PSCS staff members demonstrate outstanding character, passion,
and a commitment to relationship-driven education.

Elizabeth Ortega

PSCS Teaching Staff—Elizabeth Ortega, is a queer mixed-Latinx who found her way to PCSC after working with young people on food justice issues and running community kitchens and dinners in the White Center area. She is originally from the hot borderlands of the Southwest desert and has a deep affinity for the sun. She also comes from chasing after ice cream trucks and the dusty grounds of 4-H animals, among other places.

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Scobie Puchtler

PSCS Teaching Staff—Scobie Puchtler, 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.

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Liana Green

PSCS Administrative Consultant & Former Teaching Staff—Liana Green 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.

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Sam Williams

PSCS Teaching Staff—Sam Williams 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

PSCS Teaching Staff—Hannah Blacksin 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.

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Brandon Bermudez

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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Tim Ichien

Director of Program—Tim Ichien 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.

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Sieglinde Levery-Nicholas

PSCS Director of Community Engagement—Sieglinde Levery-Nicholas (Sieg) 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 1999. She auditioned and spent a year in the Cornish College Theater Arts Program, before realizing she needed a break from theater people.

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Samuel Mitchell

Director of School Operations & Registrar—Samuel Mitchell (ASam or Admin Sam), 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.

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Michael Coffey

PSCS Teaching Staff—Math Adjunct Michael J. Coffey 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…

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Featured Profile

Tesha Karpoff

After high school, Tesha Karpoff (PSCS Class of ’05), graduated with a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts. Anyone who attended the commencement ceremony knew this, because her name was splashed all over the commencement program. Tesha graduated magna cum laude, and the program listed five different awards and scholarships she had earned.

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