Fifteen years after graduating from La Salle Prep, Tiffany Pauletto Filter ‘03 finds herself far from Oregon. She lives in southeast India, where she teaches third-graders at the American International School of Chennai. She, her husband Clayton, and her 21-month-old daughter Emily live in a house two blocks from the Bay of Bengal in the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean.
Despite the distance, La Salle remains close to Filter’s heart. In fact, she’s demonstrating her support by donating during this spring’s Double Your Dollars campaign, which goes toward student scholarships and campus improvements. The campaign, which runs until midnight June 1, has attracted $29,800 toward its $30,000 goal.
Filter recently discussed her life and La Salle via email.
Why do you support La Salle?
I support La Salle because it was a formative time in my life. I believe that the education I received was high quality…I believe in La Salle's mission and want to see it thrive just as I have.
How did you find your way to India?
(My husband) Clayton went to the University of Washington for undergrad and master’s and I went to Seattle University for undergrad and master’s. We both taught in the Bellevue School District and became National Board certified. We both had done a lot of travel and also traveled around the Northwest and to Thailand together. We loved our schools, our jobs, and our communities, but also loved to travel and had met some teachers who had lived overseas. So we started applying to schools and a consultant (Mark Church, the co-author/creator of “Making Thinking Visible”) connected us with the Head of School at AISC. The school sounded like it was going to be a good fit for us related to its focus on quality education and its mission statement: “Together we inspire a love of learning, empowering all students with the courage, confidence, creativity, and compassion to make their unique contribution in a diverse and dynamic world.”
What do you like about what you do professionally?
As a teacher, I like that I can make a difference in a student's life and the way he or she thinks about school. I have the power to build positive associations for students. I also have the ability to boost confidence, encourage kids, see them grow, and then help them recognize the growth they made due to hard work and perseverance. I also like helping students become problem-solvers for this big world we live in.
What’s your favorite memory of La Salle?
I loved the feeling of community. It was small enough that I knew everyone in my class and formed lots of circles of friends. The teachers knew me and were truly invested in my growth as a person and student. I loved being on the sports teams and the sense of support we had for each other.
Which La Salle teachers made an impact on you? How and why did they affect you?
Ms. Delgado, Ms. Healy, Ms. Moran, Ms. Milani, Ms. Allegretto, Ms. Bromley, Mr. Kuffner – they were interested in me, helping me learn to grow and become successful in this big world; they inspired me to do my best and to be myself. Ms. Healy even helped found our knitting club my senior year. Ms. Delgado let us eat lunch in her office. Mr. Kuffner always listened to students and their ideas, opinions, and perspectives. All of these teachers loved what they did and truly cared about us.
Did La Salle help shape the person you are today? If so, how?
The foundation laid for me at La Salle influenced how I looked at colleges and careers. I gained the confidence to be who I wanted to be. I was seen not merely as a student, but my opinion and voice mattered. When I looked at schools and districts where I wanted to teach, I always asked about service learning. I give my students a lot of voice and choice with how they learn, what our classroom looks like, and who they work with. I have high expectations for them; I challenge them and push them to be their best and it is so gratifying when they rise to the challenge and blossom.
The Double Your Dollars campaign goes until midnight June 1. If you want to give by then, go to Double Your Dollars. To learn about more match opportunities and how to give after June 1, contact Carol McClory.