Former WL-WV principal Katy Mayer is helping the education foundation raise money

Katie Mayer is back.

After serving for 14 years as principal of Willamette Primary School, Mayer retired in 2008. As it turns out, though, the Happy Valley resident wasn’t quite ready to walk away from the West Linn-Wilsonville School District.

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: KATE HOOTS - Katy Mayer served 14 years principal of Willamette Primary School in West Linn. This year, she is volunteering as a board member on the West Linn-Wilsonville Education Foundation.She returned to WL-WV to serve as a mentor to new principals and teachers in the district. She is paid through a grant, not through the school district, but she still feels connected to the district.

“I feel fortunate that I worked in this district. I’m retired now. I can still contribute,” she said.

This spring, she found a way to put her talents and passion to use, by volunteering to serve on the WL-WV Education Foundation’s board of directors. Her motivation to do so was seeing a donation her husband sent in — to the private school he graduated from.

“She got to thinking about how great our public schools are and how they serve the entire community,” the foundation’s president, Jay Puppo, said. “She came to us and said, ‘I want to help you reach out to retired teachers and retired principals and people who don’t have kids in the schools but (still) benefit.”

Mayer has no problem with her husband’s support for his alma mater. Still, it made her think.

“He consistently and generously gives money to the school,” she said. “Why not give it to the public schools that serve anyone who comes to the door? That’s the way people should feel about this school district. People should support public schools as strongly as they do private schools.”

The education foundation is a nonprofit organization raising funds for the sole purpose of retaining teacher positions, with the goal of maintaining effective class sizes throughout the district.

Classroom size varies from year to year and from school to school, and while that was still true in Mayer’s day, she recalls that class sizes in general generally were smaller then.

“We never approached 30 in the younger grades,” she said, referring particularly to kindergarten and first grade classes.

One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is parents’ expectations.

“Parents want the best teacher they can possibly have for their child, and they want a small enough class size that their teacher can know their child,” Mayer said. “That was always a priority. ... Given that it’s such a priority for parents to have reasonably small class sizes, we can help by donating to the foundation.”

Over the past three years, the foundation has raised money, primarily from families in the district, and contributed approximately $450,000 to the school district. Each year, the money the foundation gives the district is earmarked for the sole purpose of paying teacher salaries and benefits.

“I would encourage any parent who cares about class size,” Mayer said. “This is a real way to make an impact. Our goal is, we’re going to make enough money (that) we can affect class size in every school.”

The education foundation is seeking tax-deductible contributions for the Count Me In campaign, which runs through the end of May. Learn more or donate online at

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