New Pastures: Mt. Angel Superintendent Troy Stoops heads to Junction City

June 2021 Posted in People, School

By Brenna Wiegand

Troy Stoops

Troy Stoops is leaving Mt. Angel School District after ten years as superintendent. He has taken the superintendent position at Junction City School District. BRENNA WIEGAND

Mt. Angel School District Superintendent Troy Stoops is moving on after 10 years to take the helm at Junction City School District.

“Junction City is about the size of Mount Angel – about 1,800 kids,” Stoops said. “Like Mount Angel, it’s a rural farming community in close proximity to the city.”

Stoops officially retired from PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) in January but would like to work at least another four to six years.

“It’s a good time to change,” Stoops said. “Sometimes you think you’re at the end of your career, but I’ve just been really excited about the change and over the last couple months I already feel the energy building back up.”

Stoops, whose extended family is based in the Eugene- Springfield area, about 20 minutes from Junction
City, graduated from Redmond High School and Blue Mountain Community College.

“I was a cowboy and rodeoed and thought I was going to be a rodeo champion someday,” he said. “I didn’t do much with my degree; I was not a very good student; my focus was on rodeoing so I got out and worked on a ranch in Nevada for a couple years.”

After returning to Eugene, Stoops met his wife Megan and a couple of years later they took off for Bend to manage a large llama ranch.

“That was a great experience but after two years I realized that I had reached the top of the food chain for what I was doing so I went back to school to be a veterinarian,” Stoops said. “A lot of different things happened during college and I ended up pursuing a career in agriculture education.

After earning his teaching license and master’s degree at Oregon State University, Stoops taught his first year over at Pine Eagle School District in Halfway, which straddles Eastern Oregon and Western Idaho, population 339.

The following year Stoops returned to Silverton where he had done his student teaching and taught Ag at the high school for six years. He earned his administrative certificate and was promoted to halftime K-8 principal at Silver Crest Elementary and served as the District Assessment Coordinator and principal of a new alternative school.

In 2002 Stoops joined the Mount Angel district, and spent six years at St. Mary’s Public School as principal and federal programs coordinator. He moved up to JFK High School where he was principal for three years and is just finishing his tenth year as superintendent.

“Total that up and I’m 97 years old,” Stoops joked.

“Mount Angel is a great community and it’s been really fun,” Stoops said. “They are very passionate about their schools and their kids and very supportive; I’m just looking for a new professional challenge.”

When Stoops became superintendent the facilities were in “pretty rough shape” except for St. Mary’s Public School which had been built in 1997 after the 1993 earthquake demolished the previous elementary school. He spearheaded the creation of a long-range facility plan, something the district had never had.

“We finished that planning process in 2013 and passed a $10.4 million bond that enabled us to make some badly needed improvements to all three buildings and build a new district office to free up educational space at the high school,” he said.

“I consider that one of my biggest accomplishments,” he said. “We’ve really had a focus on maintaining facilities and providing access for the community, keeping them nice and green all year.

“People respect them and have a lot of ownership in the use of those facilities because the school district is really the only place in town for people to get outdoors and use spaces,” Stoops said. “There are a few small parks, but the schools are where everything happens.”

He is also proud of all the budget cuts the district has survived while continuing to maintain smaller-than- average class sizes.

Mount Angel is one of 11 school districts in the Willamette ESD involved in the development and initiation of a regional CTE program starting in Salem this fall. The Willamette Career Academy will house six different programs, starting with diesel technology, cosmetology, and health services this year with plans to add construction, information technology and manufacturing next year.

“This program is going to enhance our own CTE programs,” Stoops said. “Its intent is that these kids will have skills and certifications that will make them more marketable and prepared for college or career readiness. There are a lot of big corporate donors making it possible.”

With all his experience, dealing with COVID-19 the past 15 months has been the biggest challenge of Stoops’ career.

“COVID has just been horrible,” Stoops said. “The separation of face-to-face interactions and not having kids in your classrooms to feed you energy has been really challenging for all staff and families.

“The community had two exact opposite responses – people either want to be back in full time or they didn’t want to come back in at all,” he said. “There is going to be good that comes out of it; it’s just hard to see it right now.

“When you’re forced to make a change like we’ve had to make over the last 12 or 18 months it requires you to do some serious reflection in current practices and take advantage of opportunities that come by,” Stoops said. “Getting kids back in the building has generated more energy than anything that we could have done as administrators, that’s for sure.”

Stoops brings expertise in facility planning to Junction City where it is desperately needed.

“It’s a booming community so one of their biggest problems is that their schools are busting at the seams with kids moving in like crazy,” he said. “There will be lots of maintenance and facilities work to be done and that’s pretty exciting.”

While they will be around a lot of extended family and friends in the Eugene-Springfield area, their kids and grandkids will only be an hour away.

The Stoops have two daughters. Ellen and Steve Bergman have five and seven-year-old daughters; Audrey and Dwight Roberson have a two-year-old boy and are expecting a girl in July.

Stoops likes to hunt and fish, and camping trips are that much better with grandkids in tow.

His wife, Megan – a longtime orthodontist assistant in South Salem – quit working just over a year ago and the timing was perfect.

“When COVID-19 hit, she was really needed to help with the kids,” Stoops said. “That’s her life; she’s there for the grandkids all the time.

“They come to her on Wednesdays,” he said. “They do some online work and she’s crafty and artsy so they’re always painting and building and gluing and glittering…

“I think we’re going to have to buy a new dining room table when we move,” he said. “It has been the art bench for quite a while.”

 

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