Erin Gardenhire (she/her/hers) is the REN Coordinator for the Multnomah-Clackamas Regional Educator Network (MCREN).
Erin believes that the key to sustainable change and greater student learning is supporting educators through networked improvement efforts, with a focus on equity, access and teacher voice. Previously, Erin taught grades 2-5 in David Douglas School District. She was also a new teacher mentor and the consortium program director for the East Columbia Collaborative where coordinated the mentor network for David Douglas SD, Gresham-Barlow SD and Columbia Gorge ESD. Erin was also part of the ODE Mentor Training facilitator team. Erin received her BS from Western Oregon University and her MAT from University of Portland. She also has a certificate for Elementary Mathematics Instructional Coaching from Portland State University where she was an adjunct professor.
Erin has been in education for over 20 years in various capacities. She is proud to be in a role that centers and elevates educator voices as advocates for the students they serve. She is passionate about ensuring that Oregon’s student population receives equitable education and opportunity for people of all cultural or linguistic backgrounds, tribal affiliations, racial classes, and/or sexual orientation. Erin currently lives in Gresham, Oregon with her husband and three daughters.
Jalena Post (she/her/hers) is the administrative assistant for MCREN.
Born and raised in Happy Valley, Jalena is very passionate about her community. She is honored to have the opportunity to support local educators. Jalena is passionate about equitable, culturally responsive, and relationship-centered education, and she is thrilled to be part of a team assisting teachers with the same mission.
Jalena received a B.A. in English from the University of Oregon, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Concordia University, and she holds an Oregon Teaching License with an endorsement in secondary English Language Arts. In her free time, Jalena loves to crochet, write, and spend time with her twin sister and boyfriend.
Erin Bray (she/her/hers) is a Continuous Improvement & Design Facilitator for MCREN.
Although Erin spent the first 13 years of—what she assumed would be her lifelong career— teaching high school English in the Portland area, her path in education was unexpectedly altered in 2012 when she attended her first Human-Centered Design (HCD) workshop. She was immediately energized by HCD’s potential as both a vehicle for deeper learning experiences in the classroom and also as a set of tools and mindsets that could catalyze and support educators in designing more equitable, relevant, and connected schools, as a whole. After leaving David Douglas High School, Erin spent 5 years working as a Teacher Delight Specialist and Student Design Challenge Facilitator at a local educational nonprofit. Erin believes wholeheartedly in the creative power of educators to be changemakers within the system of education. She is delighted to support educator teams in designing, testing, and spreading change ideas throughout the region in service of a radically more just and equitable future.
Tai Said-Hall (she/her/hers) is an Implementation and Design Coach for MCREN.
Tai has been a teacher for over 20 years. Tai knows that being racially conscious and culturally responsive are key elements to sustainable change in the education system. Prior to being a Design Coach for the MCREN, Tai taught grades 4-8 in Portland Public School District. Later, she became an Equity TOSA with PPS, where she was an affiliate with Courageous Conversations about Race. Most recently, Tai worked in the Centennial School District as a Student Success Coach. Tai received her Bachelor’s in Education from Concordia University as well as her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.
Tai is passionate about changing the negative experiences and predictable outcomes for students of color and marginalized students. She focuses on building relationships, implementing culturally responsive practices and utilizing a racial equity lens.
Kelly Vander Ley (she/her/hers) is the Research, Data and Evaluation Consultant for MCREN.
Kelly is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of vulnerable populations through program research and evaluation, professional development, and technical assistance. She brings over 20 years of experience supporting community partners and state and federal agencies in their endeavors to promote health equity through strategic planning, community collaboration, and data-informed decision making to the MCREN team. Kelly is excited to embark on this new journey with the MCREN, applying her skills and talents using principles of participatory research and continuous improvement learning to understanding the systemic and structural biases embedded in the education system and creating intentional change through the implementation and evaluation of racial equity programs, policies, and practices.
Kelly earned a doctoral degree in Medical and Clinical Psychology. She uses this foundation to explore the world around her from the intersection of social, biological, and psychological factors. In addition to spending time with her two daughters Kelly stays grounded in her own headspace by running, weightlifting, reading, and motivating her lawn to grow.
Bianca Espinosa (she/her/ella) is the Lead New Educator Mentor Facilitator for MCREN.
Bianca comes to the REN with an educational career as a high school teacher, and as a full-release Mentor for new educators. She is fresh from co-leading a Mentor Program in the Portland area, and is excited for the opportunity to grow Mentoring Programs in the region. She is passionate about supporting new and experienced educators as they grow their practice, explore their leadership potential, and most importantly, to support students and communities to thrive. Bianca is active in creating and nurturing the empowerment, support and engagement of Educators of Color for their gifts and liberatory practices in school communities.
As a graduate of the Clackamas County Public School System, and a resident of Multnomah County, she is honored to serve in the communities in which she grew up and where she currently lives. She knows the importance of the public educational experience as it was modeled by her Mom, a master educator in Marion County, Oregon; she hopes it is modeled for her two young daughters!
Bianca loves laughing and learning with her family and friends, and seeks out making meaningful relationships in and outside of the local community; she also spends her time being creative and making mischief…
Dr. Sarah Yee (she/her/她) is the Equity Facilitator for MCREN.
Sarah joins the MCREN team as a former K-8 educator. Most recently, she served as a Racial Equity Fellow for the Center for Equity & Inclusion where she engaged with district leaders, administrators, and educators from school districts across the state of Oregon. Her experience also includes collaboration with alternative schools in EdTech and Camas School District’s development of staff and community equity training.
Sarah holds a doctorate in Educational Policy, Leadership & Organization with a specialization in Diversity & Equity in Education. Her research interests focused on the theory and praxis of retaining Teachers of Color through professional development. She is dedicated to advocating for educational equity, and disrupting and dismantling the systems that perpetuate the marginalization of students and teachers of color.
Sarah is an introverted extrovert who resonates deeply with fellow Enneagram 8ers. She enjoys time with close family and friends, and begrudgingly working out at Orangetheory so that she can eat all the eats.
Tessa Franzese (they/them/theirs) is one of the Senior Communications Specialists for MCREN.
Tessa brings over ten years of graphic design, data and communication to the role, most recently providing communications support to the Northwest Carpenters Union. Tessa also served as the Associate Director of Communications at All Hands Raised, working alongside Portland nonprofits and school partners to help remove barriers to success for students of color and support racial equity in education.
Tessa earned a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Syracuse University and holds certificates in Data Presentation and Storytelling. Outside of work, Tessa’s natural ability to relate to and embody toad energy lends nicely to activities such as gardening, hiking, biking and kayaking in the great Pacific Northwest. Tessa also enjoys utilizing the magical portkey of written word to explore the future possibilities of science.
Celine De Clercq (she/her/hers) is one of the Senior Communication Specialists for MCREN.
Celine brings over six years of data and communications skills to the role, most recently as a Data Coordinator with Amplify Education. Celine has worked in schools, with local education startups and education technology applications like KinderTEK, a common-core aligned math program for iPads and tablets and was involved in the compilation of data and discussions that led to the creation of the Student Success Act. As a multi-ethnic person, equitable education is one of her passions.
Celine earned a master’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience, Educational Leadership and Media Studies from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and minor in Spanish from Portland State University Honors College. An education enthusiast, Celine can be found conversing with and learning from her animal friends when she is not busy frolicking into the woods to be one with the trees.