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Teacher Spotlight – Mrs. Slind, St Helens Elementary

Spotlight  – Q & A

Where were you born? Nampa, Idaho.

Where did you go to school? My family moved to Clarkston, Washington when I was about six years old. I grew up and went to school in Clarkston.

Did you always live in Clarkston? No, in eighth and ninth grade we moved to an isolated American copper mining town deep in a remote area of Peru. It was an American school in a very small village.

Mrs. Slind, St Helens Elementary

How did mom and dad break the news about moving to Peru? One morning Dad said, “What do you think girls, we’re moving to Peru.”

Did you like Peru? Yes, it opened up my world. I learned not everyone lives or thinks the same way American’s do. I also faced discrimination for being different.

What was the name of the town? Toquepala, Peru.

What were the living arrangements in Toquepala? The company provided a small house and furniture.

Was it safe living in Peru? Back in the 1980’s Peru was not always safe, we had guards in camp who carried machine guns.

What did you do for fun? Fun was limited for a ninth grader. We would swim, read, hike and play games.

Did you travel to other places in South America? Yes, we had an amazing time traveling to Chile and seeing Machu Picchu.

Did you take up any hobbies in Peru? I took up running with my Dad and ran cross-country throughout high school. I still run every day before school.

When did you move back to Clarkston? We moved back for tenth grade.

Where did you graduate from high school? Clarkston High School, class of 1991 – the Bantams.

What did your parents do for work? Both my parents were teachers.

Does teaching run in your family? Yes, my mom (Susan Gentry) and dad (Jim Gentry) were teachers. In addition, my father’s three brothers are teachers, and all their wives are teachers too.

What grade(s) did your mom and dad teach? Mom taught kindergarten, which is great because I bounce ideas off her all the time. My dad was a fourth grade teacher, and then went into library.

Is anyone else in your family a teacher? Yes, my sister is a second grade teacher.  

It sounds like you grew up in and around school, is that right? Yes it is. I grew up hearing about conferences, report cards – school was a part of everyday life.

Did your parents want you to be a teacher? Growing up my parents tried to steer me away from being a teacher. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Speech/Language Pathology before getting my elementary education certification.

Did you start your career as a teacher? No, I started in speech pathology, but was yearning for the sense of community being a teacher brings.

What does “sense of community” mean? It means the students and I are in this together. We are going to climb this mountain together. I like using the “mountain” and the “Little Engine That Could” as ideas to help us achieve goals.

How long did you work as a speech pathologist? After one year working as a speech pathologist, I went back to school and got my teaching certificate. I started teaching then had my three children.

Are your kids in Longview schools? Yes, two graduated from Mark Morris and one is a junior in high school.

What is the most fulfilling part of your job? Seeing the growth in our students. To see a kid go from not knowing how to hold a pencil at the beginning of the year to writing their opinion by the end of the year is amazing. To see the kids believe in themselves.

What are the characteristics of a great teacher? You need to be patient and persevere. When you feel like you cannot give anymore – you have to give more. Great teachers are flexible. Flexible to see when something is not working and change to something that does.

What else does it take to be a great teacher? An overarching quality of an effective teacher is a strong work ethic. Teaching is such hard work.

What is the best part of being a teacher? Having a student’s face light up when they look at you and say, “I did it!”

What is the biggest challenge in teaching kindergarten? Meeting student’s needs. They all have individual needs. Social emotional and academic needs are sometimes high. Sometimes it feels overwhelming, but I am optimistic that the kids can learn.

How would you sum up your teaching style? Many teachers I know teach with effortless grace. I am certainly not one of those teachers. I just try to work as hard as I can with the amount of time I’m given. We have steep mountains to climb in terms of learning. I see great potential in our students!

Do you have a positive outlook on the future? I do. Meeting the kid’s needs is a challenge, but our kids have a lot of potential – they can do amazing things.

What are some of the thing you enjoy outside of work? I love running, it’s my mental release. I run four miles every morning and sometimes do longer runs on the weekend.

Have you run in races? Yes, over the years I have run numerous races. Half marathons are my favorite. I did run the Portland Marathon for my 40th birthday.

Is running a marathon hard? Yes, but honestly, teaching kindergarten is harder than running a marathon.

Where did you go to college? Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa, Idaho and Central Washington University.

What is your favorite food? Gelato. I absolutely love gelato. In addition, I love bagels. I eat bagels all the time.

What flavors of gelato do you like? I usually like to sample flavors – but pistachio gelato sounds wonderful.

