs and in functional life skills programs. In the classroom, I have provided students with instruction in a myriad of subject areas including, but not limited to math, science, history, social skills, organizational skills, adaptive skills and communication. I value the unique educational opportunities afforded to BPS students and look forward to a successful year.

Mission: To provide Big Picture students with the individualized supports, services and instruction they need to establish patterns of school success.

Anne Findlay

Language Arts, Social Studies & Advisory Advisor

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Ben Gibbons

Physical Education & Health Advisor

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Kirsten Gometz

Special Education Advisor

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I grew up on the East Coast, spending summers at many different camps. When I was 17, I found myself at a 4H camp that was so radically welcoming and supportive of every child and teen, it changed my ideas of what a shared learning environment could be. It was the first place I ever felt I truly belonged, and it became my mission to recreate that experience of unconditional acceptance and joy for young people and their families. In the years since, I have taken what I learned there and devoted myself to serving kids and teens at camps and schools in California, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut, finally landing in Washington, where I have been a teacher and school principal since 2001. I live with my two teenage sons in Carnation, where we have a small orchard and a menagerie including our cats, our goofy dog, a gecko, and three little goats: Lucy, Mr. Tumnus, and Stella. Most members of my family are neurodivergent, and I love working with humans who see and engage with the world a little bit differently. I am passionate about creating environments that allow every student to be seen, heard, understood, and honored for who they are. I am so excited to be part of Big Picture, and to partner with young people as they shape their futures, as well as the future of the world we live in. When I’m not at school, I love baking (especially cupcakes), art, photography, working on my house and garden, singing, and all things Halloween.

Tony Granito

Learning Through Interests (Internship) Coordinator

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I was born and raised in Euclid, Ohio and then taught Language Arts, Math, Science and/or Social Studies in the Euclid City Schools for the first part of my 25+ years in education. During that time and my years here in the Bellevue School District, I have pursued knowledge and skill in responsive and equitable school and classroom culture and management, professional learning communities, professional development, instructional coaching, technology integration, and comprehensive literacy frameworks. The Big Picture Learning model with close community and relationships, project-based and real-world learning is close to my heart and at the core of my work because I believe it’s the kind of learning and school I needed and deserved while growing up. My partner Esther, our cat Jesper and I live in Seattle and enjoy traveling, photography, hiking, biking, music, movies, making and mountains. I also thrive on solving problems and helping students, teachers and schools achieve their full potential.

Mission: I strive to provide equitable world class personal and academic learning for everyone at The Bellevue Big Picture School.

Rose Hadorn

Special Education Advisor

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Mike Hillman

Positive Behavior Intervention Support Advisor

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Karen Ho

Science & Advisory Advisor

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I grew up in Arcadia, CA and earned my BA in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley. After working as a science outreach mentor at the Lawrence Hall of Science, I became very passionate about addressing environmental justice issues through a secondary public education lens. Since getting my teaching credential, I have taught Gifted 7th Life Science, Biology, Health, and AP Environmental Science, and been a science instructional coach in Los Angeles Unified. I have a National Board Certification in Early Adolescent Science Education and am currently working on an additional certificate from UC San Diego in Gifted Education.

My mission is to help students become confident advocates for themselves and for their communities.

Erica Iris

Art & Advisory Advisor

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I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, but didn’t stay long enough to get a great accent. After that I spent most of my life in Connecticut. In 2013 my husband and I got an itch for adventure. So, we sold our house, packed up our life and kids, and moved across the country to the Pacific Northwest.

I studied Art Education, Graphic Design, and Illustration at Central Connecticut State University. I am finishing up my Masters of Science in Curriculum and Instruction currently. Prior to Big Picture I taught Art and Stage Craft at the R.J. Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts in Hartford, Connecticut. Art has always been my passion, and teaching it has always been my dream… come true.

Mission: To teach art foundations that will not only carry my students through their artistic endeavors, but will also support their core studies and everyday lives. To allow my students creative self-expression in a safe, supportive, and fun classroom and school community.

Barb Mercier

Community Partnership Coordinator & Career Specialist

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Anna Morin

Social Studies & Advisory Advisor

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I am a West Coaster who grew up in the redwoods of Northern California, the farmland of the Oregon Willamette Valley, and settled in Seattle in 2002. As an avid lifelong learner, I’ve studied a wide range of subjects culminating in a BA in Music and Religious Studies (University of Oregon) and a Masters in Teaching (Seattle University). Since I began teaching in 2003, I’ve taught just about every 7th-12th grade Language Arts and Social Studies class you can imagine. Best jobs I’ve had: Explainer at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, birth doula supporting many families, and teacher at Bellevue Big Picture since 2014 (with a couple of years away). I am also an avid baker, knitter, and reader. I love my kids, husband, dog and cat and will show you lots of pictures of my animals.

