Faculty Profiles

School of Education Faculty

Faculty in the School of Education at the University of Puget Sound have extensive professional experience as well as an in-depth commitment to their particular disciplines in education and counseling. High quality teaching is a hallmark of our program and the university, and several of our faculty have received teaching awards. Below are brief profiles of the faculty you’ll work with in the School of Education.


Terry Beck, Distinguished Professor

I taught for four years in a Federal Way, Washington elementary school before moving to Kykotsmovi, Arizona to teach middle school students on the Hopi Indian Reservation.  From Arizona, I returned to Federal Way where I team-taught in a 6th grade classroom, taught 3rd – 6th grade students in a gifted and talented program, and coordinated what was then called the District’s computer program.  I managed all that before accepting my first principalship.  When I was appointed to start a new school in the Federal Way School District, I also entered a doctoral program at the University of Washington.

In my doctoral work, I focused on a core issue I was experiencing as a practitioner—how to invite our diverse citizenry in to the democratic project of public schooling.  I centered my graduate work on educating people for democratic citizenship, particularly in the public school classroom.  Working productively with people who are amazingly different from me and from each another is what I continue to study and to think about today.

My masters degree is from the University of Puget Sound, so when a position came available in the teacher education program, I jumped at the chance to work here.  I knew from first-hand experience that Puget Sound offers a learning environment where professors come to know students well in order to both support and challenge them.  At Puget Sound I’m continually developing greater expertise in my field while remaining in close contact with amazing students—students who are changing the world for the better. 

View Terry Beck's website.


Mary Boer, Clinical Instructor

I began my teaching career as a high school English teacher at Conifer High School in Colorado, and to this day, I cherish the students and faculty who helped me grow as a beginning teacher. After two years teaching there, I moved back to Tacoma, thrilled at the prospect of continuing to work with high school students. At that time, secondary English positions were scarce, so I accepted a position as a 4th grade teacher at Pt. Defiance Elementary in Tacoma Public Schools. Unsure of what to expect of nine-year olds, I welcomed a new class of 4th graders. They were amazing, brilliant, eager to learn, and I was hooked. In time, I added an elementary endorsement to my certification so I could continue to teach 4th and 5th grade.

After eleven years at Pt. Defiance Elementary, I was given an opportunity to become Director of Education for “Seattle Study Club,” a private, continuing education company that serves dentists who want to further their knowledge to provide excellent care to each patient. During those three years I helped to develop curriculum and worked with and learned from remarkable and creative individuals. From this work I transitioned into the role of Clinical Instructor in the School of Education at the University of Puget Sound, where I had also earned both my B.A. in English Literature and M.A.T. degrees.

I am thankful for every day that I get to work with the faculty and students of the University of Puget Sound School of Education. I believe deeply in its commitment to reflective learning, supportive and sustained relationships with its students and alumni, and centering social justice, race, and culturally responsive teaching in its curriculum. In my role as Clinical Instructor, I am fortunate to be able to teach courses to our graduate students as well as supervise our teacher candidates when they are in school-based placements.

View Mary Boer's website.


Ellen Carruth, Professor

My journey toward higher education and the University of Puget Sound has been both challenging and rewarding. I’ve spent the last 25 years developing my professional self through experiences as a music therapist, a counselor, and a counselor educator.

I started my career as a music therapist, where I spent time working with older adults dealing with the effects of dementia and with young children who had witness and experienced trauma and interpersonal violence. These early experiences led me to the conclusion that I needed more training in order to provide beneficent, ethical care for my clients.

I returned to school to study counseling, and during this time I had the opportunity to provide clinical supervision for undergraduate students studying to become music therapists. My education and experience as a supervisor informed my future direction. Following completion of my counseling degree, I entered a doctoral program in counselor education and supervision.

During my doctoral studies, I further developed my skills in and love for clinical supervision. After completing my PhD at the University of Tennessee, I moved to Washington State with my family, where I returned to the community and worked for several years as a clinical case manager and counselor.

I then entered higher education, and developed my pedagogy around helping students to have authentic experiences in and out of the classroom that would prepare them for their futures as counselors and advocates for those they would serve.

I am privileged to bear witness to the transformative journey of students as they learn to be counselors. This is my greatest joy, and I am honored to continue my own journey here at the University of Puget Sound.

