Elizabeth Ortega—Teaching Staff

Elizabeth (she/they) is a queer mixed-Latine who has been been groovin’ in the PSCS community for 5 years, learning the ways of a Holistic Sexuality Educator, and skipping into the sunshine as much as possible. She previously organized and worked with young folks in a variety of spaces and capacities, from food and health justice in South Seattle to starting a GSA at McClure Middle School.

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Sam Williams–Teaching Staff

Sam (he/him) found his way to PSCS after several years as an Instructional Assistant at the Westside School in West Seattle. He’s been a resident of the Pacific Northwest since the mid 80s, but originates from the hot flatlands of Dallas, Texas. Sam’s teaching experience goes back to the mid-nineties, where he got his start as a preschool teacher and an elementary school assistant. During those early years, he found a love for teaching, helping students see past their challenges and offering a positive approach to learning and having fun. 

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Hannah Blacksin–Teaching Staff

Hannah (she/her) was born and raised in the forested hills of Western Massachusetts. She ventured westward for college, and after studying English, planned to become a writer or editor. But the universe had other plans. A friend suggested they move back east to do something called outdoor education, and Hannah’s path began to swerve. Hannah spent the next 5 years in peripatetic existence – leading outdoor education and service learning programs throughout the Northeast, Colorado, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific. During this chapter, Hannah fostered a love of challenging adventures, making friends everywhere, and intercultural collaboration. Hannah discovered the power and fertility of learning through conversation and experience.

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Liana Green–Administrative Consultant

Liana Green (she/they) came to PSCS 14 years ago, ultimately creating and broadening our Music Program as it stands today. During her tenure as a full time Teaching Staff member, she forged opportunities for everyone, from new performers, to mid-range musicians, to more experienced performers. She offered classes like Music Theory, Diverse Voices, Choir, and Dead White Guys, all running in tandem with many, many bands. She leaves behind an incredible program, one that has seen many alum follow their musical passions into becoming working musicians—and even to places like Cal Arts, The New School, and Berklee School of Music.

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Scobie Puchtler —Teaching Staff

Scobie (he/him) was born in Thailand and raised in Laos and Alaska, prior to his family getting really serious about moving in order to kick start his stepfather’s science career. At this point Scobie attended four public high schools, from Florida to New Hampshire, before earning an Art & Design degree from Yale. Post-college, Scobie lived briefly in Brooklyn, New York as a woodworker, before finally settling in Seattle, where he co-founded a high-tech kite manufacturing company that still sells kites all over the world. These days, Scobie’s experiencing mild disbelief that this will be his 14th year on the PSCS teaching staff.

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Sieglinde Levery-Nicholas–Director of Community Engagement

Sieglinde (she/her) was born and raised in Seattle-proper, living out most of her angsty teen years in the Central District. Sieglinde went to T.O.P.S. elementary, Pacific Crest Middle School, and graduated from Franklin High School in ’99 (the best year of the last century). She auditioned and spent a year in the Cornish College Theater Arts Program, before realizing she needed a break from theater people. After two years waiting tables, Sieglinde packed up and moved cross-country to attend the University of New Hampshire. “Not only is the East Coast radically different from the Northwest, but UNH is in Durham, which is the size of my pinky toe. It was a huge life change.”

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Tim Ichien–Director of Program

Tim (he/him) grew up in southern California where he developed his love for getting outdoors and basking in the sun. Seattle summers are just right by his standards of warmth. He grew up with an interest in, and a curiosity of, the environment around him—which led him to pursue a biology degree. In order to put that degree to use, he then traveled and conducted research on sea turtles and gopher tortoises for a couple years. After the years of traveling and traversing the research science field he decided to look toward furthering his education and turned his interest toward graduate school.

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Samuel Mitchell–Director of School Operations & Registrar

Admin Sam (he/him), grew up in many places—including 3 places in each Dakota—and has traveled to 49 of our 50 states. 28 years in Seattle doesn’t make him a native, for sure, but it’s been home for a long time. He currently lives in Columbia City with his partner, Joe, kids, Julienne and Jaxton, two cats, and a bunch of chickens. The soil in his yard is somehow perfectly textured: a magical loam that holds water and drains. He also has three older kids from a prior life chapter who are spread around Seattle and California, as well as family of origin around the US.

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Brandon Bermudez–Adjunct Teaching Staff

PSCS Teaching Staff—For the past 20 years, Brandon has been working as a musician, producer, audio engineer, and teacher in the Puget Sound area. He regularly performs and frequently collaborates with many professional musicians and artists around the world. Most recently, he’s been performing live with The Black Tones, Dearheart, and Erin Rae and the Heartbeets, while also producing lofi pop and hip hop tracks for national artists at his studio.

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Michael J. Coffey–Adjunct Teaching Staff

Michael (he/him) may have written more bios for PSCS than anyone in the world, having been involved with the school for nearly half his life. He was first invited to be a guest speaker for many of the founding students in the 1990s when he was working to address climate change by publishing an email newsletter about avoiding consumerism and reducing waste. Then he was mentor to two PSCS students who wanted to apprentice at the game publishing company he’d co-founded. Eventually, he was a volunteer instructor (when classes were referred to as “tutorials” and the school was nomadic), a board member when the school transitioned to a site-based school, and eventually board president before taking a full-time teaching role here.

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