I grew up in Eugene Oregon, attended the University of Oregon graduating in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a teaching certificate. I taught junior high math in Eugene from the fall of 1975 through spring 1981 where I had anywhere from 160 to 170 students each day. In 1980 I married Dan Porter and in the spring of 1981 I moved to Crescent. Oregon, high in the Oregon Cascade Mountains. I worked with my husband in the woods harvesting posts, poles, and firewood for a few years. In 1983 we started Dan Porter Log Homes where I became the “office” half of a log home construction business with my husband. We built log homes all over the northwest from 1984 to 1995. Our first child was born in 1984 (Daniel). By 1987 we had three children (Benjamin born in 1986 and Ellen born in 1987). The log home business was doing well, we were working on a home for ourselves, and then in 1995 tragedy struck when Dan was killed in a motorcycle accident. I managed to finish the buildings that we were currently working on with the help of some friends in the log home community, but after those were finished, I closed down the business. In the summer of 2000, I worked for the census bureau in order to pay for more college work with a goal of becoming certified to teach Elementary classes since my certificate was just for mathematics. I was now the sole breadwinner in my little family of four, so I went back to teaching. I substituted for a few years, then was hired on full time at (what I thought was) a small school in Gilchrist, Oregon. Gilchrist is a k-12 school like Wishram, only there are only around 325 total students. The average graduating class at this school is around 22 students. This is where my children went to school. I taught there (3rd/4th grade for a few years, then junior high math and credit retrieval classes) until the spring of 2008. I got married in 2006 (to my college sweetheart), but he lived in Yakima, so I looked for work closer to him and found Wishram was looking for a math teacher. I was hired for the 2008-2009 school year and have been here ever since. I am no longer married and still have my house in Gilchrist (my oldest is living there and working in LaPine at a small computer store) but my home is here in Wishram. While teaching here at Wishram, I’ve lived on a boat in the marina in The Dalles, then the apartments on Hwy 14, and now in a small home here in Wishram. I love working with my Wishram family here at the school. My middle son is in Hillsboro working for Intel and my youngest (daughter) is in Kirkland working for Microsoft. I often use my own children as examples of what is possible even if you do come from a home with only one parent and from a small school. Working in a small school like this, I get to know each student personally (as opposed to when I had 160 students) and I do my best to help each one at their own individual level. Here, it’s all about making progress and doing your best. I am here to help each student realize their potential as an intelligent, caring, productive citizen of the global community.
Ms. Betsy Barnhart