Photo Credit: COURTESY PHOTO - Tim Larkin and Darla Waite-Larkin moved to Myrtle Creek to Forest Grove this summer to take over as Gaston and Banks elementary schools principals. The Larkins are coming to town and they’re bringing their small-town-big-dreams teaching styles with them.

Tim Larkin and Darla Waite-Larkin are the new elementary school principals in Gaston and Banks, respectively. The married couple moved to Forest Grove this summer from Myrtle Creek near Roseburg — where they “knew every child’s name,” according to Waite-Larkin — to be closer to family. Larkin and Waite-Larkin were both principals in the South Umpqua School District.

“We got really lucky we found positions so close together,” Waite-Larkin said. “We love Forest Grove. We’ve been really welcomed.”

The couple uses their professional experiences to support each other in their endeavors. “We challenge each other to both grow,” Waite-Larkin said. “We understand what each other is going through and problem solve together.”

Waite-Larkin started her career in education as a special education teaching assistant and became quickly enamored with the profession. “I loved everything about watching a child learn and grow,” said Waite-Larkin, who has seven children with Larkin, ages three to early 20s.

Waite-Larkin said she likes to find what individual kids really love and using it to help them become life-long learners who are aware of their learning styles and enjoy problem solving. If educators and administrators set high expectations, students will reach them, she said.

“I think she’s going to fit in really well,” said Banks Superintendent Bob Huston. “I think she really has a great deal to offer and such a strong passion for kids and learning.”

“I want the school to be a place where adults and kids want to come,” said Waite-Larkin, who’s currently working toward her doctorate in educational leadership. “I have an open-door policy. I like to hear from parents.”

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