Schools in Grant County have opened their doors and children are again ready to hit the books.
While each of the seven schools in the county have welcomed new students, new staff members have also joined each of the five school districts, including one superintendent, three superintendent/principals, one principal and one head teacher.
Casey Hallgarth is the new superintendent/principal of Prairie City School District 4.
He said he and the staff are excited to welcome 160 students, with attendance up by about 20 from last school year.
“We have a great veteran staff that is ready to make differences in the classroom,” he said, adding that administrative assistant Susie Combs, in her 34th year, has been an integral part of the school.
Lorie Croghan, who has 20 years teaching experience, is a new third- and fourth-grade teacher. She previously worked at Humbolt Elementary School.
Prairie City School is continuing to implement a Career and Technical Education grant, building a barn that will house animals and feed. A greenhouse will also be built for agriculture classes and the FFA program, led by Lindy Cruise.
“This staff is truly a great team, and the students are very fortunate that we have such passionate teachers that want to make the greatest differences and opportunities for them,” Hallgarth said.
Dayville School District 16J Superintendent/Principal Kathryn Hedrick said they have three new teachers for grades 6-12, including Emmaleigh Larson for mathematics, Sydney Thompson for English language arts and Josh Williams for science, agriculture and CTE.
Long Creek School District’s new superintendent/principal, Karl Coghill, previously taught at the school for three years. The school is also welcoming Jake Reynolds, a former Grant Union graduate, who will teach the classes previously taught by Coghill, social studies for grades 7-8, electives for grades 7-12 and PE for grades 9-12.
Monument School District’s new superintendent/principal is Donald Petersen, who was formerly director of Klamath Falls’ EagleRidge Charter School. An EagleRidge colleague of Petersen’s, Michael Metts, will teach junior high and high school math and science at Monument School.
Superintendent Bret Uptmor has filled the position at Grant School District 3 formerly held by Curt Shelley.
Within the district are Grant Union Junior-Senior High, Humbolt Elementary and Seneca schools.
New music teacher Levan James, a former Grant Union graduate, will instruct students at Grant Union and Humbolt; Jessica Lane, also a former Grant Union graduate, will teach English for grades 10-12, including honors courses; and Ryan McKnab will teach physical science and seventh-grade math and science.
Kristi Moore is now the dean of students and career coordinator, and Sonna Smith is the athletic director for Grant Union.
Humbolt Elementary has a new principal, Darbie Dennison, and new teachers include Teagan Wick, first grade; Kelli LaFramboise, second grade; Sharon Fritsch, sixth grade; and Shanna Northway, special education.
Andrea Ashley, who is in her third year at Seneca School, is the new head teacher. Leann Coalwell is a new educational assistant and continues as a bus driver.
“Our big push this year is an emphasis on building good character, as well as academics,” said Seneca office specialist Laura Stinnett.