View Ellen Carruth's website

Fred Hamel, Professor

My own journey toward teaching has many roots but partly started in a community college English classroom.  I was so impressed by the leadership and thoughtfulness of my teacher, and by the relationships she created with students, that I began to see teaching English as something for me.  After some graduate coursework, I took my first teaching job at a private inner city school in Chicago – without state certification—and only later returned to get my MAT when I realized I needed more knowledge about learning and teaching.  My M.A.T. program at the University of Chicago exposed me to a rich educational community, to fascinating learning theory, and to concrete tools for teaching in my subject area.  My perspective on teaching, learning, and students changed dramatically. 

After my M.A.T., I taught English in secondary schools in the Chicago area, as well as in Washington State, before starting a Ph.D. program in curriculum & instruction at the University of Washington.   I continued teaching high school (I love teaching 10th graders) while completing my degree – trying to maintain a strong blend of theory and practice.  My interests throughout this time have focused on literacy education, how teachers can better understand students as learners, and also how teachers can develop as learners in the profession.  Part of my work in the School of Education is to initiate and maintain strong community-based connections, and I especially enjoy the relationships I’ve been able to develop with local educators and schools since coming to Puget Sound in 2000.

I greatly appreciate the small, collegial atmosphere of the School of Education.  My colleagues are tremendous, they help me grow, and I learn so much from our interactions and shared endeavors. 

View Fred Hamel's website.


Tina Huynh, Assistant Professor

I have enjoyed 20 years of teaching experience in public, private, community, and studio settings as a music educator. I began teaching in a private piano studio during my undergraduate studies. After earning my credential, I taught elementary general music, elementary choir, beginning band, and beginning strings, with experiences in both solo teaching and co-teaching in San Juan Capistrano School District in Southern California. Opportunities led me to teach at a community music and arts program in Southern California and assistant direct the Vietnamese American Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra. During my graduate studies, I taught in private schools and public schools throughout Los Angeles.

In my doctoral work, I focused on issues surrounding cultural and musical diversity in the elementary music classroom and musical culture in the home, specifically the Vietnamese American home. My research in this area has led to anchoring my teaching in culturally responsive practices.

I am invigorated by the supportive, collaborative, and rigorous learning environment in the School of Education at the University of Puget Sound. The open, interactive, and reflective nature of teaching and learning with my colleagues and students enriches our collective experience. I am grateful to be part of the journey that leads students to becoming teaching professionals.

View Tina Huynh’s website. 


Heidi Morton, Assistant Professor

My journey to becoming a counselor began early in life. Both of my parents (both proud Puget Sound grads) were career educators, and my father had been a school counselor before I was born. Finding ways to improve people’s lives, both inter- and intrapersonally, has been a constant goal throughout my life. Music has also been a life constant and was part of what brought me to Puget Sound initially as an undergraduate student. I played violin in the university symphony orchestra and completed a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in religion. It was in part my experiences teaching violin and guitar, working with students of all ages to overcome challenges and move toward their individual goals, that helped motivate me to pursue a career in counseling in order to help people with their overall life journeys. I graduated from the University of Puget Sound’s counseling program in 1997 after completing both the school and mental health counseling tracks.

I have been a school counselor since 1997, working in rural and urban school districts at the high school and elementary levels. I have had the opportunity to create a comprehensive school counseling program from the ground up, help open a new high school, and participate in and lead high-functioning counseling teams. My commitment to social justice and equity has led me to work on local and national initiatives, particularly those related to the LGBTQIA community and those related to increasing educational equity, access, and support for K-20 students. The desire to contribute to the profession on a broader level led me to pursue and complete my Ph.D. in Counseling through Oregon State University.

Being a two-time Puget Sound graduate, the things that drew me here initially are what I still love and appreciate about Puget Sound today: the rigorous and supportive learning environment, commitment to social justice and to community, the instillation of a love of lifelong learning, and the pursuit of unlocking human potential to create better lives and a better world.

View Heidi Morton's website.


