History

The Madrone Trail Public Charter School is a public charter K-8 school that has been open in the Medford, Oregon school district since September 2007.

The plan set out by the founders of this school was to create a kindergarten through 8th grade school. Madrone Trail started as a kindergarten through second grade school located in very small quarters near the YMCA.

In the Fall of 2010 MTPCS moved into its new campus. The purchase of the facility was made possible by a generous contribution and loan provided by a benefactor. Ongoing support of donations of work and funds by parents and community members has enabled Madrone Trail to grow and thrive.

Each year, we have added a grade, and in 2013 reached our full kindergarten through 8th grade school size.

As a public charter school, there is no tuition and the school is open to anyone residing in Oregon. If demand exceeds spaces, preference is given to students residing within the Medford School district.

Madrone Trail adapts Waldorf educational methods to public education. The school features parent and community participation at all levels, including governance.

At Madrone Trail, movement and the arts are not add-ons to a predominately cognitive approach, but are integrated fully into all aspects of teaching. The inclusion of heart and hands is more than a technique for enlivening academic instruction. In a three-fold approach, the heart and the will, as well as the head, are the subjects of educational endeavor. In other words, the arts are not merely a means to an end– improved academic performance-but an end in themselves.

To educate the feelings is to edify and refine the emotions so that they are sensitive and responsive to beauty, truth, and goodness.

To educate the will is to build a foundation of inner strength leading to a life of conviction and purpose.

Read all grades teachers bios here by selecting a grade or subject.

Staff

Executive Director

John Bissey

John grew up in Greenville, South Carolina and attended Clemson University as more than 40 other family members before him had done. He studied Biology and Anthropology with dreams of becoming a zookeeper.  After graduating, he set out for California where he had been offered a summer internship with the Performing Animal Welfare Society which operates a 2,500 acre private elephant sanctuary for victims of the animal trade.

Not wanting to head home after the internship, he made his way to Corvallis, Oregon to further study Zoology.  He concurrently worked at the local food coop and as a chef at the only vegetarian restaurant in town.  It was while serving in these positions that he developed a love for cooking and excellent ingredients. After a brief stint at Brad’s World Reptiles, a private herpetology collection of more than 2,000 exotic snakes, lizards and turtles, his passions turned to working with adolescent primates of the Homo sapiens variety.

John earned his Master of Arts in Teaching at Western Oregon University.  To help pay for the degree, he sustainably collected small mountains of Golden Chanterelles while climbing actual mountains with his dog.  He also worked with two prominent organic farms, Gathering Together Farms and Denison Organic Farms, running their farmers’ market booths.  The markets were held in locations from Corvallis to Beaverton and from Portland to Hillsdale and exposed John to even more modes of self-sustainability.  After graduating from Western Oregon, he spent a year as a beekeeper before moving to Portland and starting his teaching career as a high school science teacher.

It was not long before John’s girlfriend, Haley, also pursued graduate school and, to his chagrin, enrolled in the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, where she studied Sustainable Urban and Environmental Planning.  It was while teaching here that John began to think about administration.  Though he knew he was having a positive impact on his science students as well as those he took abroad on international trips, he desired to make a bigger impact.  This desire became a reality when they moved back to Oregon, got married and settled down in Medford.  While John kept working as a science teacher, he also pursued his administrative license at Southern Oregon University.  Haley landed her dream job as the Parks Planner for the City of Medford, cementing their roots in the area.

John is very excited to begin this next chapter of his life.  Madrone Trail is exactly the type of school he envisioned ending up when he first enrolled at SOU.  He looks forward to getting to know the children, staff, parents and the Waldorf approach to education.   When he isn’t at school, he is often riding bikes with his wife, road tripping to various hot springs, or romping around in the woods looking for delectable mushrooms to cook or clone for later cultivation.

Interventionist

Jeff Roberson

Jeff Roberson was born in Southern California and loved boogie boarding at the beach often while growing up. He also played many sports during his youth, including soccer and cross country. His main love was basketball and he was able to play pickup basketball games at local parks, pretty much year round due to the favorable southern California weather. Jeff fondly remembers his parents telling him, “Basketball can’t be your whole life.” Maybe not, but it certainly has come close.

Jeff has been an educator and a coach his entire adult life. With a master’s degree in Education, he has taught many grade levels-from preschool all the way up to 8th grade. He especially loves coaching basketball, and has coached youth basketball for over 15 years as well as high-level men’s wheelchair basketball for two years. He also recently published his Middle Grade fiction book: Homecourt.

