Andy Traisman

Andy TraismanPhoto by Paul Neevel

“I was born and raised in suburban Chicago,” says Andy Traisman, whose T-shirt inscription in Latin, “Eamus Catuli,” translates as, “Let’s go, Cubs!” Traisman is retiring this summer after 17 years teaching language arts, humanities and drama to 7th and 8th graders at Eugene’s Waldorf-inspired Village School, one of the first public charter schools in Oregon. He created a program that matches middle-schoolers with mentors in the community to have real-life work experiences, and teamed up with nonprofits to engage the children in learning about climate change. “For the last 11 years, I’ve co-taught with a math, science and art teacher,” he notes. “I’ve had the opportunity to teach with my heart, where relationship was the doorway to everything, and the experience of teaching some extraordinary people, including three of the plaintiffs in the children’s climate lawsuit against the U.S. government.” After two years of study at Illinois State in Normal and Kendall Community College in Evanston, Traisman finished a sociology degree at Northern Arizona, where he met renowned professor of humanities and peace Vasant Merchant. “I took seven classes from her,” he says. “I was turned on by the power of ideas and stories.” He remained in Flagstaff for three years after graduation, working with kids in a parks and rec summer program, then moved to Seattle in 1981 and completed a yearlong internship program for teacher certification. He taught junior high in Seattle suburban schools for ten years before relocating to Eugene in 1992. “I opened a coffee cart at 24th and Agate,” he recounts, “2nd Base Espresso, Home of the Everyday Double Play.” Two years later, he took a few University of Oregon courses and returned to teaching part time. He joined the Village School in 2001, its second year of operation.