Feature / News

Principal John Koch leaves Gresham High School

After 6 years, the 2015-2016 school year will be the last one with Principal John Koch as he gets promoted to Executive Director of Student Support Services in the Gresham Barlow School District.

On July 1, Koch will begin his new position, replacing Janell Black who is retiring after the school year ends.

“His six years of leading Gresham High School has prepared him well for this district-level administrative role.” Superintendent Jim Schlachter said in the district press release.

As Executive Director of Student Support Services Koch will oversee all of the special education, nursing, and health assistant programs for all 18 schools in the district. Koch will also have responsibility with communicating with the Multnomah Education Service District and coordinating the services they provide to the district.

“I’m always one for growth and I’ve always liked new opportunities and challenges and this is a new one, it’s a big one,” Koch said. “It’s a bigger job with a lot more responsibility.”

Before becoming an administrator at many schools within the Gresham Barlow School District, Koch taught as a special education teacher in elementary school levels and high school levels.

“All my degrees, my undergraduate degree and my masters degree is in special education. So it’s kind of going back home.” Koch said.

Koch’s new position will be the first time in 26 years where he is working in a building without students around, something he will miss the most about being principal.

With the school year half way over, the search for a new principal is on the rise. The timeline of this process is to get input from staff and parents about what qualities they would like to see from our next principal.

Following that, the district will convene an interview committee including students, parents teachers, district office administrators, and Gresham High School administrators. This committee will interview applicants and choose a select to be interviewed a second time.

After that, site visits will happen where the district will have people visit where they currently work and evaluate that environment.

Lastly, there will be a final interview with the Superintendent, where he will choose the next principal.

Although it will take a couple months, the announcement will happen before the current school year ends.

“Every program can benefit from new ideas and new ways of thinking,” Koch said. “So I hope whoever it is can come in with that lense of finding what’s really good and finding what needs to improve and helping everybody go through that process and build on that.”

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