Changes afoot: Silver Falls has new locations, principals, names, mascots

August 2016 Posted in Other, School
The Silverton Middle School gymnasium is full of classroom furniture and supplies as the building is undergoing upgrades.

The Silverton Middle School gymnasium is full of classroom furniture and supplies as the building is undergoing upgrades.

By Kristine Thomas

Silver Falls Superintendent Andy Bellando is confident the dust will have settled by the time school begins on Sept. 6. From the construction projects at Scotts Mills, Pratum and Silverton Middle School to the hiring of new staff, it’s been a busy summer. Here are a few updates:

Building projects

Bellando knows some people may be skeptical that Silverton Middle School will be complete by opening day.

While a few things like the kitchen may not be done, or reader boards moved ,or bulletin boards installed, he’s confident the middle school will be “prepared and ready for the first day of school.”

He’s made it his mission to accomplish this goal, even forgoing vacation this summer.

In early August, he estimated some teachers will be able to move in to their classrooms by mid-August and the remainder a week before school begins.

The estimates for the school renovation were about two years old, Bellando said, and construction crews discovered numerous changes that needed to occur, adding about 15 days to the construction schedule.

Bellando receives updates from the project manager weekly. While he acknowledges there’s a great deal of work to be done – from adding a ceiling in the hallway near the office to hours of cleaning – he said he’s not worried.

“I am fully confident we will be ready to go by when school starts,” he said. “The dust and the plaster will quickly be cleaned up.”

The improvements include a new sprinkler system, fire alarm, cafeteria, library and hot water tank. Classrooms are being painted and floors sealed. The modulars for the sixth-grade students are installed and are ready to be painted and stairs and walkways added.

To ensure the safety of the 450 students, Bellando said cameras will be installed, along with other safety measures including rekeying the entire campus.

Bellando said he sees improvements and projects being completed every day.

“We have 20 people working the building to get it completed on time,” he said.

Projects were also completed at Scotts Mills, Mark Twain and Pratum Elementary schools. The Pratum PTC replaced the septic tank and drain field. By doing do, it hopes to add restrooms to the gym. The $30,000 project was paid for by the Pratum PTC.

Seismic upgrades were made to the gym, cafeteria and four classrooms adjacent to the playground at Scotts Mills Elementary School. The project began in July and is expected to be completed by mid-August. The school was closed to the public while construction was taking place. The project was funded by a $996,976 state of Oregon seismic grant. Similar projects are scheduled to take place at Butte Creek and Victor Point next summer.   

Besides the building changes, Bellando said there have been some administrative changes this summer.

New principals, administrator, director

There will be new principals at Mark Twain, Evergreen and Silver Crest Elementary schools and Silverton High School, along with a new curriculum director at the district office and athletic director at Silverton High School.

The changes began when Linda Myers, the district’s curriculum director, accepted a job with the Salem-Keizer School District as the coordinator of student access and advancement.

“My time in Silver Falls has prepared me beautifully for this newly design position with Salem-Keizer,” Myers said.  “I would not be the leader I am today if it weren’t for the encouragement and challenges presented to me by my supervisors, my colleagues and the incredible teaching and support staff in our schools.”

Former Eugene Field Principal Jennifer Hannan was appointed the new director of teaching and learning and Greg Kaatz was named principal at Mark Twain Elementary.

Jennifer and Linda have been tremendous assets to our team and true advocates for children in our communities,” Bellando said.

“As Linda moves into an exciting new career opportunity, we feel very fortunate to transition Jennifer’s skills and experience from the elementary school to the district office.”

For Hannan, the change represents a professional growth, but she leaves with great admiration for the school team.

“Mark Twain (Eugene Field) is an amazing place to work and go to school and an exceptional school community to be a part of,” Hannan said. “Our staff is made up of exceptional, positive, determined people who love to come to work every day and make it a joy for kids to come to school. I know that the team will continue to shine with a new principal and I’ll be here to support that transition.”

Kaatz has been the assistant principal and athletic director at Silverton High School for nine years. He has more than 18 years of experience as a teacher and administrator.

Before joining the Silver Falls School District, Kaatz served as an elementary teacher, special education teacher, middle school teacher and high school athletic/activities director for the Hermiston and Stanfield school districts.

Bellando said Kaatz is an “excellent communicator” who works well with children and adults.

“I’m excited to become part of the Mark Twain family and to work with a younger group of students and their parents,” Kaatz said. “Elementary school is where my career began so I’m looking forward to returning, building relationships and partnering with the excellent team of educators there.”

This spring it was announced Mark Hannan would become the principal at Silver Crest Elementary School. Justin Lieuallen was named to replace him as principal at Silverton High School. Lieuallen will be responsible for hiring an new athletic director for the high school.

Victor Point Principal Jamie McCarty will add duties as principal of Evergreen as Bob and Heidi Ostrom retire.

Drew Hinds is the new director of technology. he was currently the program coordinator for Willamette Promise at Willamette ESD.  He replaces Gary Marshall, who retires Aug. 31.

New Bus Service

Durham School Services is Silver Falls School District’s new transportation provider. The company plans on having route information available by Aug. 19. The contact number is 503-873-3721.

New Names and locations

The closing of Eugene Field Elementary School in June means new school locations, names and mascots. In-town elementary school students in kindergarten through second grade will attend Mark Twain Elementary. The mascot name will be the Kits (baby foxes). Robert Frost will house students in third through fifth grades. Students in sixth through eighth grade will attend Silverton Middle School on the site of the old high school. The mascot will be the Falcons.

Community Roots School has moved from Schlador Street to 229 Eureka Ave. To learn more about the school, visit

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