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AOS Welcomes New Staff

Posted on: October 1, 2021

AOS welcomed several new teachers and staff this year. Below are the staff welcomes, some of which were written by students in Ms. Bellando’s Journalism English class.

Jesse AitkenJesse Aitken joins AOS as the Math and Science teacher for Options Academy. A graduate of Western Oregon University with a Bachelors in math and a Masters in teaching, Mr. Aitken also teaches the photography elective. He fell in love with Alt Ed while student teaching at College Hill High School in Corvallis. In his free time he enjoys sports, photography, reading and gaming. When asked to share a piece of advice he lives by, he responded, “You never know what is going on in someone else’s life, so if they have a reaction to something that does not seem to make sense, understand that their anger [or] frustration may be directed elsewhere.” Students are sure to find patience and understanding in any class with Mr. Aitken.

– by Karyssa Negrete

Dari LawrieDari Lawrie is a new English and Social Studies teacher. Ms. Lawrie chose to teach at AOS because she loves her subjects and people. She believes in the alternative school model because she believes that everyone deserves a chance. In her free time Ms. Lawrie writes plays, short stories and poetry, and she also runs a chainsaw in the woods sometimes for various causes. For her, “the most important human quality is curiosity.” Students in her class learn to ask questions and participate in project-based learning.


Laura HekmanLaura Hekman is Options Academy’s new Language Arts teacher. “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” Mrs. Hekman states. As a child she would spend all day after school pretending to be a teacher, using her piano as her desk and assigning worksheets to her grandfather. In her free time, Mrs. Hekman enjoys physical activity such as yoga, gardening and rock climbing. She also enjoys creative hobbies like cooking with the food she grows in her garden. She even enjoys playing casual games like Stardew Valley and Battle Block Theater with her husband. “When a lot of things are going on in life… I find it comforting to know that I just need to take one day at a time.”

– by Avery Reynolds

Gabe DiazGabe Diaz joins the teaching staff this year from his previous position here as Bilingual Liaison. Now he is the CTE teacher, offering two different construction classes. Before getting into education, Mr. Diaz had never worked with students before, but he saw it as an opportunity to grow professionally and took it. He works at AOS specifically now because he was the type of kid in high school who would have benefited from a school like AOS, which did not exist when he was growing up in Puerto Rico. Mr. Diaz relates to the students here. “AOS lets you be you,” he said. “Trust yourself. You are more than what you think.” In his classes, Mr. Diaz gently pushes his students to be their best. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, playing music and building things.

Reymundo “Benny” Benavidez

Reymundo “Benny” Benavidez is the new Special Education teacher. He got into education because he had a hard time in school and wanted to make life better for the students he serves. He started his career with youth outreach, crisis, and secure facilities, but he always wanted to be a teacher. Mr. Benny enjoys watching movies with family, BBQ, Dallas Cowboys, Ford and the holidays. His message to students is “be proud of who you are, what you’ve been through and where you came from… Diversity is beautiful and part of what makes our home at AOS such a beautiful place.”

Blake LooneyBlake Looney is the new Science teacher in the high school program. As someone who struggled in high school, he didn’t always know he wanted to be a teacher, but Mr. Looney has the gift of encouragement; he sees himself as a person to spur others on to meet their full potential. He chose to work at AOS because he believes in the alternative school format and wanted to be somewhere that he could get to know students on a genuine level. A person of various interests, Mr. Looney enjoys growing carnivorous plants, being a part of his gym community, and watching good movies and TV. His advice for students even comes from the popular cartoon Adventure Time: “Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.” Mr. Looney passes this advice on to students as a reminder that it takes time and a lot of failure to become truly great at something, so it’s always worth that first step.

Lori HalloranLori Halloran is a new special education assistant and SPED secretary. Before working at AOS, Mrs. Halloran volunteered at her children’s schools and enjoyed helping students. She chose to work at AOS because there are fewer students, meaning she could provide more individualized support for them. In her free time, Mrs. Halloran spends time with her two dogs and two cats, her husband and her two children going to their sports, choir, and band events. When asked for a piece of advice to relay to students, Mrs. Halloran responded emphatically: “Take notes! The amount of information we get in a typical day is a lot to retain… I still make notes and lists to remind me of what needs to be done in my day.”

