Aaron J. Smith,
Originally from Lynden, WA, Aaron Smith has worked with middle school students for over 20 years and was the Principal at Skyridge Middle School from 2009 to 2016. Prior to working in Camas, he was a middle school assistant principal in Blaine, WA and taught music in the Bellingham and Conway school districts. He also spent two years teaching middle and high school music at the American Community School of Athens, Greece. In addition to learning, Mr. Smith enjoys the theater, collecting vinyl records, writing, travelling, and being Loretta Lynn's number one fan. In addition to leading the PBL middle school program, he is also the principal for the new PBL Discovery High School, with which we share a campus. Mr. Smith is thrilled to help lead this new educational journey for Camas kids!
A Vancouver native, Nicole O'Rourke has served in education for 13 years. She taught high school English for ten years in Vancouver and Evergreen School Districts, and at Seton Catholic High School. Mrs. O'Rourke was the Dean of Students at Liberty Middle School in Camas for the last two years, and is thrilled to join the Odyssey Middle School Team - Go Gryphons! Mrs. O'Rourke is also the associate principal of Discovery High School located just next door and home to our first class of freshmen. Mrs. O'Rourke loves learning. Whether it is middle school students learning essay organization or graphing inequalities, her own young children as they learn to read and ride bikes, or as she herself learns new trends in education - she lives to learn, and leans for life!
Odyssey Middle School Information Events
Back to School Events
6th Grade Orientation
August 29 2:00-4:00
Odyssey Open House
all grades and parents
August 29 5:00-7:00
*Note: 6th grade students may stay at Odyssey for the hour between orientation and open house. Supervision and snacks will be provided.
Phuongthanh Victoria Stalheim was born on September 12th, 1987, a day her mother holds dear in her heart. She’s spent the last 4 years teaching 6th grade math at Liberty Middle School and during that time, earned her Master’s in STEM education and became a National Board Certified Teacher. Sixth grade math is her most favorite thing ever, aside from food, and now she enjoys both things at Odyssey Middle School. Outside of teaching and eating, Mrs. Stalheim likes a nice sunset stroll through Costco and Target, coaching volleyball at Liberty, and hanging out with her German Shepherd, Aggie. Mrs. Stalheim loves being around funny weirdos and seeks to celebrate all of our differences every single day here at Odyssey Middle School!
Lara Blair taught 5th and 6th back in the day at JDZ when it was a school. She took a break to have children and then promptly turned around 30 seconds later to start a photography business. After stretching her creativity muscles with gusto for 13 years, she decided that teaching was too important to let go. She taught for four wonderful years at Lacamas Heights, but knew deep down middle school was where she belonged. In the district, Lara has enjoyed participating in curriculum adoptions, the Camas 40 for equity based teaching, and volunteering her time as the after-school drama teacher. At home, she enjoys adventuring with her husband and kids in an Airstream with paddle boards in tow. Lara lives almost completely on the right side of her brain with painting, singing and writing as the past times she loves most.
Kerin Motsinger is a recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest, moving during the summer of 2016 from the Chicago suburbs. She spent the first decade of her teaching career in third and fifth grade classrooms. Her second decade was spent designing projects for gifted ed students and coaching teachers in differentiated instruction. During this time Mrs. Motsinger was recognized as a National Milken Educator and became a Fellow for the Lowell Milken Center, which champions project based learning about every day people who make positive lasting impacts on the world. Mrs. Motsinger now gets to stretch her science muscles and embraces every opportunity that curiosity is the driver of our Odyssey student’s learning. Most weekends you can find Mrs. M, her husband, and often their two teenage daughters taking steps up hillsides and exploring all the beautiful views!
6th Grade Teacher
6th Grade Teacher
6th Grade Teacher
7th Grade Teacher
Joy Garner is a 15+ year teaching veteran. Her career has taken her from southern California to northern Washington, and now to her 1st year at Odyssey after spending the last 6 years teaching Language Arts at Skyridge. She is so excited to be a part of project-based learning! She has refined her teaching pedagogy over the years by earning her MA in Curriculum and Instruction, National Board Certification in Early Adolescent English Language Arts, and facilitating co-teaching seminars at Portland State University. When Ms. Garner is not helping students become more proficient and creative with words (speaking, listening, reading, writing), she loves being outside. Whether it's gardening, kayaking, biking, hiking, walking her dog, or reading; Joys' goal is to spend as much time outside in the fresh air as she can everyday.
Tiffany Morrisey has been a teacher in Camas for eleven years. Most of her time has been with 6th graders at Skyridge, but she did have the pleasure of being a Lion for one year as well. She has a passion for integrating movement and the arts into all areas of her teaching. Students usually start the year joking about interpretive dance in Science and end the year begging to do more. In addition to the arts, Tiffany has spent the last decade specializing in differentiation for students of all learning backgrounds. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her family, singing loudly in her car and scouring Goodwill for treasures.
7th Grade Teacher
Lisa Wilderman was part of the Skyridge Middle School teaching team for the past 16 years and is a founding teacher of Odyssey Middle School. She has taught seventh and eighth grade Language Arts and Math, as well as US History, WA State History and Science. When she is not teaching, Lisa enjoys spending time with family, being on a beach, a snowy mountain, or running a trail, and trying her hand at new recipes. She is passionate about being a part of bringing project-based learning to our Camas students!