Have you ever had a New York bagel? Yes, my parents took my sister and me to Morocco. On our way to Morocco, we went through New York City and ate great bagels.

What is Morocco like? Morocco was like nothing I’d ever seen, a total sensory overload of sights and smells. The craziest thing was crossing the street – they do not stop for pedestrians.

What other things do you enjoy doing? I love hiking, which we do as a family. I also love baking and reading.

Can you tell us a hiking story? Yes, my son Gabe and I backpacked around Mt. Hood – we had a blast. The hike was 40 miles and pretty arduous. On the first day, we were so excited we walked 19 miles. The next day we were feeling great and hiked the remaining 21 miles. The hike was tough, but we did it.

Did the hike teach you anything? Yes, you can do more than you think you can.

What do you like to bake? Fresh bread. Getting my hands in the dough and kneading – I love it. My favorite recipe is an old farm style bread.

How often do you read? I read every night. Historical fiction is my favorite, like Jane Austen.

What is your favorite color? Yellow.

What is your favorite number? 100. One hundred is a hallmark number for kindergartners.

2019-02-20T15:55:33+00:00February 20th, 2019|

Spotlight – Ms. Misty (Keith) Woodrum, Robert Gray Elementary

Spotlight  – Q & A

Where were you born? I was born in Rainier, Oregon.

Do you have siblings? I am the oldest of six kids – four boys and two girls.

What is it like being the oldest child? It works for me; I like being in charge and taking care of things!

Which schools did you attend? Mint Valley Elementary, Olympic, Beacon Hill, Monticello Middle School and RA Long High School – class of 1994.

Who was the principal when you attended RA Long? Rally Johnson.

Ms. Misty (Keith) Woodrum

Is anyone else in your family an RA Long graduate? Yes, it started with my great aunt Dorothy Fulbright; she was RA Long class of ’53. My mom graduated from RA Long in ’73 and my brother Shane Keith graduated in ’96. I have several cousins who are RAL graduates and my brother, Mr. Reid, is currently an RAL teacher.

What are some of your memories from high school? I loved being a Lumberjill. It is interesting going back to school and seeing education from an adult perspective. As a student, I had no idea all the stuff was going on behind the scenes.

Did you participate in high school activities? I was active in different groups like Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), French Club and Leadership.  I really enjoyed high school. I was on drill team all four years and played basketball my freshmen year.

What sort of things did you do in FBLA? We competed in different business areas and computer competitions and I actually took fifth in state in a job interviewing competition. The experience interviewing through FBLA helped me get the job at Robert Gray.

At the state FBLA conference, were students dressed up for the interviewing competition? Yes, I had on my stylish 1994 business skirt and blazer.

What do you remember about the interview? I remember it was in front of a panel of about 12 people who asked impromptu questions about why you wanted the job.

Were you nervous? Oh, yes. People say I do well talking in front of groups, but I always feel nervous inside. You have to hold in the nervous energy and make it work for you.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Either a travel agent or a flight attendant.

What did you do after high school? I attended LCC for a year or so then moved out of town.  You do not realize during high school everything you do leads down a path. You think you have a plan and you expect things to work out a certain way but the surprises and challenges bring you so much joy in the end.  I am a firm believer that there is plan for all of us and sometimes it reveals itself when we least expect it!

Where did you move? I moved to Ellensburg for a few years. I worked at the Kittitas County Title office as an escrow closing assistant.

What did you do after Ellensburg? After about 2 years in Ellensburg, I came home to Longview and worked in the business office for Longview Fibre.

What year were you hired at Robert Gray? August 2005, this is my fourteenth school year. We count everything in school years; calendar years really do not matter when you work in a school building.

Why did you want to become a school secretary? I like to organize, to help others and be responsible for helping others do well.  I do not want to be the boss necessarily, but do want to help coordinate things for the boss to be more effective.

Being a head secretary is a big job, right? Yes it is! Secretaries are in charge of important things whether it be in elementary, middle or high school. At the elementary level, there is only one secretary and a 4-hour secretarial assistant that is different from middle or high school.  We do a variety of tasks and act as office manager and secretary to the entire building.

What makes for a good head secretary? I think it is critical for a head secretary to be organized, friendly, caring and love the job!  I had good role models like Jennifer Robinson, who was a long-time head secretary at Columbia Heights.

