GEMS Faculty

 Doug Gunter

  • Master of Arts, Adolescent Literacy and Technology - Walden University
  • Bachelor of Science, Education of Social Sciences - Western Oregon University

 JGEMS truly prepares students for success in their academics, communities, and citizenship. I am proud of the work we do as JGEMS teachers and enjoy seeing students grow and flourish.
Email: Doug Gunter
Subjects: Language Arts / Social Studies / Physical Education

 Email: Nathan Suderman
Subjects: Technology / Math / Robotics
 Nathan Suderman

  • Bachelor of Science, Information Technology - Fresno State University
  • Master of Arts in Teaching - Willamette University

Before teaching I spent many years in an IT career, as a webmaster, internet liaison, and ultimately network administrator. Since leaving the IT field I have been the coach of several robotics teams, several of which went on to compete at the state and even national level. I also spent several years building our home which I now live in in West Salem with my wife JulieAnn, while raising our 4 children; Natalie, Amanda, Connor and Harrison. I never thought I would be a middle school teacher, but after spending my first few years teaching at Howard St, I fell in love with this age of student as they are still so very full of wonder. My passion lies in Technology. Through responsible use of technology, simple people can accomplish great things. Technology is integrated into our daily lives to a degree that few even recognize. Students that can manipulate this tool rather than just be a user of it will be better able to direct their own future, regardless of their career path. In the course of three years at JGEMS I will teach your student how to use a variety of tools, but will not consider myself to be successful until your student begins to integrate these tools as part of their normal school routine. 

 Kathleen Ramon

  • Bachelors of Science in Communications and Minor in Child Development from San Diego State University
  • Masters of Arts in STEM Teaching from Pacific University

 JGEMS represents everything I truly enjoy from studies about endangered species to teaching Science to young minds. I am thrilled to be here with students who have a passion for the environment. I have worked helping kids and families for many years running summer camps at the San Diego Zoo, coordinating a mentor program, leading after school programs, and working for Salem Keizer School District. Science with a focus on Zoology has always been my favorite subject. I also enjoy traveling with my family, making art, and attending Comic Cons. When I hear students having conversations about conservation and how everything in life is related to Science, I know I have made a difference.

 Email: Kathleen Petry
Subjects: Science / Conservation Biology / Art

 Email: Ruth Ames
Subjects: Math / Science / Art
 Ruth Ames

I am excited to work at JGEMS and collaborate with the wonderful team here. I've grew up in Oregon, and have always had an interest in ecology and being engaged with our environment. I bring a diverse background of skills, having studies music at the University of Oregon before changing gears after my BA to become a math teacher. (MEd, at University of Oregon). I am drawing to working in small school environments that address specific needs of students, encourage outside-the-box thinking and challenge students to strive for individual excellence. Besides math, I also love history, crafting, theater and music. I am a volunteer with the Oregon Country Fair, local theater companies. I play in a local folk rock band called DarkHorse, and participate in a medieval reenactment group as my free time allows.

Christi Olsen



Learning Resources

Shauna DeVos

  • Teaching Degree - Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.

I grew up in Salem, and got my teaching degree from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. My first 4 years of teaching were in Puyallup, Washington. I then taught Kindergarten - Fifth grade at Clear Lake Elementary in Keizer for 14 years. I wanted to make a change, but still work with kids...JGEMS has been a perfect fun new challenge for me! I enjoy my time in the office, and with the kids in classrooms and at recess!
Email: Shauna De Vos
Subjects: Office Manager

Principal:  Dr. Jesse Payne

JGEMS Founder

Mike Weddle

Founder and JGEMS Board Chair 


    Mike Weddle was born at a very early age, as was the custom in his family. He taught for 35 years, his last 10 at JGEMS. He graduated from San Francisco State University and has a master’s degree in education from Oregon College of Education. He has worked extensively overseas for the Jane Goodall Institute in Tanzania and South Africa, for the Snow Leopard Conservancy in India and for the Smithsonian Institution in Myanmar.                          

    JGEMS' Partners

    JGEMS could not work the way it does without the help of its partners.
    Those partners are:

    Center for Research on Alpine Ecosystems  CREA  

    Center for Research on Alpine Ecosystems – CREA of Chamonix, France is supporting us in our ongoing phenology research – the study of how organisms adjust their yearly cycles in response to climate change.
    Diack Ecology Education Fund  

    The Diack Ecology Education Fund has provided several grants for our field-based science inquiry projects.
    Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife  

    Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife helps with all our local fish, stream, macro and turtle studies. Karen Hans has been particularly helpful.
    Oregon Watersheds  

    Oregon Watersheds has provided research and restoration project opportunities, equipment, training, plants and so much else for as long as JGEMS has been JGEMS.
    Oregon Wildlife Institute  
    Oregon Zoo  

    The Oregon Zoo has helped with our 8th grade research projects (e.g. Stereotypic Behavior in Polar Bears) and our 7th grade endangered species project. Dr. David Shepherdson has advised research groups for years and has served as an expert panelist for our presentations since 1994.
    Smithsonian Institution  

    Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, formerly the Conservation and Research Center, has been working with JGEMS since 2000. We are part of their Biodiversity Monitoring Project which provides us with a variety of field research ideas. Willow Myrland did a summer internship at SCBI in 2008.
    The Jane Goodall Institute  

    The Jane Goodall Institute and its Roots & Shoots organization have been a part of JGEMS since even before we were JGEMS. Among other things, hey are responsible for getting Jane Goodall to visit us every few years.
    The Snow Leopard Conservancy  

    The Snow Leopard Conservancy has been a partner for our endangered species project for years. They provide us with the latest information on snow leopard conservation and research and we, in turn, have raised funds for their corral improvement project and for educational materials.
    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  

    U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Newport office of the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge have been long-time partners, providing some of our most successful research and restoration projects.
    U.S. Forest Service  

    US Forest Service ( has provided both suggestions for educational research and staff support for students in the field. We would especially like to thank Dede Olson for her hours of help.
    Wildlife Safari  

    Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon, has been willing to advise students on their endangered species projects and has allowed us to conduct behavioral research on their animals. Students have even camped out on the zoo grounds.

    JGEMS Board of Directors

    Board Meeting Time Information:

    The JGEMS Board of Directors meets on the last Tuesday of the month at 4:00 in a JGEMS classroom. The public is invited.

    Doug Gunter Jennifer Neahring Kathleen Huun
    Angela Obery Mike Weddle Steve Nelson
    Odi Campos Sara Fishler Rice Zyanja Aguilar-Nelson
    Nathan Suderman,
    Feb 7, 2019, 10:10 AM
    Nathan Suderman,
    Aug 27, 2019, 11:15 AM
    Nathan Suderman,
    Jan 16, 2019, 2:11 PM
    Nathan Suderman,
    Nov 21, 2017, 8:14 PM
    Nathan Suderman,
    Jan 16, 2019, 2:12 PM
    Nathan Suderman,
    Jan 16, 2019, 2:11 PM
    Nathan Suderman,
    Oct 20, 2017, 10:27 AM