By: Jordan Cresswell (4th grade) and Bennett Cresswell (2nd grade)
Ms Andersen teaches First grade in Room 10. This is her ninth year at Candalaria, and it's the only school she's taught at. Former principal, Mr. Gertenrich, hired her right out of teaching school, and she's been here ever since. Her favorite subject to teach is reading, because once a student gets the reading bug then they're begging for books and staying up late to read. There's nothing better than seeing a reader take off because it just feels good to them. Ms Andersen’s favorite subject to learn is Spanish because it's a challenge for her.
Ms Andersen grew up in Salem and went to South Salem High School. After high school graduation, she went to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and later transferred to Oregon State University where she finished her degree. About 15 years later, she went back to Willamette University where she got her master's in teaching.
Before Candalaria, she worked for a school called the National Outdoor Leadership School, which is a hiking and wilderness school, in Wyoming and Arizona. Then she was a stay at home Mom when her son Tommy was younger, before she went back to school to get her teaching license.
Students often wonder why she walks around with pencils in her hair, and the reason is simple. She always knows where they are when she needs them and she has her favorite kind (Ticonderoga with erasers). Also, she knows that the pencils in her hair are germ free.
Outside of school, Ms Andersen loves spending time with her 14 year old son, Tommy. They play tennis together and enjoy biking and occasionally hiking. Her favorite activity is kayaking. Once, she went kayaking in Canada and would love to go back and do it again. She'd also love to kayak in Mexico and Hawaii one day.
Although she currently has 2 cats, Ms Andersen’s favorite animal is a dog. She has previously had Labradors, but doesn’t feel she’s home enough to have a dog right now. Her 2 cats are Wildfire and Milo. Her students all know that Milo doesn't have any teeth because he was allergic to them, and the veterinarian had to remove them. Now he’s getting along just fine and enjoys laying on the papers Ms Andersen brings home to grade.
When asked about her favorite superhero, she suggested a new one: “Book Girl,” who could magically show up and deliver books for kids whenever they need a new one. The Giving Tree is her favorite book. She loves that story and it still brings tears to her eyes, so much so that she has to have a friend read it to the class for her. Her favorite color is blue.
Ms Andersen loves being at Candalaria and thinks there's nothing better than being out in the community and seeing kids who recognize her from school. She said, “Candalaria is an amazing school where we have parents who support kids, and kids are happy to be at school and they work hard. It's a great school. Candalaria is fun. We work with amazing teachers. Everyone is happy and upbeat, which is infectious and helps kids learn.”
"I was born in Portland but grew up in Eugene. I went to graduate school at OSU so I am always happy when the Ducks play the Beavers. I teach Equine Science and Pre-Veterinary Medicine at Linn-Benton Community College. I married the love of my life and have two red headed boys, Alex (4th grade), and Max (1st grade). I love to ski, mountain bike, read, run (who am I kidding? I jog), and show horses in the hunter ring."
Jenny is doing a phenomenal job as the new PTA president. Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious and she loves Candalaria and our kids. Please come to our next PTA meeting on November 5th and see her in action!
Where are you from?
I am from Idaho. I moved to Oregon after graduating High School in 1997. I miss all my family there but have enjoyed my life in Oregon.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to do all kinds of things. When the weather is nice I love working in my yard or garden. When the weather is not so great, a good book is always relaxing. I have even had times of doing sewing projects. Although things done by myself are great, I love to do things with my children. We do things like board games, puzzles, movie days, going hiking(we love the outdoors and to enjoy nature) and just have fun doing whatever together.
What do you enjoy about Candalaria?
Candalaria has a great student body and the kids just make coming to work a joy. They seem to appreciate even the little things I do. And lets not forget about the amazing staff here. They have made me feel so welcomed. Although all the stairs can be quite exhausting, I think this is a great place to be.
What is your dream vacation spot?
My dream vacation would be to go to Venice. I have always wanted to experience the true gondola ride and getting to experience the culture. I would also love to go check out all the beauty the land has to offer as well.
Do you have any kids or pets?
I have three awesome kids. My oldest is Savannah; she is 15 and is a sophomore at McKay High School. Steven; is 14 and an eighth grader at Waldo Middle School. My baby, Sydney, is seven and is in second grade at Swegle Elementary School. Sometimes when asked about kids, I say I have three, but feel I have four sometimes. My biggest kid is my husband, Myron. He works as an IA in the EGC (emotional growth center) room at Waldo Middle school. We have been married for 16 years and it has been an amazing ride so far.
Pets are another joy in our lives. We have what my husband calls a mini zoo. We have three dogs (one is a foster), three cats (one is a foster as well), three guinea pigs and three chickens.
Are you a duck or a beaver?
I am a Duck fan. In fact I am a season ticket holder. I was never into sports the way I am now. My husband turned me.
Mrs. Holmstrom is a native Oregonian. She grew up along the coast and graduated from Taft High School in Lincoln City. She also attended Irrawang High School, located in Raymond Terrace, New South Wales, Australia. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, as well as a Master of Science in Education, specializing in English language learners, from Western Oregon University. From Portland State University, Mrs. Holmstrom received her Administrative License. She also studied at the University of Bangor, in Wales, and the University of Arizona in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
Prior to becoming the Effective Learning Teacher at Candalaria and McKinley, Mrs. Holmstrom taught at Mary Eyre and Myers Elementary. She was also an Instructional Coach (similar to her current position) at multiple schools in West Salem, spent time as a Teacher Consultant for National Geographic’s Oregon Geographic Alliance, and was the Undergraduate Education Advisor at Western Oregon University.
Mrs. Holmstrom loves spending time with her family, which now includes a five-month-old Yorkshire puppy, traveling, hiking, and being outdoors. She also enjoys watching her favorite sports teams, especially during football season.
Mrs. Holmstrom is excited to be at Candalaria this year. She’s looking forward to working with the outstanding staff, students, and families that make our school such a great place to learn and grow.
In the Spotlight
Over the course of the year, we will spotlight various teachers, staff, clubs and activities. Feel free to suggest a topic or person to spotlight!
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