What sort of training did you get? During the summer before school started, someone broke into Robert Gray and stole the computer where all the secretary’s data and information was stored. Jennifer Robinson invited me up to Columbia Heights and shared the various systems she used to organize her work. I also got 4 days with the secretary that was moving to Mt. Solo (Gayle Hanna) and received computer training for the student system, Skyward.  Everything else is really on the job training; learn as you go, where you ask questions from your colleagues and create systems for yourself that meet the needs of your building and the district requirements.

Are you interrupted much during the day? Yes. The whole job revolves around getting work done with constant interruptions throughout the day to help our students, families, teachers and administrators do their job. They are the first priority.

Do secretaries do a lot of paperwork? Yes! There is so much paperwork that you must have systems and processes to get it all done. You cannot let the paperwork overwhelm you. It is a critical aspect of the “business” side of the job but students, families, staff needs always come first.

What is the best part of job? The people, kids and families we work with. Knowing they trust me and understand I am going to help solve whatever problems they have – it makes me feel good.

Can you tell us something you are proud of? Yes, in 2014 I was nominated for the Washington Classified Employee of the Year and was selected as our Regional Classified Employee of the Year.  It was a great experience to go to Olympia and be part of the process.  I am forever grateful to Bruce Holway for nominating me encouraging me to complete the process.

What do you do for fun outside of work? My personal life is if full of activities revolving around my family specifically my nephews and nieces.  I currently have four nephews and three nieces – they are my highlight.

Do you have any hobbies? I like and have always been interested in photography. I took a photography class at RA Long back in high school and loved it. As digital photography took off, I got a nicer camera and started experimenting with family/child, travel, and wedding photos. I am not a professional by any means, but I’m always learning.

What do you like about photography? My favorite thing is capturing the facial expressions of people to remember a moment. In addition, I enjoy taking the “once a month picture” of my nieces and nephews.

What is the once a month picture? When babies are born, parents often will track the child’s growth by taking a picture once a month. I am always taking pictures of my family and have taken a photo every month of for at least two of my nephews and my youngest niece. We do this until they reach 1 year old, then we take a photo each year.

What is it like working in the school district? The school district is a world all its own. School districts have so many guidelines and rules. People from outside the district generally have no idea how many different things influence the choices we make.

What are the most common misconceptions about schools? The big things right now are technology and social media. Getting parents to understand privacy and what privacy means and how it affects students at the elementary level is so different from middle and high school issues.

Is Robert Gray different from other elementary schools? We are unique in that we are the only school in the county. We have a variety of differences because of this but the fun part is the unique show and tell items like goats, guinea pigs, turkey and grouse feathers – more rural stuff. Our student population decreases during hunting season.

Do you have a positive outlook for the future of the district? We are very fortunate. Our kids seem to be excited about school. You’ll always have kids who will struggle, but mostly the kid’s love coming to school. We have many resources now; I hope the kids who struggle find their joy somewhere as they progress through school.

Is school fun? We try to make school fun. We do things like spirit days and try to keep a positive vibe.

Are you going to watch the Super Bowl? Well, the Super Bowl often times fall on my birthday. So half the time I’m planning a birthday party along with a Super Bowl party. This year my brother Sam is getting married over Super Bowl weekend, so there is a lot going on.

What is your favorite food? Cheese.

What kind of cheese? It really doesn’t matter. Raw cheese, melted cheese. I fell in love with Sharp Cheese, specifically Vermont White Cheddar Cheese.

Do you like to travel? Yes, I love to travel.

What are some travel spots you like? I’ve done numerous road trips throughout the United States. The farthest I’ve gone is Nebraska. I recently took a road trip to Vancouver, BC, where I took a guided photo tour and it was amazing – I want to see more of Canada. I want to go to Australia and France too.

Do you like driving trips or flying trips? I am really up for any travel adventure!

What is your favorite color? Teal, like teal blue. My brother made me a custom “Washington is Home” sweatshirt in teal. Teal is a bright, fun color.

2019-02-20T15:52:51+00:00February 15th, 2019|

Update 2/11/19: MM basketball game rescheduled again

Updated 1:15 pm February 11, 2019

Today’s Mark Morris High School basketball game vs Tumwater is postponed. The game will be played Tuesday February 12th at Mark Morris High School with a 6:00 start time.

Before the MM game, a 2B girls’ game between Ilwaco and Toledo will be played.  After the MM game, a 2B boys’ game between Ilwaco and Kalama will be played.

A reminder with District 4 events; Longview School District passes are not honored for entry in to the contest.  Ticket prices are $7 for adults, $5 for students and Sr. citizens.


