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Scappoose schools filling vacancies

Otto Petersen, Warren get new principals


Photo Credit: MARK MILLER - Anita Ott-Veile (right foreground), outgoing principal of South Columbia Family School, speaks as the Scappoose School District's new principals look on at a Monday, Aug. 11, school board meeting. Left of Ott-Veile is her successor at the Family School, Lori Bogen. In background, from left to right: Warren Elementary School Principal Laura LaMarsh, Otto Petersen Elementary School Principal Whitney Hessong, Scappoose Middle School Principal Ron Alley and Scappoose High School Principal Andy DeBois.New principals have been hired to lead Otto Petersen and Warren elementary schools, giving the Scappoose School District a full slate of administrators heading into the 2014-15 school year.

Whitney Hessong, who has been working as a student management specialist in the Gresham-Barlow School District, will succeed outgoing Principal Kelly Powell in the top office at Petersen.

At Warren, Laura LaMarsh is coming in as a half-time administrator, after working on both deaf and hard-of-hearing education and special education programs with the Northwest Regional Education Service District.

Hessong was officially hired as an “interim administrator,” according to the agenda for the school board meeting Monday, Aug. 11, at which her hiring was approved. She said that means she has a one-year contract, but she expects it to be renewed if the district is satisfied with her job performance.

“I have a strong background in behavior management, and I've done a lot with conflict resolution," said Hessong. "I feel like my skill set will fit Otto Petersen really well, and I'm very excited about it.”

LaMarsh is not altogether a new face at Warren. She taught for two years at the school early last decade before moving into administrative work.

“I have a great fondness for Warren,” LaMarsh said. “I'm looking forward to meeting with the new kids, with the families — probably some of the families and the families of those that I met many years ago.”

Hessong also has a personal connection to the Scappoose School District. This year, her children will attend the Sauvie Island Academy, a charter school affiliated with the school district.

“I recently moved to Sauvie Island, and so I was looking to get a position in a local school district,” said Hessong. “I really wanted to be a part of the school district [where] my daughters go to school.”

Hessong and LaMarsh join incoming Scappoose Middle School Principal Ron Alley and Scappoose High School Principal Andy DeBois among new school administrators in Scappoose this year.

South Columbia Family School, another charter school in the Scappoose School District, also hired a new principal to start this month, Lori Bogen.

Anita Ott-Veile, the charter school's principal for the past 10 years, came to Monday's board meeting to introduce Bogen to the board and public.

“She's a wonderful addition to the district,” Ott-Veile said of Bogen.

Bogen said, “I'm very excited to be here. It's been a very positive experience. I'm very excited about the relationship between the charter school and the district.”

Like LaMarsh, Bogen will be serving in a part-time capacity; she described herself Monday as “semi-retired.”

The school district also hired a new business manager this year, Mitch Neilson.

School board member Jim Hoag offered some advice for the district's new administrators.

“Make yourself a veteran, and show us your leadership in those buildings,” Hoag said. “And we would encourage you to tell us what you see and how it's going.”

The only school administrators in the district who are staying on from previous years are Grant Watts Elementary School Principal Dana Larson and Sauvie Island Academy Director Darla Meeuwsen. Stephen Jupe, the district's superintendent, is also continuing in his role.

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