Faculty Profiles

Marie Buckley
Marie BuckleyMarie Buckley has been an adjunct DE writing instructor at Cascade since 2001. She grew up in the town where Kool Aid was invented. A Nebraska native, she moved to Oregon in 1976. She and her husband share their home with numerous African Grey parrots and cats. Marie is a lifelong writer whose first poem was published in her junior high school newspaper. She facilitates writing workshops in her community to help people share their life experiences. Marie is co-author of Quartet: four poetic voices, Media Weavers 2006 and a past president of the Oregon Poetry Association. She loves vegetarian food, creative visual journaling, and as much humor in her life as possible.
Robert Burns
Rob Burns

I have been teaching developmental education classes here as Cascade since 1998. Previously, I taught middle and high school, and I worked extensively with students with learning disabilities.

I'm a teacher, biker, gamer, cat fancier, foodie, and ex-soldier. I do what I love and love what I do. I guess that makes me a very lucky fellow.

Heather Cole
Heather Cole

have taught Reading and Writing at PCC since 2001. I'm passionate about helping my students become more effective college-level readers and writers. Though I enjoy being in the classroom, I love to help students one-on-one.

I have developed my own abilities and confidence in ways I never believed I could. For example, I'm still amazed to be teaching--I am an introvert who has always loved to read and write, but those are solitary activities, and it took a lot of guts for me to become a teacher, to stand in front of a class. I received my A.A. degree at a community college in California, and then I transferred as a junior to UC Berkeley where I majored in English Literature. Many years later, I made the big decision to become a writing teacher, and I received my training (and a Master's) at San Francisco State University.

I moved to Portland because I fell in love, and I now live with my two cats and my partner, Ivy. In my free time I pursue what I call my own Personal University, reading mostly nonfiction, writing essays, and taking classes in personal development.

Sylvia Dean

PCC is an inspiring place to teach and learn because  staff and students are dedicated to helping each other succeed. I have been fortunate to teach in California, Alaska, Washington and Oregon (K-12, Community College and University Settings) primarily reading and writing and Liberal Arts- if I tell you how many years, you would say, NO WAY!

I believe teaching is a calling and I strive to help each student reach their potential. We work hard, laugh, take risks, and support each other, all the while knowing failure does not have to be an option, especially with all the support Cascade offers.

I love reading, being with my large family, walking and exercising with my dog Charlese, volunteering, traveling, and eating all kinds of food.

Each day is a new beginning, a chance to learn, to grow, and to make  a difference in the life of another person. That is why I choose to teach!

Sonja Grove

I have been a teacher in elementary, high school, universities, and now Portland Community College for many years. I have worked with school districts across the United States to improve reading and writing achievement, including several years and positions in Portland schools. In all aspects of my work, I learned the essential requirement for learning is a caring teacher, community, and also, high standards for all students. I have taught teachers for fourteen years at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, as well as the University of Portland Teacher Education Program, and I have taught graduates of Notre Dame University the skills to be teachers in high poverty communities. My great passions are writing and learning about the world through reading and listening. I am an activist for all who deserve more opportunities in this world, and I believe politics is important enough to be involved in. My PCC students teach me as much about courage and intelligence as I teach them strategies to read and write well; I am honored to work here.

Jenn Kamrar
Jenn Kamrar

Eight years ago I had no idea where I was headed; I knew I loved writing, I knew I was passionate about social and environmental justice, and I knew that whatever I would commit myself to, it would be with heart. After reading bell hooks' Teaching To Transgress, I knew I would teach. After completing my undergraduate and graduate studies at The Evergreen State College, I moved to Portland. Since, I have taught introductory reading and writing courses at PCC beginning in early 2009. What I love most about my time here are the amazing students and colleagues that inspire, teach, and make me laugh everyday. When I'm not teaching, I am thinking about writing (as in, "I should really be writing..."), cooking, reading, hiking with my dog, and playing fiddle.

