Our wonderful Teachers and Staff
Madeline was born and raised here in Portland, Oregon and grew up exploring our region’s beautiful mountains, rivers, forest, and coast.
Madeline’s love for outdoor education began in high school while teaching as an Outdoor School Student Leader, and ever since she has worked to connect people to the more-than-human world. She attended Northwestern University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a minor in Environmental Studies. After serving two years with the Confluence Environmental Center AmeriCorps program, she returned to school for a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Policy, with a focus in Leadership for Sustainability Education, at Portland State University.
Madeline taught in elementary school gardens for five years, three of those with the nonprofit Grow Portland, and she recently became a certified teacher. She joined the Trackers family this summer as a Managing Coordinator and is excited to get to know the Forest School community. Madeline enjoys the magical moments people can have connecting with nature, whether than be in a garden, on a forest trail, or on a neighborhood stroll. When she is not teaching, you can find Madeline puttering around in her backyard garden, creating some kind of fermented concoction, bird watching, or playing with her springer spaniel, Millie.
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.
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.
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 Taekwon Do 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 the Trackers Earth Teen program and from the age of fifteen spent the rest of her schooling summers bounding barefoot through the forests of Marmot 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. Dale holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Resource Management and a minor in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management. Throughout her college career, she spent her time teaching Outdoor School and summer camp programming in the heart of Pennsylvania with Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. In addition to teaching, she has been guiding backpacking, hiking, and white-water trips in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Olympic National Park over the last few years. Her passions in the natural world include foraging, puddle stomping, sustainable outdoor living, sunrise admiring, and exploring new places. Any day outdoors is a day well spent!
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.
Programs Supervisor & Instructional Coach – Laura Mosier
Laura hails from SoCal Orange County, Newberg Oregon, Poitiers France, and Portland Oregon. She has been a career teacher across a number of fields and in two countries. In France, she taught English at the University of Poitiers for some ten years and earned a pre-doctorate in British and American Literature and Language. Once returned to Oregon, she taught motorcycling for the State of Oregon with Team Oregon for six years before entering the public high school world where she has taught French language and culture since 2008. In 2014, she earned her certification from the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. She has served as a Lead and Trainer of the SIOP Model (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) in service as mentor to her peers.
She holds a firm belief that there is no better practice to deliver genuine learning than in the real world and Forest School is leading education in aligning children with their natural desire to discover their world in Nature. This combination of genuine experiential learning flourishes in the natural setting of our outdoor environments where exploration leads to lived learning and skills acquired to solve real problems and discover new ecosystems that inform who we are and who we grow to become.