New teachers, new positions, a new year


Schools are a place of constant change and what with the budget cuts and teacher retirements, WLHS has seen its fair share of staff alterations. Two teachers, Cari Harris, Advanced Placement U.S. History teacher, and Dawn Ahlgren, learning specialist, have joined the staff mid-year.

Harris came to the school after a sudden announcement that Mike Lord was leaving for Oregon City. Though the notice was short, Harris quickly adapted to her position as the school’s new APUSH teacher.

She previously taught APUSH at David-Douglass High School in Portland and has a total of seven years of teaching under her belt. Harris went to college at George Mason University and earned her Master’s degree in teaching at Lewis & Clark. She is currently studying for a degree in political science on top of her current teaching load.

Encouraging her students to open their minds and not to stress about the new regime is a philosophy she constantly has to remind the class. Harris views the New Year as a chance for a fresh start.

“My first goal is to get a grasp on their writing styles and begin to shape a class that’s dynamic and interesting,” Harris said. “I’m excited to be teaching, for the new opportunity, and I love being in class with kids.

Born in Hawaii with a father in the Air Force, Harris has constantly moved from country to country, such as Japan and Ireland. Harris lives with her nine year old son and dogs, which she enjoys playing with at home. She looks forward to teach for the rest of this year and hopefully far into the future.

Dawn Ahlgren, a new learning specialist, has actually been part of the school for four years as an instructional substitute and student teacher. This year is her first year with her own classroom and her own class.

“I love having my own class, and I love West Linn,” Ahlgren said. “I want to continue to help out students who want to accomplish their goals.” Harris works with students of all grades who want to work on study skills, math foundations, and meet their academic goals.

Ahlgren also taught social studies at Three Rivers Charter School before coming to WLHS. She lives with her three children and two dogs, and enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, canoeing and camping in all seasons. In fact, Ahlgren has hiked to the top of Mt. Hood which took about six and a half hours up and down.

Though staff transitions are initially confusing  and hectic, both teachers are quickly adapting to the WLHS environment. They are excited to be teaching and look forward to spending future years at WLHS.