Beth Kaufka
Beth KaufkaI was born in Seoul, South Korea but grew up in the Detroit area from infancy. In the late 90s, I moved to Portland, though I've since lived in Ohio and North Carolina. I am thankful to be back in Portland with my husband, two daughters, and silly dog named Captain Lou Albano. My passions include reading and writing, thinking about reading and writing, and teaching reading and writing. I am also deeply concerned about all things pertaining to the empowerment and well being of oppressed power-minority groups, and my approach to the classroom focuses on literacy and academic skills in service of personal empowerment. My writing has been in The Portland Review, Mid-American Review, Poets & Writers, Colorado Review, 971 Menu, Kartika, Women Arts Quarterly, Where Are You From: An Anthology of Asian American Writing and other academic journals.
Michelle Robbins

Growing up, I had a friend who wanted to play "school" all the time, and she was always the teacher. I thought she was crazy. All I knew was that someday I wanted to have a job that I loved that didn't involve homework. It turns out, I love teaching (and I still don't love homework). I teach Writing 80 and 90 and Reading from 80 to 115. I like to challenge my students to read and write better than they ever thought they could! But I learn something from them every day too; maybe that's why it is so fun to come to work.

Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa Rosenthal

I have always loved books, and I cannot remember not knowing how to read.  I was fifteen when I decided to be an English teacher, and when I got older, becoming a Reading Specialist was a logical way to be able to teach what I love doing.  I have been teaching, on and off, since 1979.  I am originally from Rochester, New York.

To me, teaching reading is a political act.  Frederick Douglass said, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”  More than ever, our lives seem to be dominated by quick-moving technology.  We need to be able to take time to read books, newspapers, and all sorts of written forms of information and entertainment in order to make sense of the world, find our place in it, and have an impact on it.   Reading is vital to living a meaningful, thoughtful life.

When I am not teaching or reading things like mysteries or fantasies, I like to do crossword puzzles and listen to classical music.  I enjoy water aerobics, happy hour, taking walks with a friend, traveling, petting my cats, and shopping.  Sometimes I make jewelry and I do a little knitting.  Someday I want to go back to two previous hobbies:  playing Classical piano and Renaissance recorder.  I am married with three young adult daughters who all love to read.  My husband is a hydrologist who maintains our terrific garden and is a wonderful cook.  He is always in the middle of a science fiction novel. 

My favorite author, Anne McCaffrey, inspires these final words about myself:  I am five feet, one inch tall, with brown-hazel eyes.  The rest is subject to change without notice.

Virginia Schwarz
Virginia Schwarz

Welcome to PCC Cascade! I feel very lucky to be part of the wonderful environment on this campus. I have met some dedicated, amazing students and faculty while teaching reading and writing. I’m originally from San Diego, California and have taught at community colleges in Santa Monica and south Los Angeles. My classroom is very student centered, meaning students’ questions, comments, and concerns create the magical, memorable class sessions we should all strive towards. I’m also happy to help students with very practical writing experiences: resumes, cover letters, and scholarship applications.

When I’m not teaching, I’m hanging out with my cat, Zucchini Ralphie Schwarz. Known to dress up in uniform and attend comic book conventions, I’m a Star Trek nerd and not afraid to admit it. Last year, I also started practicing karate here at Cascade, and my punches and kicks keep me sane during the busy quarter. I often compare writing to karate as both require serious hours of outside practice. Someday, I hope to return to school for a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition so that I can learn even more about teaching.

I hope you enjoy your college experience here, and I look forward to seeing you in class.
Judy Selander
Judy Selander

I am a graduate of the University of Minnesota and Cal-State University, Long Beach, and my teaching adventures include schools in Minneapolis, Chicago, Compton-Lynwood (Los Angeles), Irvine and Long Beach, California.

I am so happy to have finally landed at PCC-Cascade, where I have been teaching Developmental English for 22 years. Apart from school, I enjoy being outdoors in this beautiful state with my family and dog, Dudley.