Bob Post helped shape the districts early days

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Bob Post was the first principal at Templeton Elementary School in Tigard and later served as one of the school district's first administrators. Post died Friday after a short battle with cancer.One of the founders of the Tigard-Tualatin School District died Friday after a short battle with cancer.

Bob Post, 88, of Portland, played an instrumental role in the formation of the district in the 1950s and 1960s, as one of the district’s first principals and later as an administrator in charge of hiring the district’s teachers and administrators.

Post, a lifelong education advocate, spent his entire career in the then-named Tigard School District. Post’s wife, Gerry Post, called her husband “passionate” about education and children.

“That’s all he ever talked about was education,” Gerry Post said. “He loved children. Every school year when he said goodbye to his students, he would cry. He was a really emotional person, and he loved kids and he loved people.”

After serving in the Korean War, Post started his work in Tigard as a teacher at Charles F. Tigard Elementary School in 1957, nearly a decade before the Tigard School District was incorporated.

Back before incorporation, families were divided amongst a host of elementary school districts and the Tigard Union High School district.

In those early days, Post split his time between teaching and serving as the elementary district’s assistant to the superintendent.

Post became the first principal at James Templeton Elementary School in 1965, staying in his position when the Tigard School District incorporated in 1969.

“He had a lot of amazing traits,” said Jerry McBath, a longtime friend who worked as a principal, teacher and director of instruction and curriculum in the district for 29 years. “He was excellent to work for, and he always cared about his students. He knew all of the kids by name and followed their education through elementary school into middle school, high school and college.”

He eventually moved to the district office in 1976, becoming the district’s assistant superintendent for personnel, a role he held until his retirement in 1987.

“He was really an amazing person who really helped start the district and created the corporate climate we have here today,” said Susan Stark Haydon, the district spokeswoman who was hired by Post in 1978.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Post served as Templeton Elementary School's first principal from 1965 to 1976.McBath said Post’s presence is still felt in the Tigard-Tualatin School District even so many years after his retirement.

“He left an impression through his hiring practices and the types of people he hired that is still felt today,” McBath said. “They were people who wanted to stay here. He was a great mentor.”

McBath called Post “innovative” and said he was a key player in the district’s early days.

“Templeton was a new type of school,” McBath said. “The rooms could open up, and teachers could work together. He started that. This was during the era of ‘team teaching,’ and he followed them closely.”

After leaving the public sector, Post didn’t slow down, co-founding the Oregon Professional Educator Fair in 1989. The annual job fair brings school districts and out-of-work teachers together for job interviews and networking.

“Every year, we would host a job fair for teachers all over Oregon,” Gerry Post said. “It was very successful.” 

The fair brings in thousands of teachers who meet with school districts and other agencies from across the country looking to hire.

This year’s Oregon Professional Educator Fair is set for Tuesday and Wednesday at the Oregon Convention Center. According to the group’s website, 117 districts from 10 states are expected, as well as more than 1,295 teachers. Post retired from the fair in 2003.

Eight years of luck

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Bob Post, right, mingles with Templeton Elementary School teachers Jan Altig, Cullly Holte, Martha Griggs (from left to right).Outside his work, Post was an avid fisherman and traveled the world with his wife.

“He lived to fish,” Gerry Post said.

Eight years ago, Post suffered from a ruptured abdominal aorta.

“He was almost on death’s door,” Gerry Post said. “That’s not something you come back from.”

But come back he did, living eight years before he was diagnosed six weeks ago with cancer.

“He used to say that he had eight years of luck,” Gerry Post said.

Post died in his home surrounded by family.

He is survived by his wife; his children Lynne Berkey, Ron Post, Devorah Hallgrinson, Brenda Davis and Juliann Hetherington; nine grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren, with a seventh on the way later this year.

A public service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, April 20, in the Deb Fennell auditorium at Tigard High School, 9000 S.W. Durham Road.

Post will be buried at Willamette National Cemetery.

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