Just doing his job: Craig Roessler says service is all in a day’s work

February 2010 Posted in People

By Kristine Thomas

Budget cuts.

Federal and state mandates for school reform. Personnel problems.

Changing technology and more budget cuts.

Unifying several school districts to become the Silver Falls School District. Attempting to pass a bond. Failing to pass a bond. Finally, passing a bond.

Building a new high school…

As the superintendent of the Silver Falls School District, Craig Roessler has had myriad situations cross his desk – some easy to fix and some taking time.

While the tasks varied, Roessler has always kept one thing in mind – what is best for the students, parents and community members of the Silver Falls School District.

“Disorder or surprises are the nature of the business,” Roessler said. “I told Denise (Childs, his assistant) when I hired her that get ready because she will never be bored on the job and there will probably be a surpirse every day.”

Roessler, who will retire in June after more than 20 years with the district, will be presented the
Distinguished Service award at the Silverton Chamber of Commerce’s 39th annual First Citizen’s Banquet.
In his nomination letter, Butte Creek Principal Kevin Palmer wrote, “Craig has provided the Silverton community with exceptional educational leadership over the years and is widely considered to one of the top superintendents in the state of Oregon.”

Although honored to receive the award, Roessler said he’s not one who likes the spotlight.

In his eyes, he’s just doing his job.

A graduate of the University of Oregon, Roessler sold insurance in California for a few years before he began working as an educational assistant for high risk junior high school students in Salinas, Calif.

“I’ve always thought education could make a difference in someone’s life,” Roessler said.

He returned to the University of Oregon to receive his master’s degree in teaching and took his first teaching job at Mt. Angel Middle School. He went on to receive his administrator’s and superintendent’s licenses.

He was an assistant principal in the Molalla School District, then principal at Robert Frost and Mark Twain schools, leading to him eventually becoming the superintendent of the Silver Falls School District.

Roessler has served on boards for the Silverton Chamber of Commerce and Silverton Hospital. He currently is on the board for Silverton Together and a Rotary Club member.

Over the years, Roessler has had to deal with some controversial situations, yet he has never lost his optimism.

“I believe basically every one is good,” he said. “Even in the worst people, there is some good.”

He tackles situations like they were math problems, by processing things “systematically.” 

“In some ways, I like dealing with challenges,” he said. “I like thinking quickly and how to responding to situations. It always comes back to providing a quality education first.”

The motto of the Silver Falls School District is “Every child is a promise.”

“What the motto means is we focus on each individual student and within each and every student there is a potential,” Roessler said. “We as educators working with parents and the larger community have the responsibility to help children realize their potential.”

And when children reach their potential, they can contribute to making a better world, he said.

Meaning eventually, they will get to tackle the problems that come across their desk.

“An educated populous is necessary for a healthily functioning democracy,” he said.

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