PAA Introduces Four New Teachers

October 05, 2015 | Liesl Vistaunet

“I can’t believe I get paid to be at school all day,” says Sean Kootsey, one of four new teachers at Portland Adventist Academy (PAA).

“I have a lifelong passion for learning,” adds Kootsey, who teaches a blend of classes for PAA’s social studies and English departments. Kootsey recently completed a master’s degree in education and has a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich., where he also received a minor in religion. He has taught at and administered many Adventist institutions.

“I’m so excited to be a part of a school family that I have admired from afar for many years,” says Kootsey. “My purpose is to help our students become true thinkers and not just mere reflectors of others thoughts.”

Also making PAA’s future bright is Herbert Terreri, who will instruct PAA’s first sign language course.

Besides his career teaching deaf, hard-of-hearing and mainstream students, Terreri is also known as an advocate for the deaf community in Southern California. He was a part of state committees and advisory boards that worked towards accepting sign language in public schools. He was pivotal to developing and implementing various sign language systems for the state of California.

Terreri also developed a sign language program at Santa Ana Community College in California. Thanks to him, the school also offers an interpreter’s training program and a service center for sign lanugage, deaf and hard-of-hearing students. “I’m so excited to get back into the high school environment,” Terreri says. “I believe PAA will enable me to work with a high caliber of students that will demonstrate exceptional communication.”

Emmett McCutchenne heads PAA’s music department and teaches orchestra, choir, the Alegria special choir, band, steel drums and jazz band.

McCutchenne has taught and mentored students from kindergarten to college. His groups have earned top ratings at the annual Anaheim Heritage Festival, as well as top awards from the California Association for Music Educators and Oregon’s Music Education Association.

Besides teaching, McCutchenne has a professional career in flute performance and has guest conducted ensembles ranging from bands, flute choirs, chamber singers, an orchestra and more. “I am looking forward to teaching in a Christian educational environment where I’m able to pray freely and teach praise music without opposition,” says McCutchenne.

Strengthening PAA’s technology offerings, Frank Jin teaches math and computer science courses such as 2-D animation.

After graduating from Pacific Union College in Angwin, Calif., with a computer science degree, Jin spent foundational years of his career in Silicon Valley developing high-tech startup companies. He eventually started his own business, which took him to the Portland area.

Jin most recently taught Intro to Computer Programming at Portland Adventist Elementary School and also coached their Lego Robotics team, which won a first-place prize in a competition.

“To be able to share my faith with young people all the while helping them to increase their knowledge and skills in [the] ever-so-changing techno world is thrilling,” says Jin.