No school May 30 in observance of Memorial Day. Learn more about this closure.

Instructional Staff

Bethany Spinler


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

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, who is completing a software engineering program from the Grace Hopper Program at the Fullstack Academy. When I am not ‘at work,’ I am likely trying to find somewhere to hike, climb, fish or ski.

Karen Penewell

Office Manager

I grew up in Bellevue, attended Phantom Lake Elementary, Tillicum Junior High, and graduated from Sammamish High School. I earned an A.A. degree in Early Childhood Education from Bellevue Community College.

Along with my husband Rich (married on 11-11-11), I have 2 stepdaughters, 2 sons-in-law, 2 grandsons, 2 granddaughters, 2 sons, and Willie our dog.

I love riding my Harley Davidson motorcycle, and have been to Sturgis. I also love traveling, hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, camping, cooking, entertaining, spending time with friends and family, volunteering, and doing charity work for multiple charities.

Mission: My mission is to make the Bellevue Big Picture School office a warm and inviting place to visit, where information is readily available, and where parents, students, and visitors, feel comfortable and welcomed.

Jamie Ginter


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.

Melinda Breeze


I grew up in Everett and attended Western Washington for my undergraduate degree and again for my Masters in School Counseling. I now live in Renton with my husband and two children, Maya and Benjamin. Parenting is one of the hardest things I have ever done and, by far, one of the most fun. I love learning and reading and my best day ever involves a good book and a comfy chair. I have wanted to pursue a career in education since I was young and found the best way for me to do that was through school counseling. Working with youth is my passion and supporting them as they grow and learn gives me great satisfaction. I feel so lucky to be able to go to work every day and do a job I love.

Mission: My purpose as a school counselor is to support youth to grow academically, socially, and emotionally so they have what they need to lead purposeful and fulfilling lives now and in the future.

Dustin Abrahamson

HS Language Arts, Social Studies & Advisory

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.

Trina Cooper

Art and Digital Media

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.

Rebecca Davis

HS Language Arts, MS Drama & Advisory

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!

Andrea del Moral


Born and raised in Seattle, I grew up with random Spanish words floating through my life, thanks to Spanish grandparents and cousins. I first lived immersed in Spanish in Barcelona after college, studying contemporary dance and gardening with neighbors. I spent many years doing the same in Oakland/Berkeley/San Francisco, California—and also co-directing a dance/theatre company, writing essays and stories, and working as a cook.

I earned an MFA in theatre at UC Davis, where I taught acting, and then lived in Galicia, Spain for two years, teaching English to middle and high schoolers. I also began translating Spanish fiction there. Back in Oakland for a year, I earned my teaching credential at Mills College while teaching 6th graders.

My classes are communication laboratories, where mistakes and adventurous spirit are the norm. They include writing workshop and literature circles, in Spanish, ¡claro! Also tripping over trabalenguas, playing theatre games that open the mind to other languages, listening to Spanish cantautores, and learning the lesser-known sides of culture and language in Spanish speaking worlds.

When I’m not teaching or reading/listening/translating/talking en castellano, I love to swim, hike, host dinner parties, and play the clarinet. And even though 21st century tech is amazing, I aspire to learn to use a map & compass.

Why I Teach: to empower people to navigate multiple cultural paradigms knowledgeably, to learn to think through non-English structures and perspectives, and to discover how amazing life can be tanto en español como when speaking English.

Bailey Edgley

MS Science & Advisory

I grew up in Troutdale, Oregon. My extended family is based in the Portland area. I come from a large family; I grew up with eleven first cousins and several second cousins. I am very close with my parents and two younger sisters. My parents still live in my hometown. My daughter and I FaceTime with them every day after school.

One of my sisters is a law firm office manager in New York City and the other sister just finished her doctorate (DMA) in tuba in Tallahassee, FL. Both sisters got married in 2016. We flew to the East Coast with a two year old twice in two months. My favorite thing to do outside of school is to spend time with my husband Sean, daughter Alaya, and our friends and family.

I have loved art, science, nature, and the outdoors for my entire life. 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. The 2016-2017 school year will be my tenth year of teaching! I am looking forward to my fourth year at Big Picture.

I enjoy having an active, dynamic, hands-on classroom. I genuinely enjoy working with teenagers and making science and math 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.

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

Learning Center & Special Education

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.

Jessica Geib

Graduation Success Coach

Hi!  My name is Jessica [Anderson] Geib (pronounced G-eye-b); I just got married in Sept, so I will be changing my name from Anderson to Geib, but you can call me Jessica.