2019-02-12T16:43:48+00:00February 9th, 2019|

Mark Morris boys basketball game changed to Saturday

See updated post: Due to weather game now rescheduled to Monday, April 11 at 4pm on Ted Natt court.

Due to changing weather conditions the Mark Morris High School boys basketball game against Tumwater has been re-scheduled to Saturday, February 9 at 2 pm. The game will be played on Ted Natt court at Mark Morris High School. Go Monarchs!

Please note this is a district event and admission will cost $7.


2019-02-09T09:31:56+00:00February 7th, 2019|

Teacher spotlight – Mrs. Sundberg, Robert Gray Elementary

Spotlight  – Q & A

Where were you born? I was born in Longview.

Which schools did you attend? The first elementary I attended was Ostrander Elementary school. Ostrander is a small community between Kelso and Castle Rock.

Where was Ostrander Elementary School located? Off Ostrander road where the new freeway cut through, the elementary school was on the hill. The school had two rooms serving first through eighth grade.

Do you remember your teachers? Yes, Mr. Bond taught fifth through eighth and Mrs. Mortimer taught first through fourth.

Mrs. Sundberg

How long did you attend Ostrander Elementary? I went to Ostrander for two years then all the students transferred into town. I ended up attending Washington Elementary and Barnes Elementary.

Did you ever go to kindergarten? My Mom drove me into to town for kindergarten for a short time, but I didn’t like it, so I dropped out.

Why did you drop out of kindergarten? The drive into to town was too long and I just didn’t want to go, so Mom let me drop out.

Where did you attend junior and high school? Huntington Junior High and Kelso High School – class of 1972.

Did you attend the old or new Kelso High School? I attended the old Kelso High School up on the hill. I went there one year then the new high school opened. My class was the second graduating class at the new high school.

What are some of your memories from high school? The old Kelso High School was a real dump, but I really liked it. It was hard to leave an old building full of memories and tradition to go to a new building with no history.

What did you do after high school? I went to Lower Columbia College and spent one year at Pacific Lutheran University. At the end of my junior year at Pacific Lutheran, I couldn’t find a summer job and did not have the money to pay for tuition the next year.

What did you do in place of going to college? I got married and had a family. I ended up waiting until I was 38 years old to go back and finish my degree.

Did your family run a business? Yes, Randy had a local construction company building high-end homes. We could see a downturn coming in the housing industry, so after a long conversation I re-enrolled in school.

You went back to school at the age of 38? Yes, I worked in the family business while I earned a Bachelor’s degree in History and Master’s degree in Education from WSU-Vancouver.

Do you and Randy have kids? Yes, two boys. They both graduated from Mark Morris. Joe lives in Seattle and owns a restaurant. Dan lives in Seattle as well and is a carpenter.

What sort of restaurant does Joe run? The restaurant is in Seattle, called Manolin.  The name Manolin is from the little boy in the book, “The Old Man and the Sea”.

What sort of food does Manolin serve?  They serve small plates.  It is very fresh and has a younger vibe.   They serve lots of seafood, and wonderful interesting dishes.  The menu changes frequently but they always have a fresh ceviche.   In their first year of business they were named by Bon Appetit magazine as one of the Top 10 upstart restaurants in the nation!

What else does your son Joe do? Joe is a partner in another restaurant. The second restaurant is opening in Ballard hopefully this spring– called Rupee. The menu is Sri Lankan food.

What does your son Dan do? He pursued a career in carpentry, which is a tradition in our family. Dan went to Seattle Community College and got a degree in carpentry.

Where does Dan work? Dan works for J&S Construction in Seattle remodeling high-end homes.

What have you learned from watching your boys grow up? Find your niche in life and do the best you can do. I could not be any more proud of my two sons.

How does it feel to see your sons succeed? I am so thankful. I’m thankful for the education they received in Longview – it was solid.

Does your husband work locally? Yes, Randy is a project manager and journeyman carpenter who works for the Port of Longview.

Did you start teaching immediately after graduating from college? Yes, my first job was teaching kindergarten at Carroll’s Elementary. It was awesome, I loved it, but the job was only half-time.

Were you looking for a full time job? Yes, so applied and got a job in Longview Public Schools.

What attracted you to teaching? Education is so powerful it can change the direction of your future. A child in poverty, who gets an education, no longer has to live in poverty. Education, more than any other job in the world, makes a difference.

Have you always taught at Robert Gray? I started at Mint Valley and taught both first and second grade, then came out to Robert Gray. My first year of teaching at Robert Gray was actually at Northlake due to construction.

