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Waluga principal Steve Sherrell to step down

Thirty-one year district employee plans to retire
by: Vern Uyetake, Steve Sherrell, principal of Waluga Junior High School, is stepping down in June.

The Lake Oswego School District announced last week that Steve Sherrell, principal of Waluga Junior High School, will retire at the end of the 2007-2008 school year.

In his 31 years with the Lake Oswego School District, Sherrell made extensive contributions to Lake Oswego schools and students in a variety of areas, district officials said.

'The one thing I would say about Steve is that he has a wide range of expertise and I can say without question there is nobody in our system that I would count on more to come through for us when we needed them,' said Superintendent Bill Korach. 'We've got a lot of dedicated employees who give us a great deal and I would rank him at the top.'

Sherrell, a native Oregonian, came to the LOSD from Vancouver, Wash., where he taught at a small parochial school. A social studies and English teacher at Waluga for 16 years, Sherrell served in numerous leadership roles, and was a department chair and a mentor teacher.

From 1994 to 2000, he was a teacher on special assignment at the district level, responsible for coordinating instructional improvement, implementing the Certificate of Initial Mastery and coordinating state assessment.

Sherrell was also an instructor in the Scholars' Alliance program, and served as a central office administrator and a facilities bond manager during the major district construction project at its two high schools.

After the project was completed, Sherrell was slated to return to the district office as an administrator. But while Sherrell told the Review that working on the construction project was rewarding, he missed getting the chance to interact with students and staff on a regular basis.

So Sherrell, father to a teenage son and daughter, returned to Waluga as a principal three years ago to replace outgoing principal Mike Lehman, who now leads Lakeridge High School. At the time, Sherrell said his focus would be promoting the district goal of respectful culture at Waluga, and promised Korach he would stay at least three years.

Recently, Sherrell and his wife, Tracy - a health and physical education teacher at Lakeridge - decided June was the perfect time for Sherrell to retire and spend more time with kids Kirsty and Casey.

'It seemed like the appropriate time,' Sherrell said. 'The school is in a good place and it's good all around for us, but there are mixed emotions about leaving ... I can't think of a better way to spend the last three years of (my career).'

Sherrell, who put in up to 80 hours per week as principal, plans to fish, golf and paddle around in the family's new canoe.

'It's only seen the water twice,' he said.

'I'm planning on not saying 'No I can't do that today; I've got work to do.''

Sherrell said he would consider returning to the district as a volunteer or part-time employee, if Korach will have him.

'I'll be happy to come back,' he said.

District administration will now begin the process of searching for a new Waluga principal. Korach said the district will look at internal candidates first, including those currently in administrative roles.

'We've got a lot of great people with us right now so our ability to look internally is far better,' Korach said. 'We'll be looking for the kind of person we've always looked for: A relationship builder, a leader and a manager. We want somebody people can believe in and who builds a culture of trust and caring and respect.'