I am from the PNW, an alum of Bishop Blanchet High School, attended Gonzaga University for 3 years where I studied to be a secondary math teacher, then transferred to Eastern Washington University and switched to K-12 Special Education. So, I have my BAE in Special Education, and an almost minor in math.  I taught for 6 years, 1 as a Life Skills and Resource Room teacher at Cedarcrest High School in Duvall, 1 as a Special Ed Math teacher at Kennedy Catholic High School, and 4 years in Gallup, New Mexico with 3 as a Gifted and Talented Mentor and 1 as a SpEd Math teacher (plus 5-7 other job titles each of those 4yrs).

When I moved back home to the Seattle area after the 18-19SY, I took a 2 year break from education and worked as a Medical Receptionist for a small clinic in Bothell.  However, I really missed working with students, so I am really happy to be back in the education world.  I am super excited to be the Graduation Success Coach at Big Picture School.  While I was in NM, I realized that I am much more passion about mentoring than classroom teaching.  I love developing genuine mentor relationships with students, and providing 1:1 support to help them grow and reach their full potential (which is often more than they realize).

Outside of the education world, I am a student hot air balloon pilot and own a hot air balloon.  I fell in love with ballooning in New Mexico, and am hoping to finish my private pilot certification next spring/summer.  If you see a bright yellow balloon with colorful diamonds flying out in the Auburn area, it’s most likely me.

Ben Gibbons

HS PE & Health

Tony Granito

Learning Through Interests (Internship) Coordinator

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.

Nona Henderson

Special Education

I spent my childhood on a family farm in Idaho and then attended the University of Idaho and the University of Massachusetts.  I have been a teacher for 20 years; most of that time has been in school districts in Washington.  My educational experience includes teaching in various special education settings, elementary classrooms, and piloting an elementary lab focused science program.   Out of school, I have been involved with equestrian sports and breeding competition horses.  I have always had a passion for horses and learned how to use this passion to help others.  I have breed nationally recognized horses and have been certified in EAGALA, where I work with a psychologist providing therapy and team building using horses.

Mission: To assist students in their academic, social, and emotional growth. To assist students in participating and contributing to the Big Picture community.

Karen Ho

HS Science & Advisory

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

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.

Kate Lampi

Special Education

Cheryl Lee

MS Language Arts & Advisory

I was born in the former British colony of Hong Kong and raised both there and on the U.S. island territory of Guam. Growing up in two very different cultural and geographical settings – urban, skyscraper landscape of an enormous, east-meets-west metropolis of Hong Kong, juxtaposed with the laid-back, tropical Pacific Islander culture surrounded by the blue waters and white sand of Guam – has been not only fascinating and fun, but also invaluable to forming my cultural and personal identity.

After graduating from high school on Guam, I received my Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Journalism from Seattle University and have been supporting students towards the mastery of the English language and the study of the humanities since then – a fulfilling life calling for me, particularly as life-long lover of literature and language!

After undergrad, I taught English in the rural southern Japan for several years before returning to the US to pursue my TESOL certificate and Master’s degree in Teaching at my alma mater. I had been teaching Language Arts at Tyee Middle School for nearly half a decade before I fulfilled one of my life dreams: to teach in higher-ed. It has been an extraordinary experience teaching English and ESOL for two years at both Highline and Green River College.

Now at Big Picture, I have the privilege of living yet another dream of mine: to work at a school that cultivates values beyond mere academic work, strives to know students holistically, and cultivates a culture of life-long learning. Whether it be in English/Language Arts or in Advisory, I am always invigorated when I get to explore the intricacies and complexities of what it means to be human with my BP students.

Outside of the classroom, I love spending time roaming the lesser-known parts of the planet, photographing beautiful architecture, sport climbing, backpacking through the gorgeous Pacific Northwest wilderness, and best of all, cuddling baby elephants at animal sanctuaries.

Mission: To fuel my students’ thirst for knowledge, wisdom, and curiosity through the humanities and to empower them to leaders for a more just and humane world.

Yan Li


I was born in a small town in Northern China. I studied Spanish at Beijing University and came to U.S. to continue my graduate studies. I received my M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish Literature from Purdue University. I have taught middle/high school and college, as well as adult learners. I participated in a few PBL workshops and am really excited about implementing PBL.

Before coming to Seattle area, my family lived in Midwest, Indiana for 12 years and Missouri for 3 years. The cultures in Seattle are quite different from Midwest but I really enjoy the diversity and dynamics of the city!