Do you prefer teaching one grade level to another? I like fourth grade (what I teach now), but what I really love is helping kids “get it”, that is what I really like. It gives me goosebumps.

What is the feeling you get when kids “get it”? Even today, when I can help a kid understand the material – that’s very fulfilling.

What do you like about being a teacher? I like working with a team of people. I’m an innovator that likes to create things to fit student needs. Our principal, Lori Larsen, is an amazing “go to bat for you” person – she frees me up to be creative and innovative.

How long have you been teaching? 25 years.

What are the characteristics of a good teacher? First, you need to understand the job is the job. What walks in the door, you need to move them from where there at to where they need to be. You work as hard as you can to get everything done because you are building the future.

Does persistence pay off in teaching? If you need to go over something four times for students to learn it, then that’s what you do.

Do work you as a team? At Robert Gray, we work as a team. My fellow fourth grade teachers, the counselor and the principal all help me. The SST team helps me problem solve – it’s a phenomenal network of people.

Is teaching school now similar to 25 years ago? No, teaching and supporting students has evolved. A teacher has to be willing to work with a team to reach success. The job is your job and there’s obstacles, but you have to learn how to work through them.

Are teacher’s problems solvers? Yes, we constantly solve problems. You have to be able to juggle numerous issues.

What else defines a great teacher? Great teachers are innovators, who create what is needed to teach kids. Of course, good teachers have a lot of energy.

Is getting away from school important? Yes, you need to realize recuperating time is important. You need to fill your cup again.

How has school changed? If any parent can go to school for a part of day – it will change them. Parents will have a better appreciation for the challenges students and teachers face. Teachers work very hard.

Can you tell us something a visiting parent would see? Classrooms are more positive now and have more support. Everyone at school works hard to meet the needs of every child.

What else would a parent understand after a school visit? The quality of teaching has improved quite a lot in the last 25 years.

Have the students changed? Kids are the same and their needs are the same. The Internet and technology are good, but I’m not sure we’ve learned how to use it. Giving a kid a computer and not monitoring them is not positive.

How has technology affected kids? Many kids can no longer sit still. They need to have input all the time.

What subject do you teach? Math. The scope of what I teach is narrow. Concentrating on math allows me to bring my best to the subject and kids every day.  I also teach Social Studies, Science, and support reading and writing.

What do you do in your spare time? We love the outdoors. Gardening, riding bikes and camping. My husband, Randy, and I are active in our church and teach classes.

Do you tent camp or RV? We have a fifth wheel – it is great. You are totally unplugged. We kayak, hike and meet people. Every time we go RV’ing we meet people from around the world.  We have met people from England, The Netherlands, and Europe – from all over the world.

Where do you go RV’ing? As far away as we can.

What are you going to do upon retirement? We’re going to visit as many parks as possible.

What are some great places you have visited? The Canadian Rockies are spectacular, just breathtaking. Mt. Rushmore is great. Theodore Roosevelt National Park in South Dakota and Glacier National Park are incredible.

What did you experience at Glacier National Park? At Glacier National Park, I saw a beautiful waterfall with a second waterfall right behind it – just beautiful.

What else? We love to cook and eat. I enjoy having a whole bunch of people over to try new recipes.

What types of things do you like to eat? I love cioppino, chicken parmesan and lasagna. We love to barbecue and smoke meat.

What do you bbq? My favorite is roasting a whole pig. We roasted a whole pig and invited 100 friends over to eat it – it was so much fun.

You roasted an entire pig? We actually roasted two pigs at a church function because there were so many people. The pig roast was outside – just amazing. It brings people together and is so much fun.

What are some things you are most proud of at work? We started a math academy this year. The academy is for kids who are scoring lower and need extra help.

What grade levels and how many students attend math academy? We do the math academy for fourth and fifth grade students and about 40 students attend each week.

What else are you proud of? For the high capability kids we started a Tuesday morning class. A para and parent run the class. The parent is a videographer who is working with the kids to video different things we’re doing in the building.

Will the kids do a video on the math academy? One of the topics they will be covering is math academy! The kids are producing and doing all aspects of the video – it’s just wonderful.

What else will the Tuesday class cover? The kids will go through a series of different studies. They will choose their own topic, conduct research and choose a method for presenting the information.

Anything else? Yes, the kids will do a book study the district has purchased for us and go to a play. Then they will work in the school garden and design a plan for a sensory garden that the kids will build. The sensory garden will be filled with plants that you can touch, eat and experience.

