Catching Up with Jason Henkle '99

Catching Up with Jason Henkle '99

What is your current role, Jason?
I teach math in the Upper School at OES. So far I have taught geometry, advanced algebra, and AP statistics.

How long have you been teaching?
This is my 12th year of teaching overall and fifth year at OES. I taught in the New York City public school system, at Portland Community College, and at Clackamas High School before landing back at OES as a teacher. I did take a break during my teaching before OES to be a bicycle mechanic, and I tried to get a custom bicycle framebuilding business going. I was also lucky enough to get to stay home with each of my kids for a bit when they were born.

You recently led a Winterim trip for Upper School Students. How was that experience? 
It was great!  I did Films, Food, and Stories: A Journey Through Portland with Andy O’Hara, a fellow Upper School teacher. The Winterim was Andy’s idea last year and has been quite popular. On a typical day we would start a movie, go out to lunch (and dessert of course!), come back to campus, finish up the movie, and debrief the day. We tried to keep the days thematic. For example we watched Minari, a film about a Korean family trying to start a farm in the south to grow produce for the growing Korean population in the states, and then went out to lunch at Always Spring. This year we also had a couple renowned local chefs come in and speak about the restaurant industry and food supply chains. Students mentioned the chefs as one of their highlights of the Winterim.

How does it feel to be back at OES as a teacher? 
It’s been good. It’s interesting to get a sense for the things about OES culture that have changed and those that have stayed the same. School spirit is stronger now, I think, or at least much more visible. We didn’t have pep rallies and spirit weeks when I was a student.

It’s also been fun (and a little bizarre) to teach alongside teachers who taught me at OES! Most of my teachers have retired, but it was especially fun to get to collaborate with Karen Seder on our geometry curriculum. Karen (who just retired in June) taught me in Middle School in what’s now one of the upstairs art classrooms.

What are your plans for the summer?
My family has done a couple summer home swaps and that’s the plan for this summer too, in Salzburg, Austria. It’s been great to find families that have kids that are similar ages to ours and do a swap. We think it’s pretty fun to more or less live our regular summer lives for a few weeks in another country. It’s pretty amazing to have a home for a few weeks in a foreign country that has built-in kid amenities.