– by Kaitlyn Hayner

Candace Caswell “Mrs. C”Candace Caswell “Mrs. C” joins the AOS staff as a Special Education Assistant and Food Services Assistant. She was guided into the field of education by Eunice Shriver in the early 1970s. Mrs.C lives on a ranch and loves to care for it. Students at AOS already love Mrs. C’s energy, excitement, and helpfulness as she floats around their classes to help them with school work or bring them breakfast. Some of them even refer to her as the AOS grandmother. “Accept no ‘should’ or ‘ought’ but your own,” Mrs. C said when asked about advice to live by, adding, “therefore, I judge no one.”

-by Kevin Bumgardner & Tori Teem

Anna WinnAnna Winn joins the AOS staff as a Special Education Assistant and the Food Services Assistant. She is excited to work at AOS because it is important to her to be in a position where she can help and make an impact on others, as well as still have time to be a parent. In her free time, Ms. Winn is an all-around creative person. A few of her hobbies include sewing, knitting and crocheting, along with active hobbies like biking and hiking. “I try to leave everything I touch better than I found it,” she said when asked for advice to live by.  “As humans we are responsible to be better and make all things better. It is possible, trying is key! You would be amazed at the difference you can make one day at a time.”

– by Cailan Hale


GAPS Recognizes National Hispanic Heritage Month / GAPS reconoce el Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana

Posted on: September 15, 2021

Hispanic Heritage Month Poster

To recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month, GAPS Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) department is hosting a series of district-wide programming including three virtual keynote speakers. Latinas/os/x in Albany comprise roughly 13% of the city’s population, and the GAPS school community has over 21% students who identify as Latina/o/x. The demographic in GAPS is greater than what is reflected in our Albany community, and we as a district want to recognize the diversity GAPS represents through educational programming for our schools and community.

We are welcoming Dr. Jesus Jaime-Diaz from the University of Arizona, Gerardo Ochoa from Linfield University, and presenting our own EDI Director, Javier Cervantes to speak on subjects that will build knowledge and understanding of the varying identities and labels ascribed to Latinas/os/x in the United States. 

West Albany and South Albany High Schools will have displays demonstrating Hispanic culture open in the school buildings throughout the month. Many GAPS art classes and libraries will also recognize Hispanic Heritage Month through projects and book displays. 

This month’s programming has been a district-wide effort from many staff members to commemorate the contributions of Latinas/os/x in our community. GAPS wants to thank our community partners, Albany Public Schools Foundation and Central Willamette Credit Union, for funding our keynote speakers.

All presentations will be recorded and available on our website under the EDI webpage.

The Zoom information is the same for all three virtual presentations.

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 842 4957 3498
Passcode: 610742

Dial by your location:
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

Spanish Translation

Mes nacional de la Herencia Hispana

Para reconocer el Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana, el departamento de Equidad, Diversidad e Inclusión (EDI) de GAPS está organizando una serie de presentaciones para todo el distrito que incluye tres oradores principales virtuales. Las latinas / os / x en Albany comprenden aproximadamente el 13% de la población de la ciudad, y la comunidad escolar de GAPS tiene más del 21% de estudiantes que se identifican como latinas / o / x. La demografía en GAPS es mayor de lo que se refleja en nuestra comunidad de Albany, y nosotros, como distrito, queremos reconocer la diversidad que representa GAPS a través de la programación educativa para nuestras escuelas y comunidad.

Damos la bienvenida al Dr. Jesus Jaime-Diaz de la Universidad de Arizona, Gerardo Ochoa de la Universidad de Linfield, y presentamos a nuestro propio Director de EDI, Javier Cervantes para hablar sobre temas que desarrollarán el conocimiento y la comprensión de las distintas identidades y títulos atribuidos a las/os latinas / os / x en los Estados Unidos.

