The Ron and Soozi Stevens Donor Advised Fund was established to honor Soozi Stevens, who was a teacher from the inception of the Ashbrook Independent School (AIS) in 1997 until her retirement in June of 2017. Distributions from this fund will benefit Ashbrook Independent School, Presbyterian Pre-School and other local educational institutions in recognition of her service as a teacher and commitment to education in Benton County.
Ron and Soozi Stevens are long-time Benton County Residents having moved to Corvallis in January of 1979. Ron was born in Boise, ID and was primarily raised, since the age of two, in Pendleton, OR. He received a degree in Agriculture from Oregon State University in June of 1971. He received a Master in Business Administration from the University of Oregon in December of 1978. He was employed at the Corvallis CPA firm of Kohnen & Larson from January 1979 until May 1985. He accepted a position with Good Samaritan Hospital in May of 1985 and held various positions in Finance, including Chief Financial Officer, with the Samaritan system until his retirement in December 2015. He also served for over 20 years on the Board of Directors for the Oregon State Credit Union. He currently serves on the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation Board of Directors.
Soozi was born and raised in Eugene, OR. She received a teaching degree from Oregon College of Education (now known as Western Oregon University). Soozi’s teaching career of 32 years included Pre-school, Fourth grade and 20 years of First grade. Soozi was the first teacher hired at Ashbrook Independent School (AIS). With a passion for creating young readers, her love of helping children learn was shared with children every day in her more than twenty years of service to the school and its families. She was a founding Board Member of the Presbyterian Preschool.
Ron and Soozi raised two boys, Rusty and Nic. They are both living in the Albany area. Rusty is married to Karen and they have two children, a girl and a boy. Nic is married to Janell and they are raising three boys.
Soozi has been involved with a chapter of Beta Sigma Phi for many years and recently joined Assistance League of Corvallis. She enjoys participating in book clubs and exercising. Ron follows college athletics, especially Beaver Baseball. He enjoys playing golf and taking spinning classes. They also enjoy visits to their cabin in Central Oregon.
Travel adventures to various areas of the USA and Europe have been experienced in the past, and with retirement at hand Ron and Soozi look forward to more trips in their future. They have enjoyed multiple Rick Steves tours of Europe, including a trip to Scandinavia in 2017.
Soozi’s dedication to the students and the importance of building a strong foundation in reading skills created a love of books that endures. The following statements document her thoughts on the importance of the AIS Lower School curriculum:
Being exciting about reading has always been the goal of the primary program at Ashbrook, even when I joined the teaching team early in the creation of the school. I am leaving a team of teachers that continues to have all the excitement of that first group of teachers. By nurturing life-long learners who will be our future leaders, caretakers and joyful people, we hope to continue the B.E.A.R. experience.
Every child should have their world opened to them by learning how to read, by experiencing the decoding of words, making mental pictures, making connections, asking questions, discovering important issues, drawing conclusions and totally enjoying the experience. Ashbrook has fostered this from the day the doors opened. To continue this opportunity for new young learners, the Lower School program should challenge students to become life-long learners and build confidence levels by teaching them how to think and solve problems.
During each school year I taught, the First-grade students have enjoyed numerous learning opportunities. One example has been the responsibility of taking home the classroom’s Paddington Bear stuffed animal to share with their family, spend time reading books and writing stories of their adventures. Paddington has enjoyed many trips to various locations around the world and created many fond memories for the students to joyfully remember.