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After a 35-year career, Pam Reynolds plans time with family

by: SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: ROBIN JOHNSON - Pam Reynolds, principal at Scappoose Middle School, says what shell miss most upon her retirement will be her staff and students. Ive been around kids for 35 years, She said. The staff puts kids first. Ive been really fortunate to be here.Scappoose Middle School Principal Pam Reynolds said the highlight of her eight years as principal at the school has been working to reach students at all levels of education.

“I’ve been able to implement changes here ... adding higher-level courses as well as lower-level courses,” she said. “It’s really been positive for the kids’ learning. All ends of the spectrum are having classes they can learn from.”

Reynolds will retire this June, marking an end to a 35-year career in education.

“I’ve been toying with the idea this year,” she said. “My husband has been retired for a few years now.”

To date, Reynolds said she has no major plans for retirement, but is excited to spend more time with her family.

“I have my first grandchild due in April, so I’ll be spending time with him,” she said.

“I’ll also have more time to go fishing,” Reynolds said, adding she and her husband frequently take their 25-foot Carver boat onto the Columbia River to pull out salmon and, if they’re lucky, the occasional sturgeon.

Reynolds said she will likely continue to be an educator after she retires, but in a volunteer capacity.

“I’ve always wanted to teach adults to read who can’t read,” she said.

Reynolds said her career has gone “full circle” since she began teaching kindergarten and later third grade at Warren Elementary in 1979. In 1981, Reynolds transferred to Otto H.H. Petersen Elementary, where she taught sixth grade for five years. From 1986 to 1996, she taught fifth and sixth grade in Beaverton schools.

“At that point, I had three kids,” she said. “The time on the road was taking away from my time with my kids. You don’t get that back.”

In 1996, Reynolds transferred back to the Scappoose School District, teaching math, social studies and language arts at Scappoose Middle School. In 2001, she became principal of both Warren and Sauvie Island elementary schools, working three days a week at Warren and two at Sauvie Island. In 2006, she became principal of Peterson Elementary, then landed a job as principal of Scappoose Middle in 2008.

“I really like middle school kids,” she said, “Middle school kids are kookie and funny. We’re also a PBIS school — Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports — that has made a huge difference in how teachers interact with kids.”

Reynolds said Scappoose Middle School promotes three core principles of being safe, respectful and responsible. When a teacher or staff member notices a student exercising one of the three principles, they are handed a “feather card,” as a reward which can later be entered into a raffle. “

You’re always watching for the positive,” she said.

Reynolds identified two educators who influenced her to pursue her career as an administrator. The first, Toni Painter, is a former principal at Warren Elementary and was a major driver in Reynolds’ career.

“She was the reason I wanted to become an administrator,” Reynolds said. “She did such a good job, and I wanted to make a bigger difference here.”

Reynolds said the second educator, Pete McHugh, who is the former principal at Petersen, was also a person of major influence in her career.

Reynolds said she was a teacher at the school while McHugh, her mentor, was principal.

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