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Our Lady of the Lake's new principal is a familiar face

Corrine Buich grew up in Lake Oswego, and attended OLL

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Corrine Buich is the new principal at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School.Corrine Buich may be the new principal at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School, but she is no stranger to Lake Oswego — or OLL.

Before moving on to Jesuit High School for two years, Buich did not attend OLL, a K-8 private school on A Avenue. But, she has family who did.

“It’s crazy to be back here as the principal, with so many family connections,” Buich says. “It’s pretty cool. I felt like God had a path.”

She mostly grew up in Lake Oswego, but her family moved to Wilsonville (technically with a Tualatin address), and she transferred to Wilsonville High School for her junior and senior year. Now, she’s living in Tualatin again, with a family of her own, her husband, Alex, and their two sons, ages 5 and 3.

Yet, she has deep roots in Lake Oswego, particularly in OLL. Her mom, cousins and aunt attended OLL, and Buich’s maternal grandfather donated funds to help rebuild the school. (The 55,600-square-foot, two-story structure was completed in 2012.)

This June, the school announced she would replace Joan Codd, who led OLL for 24 years. Families who haven’t caught up with Buich this summer will be able to meet her face to face when school starts Tuesday, Sept. 6.

“(Buich) brings with her an abundance of strengths in administration, curriculum, instruction development, language development and technology experience,” says Father John Kerns, pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Parish in Buich’s online introduction.

Buich has 12 years of administrative experience and has led public and private schools in California. She says she plans to maintain the school’s traditions and strengths, and to improve technology and foster more interest in cultural diversity.

She’ll be introducing Google Classroom, a free app that teachers, students and parents can use to communicate and to view lessons, grades and the syllabus. Buich also will be offering teachers professional development on coding in preparation for starting a class soon, and she’ll be establishing a coding club this fall.

Another thing that will be new at OLL will be Cultural Awareness Week. It’s scheduled for January and will precede Catholic Schools Week. Along with OLL Vice Principal Denise Gonzalez, Buich will be putting parameters in place for how the Cultural Awareness Week will work. Each of the school’s 15 teachers will be able to highlight a different culture, an exploration that also will invite self-discovery, Buich says.

“It gives a little spark to students to get to know themselves a little bit more, which I love,” she says.

The school also will be working hand-in-hand with the OLL Catholic Parish on a fundraiser to support refugees through Catholic Charities in November.

Growth aside, Buich also plans to maintain what she says are key strengths of the school she’s known for so long, including its accreditation by the Western Catholic Education Association (up for review this year), well-educated teachers (all of whom have master’s degrees) and long-standing values.

“To me, the philosophy around education is that: We, as educators, along with parents, produce responsible citizens who recognize one’s role as a contributing member of the greater community,” she says, “and maintaining moral and intellectual integrity, and continuing to have a positive, open attitude and a willingness to grow and make decisions that reflect Catholic morality.”

Buich may have strong Catholic values, but she also has a varied background in her academic and professional life, in which she’s interacted with diverse groups. She received her bachelor’s in education from the University of Montana, her master’s from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif., and, in May, completed a certification program in educational leadership through Santa Clara University.

Shortly after completing her bachelor’s, she taught first grade at the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana. She then moved to California where she taught in a city called Pittsburg, with a high African-American population.

She stayed in-state but moved to the San Jose area, which has a strong Hispanic population, and she served as an educator and administrator. Buich was the assistant principal of discipline at a public middle school with 900 students, later becoming the assistant principal of curriculum and instruction at the same school. She then took a position at a high school as assistant principal of student services. She focused on data, discipline and special education and was one of six vice principals overseeing 4,000 students.

Still remaining in San Jose, Buich became principal at St. Christopher Catholic School for two years before taking on her current role.

Angela Duncan, her administrative assistant at St. Christopher, a K-8 school like OLL, says Buich is always “making sure that everybody was happy” and is a high-energy person who is “fun to be around” and possesses a “good sense of humor.”

“She would take a task from beginning to end, and get that completed in a very timely manner,” Duncan says, “and the kids all loved her and the parents all enjoyed her as well, and we miss her.”

Father John Kerns says Buich will be a pioneer, but she will also carry on what Codd began, and what the school community itself has believed in since its founding 1936.

“Our new principal will lead us into a new chapter, building on the amazing legacy of Mrs. Codd,” he says.

By Jillian Daley
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