Lehman leaving Lakeridge

Popular principal is in his final year
by: Submitted photo Mike Lehman

Lakeridge High School Principal Mike Lehman has decided that it is time to reinvent himself. Thus Lehman will retire at the end of this school year from his 33-year career in public education and begin a new chapter in his life.

'The Lakeridge High School job is probably the best position I have ever had in 33 years of education,' said Lehman. '(But) I have some interest in doing some other things while I have some years left to work.'

Lehman, 56, became Lakeridge principal in 2005 following two years as principal at Waluga Junior High School. This is his ninth year with the Lake Oswego School District.

The change might mean heading back to school - either as a professor or a student. Lehman has worked in the past as an adjunct professor at the University of Portland and could see himself stepping into a new type of classroom.

Though Lehman has a doctorate in education policy and management and would be qualified to teach education administration programs, he might just go back to his art roots and see about teaching graduate courses in literature or writing. Lehman began his career as a drama and English teacher at Dayton High School.

In any case, Lehman loves being in school.

'I kind of miss being a student,' he said, suggesting that he could just take time to study some of his favorite novelists in depth. One small dream of his is to study Thomas Hardy while in England.

'The study of literature is kind of a good thing … it helps the songwriting side,' said Lehman, who also plans on pursing his singing and songwriting. Lehman used to work as a piano bar singer while in graduate school and would love to get back into that. He could work as a musician either here in the Portland area, singing at hotels or even while traveling, he said.

'The goals that I have are going to require some reinventing here,' he said.' I really would like to have a change in venue. It would probably be some in the arts as a musician rather than something related to education administration.'

That said, Lehman loves his job as principal.

'The district is such a good place to be involved in education,' he said. 'I feel really fortunate that I was able to work the last nine years of my career in this district.'

He attributed the great work environment to a supportive central office administration, the involvement of parents and the dedication of students.

'You're really not ever trying to convince people of the importance of teaching and learning,' he said.

Lehman wanted to be sure to announce his retirement early in the year so that the district has plenty of time to find a new principal for Lakeridge.