Jeff and his wife, Sarah, have three children and enjoy the role of being foster parents to several more as well. Jeff and Sarah were living in Long Beach, CA when they found out they were pregnant with their first child, 14 years ago. They had been to Medford several times already after Sarah’s father transferred within the Providence healthcare system. They decided Southern Oregon would be a great place to raise a family and made the move, which they have never regretted.

Jeff is very excited to work with the students of Madrone Trail and has already begun to see tremendous growth in their reading abilities. The students here are eager to learn and work hard every day, which is an awesome thing to see.

Office Manager

Michelle Coull

Secretary

Sherrie Gasper

Sherrie was born and raised here in the Rogue Valley and has seen a lot of change over the years. She graduated from Rogue Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Human Services. She most recently worked at OnTrack Addictions Recovery for six years working with adults and most recently teens, which she found very rewarding.

This is Sherrie’s first opportunity to work in a school and is enjoying discovering the new experiences of it. She is glad to be here at Madrone Trail and is entertained daily by the joy, innocence, and comedy of the children. She has a daughter and son-in-law and four grandchildren.

Mixed-age Kindergarten Teacher 2020-2021

Caterina Cegin

Caterina Cegin was born in Cicero, IL, a diverse city, rich with European immigrants.  Her parents immigrated from Slovakia. This rich culture exposure paired with seasonal celebrations and camping trips inspired Caterina’s love of travel and cultural studies, as she connected to her heritage and began to understand her place as a global citizen.

 She attended The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a focus on Ethnobotany and Liberal Arts.  After completing this course, Caterina studied Five Element Herbalism with a local practitioner.  Her love of people and culture inspired Caterina to become a teacher.  Caterina became a Waldorf teacher due to the curriculum’s focus on art and movement, as well as the focus on healthy social growth and social responsibility.  She feels these methods allow a child to learn with their whole being, awakening the talents and capacities inside each child.  She attended Sound Circle Center and Rudolf Steiner College to complete her Waldorf Early Childhood Teacher Training.   Caterina has worked in Waldorf schools since 2006.

 She has seen that through curiosity and interest, children are able to find common ground to work and play together despite language or cultural differences.  This capacity has influenced her work with others, that with curiosity and interest, we can respectfully find compassionate ways to work and live together. Her daughter attended Waldorf schools from kindergarten to eighth grade, studying at Madrone Trail from fourth to eighth grade. It has been insightful to see how this education equips students with the tools they need to be successful academically, compassionate and kind to all whom they encounter, with a deep sense of knowing themselves and their peers, as well as their place as global citizens.

Experience has shown how this education works from the inside out, helping children to know themselves and to be active, compassionate member of their class and community. We are fortunate to begin this journey together to foster each child’s growth and love of learning. As William Butler Yates says, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the igniting of a fire.”

1st grade Teacher 2020-2021

Hannah Jackson

Hannah Jackson was raised in a combination of the suburbs of Portland, Oregon and the wide-open spaces of Wyoming and Montana. Hannah has always loved the outdoors and spent her early years riding horses and bikes, diving head first into snow banks, and generally spending far too much time outside in the rain, snow, and sunshine.

 After high school, Hannah spent some time traveling in South America, and then attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she studied Developmental Psychology. She spent half a year in Missoula, MT continuing her studies before deciding to return to Oregon and make Ashland her home. She enrolled at Southern Oregon University, where she gained a huge amount of knowledge about whole child education and how to incorporate the arts and music into learning. Hannah decided to pursue work in a charter school, and as soon as she discovered Madrone Trail in 2012, realized Waldorf education was the path she wanted to take. She took a wonderful class from first through fifth grade, when she decided to spend more time at home caring for her baby. She completed her certification in Waldorf Education through the Rudolf Steiner College in 2016, and feels that this form of education is a joy to discover and explore in new ways every day.

 Hannah enjoys reading, knitting, running, hiking, and spending lots of time with her husband and two daughters.

7th grade teacher 2020-2021

Luke Barbee

As a Southern Oregon Native, Luke spent his childhood exploring the forests, rivers, and parks throughout the Rogue Valley. When he wasn’t climbing trees and getting dirty he was playing sports with his friends and brothers. This love of nature and the outdoors eventually turned into a personal and professional passion. He has spent nearly 2 decades educating youth both as a classroom teacher and an outdoor educator.

