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Kennedy loses its third principal in four years

by: PHOTO COURTESY OF MOUNT ANGEL SCHOOL DISTRICT - Debi Brazelton has resigned from her post as principal at John F. Kennedy High School in Mount Angel to accept an assistant principal position at Stayton High School. She is the third principal in four years at the high school.The end of the 2013-14 school year is coinciding with several leadership changes in Mount Angel School District, both at the high school and within the district’s board of directors.

The district office is fielding candidates for principal of John F. Kennedy High School, following the departure of Principal Debi Brazelton, who took an administrative position at Stayton High School. Meanwhile, the school board has two vacancies to fill after Tony Arce resigned last month due to personal health reasons and board chair Doug Bochsler died May 24 from complications of cancer.

“He was a great guy,” Mount Angel Superintendent Troy Stoops said. “He’ll be missed.”

Bochsler was an active member of the Mount Angel community and had served on the school board for 13 years prior to his passing. He was recently re-elected to his position on the board to a four-year term, and his replacement will be expected to fulfill the term, which expires in 2017.

But first, the board was scheduled to replace Arce at Monday’s monthly meeting.

“They intend to fill his position at tonight’s meeting and then announce the vacancy for Doug’s position,” Stoops said Monday, before the meeting. They hope to have Bochsler’s replacement by July, or earlier if possible.

“If they feel they have enough applicants, they may schedule a special meeting between the June and July meetings to appoint that position,” said Stoops.

In the interim, Vice Chairman Rod Hill will assume Bochsler’s duties as board chair.

“He’s a fairly new member, but he stepped up to the challenge in keeping things in line,” Stoops said.

Stoops also wants to get a new principal at JFK hired in the next few weeks, after Brazelton ended her five-year tenure with MASD to take a position as vice principal at Stayton High School.

“They’re getting a great administrator,” Stoops said. “She’s a hard worker, organized and passionate about kids.”

Brazelton joined the Mount Angel staff as principal and athletic director at Mount Angel Middle School for three years before becoming the high school’s lead administrator for the past two school years.

In Stayton, she takes over for former assistant principal Alan Kirby, who was named the school’s new principal in March.

“I have always been the principal of small schools and am looking forward to working as part of a building level administrative team,” Brazelton said.

Her departure marks another administrative turnaround at Kennedy, which is seeking its fourth principal since 2011. She replaced former principal Benjamin Merrill in July 2012, after Merrill served for just one year at JFK. He had replaced Stoops, who moved into the superintendent role that year.

“Any time you change leadership positions, it sets you back a little bit,” Stoops said. He is confident that with the staff in place at Kennedy, the transition to Brazelton’s replacement will be relatively seamless.

“We’re fortunate to have an outstanding staff,” Stoops said. “We really have a group of committed staff that cares about the kids, and they go the extra mile to make sure that they’re successful.”

Brazelton said she’ll carry many memories from MASD with her to her new job at Stayton, particularly from the students she’s gotten to know.

“They have taught me a great deal and I can only hope that I have had a positive influence on many of them, either directly or by working with their teachers and having an impact on what is done in the classroom,” she said.



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