During my spare time, I enjoy hiking with my sons William and Charles, and my husband Feng. I love zumba too!

My mission: I strive to create a learning community/classroom that is welcoming, dynamic, inclusive and collaborative. I want my students to have an authentic language environment where they could conduct meaningful conversations, share their insights, and gain proficiency through effective communications in the target language.

Amanda MacLeod

Math & Advisory

Originally Canadian, I grew up mostly in Phoenix, Arizona and attended Arizona State for a B.S. in Geology. I then moved to Eugene, Oregon earning my M.S. in Geology at University of Oregon. I discovered a love of teaching while in graduate school, and later earned my M.A. in teaching at Pacific University. Since then, I’ve taught everything from elementary-age fisheries field programs to middle school science to advanced math.

In my down time you’ll find me outdoors: running, rock climbing, backpacking, snow camping, skiing, surfing, and biking!

Mission: My mission is to empower students with mathematical literacy matching the requirements of a 21st century future, while guiding them to be persistent, effective, and inspired learners.

Robert McKay

Humanities & Advisory

Originally from Vermont, I’ve lived and taught in Seattle since 2017. I got my BA in philosophy with honors from Middlebury College, did my Masters of Education coursework at Antioch and am certified in ELL, History and Social Studies. I taught interdisciplinary, project-based humanities and social sciences in a couple of independent schools in my 20s, and I’m excited to continue that journey at Big Picture. I’m a finance geek, entrepreneur and ed-tech enthusiast. I live on Capitol Hill with lots of tropical houseplants, my partner Cecile, our cat Athena, and our boxer/German/pit mix Doghouse Reilly (extra credit if you can explain the film noir reference). In my spare time I ride my bike, pore delightedly over crushingly boring SEC filings, and write crime novels.

My mission is to help unleash relentless questioners, restless innovators, and pragmatic idealists on the world.

Barb Mercier

Community Partnership Coordinator & Career Specialist

Drew Oliver


This year marks my 12th year as a classroom teacher and 15th overall in the secondary classroom. I graduated from Washington State University with a B.A. in Communication and completed my Masters in Special Education from University of Washington. Later, I added a Health & Fitness endorsement from Seattle Pacific University and have taught both special education classes (Math, English, Science)-8 years along with PE-3 years. I’m excited for the opportunity to once again pursue my passion for physical fitness and activity, hoping to instill that same passion in my students. In addition to my teaching responsibilities I’m also proud to be the head football coach at my alma mater, Newport High School. When not teaching or coaching, I enjoy spending time with my family- Sarah, Cole (8) and Avery (7).

Mission: Expose my students to a variety of physical activities and allow them the opportunity to find a passion that will carry them into a pattern of lifelong fitness.

Charmee Park

MS Math & Advisory

My family moved around a bit when we were young, but I mainly grew up in central New Jersey. I graduated from Rutgers University and went back for my M.A. In Special Education at NJCU. I taught middle school math in NJ for 5 years before taking the leap to move across the country to Seattle. I also had the opportunity to return to Kenya this summer with my church to work at the schools there. I value spending time with family & friends, i enjoy exploring new things, traveling, camping, snowboarding, participating in charity events, kickboxing, and baking. I believe that everyday 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.

Taylor Philpott

HS Language Arts & Advisory

I’m Taylor born and raised here in the greater Seattle area right near Bellevue in Woodinville!

I graduated from the University of WA with my Bachelor of Arts in History and M. Ed in Secondary Social Studies. I’ve taught Elementary PE, high school history and now we’re here at Middle School English.

School is important to me as it gave me the opportunity to leave a family situation that did not spark joy for me. I got to go to the UW on the need grant living on my own working two jobs the whole kicked out teen cliché “sha-bang”. I studied anthropology and it taught me how to be in a space and to ask more questions and seek less answers.

I play soccer, dodgeball, dance and kickball in my free time, volunteer with ROOTS young adult shelter, work as a professional development trainer with GLSEN to advocate for queer students and educators and I’m a current graduate student at the University of Washington.

Mission: To inspire others to come from places of understanding and to ask questions rather than respond with answers and reaction.

Suzanne Reeve

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

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.

Kevin Roberts

HS Math & Advisory

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!

