Waskowitz Outdoor School Staff

Dr. Roberta McFarland, Director/Principal

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Dr. Roberta McFarland, Director/Principal

Dr. McFarland serves as the Director/Principal of Outdoor Environmental Education for Waskowitz Outdoor Programs since 1997. An innovator and educational entrepreneur she leads her staff in developing programs that motivate students to find the ‘magic’ by engaging on a diversity journey of people and nature. Her favorite place at Waskowitz is finding a warm rock by the south fork of the Snoqualmie River near the campfire amphitheater.

Roberta served for 35 years as a residential outdoor environmental educator. Starting in a tent with students and currently in an office with a fireplace. College degrees from the east coast (Springfield College) to the west coast (City University of Seattle) and several in-between (Sam Houston and Stephen F Austin). Educational Doctorate in curriculum, instruction, and assessment.  Proudly admits to being a naturalized Northwesterner as a coffee aficionado and hiking enthusiast. Her career started with the Houston TX Outdoor Education Center programs in 1979; however, some argue she started year one- as the youngest staff at the Boy Scout Camp Mohican. 

 Carey Gannaw, Office Manager

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Carey Gannaw, Office Manager

Carey Gannaw is the Office Manager for Waskowitz and WELS. Born and raised in Seattle, she attended Evergreen High School and then Highline Community College majoring in Early Childhood Education. Prior to joining Highline School District in 1996, she worked at a bank, owned a small painting business, and taught pre-school. She helped enroll students when the WELS program began and then continued to watch the success and growth of the program over the years. She officially joined the Waskowitz staff in July 2013 as the Office Manager. She loves learning how Waskowitz and WELS work and expand every year; and feels that her computer and administration skills are an asset to the office team. She enjoys being able to support the students and staff while working and learning something wonderful each day; Waskowitz is her perfect job!

When not in the office she bikes, walks her German Shephard, reads, hikes and plans for the next vacation. She loves spending time with her husband, daughters and their spouses and two granddaughters.

 Johnny Gannaw, Assistant Director/Resident Manager

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Johnny Gannaw, Assistant Director/Resident Manager

Johnny has been involved at Camp Waskowitz since 2004.  His initial involvement was as a volunteer through the Kent Parks & Recreation summer program.  Each summer, Johnny would dedicate time working with youth to build up social skills as well as just getting them outdoors to enjoy themselves. Since 2010, Johnny has been a full time staff member serving in several different roles at the Outdoor School. He has been the high school leader coordinator, a teacher in the WELS program, and now serves as the Dean of Student Success, connecting Waskowitz programs with the Highline School District vision and mission. Being a product himself of quality experiential education as a sixth grader, high school leader, and staff member, Johnny consistently connects the power of camp to all components of his career.

Johnny graduated Green River Community College in 2006 with his AA degree and then from the University of Redlands in Southern California in 2008 with his Bachelor's degree. As an undergraduate student, Johnny was heavily involved in campus clubs and organizations as well as student government. On his free time he enjoys long walks on the beach and listening to smooth jazz.

 

 Meredith von Trapp, Assistant Director/Dean of Environmental Education

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Meredith von Trapp, Assistant Director/Dean of Environmental Education

Meredith von Trapp received her undergraduate degree in Environmental Education from Western Washington University in 2000 and then traveled to Colorado, Oregon and Alaska working a variety of jobs in the field like backcountry field instructor for adjudicated youth, SCA volunteer Ranger in Katmai National Park and Waskowitz Naturalist! After working as a Naturalist for 3 years she earned her Master’s in Teaching from City University in Bellevue. For the next ten years, she taught 5th grade at North Bend Elementary and infused her passion for the environment by creating and facilitating staff and student green teams, taking her students on walking field trips to the Snoqualmie River and leading the 5th graders on their annual trip to outdoor school. She has returned to Waskowitz as a National Board Certified Teacher and is beyond thrilled to support teachers in their magical journey helping students explore the diversity of people and nature. She hopes to inspire students to be life-long learners and responsible stewards of their community and the planet as a whole. In her spare time, she can be found exploring the trails with her family, baking yummy treats or reading a good book!

