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Tobias principal charts course for retirement

Steve Callaway stepping aside after 35-year career in education


Steve Callaway, principal at Tobias Elementary School, has announced he intends to retire June 30 after 35 years in education.

But retirement might just mean he’ll be busier than ever.

“It feels like it’s time,” Callaway said earlier this week. “I love what I’m doing with the school district, but good things are in place at Tobias. Whoever comes in will really be in a good position. It’s a great school.”

Callaway, 57, also serves as president of the Hillsboro City Council. He is currently serving his second four-year term on the council, and said he plans to devote more time to civic activities.

“At this point, I plan to focus on community involvement and my city council activities, and no doubt I will continue to support the school district and education, just not as a principal any more,” he said.

This is Callaway’s fifth year as principal at Tobias. Prior to that, he served as principal at Indian Hills Elementary for seven years.

Callaway got his start in a career in education in 1980, when he was hired to be an elementary school teacher in Oregon City. He first came to the Hillsboro area in 1996, when small surrounding school districts joined with the Hillsboro School District. He spent his first four years in the Hillsboro School District as principal at North Plains Elementary School, and he also worked a stint as communications director at the district’s administration center.

“This is my 35th year altogether, and 19th in Hillsboro,” Callaway said. “It’s time for some new blood. I have friendships and memories that will last forever.”

Mike Scott, superintendent of the Hillsboro School District, said Callaway’s many years of service in the field of education are highly appreciated.

“Steve Callaway has made a lasting contribution to the Hillsboro School District as well as to the Hillsboro community,” said Scott. “He continually gives of his time and energy in the interest of others, and our students and community members have benefited tremendously from his generosity.”

With anyone who spends time in an elementary school there are fond memories of silly times — like the day students taped Callaway to the wall at Indian Hills after they met a goal he’d set for them.

But Callaway’s favorite memories will always be “watching kids discover and become a reader. You know right then they have learned the skill of a lifetime,” he said.

Callaway also serves on the Oregon International Air Show Board of Directors, a role he’s had for 11 years and plans to continue at least until his current term ends.

And then there’s baseball.

Callaway is well known at Ron Tonkin Field. He and his wife, Joan, are fixtures in the seats right next to the minor league Hillsboro Hops’ dugout. He prides himself on the fact he was the first to buy Hillsboro Hops season tickets.

In 2012, when the Hillsboro City Council voted to fund the construction of Hillsboro Stadium — now known as Ron Tonkin Field — Callaway said he “realized I need to put my money where my vote is, so to speak, so I went home and wrote a check.”

He sent that check and a letter to Yakima, Wash., where the team was then located, and asked that the money be his down payment on season tickets for the Hops inaugural season in 2013.

“We look forward to many, many more summer evenings and seasons of championship ball,” he said.

Callaway and his wife have two children; Molly, who is an early intervention teacher in Beaverton, and Michael, who recently graduated from college with a degree in music.

Scott said Callaway would be missed.

“Though we are sad to see him go — and, with him, a wealth of historical knowledge about the district — we are also very grateful for his service and wish him well in his future ventures,” Scott said.

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