Dr. Bill Korach has spent 18 years as a teacher for Lake Oswego Leadership, and the group gave him a fond farewell Thursday night during a graduation ceremony at Hop Community Church.

Korach, who is also retiring this summer as superintendent of the Lake Oswego School District, had high praise for the 2014 leadership class.

“For my last year, I couldn’t have asked for a better group,” Korach said. “But I need to break from the things I’ve been doing and start a new path.”

Leadership Lake Oswego, a program offered by the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce, is dedicated not only to helping individuals achieve personal, educational and financial growth, but also to developing community-oriented leaders capable of shaping and directing the future of Lake Oswego.

Participants explore a variety of topics, from gender dynamics, human relations and strategic planning to problem solving and service leadership. Sessions have been taught by Korach and Dr. Marci Nemhauser, backed by a team of professors from Marylhurst University who specialize in coursework related to leadership, communications skills and workplace ethics.

On Thursday, many of the people involved with the program told Korach what his participation has meant to them.

“It has been lucky, fortunate and unique to have Bill help you be the best,” said Nemhauser, who will return next year. “Bill, you have been the heart of this program for so long.”

“Bill has helped me embrace diversity, for which I will forever be grateful,” said Jamie Inglis, manager of the Lake Oswego Farmers Market, who has known Korach ever since she was a school girl in Lake Oswego. “The charisma in him is that he cares.”

“We want to thank Bill Korach for his 18 years of commitment and passion to this group,” said Rachel Verdick, who served as one of the three tri-chairs this year, along with Cory Wilson and Kyra Bussanich. “We have done and learned so much in this last year.”

While Korach is leaving, Lake Oswego Leadership will go on. The class of 2014 was presented certificates and their favorite candy, as is the custom, and the admonition to put what they had learned toward making Lake Oswego a better city.

“This is perhaps the last time we will all be together in this room,” Wilson said.

For more about Lake Oswego Leadership, go to

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