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Staffing changes on deck for MHS

Of the Keizertimes

McNary is beefing up its one club, one sport, one activity for every kid every year initiative.

Instead of one activities director, the high school will have two in 2017-18.

Derick Handley, former girls basketball coach, is taking the lead on activities but he’ll be joined by art teacher Todd Layton.

“Derick is a great teacher who has great relationships with kids,” McNary principal Erik Jespersen said. “Todd is a great teacher who also has great relationships with kids and we really think between the two of them we’re really going to bring in a lot more kids into the fold and even more kids involved in clubs, sports and activities. It’s pretty exciting. I think it’s going to be great.”

Handley and Layton are replacing Dan Borresen, who has been promoted to assistant principal, where he will be in charge of the student management system as well as supervising the English department, counselors and attendance.

“Dan brings 27 years of teaching experience into this role,” Jespersen said. “He’s one of our strongest teachers we’ve had go through McNary. Really excited about having him on board.”

McNary will have two new assistant principals next school year as Rhonda Rhodes is leaving to become the Career and Technical Education Center principal.

Susanne Stefani is moving over to the curriculum assistant principal position formerly held by Rhodes while Christian Chapman in transferring over from instructional services to take on Stefani’s old responsibilities—supervising special education, health, summer school as well as working to close the access gap for advanced placement classes.

McNary will also have a new advisory period in 2017-18. Every student will meet for around 40 minutes once a week with the same teacher all four years.

“We do a great job of teaching our kids reading, writing and listening skills in a variety of different areas, science, social studies, whatever,” Jespersen said. “What we want to do an even better job of though is developing personal relationships with our kids. It’s hard to incorporate that sometimes when you’re teaching a content and we want every single one of our kids to have an emotional attachment to McNary High School. We just want to give dedicated time. It’s part of our overall mission to provide a world class education.”

Tom Cavanaugh has been hired to replace Dallas Myers as McNary’s drama director.

Cavanaugh was the drama teacher at Parkrose High School in Portland for four years and did his student teaching at McKay.

Jespersen, band director Jennifer Bell, choir director Joshua Rist and orchestra director Sean Williams interviewed seven people for the position.

“He (Cavanaugh) was highly recommended by his principal Molly Ouche, who I’ve known for a while, just highly relational with kids and the faculty,” Jespersen said. “I really feel, as everyone did, it was an unanimous selection to pick him, we just really felt like he’s going to be able to take us to the next level. We’re really excited. Theatre is a big deal in our school and our community. That will continue.”

Due to budget cuts, McNary lost two full-time equivalent positions. No one lost their job but two teachers were transferred within the Salem-Keizer School District.

“It’s not like it was in 2008-09 when people were actually losing their jobs,” Jespersen said. “As people retire or move on, that’s where the spots are filled. We are down two teachers. Our class sizes will go up a little bit next year.”