 As far as formal education goes, Luke received a BS in Environmental Science from Oregon State University and a Masters in Teaching from Southern Oregon University, though he would tell you that most of his education came from the many places he has traveled and lived, and his deep interest in science and the human experience. After leading international teen service trips to places like East Africa and the Galapagos islands, and working as a wilderness leadership instructor, fate seemed to bring Luke to the San Francisco Waldorf School where he spent five years teaching science and outdoor education…and fell in love with the Waldorf way.

 Now, with a wife and a 2 year old son, Luke felt the call to come home to the beauty of Southern Oregon, and to continue his work and growth as an educator at Madrone Trail.

Facilities

HEALTHY AND SAFE SCHOOLS PLAN

Introduction

 In 2017, the Oregon State Legislature passed SB 1062, which requires that, every school district, education service district, and public charter school develop a Healthy and Safe Schools Plan (HASS Plan). Each organization’s HASS Plan has specific requirements that must be included for the HASS Plan to comply with state law. All HASS Plans are due to the Oregon Department of Education by July 1, 2019. Additionally, each school district, education service district, and public charter school is required to certify annually that the organization continues to comply with the requirements of the HASS Plan by filing an Annual Statement. The following plan was developed to meet these requirements.

  1. Responsible Person

The person responsible for administering and implementing the Healthy and Safe Schools Plan, is the designated IPM Coordinator, and is responsible for AHERA information:

Name:  John Bissey

Position Title:  Executive Director

Phone Number:  (541) 842-1965

Email Address:  john.bissey@madronetrail.org

Mailing Address:  3070 Ross Lane, Central Point, OR 97502

  1. List Facilities

All facilities owned or leased by Madrone Trail Public Charter School where students or staff are present on a regular basis are covered by this HASS Plan. The list of those buildings and facilities is below:

 

Facility Name Facility Address
Madrone Trail Public Charter School 3070 Ross Lane, Central Point, OR 97502

 

  1. Elevated Levels of Lead in Water Used for Drinking or Food Preparation

All school districts, education service districts, and public charter schools are required to test for and eliminate exposure to elevated levels of lead in water used for Drinking and Food Preparation through either remediation or eliminating access, according to OAR 333-061-0400 and OAR 581-022-2223. In conformance with those administrative rules, Madrone Trail Public Charter School certifies the following:

  1. All testing was done according to the testing requirements in OAR 333-061-0400;
  2. All samples were analyzed by a lab accredited by Oregon Health Authority to test for those materials;
  3. All water fixtures required to be tested under OAR 333-061-0400 were tested for elevated levels of lead in accordance with the testing schedule developed by the Oregon Health Authority; and
  4. The testing schedule for each building covered by this plan is set forth below:

 

Facility Name Year of Last Test Next Scheduled Test
(beginning of 6 year schedule)
Schedule or Exemption Reason
Madrone Trail Public Charter School N/A 2025 fiscal year 6 year schedule

 

  1. Lead Paint

In order to comply with the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Program Rule, the district will either contract only with certified lead based paint renovation contractors licensed by the Oregon Construction Contractors Board, or use school staff that are certified by the Oregon Health Authority to perform the work.

  1. Asbestos

Madrone Trail Public Charter School complies with the federal Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). All required asbestos management plans are available for viewing by submitting a request to John Bissey.

  1. Radon

Madrone Trail Public Charter School has developed a radon plan as required by ORS 332.167. Community members can access a copy of the radon plan here: Radon Plan

Test results will be made public and are available here: link to come

  1. Integrated Pest Management

Madrone Trail Public Charter School has adopted an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan as required by ORS 634.700 through 634.750. Community members can access a copy of the IPM plan here: link to come

  1. Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Madrone Trail Public Charter School certifies that all buildings subject to the Healthy and Safe Schools Plan comply with the carbon monoxide detection standards in the state building code that was in effect when the building was originally constructed or as required by building code due to addition, upgrade, or remodel.

  1. Test Results Publication

Madrone Trail Public Charter School complying with the requirement to provide access to test results, as defined by OAR 581-022-2223 within 10 business days as defined by ORS 332.334. Test results can be found on school’s website at: link to come

Specific test results can be found as follows:

  • Lead in Water: link to come
  • Radon: link to come

Additionally, copies of all test results are available at Madrone Trail Public Charter School and will also use current school email lists or communications programs to provide final test results to staff, students, parents of minor students, and other members of the community. This includes providing actual final test results or providing direct access to final test results through links in the communications. Please contact John Bissey to be added to current district email lists and programs.