School of Education Faculty
Faculty in the School of Education at the University of Puget Sound has 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 within the School of Education.
- Sarah Clapp, Clinical Assistant Professor
- Fred Hamel, Professor
- Tina Huynh, Assistant Professor
- Heidi Morton, Assistant Professor
- Kimberlee Ratliff, Associate Professor
- Amy Ryken, Dean and Distinguished Professor
- Rebecca Wellington, Clinical Instructor
My journey into counseling and counselor education was informed by an early interest in psychology that grew into an overarching personal and professional passion. I took my first psychology course as a running start student at Honolulu Community College in 2008, and later completed a bachelors in psychology at University of Hawaii at Manoa. Afterwards I spent some time bartending in Southern California before moving to Arizona to work as a paraprofessional at a school for children on the Autism spectrum. It was at this point that I began to seriously consider graduate school, and was introduced to counseling largely through my own experiences as a client.
I rapidly fell in love with the field of counseling, and started my master’s degree at Arizona State University (ASU) in 2016. As a counseling intern, I worked with ASU’s Counseling Services and developed an enduring interest in serving students in higher education. Even as a fresh-faced counselor-in-training, I found myself looking to my professors and mentors and feeling drawn to the role of counselor educator. I was fortunate to be accepted to The Ohio State University’s (OSU) Counselor Education program, where I continued my training as a counselor and branched into new professional roles of teacher and supervisor.
During my time in Ohio, I spent three years working with OSU’s Suicide Prevention Program, and completed a doctoral minor in Women Gender and Sexuality Studies which shaped my feminist praxis as a clinician and educator. I continued to grow my clinical skills outside of school, and gained experience counseling in both community and private practice settings. I found my greatest challenge and joy in being in front of a classroom. I leapt at every opportunity to partner with my faculty to teach classes, guest lecture, and work directly with counseling students. My dissertation focused on graduate student mental health and suicide prevention needs on campus, and this continues to be one of my foremost research and advocacy interests.
Following the completion of my PhD I moved to Seattle, where I trained and worked as a relationship counselor; and shortly after my arrival in Washington I was overjoyed to learn I’d be joining the Counselor Education faculty and the School of Education at University of Puget Sound (UPS). My journey up to this point has spanned five different states, seven unique clinical roles, and so much more besides. I eagerly look forward to fully embodying the role of counselor educator with my gracious and inspiring colleagues and students here at UPS, and to continue to grow and learn in this field of counseling that I love so much.
My own journey toward teaching has many roots but partly started in a community college English classroom. I was so impressed by my teacher's leadership and thoughtfulness and 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, fascinating learning theory, and concrete teaching tools 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 to maintain a strong blend of theory and practice. Throughout this time, my interests have focused on literacy education, how teachers can better understand students as learners, and 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. I especially enjoy the relationships I’ve developed 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.
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 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 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 cultural and musical diversity issues 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 become teaching professionals.
My journey to becoming a counselor began early in life. 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 intrapersonal, 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. In part, my experiences teaching violin and guitar, working with students of all ages to overcome challenges and move toward their individual goals, helped motivate me to pursue a career in counseling 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 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 the community, the installation of the love of lifelong learning, and the pursuit of unlocking human potential to create better lives and a better world.
My journey to becoming a counselor was inspired by early childhood experiences and encouraged by supportive mentors throughout my life. Although my mom was not a counselor or educator, I developed many counselor characteristics, such as empathy, caring, and genuineness, directly. Helping others comes second nature to her, and I wanted to follow in her footsteps.
In 1998, I began my school counseling career working with elementary school students in North Carolina. After September 11th, I provided group counseling to children affiliated with the military full-time to accommodate the overwhelming need for counseling during deployments. A few years later, I moved to Washington, D.C., where I continued my work as an elementary school counselor until I had the opportunity to help build a counseling department at a new middle school in the Northern Virginia suburbs. I fell in love with middle school counseling.
Wanting to continue my professional growth, I pursued my mental health license and completed my doctoral degree in counseling psychology. I researched multiracial identity development and cultural competence in counseling multiracial individuals in my doctoral program, which remains my primary research interest today.
As an emerging counselor educator, my professional identity began to take shape when I taught a practicum course at George Mason University. I discovered my passion for teaching and supervising counselors-in-training, which followed me into my role as program director/professor of school counseling for an online institution. I spent ten years developing a counseling curriculum and supervising students across the United States and internationally. Supervising counselors-in-training in the Republic of Georgia, China, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia re-ignited my interest in how culture influences our perspectives and identities. Being a third culture kid during my pre-teen years living in Panama, I enjoy cultural immersion experiences and have a bucket list of travel plans with hopes of continuing my understanding and appreciation of our diverse world.
After 37 years of living as a military child and spouse, Washington State became our permanent home. While teaching part-time at the University of Puget Sound, I observed collegial relationships among faculty, meaningful discussions and engagement with students, and a collaborative community committed to lifelong learning and social justice. I am thrilled and thankful to continue my professional journey surrounded by phenomenal colleagues and students who challenge and inspire me.
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. I 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 workplaces. 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 gratifying 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.
My journey teaching began on the ocean, sailing around the world on a traditionally rigged tall ship. Through this two-year global circumnavigation I had the opportunity to work with school children in many different island nations. I also trained for a US Coast Guard captain’s license and went on to work in non-profit outdoor education, teaching kids to sail on the Charles River in Boston and then on the Puget Sound in Washington State. I followed this passion for teaching into the K-12 classroom after completing a Master’s in Teaching at Seattle University. I spent the next five years teaching 9th and 12th grade social studies, coaching debate and advising different student-led organizations. One of my most enjoyable courses I taught in high school was a senior elective course titled ‘Women in War’. I have always been drawn to see the world and the people in it through a critical perspective that seeks to unpack normative assumptions about both gender and power. This interest led me to pursue a doctorate in education history at the University of Washington, during which time my research focused on subversive actions of self-advocacy of female students at off-reservation Indian boarding schools in the Progressive Era.
After completing my doctorate, I taught education history courses at the University of Washington and then returned to my alma-matter, Seattle University, to teach in the M.I.T. program. At Seattle University and now University of Puget Sound I have taught courses in education history and curriculum and instruction. One of my greatest joys is working with teacher candidates out in the field during their teaching internships.
Through my teaching journey I have relied on the following quotation from Marianne Williamson as a rudder to guide me through my teaching journey; “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” These words inspire me to create a space in which my students have the courage to embrace their own power. Impactful teaching does not have the end goal of imparting knowledge, although that is an essential step of the process, but rather of awakening students to their own ideas, aspirations and agency.
It is such a joy to work in the School of Education at University of Puget Sound! It is a positive, graceful, kind environment that continually fosters growth and transformative change in education.
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, and 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)