Do you have a nickname? Yes, Betty DeVries nicknamed me Mrs. Fun-berg.

2019-02-06T10:21:56+00:00February 6th, 2019|

Spotlight – Mrs. Buccola, Olympic Elementary

Spotlight  – Q & A

Where did you grow up? I was born in New Jersey. My Dad got a job at Weyerhaeuser after graduating from Rutgers University. We moved to Longview when I was in the first grade.

What did your Dad do at Weyerhaeuser? Dad was a chemist.

Mrs. Buccola, Olympic Elementary

Where did you go to school? I went to Mint Valley for first grade. After my first year, we moved out to the country and I switched to Robert Gray. I attended Mark Morris High School, class of 1981.

What was Mark Morris like? I loved high school and really enjoyed the teachers. I went to every sporting event, did score keeping for boy’s baseball and was on the track team.

Is your husband from around here? Yes, my husband Steve is an RA Long graduate, class of 1977.

Do you have kids? Yes, we have two boys, Justin and Nick, both Mark Morris graduates who still live in town.

How long have you worked for the school district? I’ve worked for the district for 21 years, but before that, I volunteered for about 4 years.

Who was the principal at Olympic 21 years ago? Karen Acker.

What are some of the benefits of working in the library? The nice thing about working in the library is you get to establish and build a relationship with every student in the school.

Is your job different now versus 21 years ago? The job of a para has changed immensely. Previously I spent most of my time in the library. I am not in the library as much anymore. Twenty years ago, we were called “teacher’s aide”. You would be in one room, or maybe two rooms, a day. We didn’t move around a lot. You went into each room and whatever the teacher told you to do is what you did.

What is the job like now? Now, we have supervisors who plan our detailed schedules. We have special planning meetings with the teachers we work with. We are much more highly skilled in the specific curriculum areas we work in. We are more a partner to the teachers now than just an “aide”.

What is your work schedule like now? This year our scheduling changed immensely. The majority of paras in our building are teaching the 95% reading intervention program. To reach as many students as possible, I travel to five different classrooms throughout the day. Teaching time in the classrooms is tight, so I update and organize my materials daily so I am ready to begin teaching as soon as I walk into a classroom.

What is your focus right now? Right now, I’m teaching reading intervention to small groups in Kindergarten thru 4th grade, plus my library duties.

What is the best part of your job? The relationships with the kids. Building those positive relationships with kids is so gratifying. One of the main reasons I like working in the library so much is because books are great conversation starters. I learn what books a child likes; if they enjoy a specific author, series or subject, and talking about those books creates a connection with them.

How has school changed over the last 20 years? I think many families are more transient today than in the past. That transient nature is really tough on the kids. I feel that’s one reason why building good relationships with kids is so important.

Does the transient nature of things make your job harder? Yes it does. There are so many stories that just break your heart. However, there’s a lot of good things going on too.

Did the internet change anything in the library? Maybe a little bit. The strengths and focus of the librarian affects things more. Our currently librarian is technologically savvy and outstanding.

What are the keys to being a good reader? Having a good teacher who has great relationships with students, so the students know they are cared about is a great starting point. Kids have to know you want them to succeed. When you have strong relationships with kids they work harder – they don’t want to disappoint you.

What is it like to work in the schools? It’s fun, it really is. Kids are fun! It’s awesome working in a small group and seeing the lightbulb go off. And I love working in the library, libraries are wonderful places.

What is your outlook on the future? The outlook for the future is positive. The staff at Olympic Elementary is amazing. We all want what is best for the kids and we work together to make sure all the kid’s needs are met.

Is it like family at Olympic? Oh yes, we are a family here. The staff here is very cohesive. Everyone has my back. Our principal is a good leader that I can talk to when I need things.

What do you do after work? I’m involved at my church where I’m a deacon. I love to travel. Spending time with my family is always a top priority. In my downtime I love to read and I enjoy working on puzzles.

Tell me about a trip you’ve taken? My brother and I did a road trip with our parents two summers ago to visit relatives in New Jersey. We were gone for a month and a half. I really loved staying in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia – the museums and history in that area is so interesting.

Did your family drive across county when you moved to Longview as a kid? Yes, when my family moved out here we drove. We visited Mt Rushmore along the way. On our recent trip with our parents two summers ago we visited Mt. Rushmore again. As an adult, Mt Rushmore wasn’t as big as I remember, but it was still impressive!