Mission: Help students grow into lifelong learners, critical thinkers, and caring community members.

Charmee Park

Math & Advisory Advisor

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I graduated from Rutgers University and got my M.A. in Special Education at NJCU. I taught middle school math in NJ before taking the leap to move across the country to Seattle. I value spending time with family & friends and am always up for an adventure! I believe that every day is a new learning experience and I am excited to work with the students, families, and staff at Big Picture!

My mission is to create an engaging classroom focused around real world context where students build perseverance and confidence to overcome challenges.

Amanda Posch

Language Arts and Advisory Advisor

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Suzanne Reeve

Instructional Coach (“ITCL” – Instructional, Technology, & Curriculum Leader)

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I grew up in the Seattle area, graduating from Lake Washington High School (go Kangs!). After earning a BS in Zoology and MS in Biological Science Education from Brigham Young University, I came back home to graduate from the University of Washington with a Ph.D in Learning Sciences and a secondary teaching credential.

During my first year in Bellevue School District, I taught biology and chemistry part-time at Sammamish High School, while also working as a research and planning assistant to Bethany as we “gave birth” to what became the Big Picture School. Since then, I have worked at Sammamish and Odle, as well as part-time again at Big Picture. I am thrilled to be in this place again that feels like home.

I have lived in California, Washington, Utah, Virginia, and Austria (ja, ich spreche deutsch!). Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with family (parents, four siblings, thirteen nieces and nephews), reading, doing jigsaw puzzles, walking/hiking, and researching genealogy.

Mission: to build a culture of belonging, disrupt patterns of inequity, and support staff and students in growing to their potential.

Emily Rio

Spanish Advisor

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Kevin Roberts

Math & Advisory Advisor

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Originally from Sammamish, I grew up in this area and have always called it home. I attended Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma where I received a BS in mathematics with minors in Statistics, Computer Science, Actuarial Science and Religion. I then stayed at PLU to get my Masters in Education which I quickly put to use working in Gig Harbor for three years teaching high school math. My wife and I have always enjoyed travel and cultural exchange and in 2008 we decided to move overseas to teach internationally. We spent three years working in Mumbai, India and then packed up and moved again to Porto Alegre, Brazil where we have been for the last four years. After seven years abroad and 16 countries together, my wife and I are returning to the US with 3 children: our wonderfully witty and precocious 3 yr old daughter Sofia and our two new twin boys Ethan and Noah.
In my free time (what’s that?) I enjoy watching, coaching, and playing soccer, spending time with the family and exploring new technologies. I am math geek and techie and enjoy learning and researching new ideas all the time, especially when it is something I can share with my students. This will be my 11th year teaching math and in this time I have taught everything from 6th grade fractions to AP Calculus and am excited to share my knowledge and experience with the students and staff at Bellevue Big Picture. I am so excited to be back in the Northwest and to be a part of the Big Picture family here in Bellevue!

Brendan Schimpf

Special Education Advisor

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Paul Spatafore

Social Studies & Advisory Advisor

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I was born and have spent most of my life in Chicago. Go BEARS!!! Although, I am new to Big Picture and to Washington state, I am not new to teaching. For over ten years, I worked in Deerfield, Illinois as a teacher and coach for a middle school that was awarded the Blue Ribbon Award for academic excellence. When I am not teaching, I enjoy watching and playing sports, hiking, traveling, going to live music, and playing video games.

Mission: To create a culture of intellectual curiosity in which students strive to find answers to real world challenges. To provide students with the tools to become self-directed learners and problem solvers.

Clinton Stellfox

Science & Advisory Advisor

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Growing up in Federal Way, Washington I went to the science center all the time in order to figure out the science behind how stuff works. I attended Decatur High School where I was a letterman for baseball in 9th grade, runner up for athlete of the year, and I took as many science classes as possible. I originally went to UW to become a doctor but met an amazing professor who inspired me to go into science. I obtained an undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Washington and a masters in teaching from Western Governors University. In college I was president of the Chemistry Frat, they called me the master alchemist. In my free time I enjoy gardening, watching Jeopardy and baseball, competing in milk carton derbies, and using the frowny face emoji. I came to the Big Picture School because working with kids that are high energy excites me. I believe the principle behind Big Picture is amazing and focusing less on tests and more on projects is the best way to teach. I’m also very enthusiastic about the fact that I used to be the entire Big Picture science department. Cesium out!… get it, cause it’s my initials CS and it can be radioactive, just like me.

