After 35 years as an educator, Craig Roessler is about done with “finals” in his “senior” year. Retirement is close at hand. The personable and highly-respected educator has, according to most who know him, made the dean’s list as superintendent of the Silver Falls School District.
Roessler concludes his 23-year tenure as the area’s top administrator this month. He was honored by his peers a few years ago as the Oregon Superintendent of the Year and will be roasted June 5 by fellow educators, administrators and community leaders.
As a preview, insight to this molder of young minds is offered through stories relayed by those close to him.
His wife, Sue Roessler, told of the time they heard ominous sounds emanating from their garage. Craig grabbed a shovel and began his search. Those baby skunks never had a chance to inflict their malodorous mischief, she said.
Scene Two – A Timberline ski trip with his friend, Darby Hector, librarian at Mark Twain Middle School where Roessler served as principal. The two shared ski instructor duties for a rather large, awkward junior high boy. Tutorial patience was wearing thin as the youth would ski for a foot or two, fall or lose a ski and then come back for more.
Roessler suggested alternating teaching moments with the librarian so the adults could get some skiing time themselves.
Perhaps the young man, frustrated with a slow learning curve in the snow, wasn’t aware that the top dog at Mark Twain was losing interest fast in teaching this gangly guy in sub-freezing weather.
• Graduated from the University of Oregon,
later returned to earn his masters degree in teaching.
• 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.
• Took first teaching job at Mount Angel Middle School.
• Went on to receive his administrator’s and
• Was an assistant principal in the Molalla School
District, then principal at Robert Frost and
Mark Twain schools.
• Became the superintendent of the
Silver Falls School District 23 years ago.
• Has served on boards for the Silverton Chamber
of Commerce and Silverton Hospital and is on
the board for Silverton Together and is a
Rotary Club member
• Received the Distinguished Service award at the
Silverton Chamber of Commerce’s 39th annual
First Citizen’s Banquet in February.
Perhaps the educator was unaware that the young man, Scott Gragg, would grow to be 6-foot 9-inches, and play for more than a decade in the NFL.
Then there was the “trunk” incident. The Roesslers took a cruise, and after spending the day in port with 20 new friends, the couple decided to get some beach time.
While Roessler was body surfing with his son, Bryan, his swimsuit took off solo for Cancun. There was Roessler with nothing on but his birthday suit.
As Sue described the moment, “The guide came over with trunks in hand and asked, “Señor, did you lose something?” The quick-thinking wife reached for a camera instead of a towel. The picture of her beloved, fully naked with his back-end prominently displayed was saved for, excuse the pun, posterity.
Luckily, the photo never made it to YouTube, but Victor Point and Robert Frost Principals Linda Myers and Beth Davisson brought the incident back to life for the entire school board at Roessler’s last meeting. In song.
Eye-witness accounts are mixed, but most agree that Roessler turned red when his two trusted employees held a picture to show the staff, and mouthed the words, “Don’t you dare” just before they proceeded to flip the picture around so the audience could see a young boy, sans diaper, on a beach.
His wife was kind enough to present the original copy and negative of the original picture to Roessler as a gift for his birthday.
“We are about to be spending 24/7 together and I want to start out in a positive way,” she said.
When pumped for good material about his annual golfing forays to Bandon with Ken Hector and other pals, Sue said, “I don’t really know any good dirt. What happens in Bandon stays in Bandon.”
But, there was a hole-in-one that came near his 60th birthday.
Denise Childs, his administrative assistant of 13 years, said when they first met, “Craig promised me this job
would never be boring. To say that he was 100 percent right on that one is an understatement.”
Wally Lierman, chairman of the school board, has nothing but good things to say about Roessler. “He has done a wonderful job, values our kids and our educators and is extremely ethical and highly respected.”
His wife of 25 years said, “He is a great man but I may be a bit prejudiced.” In a weak moment, she will probably admit that friend Janet Dalisky has seen him cheat at bocci ball, that Roessler goes weak in the knees when the Duck fight song plays, and that, deep down, he loves it when Linda Myers and Beth Davisson ridicule him in song.
Now is the time to flip the tassel, throw the hat in the air and travel.
Maybe a duct tape belt on the swim trunks would be wise as well.