Two administrators to leave Crook schools

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: March 18. 2007 5:00AM PST

The Crook County School District will lose two upper-level administrators at the end of this school year.

Crooked River Elementary School Principal Stan Johns recently announced that he is retiring at the end of the year. And this week, Tim Porter, athletic director and assistant principal at Crook County High School, said he will leave to become the principal of the schools in the Condon School District in Gilliam County.

Both men said they will miss their current roles but are looking forward to the next steps.

Johns has been the principal of Crooked River Elementary for seven years and an educator for 34 years, working in Springfield, Glide and the state of Nebraska.

He will continue to do some work with the school district, mentoring new administrators and working with student teachers and families with preschool-age children.

“It was a difficult decision because I’ve really enjoyed my career working with kids,” Johns, 59, said. “I’m just kind of losing energy for the job and didn’t want to go out with people saying, ‘Gosh, he stayed too long.’ I kind of wanted to go out at the top of the game, so to speak.”

Johns, who is engaged to be married, said he plans to stay in Prineville to enjoy retirement activities such as boating and golf. His three children from a previous marriage are also all public servants – two work for the city of Eugene, one as a police officer and one as a firefighter. The other is an elementary school principal in Nebraska, where Johns was born and raised.

Crook County Superintendent Steve Swisher said that the teachers, students and parents at Crooked River Elementary will miss Johns.

“You really can’t replace a Stan Johns with his experience in the community, and the staff and the kids just really, really have found him to be their prototype principal – they really love him,” Swisher said. “So we’re going through our process to replace, but hopefully everyone will recognize you just don’t replace a Stan.”

Last year, Crooked River Elementary was one of seven schools in the state to win an award for closing the achievement gap for struggling students.

Swisher said that a committee is already interviewing applicants for Johns’ job. A selection committee will first review applicants from within the school district, and then make recommendations to Swisher to either hire one of those applicants, consider some of them as finalists and expand the search outside the district, or consider only outside candidates.

The district will now start the same process to replace Porter, Swisher said.

Porter said that serving as principal in Condon will allow him to return to a small-town environment. He will be principal of grades kindergarten through 12 in the district, which has about 150 students.

“It was just an opportunity for me to kind of get back my roots, I guess,” Porter, 39, said. “I grew up in a very small community in Eastern Oregon – in fact, smaller than Condon – and my wife also grew up in a very small community. And so for us it was kind of an opportunity to get back to that and to give our kids that same environment that we grew up with.”

Porter has been at Crook County High School for three years, in his first administrative job. He also previously taught math and science in Oregon and California.

He said the mentoring he has received from Swisher, Principal Jim Golden and Assistant Principal Brian Lemos has prepared him to take this “next step in my career.”

“I think it was just kind of a natural progression for me to step into a principal’s job and, in all honesty, I wouldn’t really want to step into a principal’s job of a large school – I don’t think I have the experience to do that yet – and so it all really just came together at the right time,” he said.

Swisher said that Porter’s work as athletic director should be good preparation for a principal position.

“There’s event after event that you have to organize and make sure that officials are there and the clock is there, so there’s a lot of detail work,” he said. “So that should prepare him fairly well for that daily grind of every two minutes something new comes up that a principal has to deal with.”

He added that he has heard interest in both jobs already.

“We’ve had several inquiries from outside and inside, so people seem to be kind of interested in our school district at this point, so I think we’ll have some very good candidates,” he said.

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