Heather Chatem


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.


Sarah Compton
(She, Her)

Lead Teacher

Sarah aims to enrich the lives of both neuro-typical and neuro-divergent 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 for Samara Learning Center.  Sarah's previous roles include Substitute Teacher for HDESD, Executive Functioning Coach, Orton Gillingham Tutor, Exceptional Children's Department Assistant, Educational Assistant Humanities, STEAM and Math. 


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Kimberly Johnson


Tutor, Bookkeeper

Kimberly Johnson brings her diverse interest and background in education, accounting, and the arts to the Samara Learning Center’s team. Kim achieved a B.A. in accounting and is working on her Masters in Business Administration while she guides our students in the tutoring program to greater independence and success of their own. Kim has financial experience working for other companies, including other small schools. As well as being a mom of three boys, her diverse teaching experience working with kids from 1st - 12th grade is exemplified in her ease in working with kids of various ages and needs.

Jane Ahern


 Board Treasurer

 Jane is a lifelong Oregonian. She went to high school in Eugene and got her bachelor’s degree in journalism at the UO. She later got a master’s degree in library science from LSU. She came to Central Oregon to take a job as a children’s librarian in Madras, where she worked for eight years. She married her husband Mike in 2005 and in 2008 left her job at the library in order to care for their newborn son. Since then, she has been a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer for local publications. Her hobbies include gardening, cooking, hiking, and crocheting. Her son attends Samara Learning Center and Jane has been on the Samara board of directors since 2018.

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Tobey Shaw
Board Member

Tobey Shaw, M.A. has worked with students with special needs for over forty years. For over 20 years, She was a Senior Adjunct Faculty member in the Graduate School of Education (Special Education) at California Lutheran University, teaching courses on Assessment and Development of the IEP, Assessment and Development of the ITP, Advanced Reading Methods, and Introduction to Special Education. Prior to moving to Oregon, Tobey was the Assistant Director of Special Education for a school district in Southern California, where she coordinated and supervised the provision of special education services to students with disabilities. She has also served as the Principal of the Frostig School, a non-public school for students with learning disabilities.

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Dr. Amy Yillak
Culture of Care

Amy's Professional local career highlights include serving as a CARE Coach within Central Oregon Region through HDESD, and a School Psychologist in Bend LaPine Public Schools. She is a Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist, Certified Trauma Specialist, a Happy Teacher Revolution Facilitator and an Oregon State TBI Coach.  Amy teaches in USC's Master in School Counseling Program. She regularly presents at local and state conferences on topics of minimizing resilience, trauma, threat assessment, suicide pre- and post- vention, and reflective peer consultation.


Kristina F. Mylne 

Administrator Assistant

Kristina is a curious and nurturing individual. These qualities led her to acquire a B.S. in Recreation Therapy. She has directed her skills toward guiding adolescence through the intricacies of social and emotional functioning. She has supported youth in residential and community settings, educational and psychological institutions, and wilderness camps. In her former assignments, Kristina evaluated client's functional abilities, created goals, adapted existing programs and/or created programs to meet the needs and interests of the population being served. These analytical and organizational skills now foster growth within Samara Learning Center.