Star of the Sea School begins the 2003-04 school year with five new staff members. All grew up in the Astoria or Long Beach, Wash., areas, went to school for their education degrees and have returned to share their expertise with the community.

Tiffany LarsenTiffany Larsen is the school's new first grade teacher. She is a 1997 graduate of Astoria High School who went on to receive her bachelor of science in early childhood and elementary education at Western Oregon University. On graduation in 2001, she moved back to Astoria and has been working at the Astoria Community Child Center.

Jennifer WheatleyJennifer Wheatley will be the new second and third grade teacher. A native of Clatsop County who attended Gearhart Elementary School and graduated from Seaside High School in 1998, Wheatley received her bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Linfield College, graduating cum laude in 2002. She is working on obtaining a reading endorsement and a master's degree in education through WOU. For the past year, she has been a substitute teacher for the Astoria and Warrenton school districts.

The new math and science teacher for grades five through eight will be Margaret Johnson, who recently graduated from Portland State University with a master's degree in teaching science. She also holds a bachelor's degree in wildlife science from Oregon State University. Her latest work wasn with Clatsop Community College, teaching biology and as a substitute teacher in Astoria.

For the new art program in grades one through eight, Star of the Sea welcomes Kaisa Laukkanen from Chinook, Wash. Laukkanen graduated from Wahkiakum High School in 1997 and earned a bachelor of science degree in architecture from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., with a minor in ballet. She teaches dance in Ilwaco, Wash., and works for an architectural firm.

Alexandra MyersAlexandra Myers, local piano teacher and choral conductor, will be teaching general music classes for grades five through eight. Myers holds two bachelor's degrees from the University of Oregon in piano performance and music education. She said her goal is to teach each student how to read music through singing and instrumental opportunities, and to nurture a love of classical music by exposing students to the great composers from the last 400 years through listening, videos, games, stories and performance opportunities.

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