Our wonderful Teachers and Staff
Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd Grades Teacher – Madeline Boyer
Madeline was born and raised in Portland. She attended Northwestern University where she studied Anthropology and Environmental Policy. Madeline served two years as an AmeriCorps member and became a Master Gardener, then returned to school to earn a Master’s in Leadership for Sustainability Education at Portland State University. She worked in the farm- and garden-based education field for several years, mainly in elementary school gardens, before deciding to become a certified classroom teacher. Madeline joined the Forest School community as the Kindergarten teacher last year, and is thrilled to continue connecting kids with nature and watching them grow and thrive. When not teaching, Madeline is usually in her garden, playing with her dog, or watching birds.
Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd Grades Teacher & Literacy Specialist – Jessa Sergi
Jessa’s roots spread from the deep woods of Downeast Maine, the natural areas of Central Florida, the cities of Madrid, Spain and Santiago, Chile, the island of Taiwan and the Pacific Northwest. Her educator journey began at the ripe age of 12 where she taught young kids how to figure skate and fell in love with sharing her skills. This love of teaching sparked her to pursue a degree in Elementary Education with concentrations in math and outdoor education from the University of Maine. Since 2011 she has found joy with the laughter and curiosity of the ever-growing first grade mind. Her personal love of reading (give her a good mystery novel recommendation any day) and training in brain-based teaching led her to earn her Master’s degree in Reading Education from the University of South Florida in 2015 where her primary research was in the connection of language comprehension and outdoor education. As curious as her students, Jessa embarked on a journey to explore and immerse herself in places where English was not the first language. Her travels to over 60 countries and teaching of English as a foreign language brought her back to the U.S. eager to share her experiences and world connections.
In 2019, Jessa found the Trackers Earth family and its Mariners guild where she teaches fishing, foraging, boating, and other ways of the waters during the summer. The tales of Captain J-Hook can be heard throughout the summer when the waters are warmest. From portaging canoes in Northern Maine, to sea kayaking in the Florida Everglades, to catching Bluegill in Blue Lake, among countless other nature experiences fostered her continued love for nature and helping students make similar nature connections has been her mission.
Jessa has continued her career with Trackers Earth by teaching its 1st Graders at Portland Forest School ever since. With her Oregon Teaching License and Literacy Specialist background she has been supporting her students and community in data-driven experiential learning bundled with structured literacy. The world is truly the best classroom! Teacher Wizard Jessa loves taking her Brave Monsters on adventures to navigate our world, grow kind communities, and confidently adapt to our ever changing environments.
3rd, 4th & 5th Grades Teacher – Brian Leonard
Brian grew up among the blue oaks and manzanitas of his family farm in Northern California. His childhood was spent getting lost, building forts out of sticks, and being mentored by a pride of house cats. Hmm, upon reflection that is mostly how he spends his time now as well.
Sandwiched between his childhood and the present, Brian took many exciting turns and advances in his journey toward the Portland Forest School. He studied geology at the University of Oregon, which cemented his love of physical science and took him to some of the most dynamic places on Earth. His creative writing fuels his joie de vivre and he has earned several local awards for screenwriting.
Brian’s studies in education at Concordia University expanded and honed his teaching skills and his experiences teaching middle school Integrated Science and high school Physics gave him an outlet to share his fascinations with young people. He also completed the Forest School Teacher Training adult program at Trackers and believes that nature can be the best teacher if you know how to listen to its lessons.
Brian is continually mesmerized by the rocks beneath his feet, the stars above his head, and all of the wonderful people living between.
3rd, 4th & 5th Grades Teacher – Dale Williams
Dale grew up along a gully near Vernonia, Oregon, with a menagerie of farm animals and a strong passion for adventure and guinea pigs. For her eighth birthday, Dale asked to be enrolled in the local Taekwondo studio. Dale’s mother begrudgingly complied and, after ten years, this resulted in her becoming an assistant instructor. Three blackbelts later, Dale gained a lifelong passion for teaching.
