Yvonne Rauch preferred a small school when she returned to the market

Yvonne Rauch paused at a truck stop off Interstate-5 Monday morning, her car 'packed to the gills' with belongings she was transporting from Medford to her new home in Newberg.

That Yamhill County city is less than 20 miles away from the tiny town of Gaston in Washington County, where Rauch today starts her new job as elementary school principal.

She replaces Tiffany Weincken, who joined the district in 2009 as principal of the 250-student grade school. Weincken has taken a new principal post in the Tigard-Tualatin School District.

Rauch earned her teaching credential in 1986 and was an elementary school principal in Gresham and a middle school principal in Portland. She resigned after her husband, Robert Seevers, died three years ago following a long illness.

After moving to Medford, she taught writing classes part-time at Rogue Community College in Grants Pass until early August.

Rauch actively sought a small school when she decided to re-enter public education.

'I had been an elementary principal in Lakeview, Ore., in my career and I had a good experience there in a small district,' she explained. 'That was what I was looking for.'

In Gaston, where budget cuts pared deeply into staffing last spring, Rauch will work three days a week at the elementary school. High school principal Mike Durbin will be on duty the other two days.

'We will make sure there is an administrator on campus at all times,' said Rauch.

She said she looked forward to getting to know the staff and students at Gaston Elementary, which earned a passing score on the federal Adequate Yearly Progress report that came out earlier this month.

'This school has been very successful, and I plan to help keep that going,' Rauch said, adding that she'll also work with staff and volunteers to fill in gaps left by the loss of the school librarian position and the music program.

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