Las escuelas preparatorias de West Albany y South Albany, tendrán exhibiciones que demuestren la cultura hispana abiertas en los edificios escolares durante todo el mes. Muchas clases de arte y bibliotecas de GAPS también reconocerán el Mes de la Herencia Hispana a través de proyectos y exhibiciones de libros.

La programación de este mes ha sido un esfuerzo de todo el distrito por parte de muchos miembros del personal, para conmemorar las contribuciones de Latinas / os / x en nuestra comunidad. GAPS quiere agradecer a nuestros socios comunitarios, la Fundación de Escuelas Públicas de Albany y Central Willamette Credit Union, por financiar a nuestros oradores principales.

Todas las presentaciones se grabarán y estarán disponibles en nuestro sitio web bajo en la  página de EDI.

La información de Zoom es la misma para las tres presentaciones virtuales. 

Unirse a la reunión de Zoom:

ID de la junta: 842 4957 3498
Contraseña: 610742

Marque desde su ubicación:
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

Welcome Back: 2021-2022 School Year

Posted on: August 17, 2021

Welcome to the new school year! We are really excited to share all of the new things we have in store for the 2021-2022 school year including a new CTE Construction program and the new Options Academy for freshmen and Sophomores.

As you prepare for the new year, here is some information you will need:

Returning Students: Back-to-school meetings with Mrs. Harryman will be held the week of August 16th. Please call the school to schedule your meeting if you have not done so already.

Interested in AOS? We are by referral from South Albany High School and West Albany High School only. To become an AOS student, you must get a referral. Please start by talking to your counselor at your school to see if AOS is the right place for you.

First Day of School: The first day of school is Tuesday, September 7th for all AOS students. Please see the bell schedule for your program class times.

School Supplies: AOS does not have a school supplies list, but please plan to come to school with the basics (notebooks, pencils, etc.). If you need any supplies, please let us know as we will have plenty to share. Please bring your chromebook to school with you the first day of school.


Principal: Mr. Hannan –
Counselor: Mrs. Harryman –
Registrar: Mrs. Barker –
Attendance/Bus Requests: Mrs. Fewless –
Staff Contact: Full list available here

Phone: (541) 967-4563
Instagram: @AlbanyOptionsSchool  

BELL SCHEDULES: Available here


Bienvenidos de regreso: Año escolar 2021-2022

¡Bienvenidos al nuevo año escolar! Estamos muy emocionados de compartir todas las cosas nuevas que tenemos reservadas para el año escolar 2021-2022, incluido un nuevo programa de Construcción CTE y la nueva Academia de Opciones para estudiantes de 9° y 10° grado.

Mientras se preparan para el nuevo año, aquí hay información que necesitarán:

Estudiantes regresando a la escuela: Las reuniones de regreso a clases con la Sra. Harryman se llevarán a cabo la semana del 16 de agosto. Llame a la escuela para programar su reunión si aún no lo ha hecho.

¿Interesado en AOS? Recibimos a los estudiantes por referencia de las preparatorias South Albany High School y West Albany High School únicamente. Para convertirse en un estudiante de AOS, deben obtener una referencia. n hablando con su consejero en su escuela preparatoria para ver si AOS es el lugar adecuado para ustedes.

Primer día de clasesEl primer día de clases es el martes 7 de septiembre para todos los estudiantes de AOS. Consulte el horario de los timbres para conocer los horarios de clases del programa.

Útiles escolaresAOS no tiene una lista de útiles escolares, pero por favor planee venir a la escuela con lo básico (cuadernos, lápices, etc.). Si necesitan algún material, háganoslo saber ya que tendremos mucho para compartir. Por favor traigan su Chromebook a la escuela el primer día de clases.


