Education reporter brings experience and knowledge of the community

For a person who has never taught a day in her life, Kate Hoots spends an awful lot of time at school.

With three children enrolled in West Linn-Wilsonville schools and having served during the past three years as the Athey Creekby: VERN UYETAKE - Kate Hoots Middle School PTSA’s communications coordinator, vice president and president, “I feel very at home in this district,” Hoots said. “I’m looking forward to covering education topics in a way that helps readers feel that same sense of connection to our schools.”

Hoots is the new education reporter covering the entire West Linn-Wilsonville School District for both the West Linn Tidings and the Wilsonville Spokesman.

A graduate of Lewis & Clark College, Hoots came to the Portland area with every intention of studying education and becoming a teacher. An entry-level practicum in her freshman year led her to rethink those plans.

“At age 18,” Hoots said, “I wasn’t quite ready to spend time with a rowdy group of middle-schoolers. If only I had known then what I know now.”

In the years following college, Hoots worked in bookstore management, at a direct-mail factory and in a public library before settling in as a writer covering communication and management topics for a newsletter publishing company. She spent 14 years there as a writer, editor and managing editor.

During those years, Hoots married a West Linn native and had three children who eventually started riding the bus to the same primary school their father attended. Next fall, her oldest child will head to the father’s alma mater, West Linn High School, while the younger two will remain at Stafford as first- and fifth-graders.

“I feel fortunate that we’ve added both a quality reporter who lives in West Linn and has years of experience working in the school district,” Tidings Publisher J. Brian Monihan said. “Understanding the current issues and the key players is important to being able to provide fair and balanced coverage.”

A current member of the West Linn-Wilsonville Education Foundation’s board of directors — a position she will step down from on June 30 — Hoots is looking forward to reconnecting as a reporter with old friends throughout the district and to making new connections with administrators, parents and teachers at all of West Linn and Wilsonville’s schools.

“We are thrilled to have Kate join our team,” Editor Lori Hall said. “She brings with her great writing experience and a depth of knowledge about the school district. She will be a great asset to our office and the community.”

In her free time throughout the year, you are likely to find her at one of the area’s sports fields cheering on her children. In her truly free time, she usually heads to the Oregon coast or to a local river for fishing and family time.

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