In 2011 Dale joined an Outdoor School program and from the age of fifteen spent the rest of her schooling summers bounding barefoot through the forests of the Willamette valley. Inspired by medicinal plants that can be found growing in sidewalk cracks, Dale left for Oregon State University to earn a BA in Botany Plant Pathology. While there, she found fascinating work with USDA’s Foliar Pathology unit working on pesticide resistant Powdery Mildew in wine vineyards across the PNW. Along the way, Dale picked up a minor in Environmental Science and earned a certificate of Adventure Leadership after various mountaineering, rock climbing and backpacking experiences. Once graduated, Dale moved to Portland (with family dog, Malcolm) to assist in horticultural pathology and chemical profiling.
Since returning to outdoor education in 2019 Dale has been awestruck by the influence the natural world can have on learning experiences and communities. Her passions in the natural world include foraging, puddle stomping, sustainable outdoor living, finding bugs, and exploring new places. Any day outdoors is a day well spent!
6th & 7th Grades Teacher – Hannah Mack
Hannah grew up on the Central Coast of California and spent a few years of adolescence in Hawaii. From the English countryside of Agatha Christie, the depth of lore and heroics by Tolkien, to her 3rd grade teacher reading Hatchet, Island of the Blue Dolphins, and Sign of the Beaver to the class, Hannah’s love of the outdoors began in books. A few home school camps exploring survival skills and history of indigenous peoples of California reinforced this desire.
After graduating high school in Hawaii, Hannah decided to move to Oregon where there was more opportunity for adventuring in the forest. Inspired by the complexity of the human experience, she got her Bachelor’s in psychology at Corban University. Summers during school were spent as a camp counselor, gymnastics coach and hiking around Salem, Oregon. Upon graduation, Hannah spent time as a direct support professional to children and adults with disabilities.
Hannah’s love of education began when she worked as an Instructional Assistant in Special Education and Activities Director for the Associated Student Body. After working a summer at Trackers, it became clear that outdoor education held the key to her future.
In her spare time, you can find Hannah sewing, writing stories, gardening, making herbal medicine, mushroom hunting, or in the dojo for Aikido class.
8th Grade Teacher – Brianna Graw
Bri grew up in the grand mountains of Colorado and Oregon. She loved the outdoors from a young age and was often found exploring the local forests trying to catch frogs. She holds a Bachelors from Portland State in Art and Literature. After graduation she went on many adventures exploring the world and participating in art residencies. From the arctic of Iceland to the Cloud Forest of Costa Rica, Bri began her journey of truly understanding the sanctuary nature has to offer and the wisdom of spending time in new cultures.
After her global journeys she returned to the United States to work as an Environmental Educator in Olympic National Park. She discovered a love of nature based teaching while taking her students hiking as they studied the ecology of old growth forest and river restoration. During this time she worked closely with the Klallam tribe and learned the importance of interrogating Indigenous knowledge with western science and gained a deeper understanding of the effects of colonization in the Pacific Northwest.
She then returned to her community in Portland and began to teach at Portland Waldorf school and Portland Public Schools. During this time Bri worked as a substitute teacher and coordinator for the Outdoor trips. She also taught the Sophomore Expository writing class where she had the privilege to create her own curriculum and lesson plans that encouraged the students to observe their surroundings in order to find their unique voice for writing. She encourages students to take inspiration from a wide variety of writers such as Edward Abbey, Joan Didion, Malcolm X, Steven King, and Joy Harjo.
During the summer months, Bri enjoys her job as a backpacking guide and expedition leader for Avid 4 Adventure. She helps students gain confidence in the outdoors and in themselves by teaching them mountain biking, rock climbing, white water rafting, and backpacking. She believes the best stories are told by a campfire under the stars.
When Bri is not working, she enjoys summitting local mountains, surfing the waves off the Oregon coast, illustrating her own nature guides, or curling up with a good book.
Head of School – Ian Abraham
Ian has been teaching within the Portland Metropolitan area since 1999. He holds an MA in Environment and Community through Antioch University and has taught for many outdoor education programs, including M.E.S.D. Outdoor School, Cascadia Wild, Wolftree Inc., Tryon Creek and the Oregon Zoo. He spent the last 13 years at Portland Audubon as an Environmental Educator, Camp Director, and the Youth Programs Manager.
His passions lie in the arts and science of bird language and wilderness living skills. Ian views the vision of Forest School as the present and future role model for academics wherein students learn Oregon core curriculum standards through immersive outdoor skills. He is excited to support the massive amount of talent that the Forest School teachers bring to each and every day while also supporting the parents that trust him, and the school, with their child’s academic experience.