Do you have any family trips planned? We are getting ready for a big family trip this year during Spring Break – everybody is going to Hawaii. Hawaii is the only state my parents have not been to. Ten years ago, on our parent’s 50th anniversary, the family went to Sicily. Now on our parent’s 60th wedding anniversary we are going to Hawaii.

2019-01-30T14:39:47+00:00January 30th, 2019|

Calendar information 2019-2020 school year

Planning for vacation and family celebrations is important. While final details of the next year’s school calendar are not yet finished, several important key dates are set. To help you with planning below are important dates for the 2019-2020 school year. These dates have been finalized and approved by the School Board. (Please note the calendar for Broadway Learning Center is different and parents should check with Broadway for 2019-2020 calendar dates.)

Event Date
First day of school August 28, 2019
Winter holiday December 23, 2019 – January 3, 2020
Spring Break April 6-10, 2020
High school graduation June 6, 2020
Last day of school June 11, 2020

A more detailed 2019-2020 school calendar will be sent to parents and families in the Spring. If you have questions please contact your local school.

2019-01-25T14:05:18+00:00January 25th, 2019|

Spotlight – Ms. Kickabush, MMHS Head Secretary

Spotlight  – Q & A

Where did you grow up? I was born in Chehalis. My Mom was working for the Lewis County PUD in Chehalis, I was on her insurance, which only allowed me to be born in Lewis County.

Were you raised in Longview? Except two years of college, and a couple years in Bellingham while my father finished college, I’ve spent my entire life in Longview.

Ms. Kickabush, Mark Morris HS Head Secretary

Where did you go to school? I attended Columbia Heights Elementary; it was K-6 back then. From Columbia Heights, I went to Cascade for 7th through 9th grade then onto Mark Morris – class of 1977.

What are some of your memories from high school? For me Mark Morris was a second home – I grew up here. I was very active in school participating in drama, choir, yearbook and student government.

What role of student government were you in? Activities coordinator.

How else were you involved in high school? I got involved in every girls league, pep club – I joined just about anything I could. Don Wiitala was my DECA teacher for three years.

What did you do after high school? I loved high school and wanted to be a teacher. My Dad did not want me to be a teacher – he talked me out of it.

Where did you go to college? Since I wasn’t going to be a teacher, I went to Mt. Hood Community College because they had a great marketing program. I spent 2 years at MHCC and decided big city life was not for me.

Did you come back to Longview after college? Yes, I came home from MHCC to figure out what I was going to do for work and got a call from Dave Grocott, who was the principal at Northlake Elementary. Mr. Grocott had an open para position and wanted me to sub until the position was filled. This was the fall of 1979. I ended up working at Northlake until it closed in about 1983.

What did you do after Northlake closed? I was 23 years old at the time and the district transferred me to the ISS (In School Suspension) room at RA Long High School. The job was not a good fit for me.

What did you following the stint at RA Long? I came back to work the next fall at Cascade Middle School. Dave Jeitz called me; he was the principal at Cascade. I worked at Cascade as a para for a one year, moved to the nurse’s office for a few years, then finally into the secretary/attendance position.

When did you get a job at Mark Morris? In 1990, I left Cascade and came to Mark Morris to be the registrar. After two years as the registrar, I was the Guidance Office secretary for 15 years, and then became the Head Secretary in 2006.

Looking back what are some of your memories? I have worked with some amazing people over the years. I’ve been blessed to work for great building administrators, teachers and support staff. There are so many great memories. I worked for the volleyball program for about 20 years, which I enjoyed a lot.

What is the best part of your job? The best part of my job is the relationships with kids. I know students who are now grown up and have kids of their own. When I worked in the guidance office, I knew 99 to 100 percent of the kid’s names. I’ve been to more weddings and seen more new babies than I would ever have seen if it wasn’t for this job.

What are your thoughts after all the years? I just hope I made a difference for the kids. I know they have for me.

What is it like being the head secretary? This job keeps you young – you have to stay current. Staying up on what is going on with music, in the theater and current events is important. I’ve always said, “If you can’t be independently wealthy, it’s a great place to work.” I would not want to work anywhere else.

How long has someone in your family worked at Mark Morris? In 1962, my Dad (Jim Kickabush) started work at Mark Morris Junior High, which was in the basement of Kessler Elementary school. (While building Cascade Junior High, Mark Morris Junior High moved to the basement of Kessler Elementary.)

Where else did your Dad work in the district? He moved to Cascade Junior High when it opened, then came to Mark Morris in the fall of 1965 as a history teacher. In the late 1960’s or early 1970’s Dad earned his traffic safety endorsement and taught traffic safety until the end of his career.

