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Staff and Volunteers

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Glen and Elaine Olsen

Glen Olsen
Glen Olsen

Glen and Elaine Olsen serve as a husband and wife teaching team, with Glen also undertaking duties as the director of Heritage School. They were high school sweethearts in Tacoma, Washington. They attended separate colleges (Glen at Washington State University, Evergreen State College, and the University of North Dakota, and Elaine at Stanford University) but shared a common vision about innovation in teaching.

After their marriage, Glen taught in a variety of settings while Elaine spent time as a stay at home mom during their children’s early years.

Glen’s experiences included teaching on Indian reservations (the Makah Reservation in Neah Bay, Washington, as well as at Wa-He-Lut Indian School at Nisqually, also in Washington); public schools in Oregon; and private schools, such as Neskowin Valley School on the coast. 

Elaine tiptoed back into the world of work, co-teaching an early childhood parenting class with Glen while he was a public school teacher in Cloverdale, Oregon. She also worked at Neskowin Valley School while Glen taught there. She worked part time for Head Start in Salem.

Eventually the opportunity arose to teach together at Heritage School, where Glen and Elaine have worked as the only full time teachers since its inception in 1984.  They joke that Heritage is a “mom and pop grocery store” school.

Elaine Olsen
Elaine Olsen

They live, breathe, and dream Heritage School, but sometimes they get away to the coast, where Glen loves to hike and go tidepooling and Elaine dabbles in art and photography.  They also enjoy finding solitude and spiritual sustenance at the Trappist Monastery near Lafayette and at the Mt. Angel Abbey.

Part-time Teacher:

Matt Olsen

Occasionally Glen and Elaine call upon their own sons, both Heritage alums, to assist at the school. This makes it truly a family affair!

Matt Olsen
Matt Olsen

Matt, who attended Heritage for its first six years of existence before heading to public high school and then to Stanford University, obtained a history degree and currently is a part-time teacher at Heritage. Matt serves as an additional teacher throughout the school year for stretches of time ranging from one to five weeks, depending upon his availability and our needs. Matt’s expertise in history, literature, and drama make him a valued member of the teaching staff: helping to design curriculum and lead groups of students and study units. He teams with Glen to lead studies of Shakespeare, helps with directing dramatic productions at Heritage, and teaches riveting lessons in American history.

He studied and taught improvisational theatre at Stanford and co-founded professional improv companies in the Bay Area and in Los Angeles, while following a career path outside the world of teaching that has included the film company Lucasfilm, and the toy company LEGO. For our oldest students, Matt helps guide them in original research topics and special projects.

Additional Staff and Volunteers:

Nathan Olsen

Nathan, former Heritage student, and a full time professional musician, serves in a variety of roles at Heritage, such as a media/technical consultant (like enlightening his parents about technical snafus with computers). He also brings his keyboard wizardry with music to Heritage, sometimes joining his dad, Glen, in musical gatherings with students and with the entire school community during sing-alongs.

Nathan’s experience teaching drama to students in a children’s theatre program makes him an invaluable resource during skit development. His background as a communications major enables him to help us out in many ways, but his long standing talent as a writer makes him a natural for providing superb individual writing conferences for students.

Nathan Olsen
Nathan Olsen

View a video about Nathan that was produced for the Music National Service program, which features scenes of Glen and Nathan playing music with Heritage students.


While we always have a solid crew of generous parent volunteers, we want to single out a couple that have gone way beyond the call of duty, continuing at Heritage long after their children or grandchildren were students here.

Randee Ayres

Randee’s own daughter, Alissa, attended Heritage many years ago and is currently in medical school. Although Randee lives in Portland, she still travels down to Heritage to give our students an average of four full days of art instruction per month. A professional artist and extraordinary painter and muralist, Randee’s passion for art and her expertise as a certified teacher make her a tremendous asset to our program. The children produce exquisite art, and most importantly, comprehend the principles of art.  Randee’s creative spirit has provided a pivotal influence for Heritage artists for several years. Many parents have also sought her guidance and wisdom in the ways of parenting, for her artistry extends beyond the fine arts to the fine art of raising splendid children! She has been an exceptionally talented and generous parent volunteer, long after her daughter’s five years at Heritage concluded.

Her thoughts on the experience of being a Heritage parent and volunteer can be read here.

Carolyn Eisenberg

Carolyn exemplifies the dream grandparent volunteer: one who remains long after her grandchildren have grown beyond Heritage. Ben and Alex, children of Ellen Eisenberg (Willamette history professor) and Ami Korsunsky (Salem public school teacher), have the great good fortune of having a very talented grandmother whose dedication knows no bounds.  Now she is one of our school grandmothers, as well! Carolyn, a retired reading specialist whose permanent residence is in Maryland, became a cherished Heritage volunteer long ago. Her husband teaches law at Willamette during the winter term (and then at Columbia for the remainder of the year), so they spend several months in Salem. Heritage School remains the beneficiary of Carolyn’s considerable skills as a teacher of reading and writing; she volunteers at least one morning a week from January through May.  Alex is in college and Ben is in high school, but Carolyn is still in Heritage. Hooray!

Carolyn and grandson Ben


Heritage parents and grandparents comprise invaluable resources for Heritage School. While not every parent can come in on a regular basis, we have always had a dedicated crew of assistants who can provide the one on one attention that we value so highly. And those parents who can only come on an occasional basis know the door is always open to them to pop in and lend a hand. This is a family friendly school, and we view parents as partners in their children’s education.