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 Jacob Belsher, Program Coordinator

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Jacob Belsher, Program Coordinator

Jacob is a passionate educator with so much drive and dedication to the trade. We are excited to see him excel in his role here as Program Coordinator. Jacob has recently worked in a similar role at a camp in California. He is eager to return back to his native Pacific Northwest roots, and join the new Waskowitz team.  Jacob sees Outdoor Education as a combination of his deep love of the natural world with a lifelong interest in teaching and learning. He finds ways to incorporate his humor with his intellect. For example, he is an avid believer that “baby carrots” are not actual baby carrots, as well as the Credence Clearwater Revival isn’t from the south… want to know more, Jacob will fill you in!

 Sammy Porter, Lead Outdoor Educator

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Sammy Porter, Lead Outdoor Educator

Sammy loves being involved at Waskowitz serving in many capacities throughout the years. This includes summer camp volunteering, leadership staff, an internship, and ROOTS program support.  With her BS in Recreation & Tourism, Sammy brings a sense of place and a lot of positive energy to the team! She has served in several recreation program roles and is excited for another year on the Outdoor Ed team because she is very attracted to the challenges and growth that it promotes. She is a passionate hiker, and prides herself on her PCT adventure where she lived outside for three months, walked 1,200 miles, and ate 2-3 candy bars a day.

 Josh Porter, Outdoor Educator

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Josh Porter, Outdoor Educator

Josh comes to Waskowitz with a BA in History and nearly a completed teaching certificate. He is a very intelligent young man with a passion for teaching as well as learning- a perfect fit for an Outdoor Educator! Josh has known since early in high school that he wanted to pursue a career in education. Seeing that he loves the outdoors, he is thrilled about interacting with students outside of the traditional classroom setting. He is an avid hiker, and excited about all of the trails North Bend offers.

 Alane Gacad, Outdoor Educator

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Alane Gacad, Outdoor Educator

Alane joins the team with limited experience working in the outdoors, but tons of experience motivating and leading others! With her BS in Business Administration and a lot of tech experience, Alane took a leap of faith, trusted her instincts and changed her career to do something geared towards serving her community. Alane is excited to come back to the PNW and take on her new role as an Outdoor Educator.  She is a natural born leader with a true gift of brightening up someone’s day and being extremely reliable and enthusiastic. We see her as a strong addition to the Waskowitz team.  She’s a dedicated cook who loves sushi and chicken wings!

 Ben Garcia, Outdoor Educator

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Ben Garcia, Outdoor Educator

Benjamin was born and raised in upstate NY, where he developed a love for outdoor sports and nature. After graduating high school, he spent a year studying in Thailand, then went on to earn a B.A. degree in literature from SUNY Purchase. He enjoys reading, writing, teaching, studying mycology, and fly-fishing. His favorite hot sauce is Habanero Tabasco. He joined the Waskowitz family in March 2017.

 Brad Fenbert, Outdoor Educator

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Brad Fenbert, Outdoor Educator

Brad graduated from Western Washington University with a BS in Engineering in 2015. After a year in the field, he decided to take his love for science and discovery and utilize it in education. Growing up near Cispus Learning Center and working at Cascade Middle Level Leadership Camp taught him the incredible impact camps can have on student's lives. He is thrilled to spend his time in the woods of North Bend and be a part of the magic of Waskowitz Outdoor School. If you are looking for a high five anytime, Brad is your guy!

 Nicole Lorence, Outdoor Educator

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Nicole Lorence, Outdoor Educator

Prior to working at Waskowitz she was a Field Instructor in Oregon for NWRESD at camp Trickle Creek. She attended Western Washington University and graduated from Fairhaven College with an interdisciplinary degree titled: Visual Arts for Environmental Understanding. The emphasis of her program of study was climate change, agriculture, and art. She has been to a few other countries in the world some of which includes studying through the Institute for Village Studies in India and Thailand as well as living in an eco-village called Sòlheimar in Iceland with Center for Ecological Living and Learning. On her free time she enjoys cooking, walking, biking, and being with her family.

