Saying Goodbye: Fields moves to Seattle

By Allegra Wesson, Copy Editor

Amber Fields’ final days as an assistant principal at Tigard may be winding down, but she hopes she has created a better school for all. One of her legacies is that she helped incoming freshmen feel more comfortable coming into Tigard High by devising the house system, where freshmen are put into groups in their English and history classes so they will have a core of students that they know really well, thus making freshman year a little less scary.

This is just one example of the things that Fields has done to improve Tigard High. Throughout her two years here, she strove to make things as equitable as possible, so the students could get the best high school experience possible. To many people’s dismay, this is Fields’ last year here because she is moving to Seattle for her husband’s job as Director of Sales at AT&T.

Fields has had a very positive experience here, and she feels sad leaving the community behind. “I loved working here. It’s a bittersweet transition. I worked with an awesome team and people who really wanted to make positive change,” Fields said. “I really enjoyed all the students, staff, and the team that I’ve been working with. It’s been an awesome two years.”

It’s only been six weeks since her family received the news of moving, so right now she’s still in the midst of searching for a job. Fields does know that she definitely wants to find another job in education. Whether she will continue to be an administrator or work with organizations to create more equitable systems for schools, she doesn’t know, but it has to be involved in education.

“What I care about is that it matters. That it’s not so high up that it doesn’t impact the day to day life of a student. As I long as I can keep doing this, I’m going to be happy,” Fields said.

Fields double majored in English and Communications at the University of Washington, but was unsure of what exactly she wanted to do with her future after graduating college. But her goal is to not have any regrets in life, so she spent a year working in the public relations field. She found out that’s not what she wanted to spend her life on.

“At the end of a year, I would wake up in the morning and not have a larger purpose that’s driving me to go to work, ” Fields said. “That moment affirmed that it didn’t matter how much money I made, it’s not my motivation. If I’m not driven and passionate about what I’m getting up to do 8 to 12 hours a day, I don’t want to do it.”

Throughout her life, Fields always liked working with kids. She spent a lot of time nannying and babysitting when she was younger and found that immensely enjoyable. She also coached gymnastics when she was 14 and did that for many years. Fields always knew that she loved education but didn’t want to wonder ‘what if’ about communications. Working in education turned out to be the perfect fit for her.

“I’ve never looked back because I love the work. It’s never the same thing and it’s always dynamic. Working at a high school is like running a small city since it’s so complicated. No day is literally ever the same,” Fields said.

For many years she worked as English teacher, and from there she worked on college readiness and academic support programs for students. Finally after that, she began to work in administration, which she has now been working in for around six and a half years in total.

Being an associate principal gives her power along with responsibilities to change the school for the better. “You get to make serious system change. I think it’s one of my biggest responsibilities, interrupting inequitable situations,” Fields said.

Fields also finds working as administration more satisfying than being a teacher since she feels she can make more impactful change. “I really love systems. I really like thinking about not having bandage fixes. Putting a bandaid on a broken arm is exhausting and frustrating, so I like getting in there and seeing why the arm broke in the first place and what we have to do to fix that,” Fields said.

During her two years here, she worked with the administration to try to create the best high school experience for everybody. They especially focused on the freshmen, as studies show that if you are on track for graduation by the end of freshman year, that drastically increases your chances of graduating. She also had to deal with the aftermath of the snapchat incident, working on insuring something like that wouldn’t happen again.

She and the rest of the administration also look at data to see what they can do to improve. If certain demographics are not making progress, then they try taking a closer look and making a change by implementing various strategies. They’re not afraid to face problems and see what they can do to learn from them.

“We also always face the challenges head on. We step up, face it, and try be better as a result of it,” Fields said.

“The kind of stuff excites me, to figure out how to change the system part so everybody student’s experience can be the way we want it to be. I’m not going to fix that in my lifetime, but it feels good to be chipping away at it,” Fields said.

One of the many things that she loves about Tigard High is the student body. She explains that they all seem to have the right values. It’s going to be something that she will really miss. “I like the shift in the student body, I’ve done a lot of fun interactions with leadership this year. There’s been some great honest dynamic conversations in the classroom. There’s a majority student body with the right values and heading in the right direction to be a good community for everybody,” Fields said.

Another great positive of Tigard High for her was the daycare program that is connected to the school, as she has a little kid of her own and it’s nice having him so close by.

Although it’s a sad change and the entire school is going to miss her, there are some positives for Fields. “We’re going back to family and friends, so going to Seattle is not a bad thing,” Fields explains. Most of her family is in Seattle, so she’s looking forward to seeing them all again.

The school is going to miss her presence, and things are a little chaotic for Fields right now as she figures out the details of the moving. She feels change is hard for her at first, but gets easier when things settle down and get figured out.

“Life is all about chapters and you maximize every chapter you’re handed. You don’t understand why they are coming at the time they do, but it’s for a reason, so I try to trust it and make the best of it. You’re always right where you are supposed to be,” Fields said.

The entire staff is upset by the change, as Fields had a huge positive impact on the entire school. They will all be missing her greatly.

Secretary Patti Mason is devastated by the change. “She is such an amazing force in this school and she has so much for kids, and she is student centered, student driven, finding the best for students. That’s somebody we always need. She’s just an amazing person all around. She is wicked smart, she knows her job, and she knows education. It’s huge loss to the school,” Mason said.  

Mason thinks there’s nobody quite like her. “She is irreplaceable, but if we can find anybody that’s as half as smart as she is, then we are in good hands,” Mason said.  

Counselor Tammy Gatlin worked with Fields a lot over the two years and will be missing her a lot as well. “My experience working with Amber Fields has been incredible. She is one of the most talented, gifted, creative, kind, professionals that I have probably ever worked with. She is all about kids and students and creating a better educational system for them to thrive and do well in,” Gatlin said.

Gatlin also thinks that Fields is truly one of a kind. “I can’t imagine a school without her at this point, but I know we’ll go on and we’ll have somebody in her place that will be wonderful as well. But she’s very special and unique. Someone that’s not going to be forgotten,” Gatlin said.