DeBois passed up opening at his Hillsboro school to seek Scappoose job

When the principal at Liberty High School in Hillsboro announced his resignation this year to take another job, it might have seemed like an obvious choice for Andy DeBois, a vice principal at the school since 2010, to apply for his position.

DeBois will be moving into the top job at a high school for the first time in his career next month. But instead of leading Liberty, where he said he decided not to apply for the promotion, he will be taking over as principal of Scappoose High School.

DeBois said a stint as assistant principal at Neah-Kah-Nie High School in Rockaway Beach gave him a taste for administration in smaller, more rural school districts.

“I chose to apply at Scappoose, just because I feel that it’s a better environment to teach and get to know families and students,” DeBois said.

The Hillsboro School District is the fourth-largest school district in Oregon by total enrollment.

By contrast, the Scappoose School District had about one-ninth the number of the Hillsboro district’s students last year, according to data from the Oregon Department of Education.

DeBois said he is “excited” to start as Scappoose High’s principal next month.

“I’m looking forward to working with the community, the students, the staff,” said DeBois, who lives in Forest Grove. “It takes a community to raise and educate our students, and I’m really looking forward to working with them.”

For DeBois, the first year of being principal will be all about getting to know his students, his staff and the school district, he said.

“I am going to try to meet with all my staff before school starts and get their sense of where they want to see the building go,” DeBois said. “I want to kind of hear the teachers and hear the staff and see what they feel is the best route.”

Eric Clendenin resigned as principal of Scappoose High this year to take a position in Newport. He had been principal since February 2010.

The hiring of DeBois gives the school new, permanent leadership heading into what seems certain to be a transitional year for the Scappoose School District. The district also had to hire a new principal at Scappoose Middle School this year, and it is interviewing for new top administrators at Otto Petersen and Warren elementary schools as well. A charter school affiliated with the district, South Columbia Family School, will also be under new leadership.

A new principal has been hired for Liberty High School as well. The Hillsboro Tribune reports veteran administrator Greg Timmons will take the reins at the school.

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