Amanda Stewart

Health & Physical Education Advisor

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Megan Taddonio

Mental Health Assistance Team Counselor

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I am excited to join the Big Picture School community this year as your Mental Health Assistance Team Counselor! I grew up in the Midwest and attended the University of Montana where I received my bachelor’s degree in social work. After graduation, I served two years with the United States Peace Corps in rural Malawi. I received my master’s degree in social work from the University of Hawaii and have worked many years in the field of mental health and school social work. I have two young boys aged 3 and 5 and I love spending time exploring the PNW with them!

Mission: To give all children the opportunity, skills and resources to help them succeed academically, socially and emotionally in a safe and healthy school environment.

Ariana Taylor

Language Arts, Science & Advisory Advisor

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I grew up in Duvall, Washington and while I have lived in various places throughout the state, I have always called Washington my home.  When I was in high school, I participated in an exchange program that took me to Lyon, France for a summer, and since then my passion has been to explore the world.

I received my B.A. at Western Washington University, with a major in Language, Literacy, and Culture and minor in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and finished my degree as an intern in Mougins, France.  Afterwards, I traveled around and eventually came home to teach.  I taught upper elementary for a few years in Seattle, then 3 more years at Jing Mei Elementary in Bellevue before deciding to move up to middle school.

I am so excited to be a part of the Big Picture team.  My goals as a teacher have always been to inspire students and give them the tools to learn about whatever they are passionate about.  My hope is that students will leave my classroom with a thirst for knowledge, the independence to pursue their goals, and the confidence to face a challenge.

My favorite genres (in literature and media) are science fiction and dystopian because of how it gets one to think about the world we live in and what it could possibly be.  When I’m not teaching, I am probably working on art projects, traveling, or drinking coffee with my cat Paka.

Ethan Tiu

Science & Advisory Advisor

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Ethan Trapani

Math & Advisory Advisor

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I began my teaching career in the Los Angeles area as part of a master’s program, but have also taught in my home state, Ohio, for several years. I have loved my time as a math teacher so far and love getting better each day to serve my students the best I can.

While I am a classroom teacher, I believe that education is just as much about what learning experiences are had outside of the classroom and setting my students up to experience joy throughout their lives. Some of my favorite hobbies that bring me joy are hiking, playing music, learning languages, playing video games (high schoolers have nothing on me when it comes to FIFA), and cooking. (Ask me about my favorite dishes to cook)

Jenelle Wyler

Language Arts, Social Studies & Advisory Advisor

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I was born and raised here in Washington. I grew up in Kenmore, but I have been all over the state whether it was seeing family or camping and hiking throughout the summer. I went to college at Seattle Pacific University and still spend most of my time in Seattle. I graduated with a BA in English Literature and Secondary Education. I also taught abroad in South Korea for one year at an elementary school. I received a certificate for Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL) while I was there. I came back and took a long-term substitute here at Big Picture as a high school ELA advisor in 2021. I’m excited to be working at Big Picture for the whole year this time as a middle school ELA teacher! It’s a lot closer to home. As an ELA teacher, I am always looking for new books, especially if they are fantasy or science fiction series! I play video games, go hiking, or build LEGOS with my partner when I’m not at school (I’m also probably sipping coffee no matter where I am).

I believe that reading and communicating are essential to being a successful adult in this world. Through ELA, I hope to show students that they each have a unique story to tell and every single one of them is important. I want my students to be able to engage with someone’s story with empathy and curiosity, so they understand others perspective respectfully. I can’t wait to learn and grow together!

Support Staff

Haiyan Chen
Para Educator

Erin Ferguson

Ruthinian Gregoire
Para Educator

Thomas Grunwald
Occupational Therapist

Carol Hansen
Speech Language Pathologist

Kelley Hoang
Attendance Specialist

Holly Huckeba
Para Educator

Daniel Llinas

Hillary MacDonald
Community Outreach Specialist

David Mahnke
Lead Custodian

Beth Orr
Office Manager

Wendy Paxton
Kitchen Manager

Rashmi Rangole
Para Educator

Lucia Sassaman
Technology Specialist

Monica Shaffer
Kitchen Assistant

Sue Shannon
MLL Facilitator

Brianna von Seggern
Jubilee Reach

Jennifer Whalen
Social Worker

Carol Anne Yamamoto

Gabriel Yel
Evening Custodian

Beth Zimmerman
Counseling Secretary

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.