Molly Pugh, Clinical Instructor

Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Mary Oliver, poses an important question in her poem, “The Summer Day.” She writes, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” In the years since I graduated from high school in the mid-size town of Twin Falls, ID, my wild and precious life has taken numerous turns, pauses, and jaunts along paths both planned and unplanned. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

After living across portions of the West and Intermountain West, I began my higher education at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. While there I gained a strong foundation in liberal arts, studied abroad in England and, in 1997, earned a Bachelor of Arts in English after completing a senior thesis on Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights

In 2002, I returned to higher education to pursue my Masters of Arts in Teaching here at the University of Puget Sound. Upon completion of my master’s thesis on attitudes and practices around reading at the secondary level, I began my career as an English teacher at Gig Harbor High School. While there, I was charged with creating the first offering of Advanced Placement Literature & Composition as well as teaching a variety of courses from an integrated, team-taught history and literature class, to intensive writing courses like Short Fiction & Poetry and Personal Essay. In addition, much of my time at Gig Harbor was spent working on the selection, implementation and development of core curriculum for the English department. This work was well supported with the school’s shift to a focused Professional Learning Community, which provided weekly opportunities for me to work alongside other English teachers and reflect on student achievement as a result of our current practice and the continued implementation of best practices.

In 2007, I earned my National Board Certification after a year of intense teaching, reflecting, and writing. This proved the best professional development of my career and reinforced the reflective and rigorous practice that I had adopted as a MAT student and educator. Then, in 2010, I formally mentored a MAT candidate from the University of Puget Sound and discovered how much I enjoy and am motivated by working with new teachers. While it was difficult to leave the public school classroom, I was ecstatic to join the company of the School of Education. This small group of highly reflective and collaborative educators prides itself on providing a rich and meaningful experience to its students. I am proud and grateful to have joined such a faculty.

Mary Oliver’s question has followed me from sea to shining sea, abroad and back to the gardens of my back yard. Ever present in my mind, I can only imagine how this next adventure will unfold. Beyond anything I know it will be both “wild and precious.”

View Molly Pugh's website.


Amy E. Ryken, Dean and Distinguished Professor

I began my teaching career in Berkeley, California. I taught high school biology, chemistry, and integrated science for seven years. For another seven years I coordinated a program that connected high school and community college students to internships in the San Francisco Bay Area’s many biotechnology research and manufacturing laboratories. I enjoyed teaching in the vibrant Berkeley community because of the focus on curriculum innovation, the racially and ethnically diverse community, and sustained teacher collaboration to improve teaching and learning opportunities.

While working as the biotech program coordinator, I completed a doctorate in educational policy because I wanted to link the everyday interactions I engaged in classrooms with larger policy debates about educational reform and educational inequality. In my teaching and research I’m deeply interested in the life-long journey of becoming the teacher each of us hopes to be. I study teacher learning and I’m particularly interested in partnerships that foster connections between schools and community resources such as outdoor environments, museums, and work places. I’ve written environmental education and art curriculum guides, presented at regional and national conferences, and have published articles on teacher learning in a range of journals. I work very intentionally in my teaching and research to be one model of a teacher-scholar.

What attracted me to the School of Education at the University of Puget Sound is the commitment to reflective teaching practices, collaboration, and engaging the dilemmas of the profession. I feel very fortunate to engage daily with students and colleagues who pose challenging questions and are willing to make themselves vulnerable by making their teaching practices public for critique and analysis. I love working with a cohort of students over a year; I get to know my students well and very much enjoy contributing to, and witnessing, their growth as professionals. It is very rewarding to learn and grow as an educator in collaborative dialogue.

In addition to my duties as Dean, I teach undergraduate courses focused on classroom teaching, and science and math courses in both the K-8 and secondary M.A.T. programs.

View Amy Ryken's website.


Teaching Awards

Thomas A. Davis Teaching Award

The Thomas A. Davis Teaching Award is given to honor excellence in teaching and is named to honor Thomas A. Davis, who served as dean of the university from 1973 to 1994. 

  • Mary Boer (2017)
  • Fred Hamel (2015)
  • Amy Ryken (2004)


President's Excellence in Teaching Award

The Puget Sound President’s Excellence in Teaching Award was established by former trustee Hal Eastman ’60 and his wife, Jacque ’61. Recipients are selected for their genuine passion for teaching, an ability to inspire students to learn, a capacity to set high expectations and challenge students to meet them, a respect for students as individuals, an enduring intellectual curiosity, and the capacity for growth, change, and vitality in the classroom and beyond.

  • Terry Beck (2018)
  • Amy Ryken (2007)