STAFF AND BOARD
Founder, Executive Director, Lead Teacher
As an administrator, special education teacher, writer, researcher, and speaker with ADHD and dyslexia superpowers herself (with a few corresponding challenges), Heather Chatem is inspired daily by being part of students' journeys as they find their individual pathways to success. She has a B.A. in Psychology, M.A. in Special Education & Rehabilitation with a Specialty in Learning Disabilities, Autism Authorization Training, Special Education Teaching Credential PreK-12, and her Administration License. She has worked in general education, inclusive, resource room, and all-day special education school settings. In addition to her roles at the Samara Learning Center, she is also a co-facilitator for two information and support groups (Central Oregon Attention Deficit Disorder - COADD and Decoding Dyslexia Central Oregon). She also continues her work with Bend Roots Revival, which raises money for children’s music and art programs. Heather feels lucky to be part of the amazingly collaborative and supportive community of Central Oregon.
Lead Teacher, Special Education Tutor
Sarah aims to enrich the lives of both neurotypical and neurodivergent youth. She holds a B.A in Biology with a minor in Psychology. Her M.S. is in Education. Sarah has ample experience working in public and charter schools as well as private tutoring. These make her ideal for her new position as Lead Teacher, and Special Education Tutor for Samara Learning Center. Sarah's previous roles include Substitute Teacher for HDESD, Executive Functioning Coach, Orton Gillingham Tutor, Exceptional Children's Department Assistant, and Educational Assistant in Humanities, STEAM, and Math.
Learning Specialist, Special Education Tutor
Jay and his family live in Central Oregon. If you ski in the winter and camp in the summer, you have probably crossed paths. You may have also connected within the Bend-La Pine School District where he worked for the past seven years. Cumulatively, Jay has work as an educator for over 25 years. His primary focus has been in Special Education. However, he has taught nearly every subject to neuro-typical and neuro-diverse students in mainstream classrooms. Jay is currently exploring community organizations and supporting youth through non-profit work. When asked about why he is interested in joining Samara's team, Jay stated: "I enjoy teaching very much and am grateful for the ability to connect with and educate young people on their journey to adulthood".
Samara After-School Program Manager (SAP)
Karen Bures is a behavioral specialist with an accumulated 15 years of experience supporting neurodivergent kids exhibiting intensive behavior. She began her career post-college working in a residential treatment center and eventually obtained her certification in special education. Karen has worked within the Bend-La Pine behavior program for the past 10 years. Currently, she is providing academic support, social-emotional learning and engaging purposeful play. Karen has begun leaning into advocacy around restraint and seclusion.
PE Instructor, Tutor
Tony is experienced in teaching Physical Education and tutoring to children of all ages. He loves nature which led to getting a B.S at Humboldt State University in Kinesiology. Living in Bend for the past 5 years, he taught a PE class at the Bend Athletic Club and worked with Soccer Shots which uses soccer as a tool to teach life values and skills. At Samara Learning, Tony is expanding his knowledge of helping children grow and develop life skills that will help them achieve their goals and dreams.
Kristina F. Mylne
Executive Assistant, Grant Writer, CTRS
Kristina is a valuable asset to Samara Learning Center and to the adolescents she serves. She is a highly skilled recreational therapist who is passionate about helping adolescents develop their social and emotional functioning. Kristina has a deep understanding of the challenges that adolescence can present, and she uses her skills and knowledge to create safe and supportive programs, to evaluate the effectiveness of existing programs, and to ensure that all programs are tailored to the individual needs of the students. Kristina is committed to helping young people reach their full potential and build strong relationships between youth, their support system and their families.
Samara After-School Program Manager (SAP)
Chicken is a passionate and qualified licensed special education teacher who has a deep understanding of the challenges that some students face. Her experience working with English Language Learners (ELL) and Dual Immersion students, as well as those experiencing trauma, generational poverty, and Autism provided a broad range of experience working with students from diverse backgrounds. Chicken is an expert in differentiated instruction and other strategies for supporting all learners. She builds strong relationships with her students, and is committed to working with parents and staff to create a collaborative team that supports each student's learning.
Student Support Samara After-School Program (SAP)