Krista Nieraeth (left), principal of Pacific High School, and Cindy Pogwizd, GEAR UP Coordinator, work closely to make GEAR UP's goal of increasing access to postsecondary education a reality in Port Orford.

Name: Krista Nieraeth
School: Pacific High School, Port Orford
Position: Principal
College: Bachelor' s Degree - Knox College, Master's Degree - Concordia University
Fun fact: I always have chapstick in my pocket.  I cannot go a day without it.
Describe an aspect of your educational journey.
It was always expected that I would go to college.  My grandparents and parents all work in the educational field, so it was never an option not to go to college for my cousins, siblings, and myself.  I am thankful that I had the goal set for me at a young age and that I was pushed to work towards that goal.

How did you end up in this career?
After college, I went into an Americorps program to teach in a rural, underserved area.  After my time was up, I loved teaching so much that I got my teaching license and made being in education my career!  Education is my passion and I decided that in addition to teaching, I would love to make more of an impact and decided to become an administrator.  Pacific is my first administration job and I am so thankful for the opportunities that I have been afforded here and that I have amazing staff and students.

GEAR UP has given our students and staff opportunities that we otherwise may not have gotten. We've gone on field trips, implemented important and successful programs, sent staff to professional development meetings, and a lot more.  GEAR UP has made our school and the environment that much better.

Name: Cindy Pogwizd
: Library /Media specialist, ASPIRE High School & Jr. High Coordinator, GEAR UP Coordinator
Fun fact: I own an RV Park
Describe an aspect of your educational journey.
After high school I went to a Dental Assistant trade school in California. My parents were a big influence for me and helped me with the journey.

How did you end up in this career?
After moving to Oregon I got a job as a fill-in sub for the janitor and then worked my way up. (Coming in whenever you're called and being on time gets you a permanent job!)

GEAR UP has given our schools more opportunities to go to summer camps, get great guest speakers, great field trips, more computers in the classrooms, great looking business lab, and our teachers to more conferences.