 Tim Clingan, Outdoor Educator Intern

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Tim Clingan, Outdoor Educator Intern

Waskowitz welcomes it’s newest intern Timothy Clingan! As apart of the first ever graduating class of WELS in 2015 Timothy is deeply imbedded in the culture of Outdoor School. Starting as an O.W.L. from Highline HS in ’13 Timothy has 5-6 years experience with Waskowitz specifically, adapting with the changing times and ever expanding curriculum. From interning for a week as leader coordinator to becoming a full year intern to all Waskowitz programs Timothy appreciates and actively searches for new opportunities to grow around every corner. With plans of becoming an expedition leader for youth in the wilderness Timothy is here to soak up all the knowledge he can from this enriched program with an amazingly experienced and insightful staff.

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WELS Staff

 Bennett Kling, WELS Classic Teacher

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Bennett Kling, WELS Classic Teacher

Bennett Kling has been helping WELS students become stronger mathematicians since 2013.  After studying Economics at Willamette University, he returned to his native city of Seattle.  Bennett enjoys taking advantage of the wilderness opportunities around the Pacific Northwest including hiking, camping, biking, and skiing, including a 500 mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail from Oregon to Canada.  After deciding to become a teacher, Bennett attended the UW’s teaching program and has been at WELS ever since.  He enjoys the opportunity to teach real-world math in his Financial Algebra class and the relationships formed in small classes at WELS.

 Michaela Reynolds, WELS Classic Teacher

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Michaela Reynolds, WELS Classic Teacher

After growing up in small-town Kansas, Michaela packed her bags for Houston, Texas where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Rice University and spent two years teaching secondary math and science at Chinquapin Preparatory. Looking to experience another part of the country, Michaela then traveled to Seattle, serving with AmeriCorps at Garfield High School and working toward her Masters of Education at the University of Washington. Joining the Highline School District this year, Michaela is thrilled to partner with students and families as the geometry teacher and testing coordinator for the WELS Junior Year Program. She is committed to curriculum and teaching practices that are engaging and relevant. In her free time, Michaela enjoys the beauty of the Pacific Northwest while running, hiking, and biking.

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 Michael Stein-Ross, WELS Senior Teacher

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Michael Stein-Ross, WELS Senior Teacher

Michael has been involved with Waskowitz since 2009 when he brought a class of sixth graders to Outdoor School. In addition to bringing students to camp, he has trained high school leaders over the years and currently serves on the board of The Waskowitz Foundation. After a four year stint teaching abroad in Venezuela, he has returned to join the Waskowitz team as the WELS senior class instructor of Outdoor Recreation and Leadership. Michael graduated from the University of Southern California and began teaching straight out of college. Most of his experience is in teaching middle school humanities, but getting students outside, where they learn best, has always been his passion. 

 Debbie Lindsay, Success Dean/WELS Inclusion Teacher

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Debbie Lindsay, Success Dean/WELS Inclusion Teacher

Debbie has taught Special Education since 2009 after receiving her teacher’s certification through the state Alternate Route program via Central Washington University.  She has taught Special Education in middle school and high school in Ellensburg before moving to Tacoma.  She's currently finishing her Master’s in ELL thru Western Governor’s University.  Before her teacher life, she was a tax accountant and a small business owner. She loves to travel and see historic places. She also enjoys sewing, quilting and reading – but most of all, she loves being a wife, mom, and grandma!  She and her husband have 4 children and 4 grandchildren!

 Olivia Riojas, Para-educator for Special Education/ ASB Advisor

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Olivia Riojas, Para-educator for Special Education/ ASB Advisor

Olivia graduated from Seattle Central Community College with her AA degree in 2006 and continued her education receiving a BA in Sociology from the University of Washington. She worked as a paralegal for many years and realized that law was not her calling. She quit her job at a law office, took a leap of faith and changed her career to do something geared towards empowering youth. She is committed to supporting and guiding her students to become powerful leaders within their communities.

Olivia was raised in the PNW and in her free time she enjoys taking long drives, cooking and spending time outdoors with her son.

 Yedda Hay, Waskowitz Host

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Yedda Hay, Waskowitz Host

Yedda Hay was born in Seattle, Washington and started her outdoor education career as a high school leader from 1991-1994. She has worked at Waskowitz Outdoor School, and the Highline school district off and on since 1996. She studied music education at Highline Community College and Seattle Pacific University. Yedda is a highly skilled facilitator and has been a WSU Trained 4-H certified facilitator for over 10 years. She is trained in Arts based facilitation which she incorporates in her leadership skills as Residential Program Leader and she has worked as a contracted artist with Power Of Hope.