8th Grade Teacher
Sarah Hunt was born and raised in Utah, but moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2014 because she loves rain and trees. She currently resides in Portland with her fluffy cat, Coco, and dozens of houseplants. While living in Utah she taught for five years at a junior high in Salt Lake City; this is her fourth year working in Camas School District. She has a bachelor's degree in English literature from Weber State University, and a master's degree in teaching and learning from the University of Utah. When she isn't teaching, Ms. Hunt loves making and eating food, reading, thrifting, film photography, road trips, yoga, bullet journaling, and spending time with friends. Ms. Hunt loves her job and seeks to make every student feel valued, seen, and celebrated.
8h Grade Teacher
Mel Horton is originally from Oregon, but now makes Vancouver her home. She was a physical therapist prior to becoming a science teacher and helping others continues to be her focus. Ms. Horton taught biology, sports medicine, and medical science at HeLa High School in Evergreen School District, and 8th grade science in Tigard before joining the team at Odyssey. Ms. Horton loves the outdoors and her two precious pups, Emma and William, who although tiny are incredibly tough! What she enjoys most about teaching is seeing the genuine excitement kids exhibit as they interact with new knowledge and use new skills.
8th Grade Teacher
Trevor Bateman began his teaching career in Oregon with the Beaverton School District, where he taught music for four years. He recently joined Camas at the PBL campus this year where he teaches band, instrumental music, guitar, and music production. He originally grew up in Wyoming before moving to the pacific Northwest for college where he began exploring and learning about music on the saxophone. He is excited to join OMS & DHS and work with the many talented students on campus! In his free time he enjoys spending time with family & friends, hiking, making music, and indecisively considering if he should finally adopt a cat.
¡Hola! My name is Ana Maria. I was born in Pittsburgh, PA but I grew up in Chile. I am excited about joining the team at PBL, Skyridge and helping to start up the new building. I was previously at CHS and taught Spanish levels I & II.
As a child I lost my English and understand the feeling of learning a second language. I can relate with the importance of expanding one's possibilities and opportunities in life. I love being able to teach not only the foundation of the language, but also creating a passion for life long learning.
I love spending my time with my husband Javier. In my free time I enjoy playing ping-pong, watching my STEELERS, hiking, exercising, camping and road trips (planned and spontaneous).
Jenifer Linthwaite came to Camas after working as an applications development engineer for UNOS in Richmond, Virginia. She taught technology at Skyridge before spending some time at home raising two fabulous kids. She returned to Camas to teach robotics and computer science at Hayes Freedom High School in 2013. Over the last few years in Camas she has been a part of the development of CamTech at CHS, the Hayez Dayez tournament and the elementary robotics program. She is passionate about providing STEM opportunities for all students and has been involved with the Hayes Renegade FTC robotics team, CHS Mean Machine FRC Robotics team and has coached several FLL teams at Liberty MIddle School. Jenifer spends her weekends outside and around town with her dog Loki, volunteering at Fort Vancouver with her family, and playing video games, board games and Dungeons and Dragons with friends.
Bruce Whitefield is an engineer with a strong interest in training the next generation of technical and business leaders. During his professional career he has worked on factory construction, manufacturing control, equipment maintenance and quality systems. He is author or coauthor on over 25 patents. Bruce and his wife, Donna, moved to Camas 22 years ago so that their two children could attend Camas schools. After his son helped start FIRST Robotics Team 2471, Bruce continues to volunteer a decade later as head mentor for this high school team. Joining the Discovery Staff as a Career and Technical Educator, Bruce is focused on creating a world class Maker Space that enables students to explore the many dimensions of technology and advanced manufacturing. An avid windsurfer and woodworker, Bruce will often be found sailing in the gorge or in his basement shop building furniture.
Kristi Straw has been teaching in the Camas School District for three years. Prior to teaching at CSD, she spent 5 years teaching in Oregon. She was recently at Camas High teaching Fitness and Health. She has a strong passion for informing and educating students on how to make healthy choices, teaching students important skills to make decisions and set goals, and also showing students that fitness can be fun by incorporating various types of physical activity. She is currently completing her National Boards Certification in Health. When she is not teaching, Kristi enjoys spending time with her two young daughters and husband, enjoys camping, and doing DIY projects.
Rachel Williams has been a health and fitness teacher for 20 years, the last 15 years in the Camas School District. She started her career in Oregon before she moved to Washington in 2003 beginning at Pacific Middle School. In 2004 she found her way to Skyridge Middle School before moving to Camas High School in 2008 where she spent the last 10 years. Rachel is a Linfield College graduate with a master’s from Concordia University in Health, and in 2017 became an adjunct professor for Central Washington University through Camas High School. Rachel is passionate about fitness and when not at school (or working out) she can be found at a field or in a gym watching her two children play sports.
Rob Mattson has taught middle school humanities in Camas School District since 2005. During his thirteen years in Camas, he has had the fortune of calling himself both a Liberty Lion and a Skyridge Skyhawk, making him a true PBL Gryphon. After being awarded a CEF grant in 2011, Rob's students became the first Camas middle school students to benefit from 1:1 technology integration in their Language Arts and U.S. history classes. Rob has leveraged his knowledge of educational technology to coach other Camas teachers how to effectively blend technology into their instruction. Outside of Camas, Rob teaches Educational Technology as adjunct faculty at WSU-Vancouver. In his free time, Rob cycles, skies, pursues Spanish fluency, and travels the world.