SOESD / Learning Matters / Newsletter Archive / September 2006 / Pam Arbogast New Program Supervisor
Pam Arbogast - New Program Supervisor
- Early Intervention/Early Childhood Education
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Illinois, Michigan, Switzerland, and California.
What took you to all those places?
My father was a manager of research and development for Dow Chemical and we moved around where his work took him.
Tell me about your college education?
I was an interdisciplinary studies major at Humboldt State College in Arcata. The interdisciplinary studies program allowed me to design my own major that incorporated psychology, social work and special education.
What came after your BA?
I worked for a rural non-profit program in Colorado that provided early childhood education, vocational and residential services to adults and community services for anyone with disabilities. Our small non-profit did it all, but I gravitated to early intervention as I saw it as a way for families to get a fresh start.
What interested you in working with people with disabilities?
It wasnít really one event, but as I look back on it there were a couple impacting experiences. A childhood friend had a brother with Downís syndrome who was institutionalized that we used to visit. That is where I was first exposed to people with disabilities. I lived in Switzerland for six years and initially was teased and treated as an outsider. I knew what it was like to be an outsider and I didnít like it.
How did you arrive in Grants Pass?
After six years in Colorado I got a job in Grants Pass as Developmental Disabilities Program Manager for Josephine County Mental Health. At the time there were only a small number of children in the Early Intervention program and my job also involved overseeing subcontracted adult services. As all programs grew we hired more staff and then I specialized in early intervention.
What about your graduate degree?
After working in the Josephine County program I earned my masterís degree in Early Childhood Special Education from University of Oregon.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like most outdoor activities like hiking, camping, cross country and downhill skiing. I like taking photographs, traveling and cooking on weekends. My husband does most of the cooking during the week.
What about your family?
I have two children, a 21 year-old daughter who is majoring in music at University of Oregon and a 17 year-old son who will be a junior at Grants Pass High. My husband, Bob, is a semi-retired former therapist with Josephine County Mental Health.
What do you find as the most satisfying part of your work?
It is most satisfying when I can actually be with kids and families and work with staff. I enjoy the role as teacher, coach and mentor to staff. I am continually thinking about professional practices: how we provide service, how can we be more efficient, and how we could do it better. I want to challenge how we think about our work and develop systems in which we could deliver better services.