Did your siblings attend Mark Morris? My sister Karol Kickabush was a student at Mark Morris, when Dad was teaching. Karol graduated in the Mark Morris class of ’83. My youngest sister Mary Kickabush (Dorland) graduated in the Mark Morris class of 1984.

Did your Mother work in the district? My Mother (Linda Kickabush) was the secretary at Cascade Middle School then moved to Mark Morris in the fall of 1983. Mom and my sister Mary were here for one year together.

When did your Mother retire? Mom retired around 1997-98 as the head secretary at Mark Morris. I moved down here from Cascade Middle School in the fall of 1990.

What did your parents teach you? My parents taught us work ethic, you do not work hours – you work a job. My parents taught us you work until the job is done. For me my job is much more than just a job – it’s a profession.

What do love most about your profession? The people. The day to day tasks of the job – is the job. The profession is being a part of other people’s lives and the life of this building. This building (MMHS) is a living, breathing thing.

What are your earliest memories of Mark Morris? At the age of five I attended high school graduation. I remember asking my Mother why some graduates had gold cords around their neck while others did not. After my mother explained the cords I made the goal to wear gold cords on graduation day – and I did.

Did you spend a lot of time at Mark Morris? As a youngster, I would come with my Dad to MM on Saturday mornings and help decorate for prom or do other stuff. Growing up my whole life revolved around school.

What was it like to grow up in the halls of Mark Morris then come back here to work? Coming back to work here was like coming home. When I leave MM to retire it will be incredibly difficult. For me Mark Morris is home.

How has school changed? There’s lots of emphasis on testing and pushing kids hard. The emphasis know seems to be graduating and going to a four-year college. When I grew up Longview was a true blue collar town. Many kids from my class went straight from high school to work in the mill – it is what we did.

Are we still a blue-collar town? Yes, but we are hurting. Back then jobs in the mill paid well and there were plenty of jobs available.

Has the community changed over the years? Our community has changed, which has changed our schools. We’ve lost so many mill jobs and have a much higher poverty rate, which changes the whole community.

How has this affected school? We spend a lot more time doing social service work now, in addition to teaching, which did not used to be the case years ago.

What activities do you enjoy outside of school? Of course, I am a big supporter of Mark Morris programs. I’m a pretty big crafter; especially paper crafting like scrapbooking, making greeting cards and home décor. I do recipe books and picture frames too.

What sort of recipe books? I make recipe books for bridal shower gifts. The idea is whoever buys the book puts recipes into it for their new daughter in law.

What kind of recipes are in your personal recipe book? I come from a long line of good cooks. My family has some wonderful recipes and a few are so precious we won’t even share them.

What recipes won’t you share? Grandma Kickabush’s chicken coating recipe – it’s like a shake and bake type of thing. Long before there was “Shake and Bake” Grandma Kickabush invented her own version -and we don’t share it.

Who determines which recipes are shared and which stay in the family? My mother. Mom was very clear which recipes are family secrets. I tell people I’ll happily cook food for them, but cannot share the recipe.

What are your personal favorite dishes? Grandma Kickabush’s Shake and Bake chicken. Chicken cacciatore, the recipe is a lot of work – but it’s really good. Hungarian Goulash is another favorite.

Did all families growing up years ago have a goulash recipe? Yes, but we call the hamburger and macaroni recipe “glup” in my family. Our Hungarian goulash is a thick, rich red sauce with chunks of beef and sauce on the top – very different from glup. I love glup too, they are just different.

What about dessert? We have never been a big dessert family. My Mom didn’t love to bake, she loved to cook savory dishes. My Grandma Gudgel was the “sweet baker”.

What will you do in retirement? I will stay active and involved in the schools in some way, whether it’s volunteering in an elementary reading program or in the office. I just want to give back to my community.

What about outside schools? I was active at St. Vincent de Paul for years a number of years, so I plan to do some volunteer work there. I’m also interested in working on the Go Fourth committee. Go Fourth is a wonderful thing for our community.

What else? I am not a big traveler, but love the beach. Long Beach is my favorite because it’s so quiet. The ocean is rejuvenating; something about the waves going in and out is very cleansing. I can sit for a long time and just watch the water – it clears my mind and soul.

Do you have any final thoughts? What’s in your heart is what’s important, do what’s in your heart – kids have always been in my heart.

2019-01-24T11:23:11+00:00January 23rd, 2019|
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