Longtime principal plans to retire

After 11 years as principal of Lake Oswego High School, Bruce Plato will be retiring at the end of this school year.

“I don’t think there was any one thing that informed my decision,” Plato said. “I’ve been in education for 34 years and a high school principal for 17 and a high school administrator for 25. I love what I do, but I’m looking forward to something that’s maybe not so all-consuming.”

Plato came to LOHS in 2002 after serving as vice principal of Cleveland High School in Portland for six years. His successor will be Cindy Schubert, who has served as LOHS vice principal since 2003.

Plato said he is looking forward to having time to travel with his wife and visit their two daughters who live in San Diego and Philadelphia. But he leaves with a heavy heart.

“I really love the kids in this school. They are passionate, they come to school prepared, they are excited to learn ... they’re so engaged in everything we do,” he said. “You know, our test scores are high, and all those things are really important, but I think just as importantly our kids are involved in so many different activities here.”

Students are not the only ones who have made Plato’s job rewarding.

“People say, ‘Oh, the parents in Lake Oswego, they’re so passionate and they’re so involved,’ but I see that in a good way,” he said. “Just like parents want what’s best for their kids ... that’s what we all want.”

Plato said he hopes his legacy will be having been responsible for giving students great educators.

“I think the thing I’m most proud of is the number of outstanding teachers we’ve been able to hire,” he said. “Over the years, I’ve probably been part of hiring about 70 percent of our staff, which is a lot, and they’re amazing. I’m very proud of that and I know they’re going to continue to do great things for the school. They’re the ones that make the difference in the school. Yes, I’m the principal, but the most important things that happen in the school are what happen in the classroom.”

He added: “I think that the strength of this school is the people, not me as an individual. We’ve got such a strong staff and such great teachers and such a great support staff that I know without me they’ll continue to do great things.

“The connections that I’ve made with the people, students, parents, teachers, it is like a family here, and I’m going to miss that,” Plato said. “I’m saying goodbye to the school, but I’m not saying goodbye to the students and the families I’ve gotten to know.”

And Plato isn’t saying goodbye just yet.

“I’m committed to making this just an amazing year, and I really think we’re well set up for that and I will work as hard or harder than I’ve ever worked to make sure that happens,” he said.

LOHS, like every other school in the district, has been in flux this year.

“We were able to add some sections at the beginning of the year because our enrollment was up. I think our class sizes, they’re still large, but they’re manageable compared to other districts,” Plato said, adding that he views that influx of students as a positive thing. “We have a large freshman class and they’ve come in and made a really good first impression.”

Plato said he appreciates the efforts of Superintendent Bill Korach and the Lake Oswego School Board.

“To work in a district where everybody’s working toward the same goal for students ... to work in a school where I truly believe in what we’re doing, and believe in the mission of the district and believe in the leadership we’ve had, that’s why I’ve been here 11 years,” he said.

“Even though I’m leaving here as principal,” Plato said, “I’ll always be a Laker.”

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