Beloved Evergreen School teacher Patty Potter is retiring at the end of this year after 41 years of service to Silverton students and families. While she looks forward to spending more time with grandchildren, gardening, crafting and traveling, it’s an emotional time for her.
“This is my home and that’s going to be the hardest thing for me,” Potter said. “It’s such a wonderful community and these kids are my kids.”
Potter, who has watched two generations of families come through the doors of the 80-student, family-like K-8 school, has also held the role of head teacher for many years.
“She is one of a kind, truly a legacy,” said Evergreen Co-principal Bob Ostrom who shares the school’s leadership role with his wife Heidi. “She started her career here and holds the history of our school,” added Heidi Ostrom.
Potter is clearly appreciated by students as well.
“She helps us learn, she explains stuff really well, she’s fair, she’s an encourager and she teaches us in a fun way,” were some of the responses from a group of students when asked what makes Potter special.
According to SFSD Superintendent Andy Bellando, Potter has played an important role in Evergreen’s culture and success.
“When I think of Evergreen, I think of a school that’s grounded in a tradition of achievement year after year,” said Bellando. “It’s a group of high performing students in a supportive community and Mrs. Potter has helped to create that environment.”
Heidi Ostrom agrees.
“It’s like a big family,” said Co-principal Heidi Ostrom who proudly pointed out that Evergreen parents provide hot lunch for students twice a month and often show up to clean, paint, pull weeds and make repairs without being asked. “Our school has never had a lot of money, but our parents are very involved and generous.”
“We have fun, but we focus on academics and that has kept our test scores consistently in the top five percent in the state,” said Bob Ostrom. “Mrs. Potter and our other teachers make that happen,” said Bob Ostrom. “These kids are also independent thinkers and they are clearly here to learn.”
Eighth graders Abigail Koch and Katlyn Ueeck also appreciate the family feel at Evergreen.
“Everyone’s really close with each other and it’s a really nice environment,” said Koch. “I like the mixed grade classrooms because we get a good education and we make strong connections,” added Ueeck.