DirectorSr. Hannan –
Consejera: Sra. Harryman –
Encargada de inscripcionesSra. Barker –
Asistencia/Pedidos de autobús: Sra. Fewless –
Contacto del personalLa lista completa está disponible aquí

Teléfono(541) 967-4563
Instagram: @AlbanyOptionsSchool  

HORARIO DE TIMBRES: Disponible aquí

Retiring from AOS: Mrs. Glass

Posted on: June 22, 2021

Please join us in congratulating Mrs. Glass on her retirement. Mrs. Glass has been our Mrs. GlassSpecial Education and Choices program teacher for the past six years. We are  grateful to her for her love and service to our school and students, and wish her the best in her future adventures.

Mrs. Glass has spent the past twelve years in our district, the last six of which were at AOS. In addition to being the Special Education teacher and running the Choices program, many will remember her for Zumba and yoga lessons, her  kind smile, and her ability to get along with everyone.

Mrs. Glass is looking forward to spending time with her grandchildren, working on projects around the house, and spending lots of time at the gym. We are excited that Mrs. Glass will continue to stay involved with the AOS family by being a substitute teacher here.

Congratulations to you and thank you for your service to education.


Class of 2021 Graduates & GED Completers

Posted on: June 16, 2021

Congratulations to the students who graduated or earned their GED this year!

Graduation was held on Monday, June 14th on the West Albany High School football field. 45 students participated of the 53 graduates. For photos of the event, please go to: GRADUATION PHOTOS

AOS Class of 2021 Graduates
Madison Mae Alderin
Hunter Chance Allard
Michael James Andersen
Trenton Anthony Arriola
Jazmyn Michele Barker
Noah James Baske
Derek Curtis Brenneman
Haley Marie Brittain
Kamarie Leilani-Shakota Buen
Kameron Gregory Burford
Chyra LeighAnn Carrillo
Kaydence Marie Coats
Pamela Angela Joy Coty
Samantha Jewel Cumpiano
Kylie Marie Durham
Ryan Zachary Gaffke
Maddison Sky Gregory-Names
Kalea S Guyette
Braeden Matthew Hadlock
Aaliyah Faith Halliwell
Alexandria Ellen Nadine Herrera
Isaac James Herrera
Dakota Chance Hufeld
Leslie Noemi Ibarra
David Ray James
Logan Allen Keyser
Preslie Morgan Keyser
Domenic Lamb
Oliver Augustus Lee
Mayah Janele Lesser
Dalton Jacob Gregory Lucas
Cloey Marie Marsh
Samantha Marie McCormick
Isaac Ryan Middleton
Mason Nealy
Bailey Lorraine Perkins
Isaac Luke Pierce
Ben Thomas Prouty
Trenton Joseph Rey
Luis Armando Reyes
Jyssame Iris Ridders
Isabella Nora-Nicole Rodarte
Riley Logan Rutland
Natalya Allysandra Sajovic
Briana Quenberlin Salas-Victorio
Angelic Madeline Shaw
Anthony Robert Sweat
Kyleigh Taylor
Roman Rey Torres-Aguilera
Claudia Belen Villa-Lopez
Zoe Elizabeth Wallace
Lydia Amara Williams-Vasilie
Summer Jean Wolford
Taylor Marie Wuitschick













AOS GED Completers for the 2020-2021 School Year
Cordel Curtis Adam
Tabitha Jade Buren
Zachery Ryan Cardin
Roman Cristian Casillas
Bridgett Nicole De Quilettes
Douglas Wayne Faoa
Nikolis Aaron Ford
Abigail Kathleen Gillespie
Alejandro Gonzalez
Seth Andrew Grant
Jayden Allen Guggenmos
Peter H
Kiali Lyn Hernandez
Jonathan Aaron Kollaer
Aiden Connor Lee
Sequoia Lee Lehn
Kassidy Leydens
Trevor J. Lien
Keagan Kay Maxfield
Sidnee Kayde Meier
Christian Neil Mowry
Rodrigo Ortiz-Alvarado
Nathaniel Aaron Parks
Elaina Jean Pike
Yahir Manuel Vega
Ronald Evan Welsh
Christopher Duke Woehlert