Nicole Schneider

MS Language Arts, Social Studies & Advisory

I grew up in Portland, Oregon and studied at Willamette University, where I graduated with BA in International Studies. During my undergrad, I studied abroad in Valparaiso, Chile and spent time exploring Chile and its neighbors. Soon after, I moved to Santander, Spain to teach English in a secondary classroom. While living in Europe, I discovered my passion for teaching and curriculum. I subsequently worked with students in Ecuador and India in various roles. Before moving to the Seattle area, I worked as the Associate Director of Overseas Programs at Lewis & Clark College, where I helped prepare students for their study abroad experience and subsequent return to campus. I’m excited to now be a resident of Washington and to have landed at Big Picture. I look forward to teaching and learning in community with students and staff. Outside the classroom, I enjoy hiking with my sister, cycling with my partner, and spending time looking out the window with my cat, Finlea.

Mission: To create a classroom environment that prioritizes the well-being of each student, help students cultivate academic curiosity and critical thinking, and prepare students to participate responsibly in an interdependent world.

Paul Spatafore

MS Language Arts, Social Studies & Advisory

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

HS Science & Advisory

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

Laura Walter

MS Science & Advisory

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.

Brooke Weber

MS Social Studies, Coding & Advisory

I spent most of my childhood in Edmonds, Washington. I attended college at Western Washington University in Bellingham, and during that time I played in local bands, and worked towards a highly qualified middle level endorsement in Humanities. After a little more than a year of teaching in public Middle Schools, I decided to take a huge leap and teach internationally in El Salvador, so that I could further my development as a teacher, and learn a language.  During my two years there, I taught English Honors, and 8th grade Language Arts. That adventure landed me in Denver, Colorado where I taught at a private school 8th Grade Language and Literature, as well as Individuals and Societies. It was always important for me to be back in Washington with family, friends, good film and music, so I’m thrilled to be in the northwest working in the Bellevue School district at Big Picture.

My mission is to provide students with opportunities to grow as a perceptive reader, critical thinker, and 21st century learner. This includes facilitating their learning based on their own unique personality and perspective on the world, while creating a globally minded classroom that embraces diversity, creativity, and risk-taking.

Eileen Wilcox

MS Math & Advisory

I spent my childhood in New Jersey with five brothers and sisters. I attended Rutgers University (Go Scarlet Knights!) where I earned a BA in Economics. After experiencing life in New York City, I moved to Baltimore and earned my MBA from Loyola College. Looking for adventure, I traveled west and have lived in the Seattle area for over twenty years. After spending many years in the private sector working in finance, sales and marketing, I discovered that teaching was my dream career. I received a Masters in Teaching from Northwest University with endorsements in mathematics and science.
I am honored to be a member of the Bellevue Big Picture community since 2011. My interests outside the classroom include paddle board yoga, hiking and camping adventures with my family. I live in Bellevue with my husband Dave, and two daughters, Hannah and Sammy.

Mission: I will recognize the whole child in each student and inspire them to be curious about the world around them. In everything that I do, I will be guided by my values, enthusiasm and passion to do my best.

Mark Wilbert

HS Music

Rebecca Young

MS Social Studies

Originally from Nevada, I am now a full-fledge transplant to the Seattle area and have enjoyed living in Washington for 10+ years now. I began my teaching career in the Federal Way Public Schools district and have now been working in the Bellevue School District for 5 years now. I have taught at Big Picture before under a split position with International but have most recently been teaching at Tillicum where I have now taught all middle school levels of Language Arts (6th, 7th, and 8th) and have begun teaching Art Exploration as well. Currently, I am split between Big Picture and Tillicum with a focus on Language Arts 7 at Big Picture and Art Exploration at Tillicum. I have qualifications to teach secondary levels in Language Arts, Social Studies, and Visual Arts, and I try to incorporate all three into any subject I am teaching. I look forward to working with the students and staff at Big Picture again this year and can’t wait to start some great 21st Century skills focused projects.

Support Staff

Ryan Adgate
Occupational Therapist

Ashley Chipman
Speech & Language Pathologist

Seth Erickson
Jubilee Reach

Erin Ferguson

Kristopher Hemphill
Night Custodian

Chloe Hertzberg
Behavior Support Specialist

Kelley Hoang
Attendance Specialist

Holly Huckeba
Para Educator

Bryn Jennings
Technology Specialist

Randy Largent
Para Educator

Yoke Fong Lau

David Mahnke
Lead Custodian

Wendy Paxton
Kitchen Manager

Hillary Salmieri
Sr. Secretary

Jennie Schraer
Social Worker

Monica Shaffer
Kitchen Assistant

Sherill Starniri
Para Educator

Carol Anne Yamamoto

Melissa Wax
Para Educator

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.