When students return to school in the North Marion School District Sept. 3, they will see quite a few new faces.

Not only does the district have 20 new teachers this year — seven were added to this year’s budget — but each school also has a new administrator.

At North Marion High School, vice principal and athletic director duties have shifted to new hire Brandon Fricke, whose predecessor, Andy Jones, moved to an AD position in Oregon City.

David Sheldon, most recently hailing from Woodburn’s Valor Middle School, will serve as the new principal at North Marion Middle School.

Julie Jackson, who has been principal of North Marion Intermediate School for many years, has stepped into a director position overseeing the K-5 curriculum. Under her, serving at the intermediate school and North Marion Primary School, respectively, will be vice principals Cory Gaub and Andy Kronser.

Additionally, two former middle school administrators, Desiree Kiesel and Barb Keeton will be focusing on teaching and learning at the secondary level.

“We’re reorganizing to really focus on particular parts of the job,” Superintendent Boyd Keyser said. “I can already see some real benefits from it, when we start to prepare for professional development and how to roll out technology initiatives. For these admins, being freed from operational duties has allowed them to put more time and energy into (curriculum). There are so many new initiatives, it’s just hard to keep on top of them. So we’re all really excited.”

Students in grades 3-8 will see a visible shift in classroom instruction, as well, as they will each be given an electronic device as an educational tool in the classroom. Third- through fifth-graders will have use of iPads and sixth- through eighth-graders will receive tablet laptops. Keyser said individualized learning and self-investigation are important reasons the district decided to go this route. Additionally, ninth-graders will have access to laptops in their core classes, as those teachers will have a cart of 30 laptops each.

“We want to change their mindset of when learning happens and why it happens,” Keyser said. “We want them to be curious about their world and be able to use the tools available and not have to be guided necessarily by an assignment at school in order to investigate their world. We hope that’s the shift in mindset and they start to look at education as a way to understand the world.”

This is important, he added, as the district looks at adopting new learning materials.

“It becomes a question of, are we going to buy textbooks or e-materials,” he said. “You can’t buy e-material if kids don’t have access to electronic devices. So this gives us the opportunity to explore how that will work. If we go with e-materials, it would be cheaper and easier to upgrade.”

The life cycle of these devices is estimated at about four years, Keyser said.

Keyser added that had the local option levy passed in the May election, the district might have been able to expand the technology to more of the high school. Also as a result of the levy not passing, the district didn’t have the funds to complete safety and security upgrades, Keyser said. Instead, the only construction-related work on the campus during the summer was some landscaping and painting.

Lindsay Keefer covers Hubbard, Mount Angel and St. Paul. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-765-1193.

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