When Dr. Sara Bean left California's sunny skies for Oregon's mixed-media skies, she only applied for education jobs that really piqued her interest. Molalla High School made the list, and she is now the school's associate principal.
Now that's she has had a few weeks to acclimate to the state, the community and the high school, the Molalla Pioneer checked in with her.
"I just wanted to say that I've really enjoyed being at this school. When I was looking for work and applying for jobs in Oregon, I made it a point to only apply for jobs that really and truly interested me. I'm lucky that I'm at a point in my career that I can kind of pick and choose. Did not apply for a lot of high school jobs because high school, quite frankly, is a lot of work, and it's a pretty big time commitment; and I knew that I didn't want to commit myself that way unless I really believed in the educational institution that I was going to become a part of.
"And Molalla," she added, "as soon as I saw the job, I started to research the different things, both about the community and about the school itself. And there was a reason that I applied here and wanted to work at a place like this."
Bean made the move because she met and married an Oregon man, who owns a business in Oregon City. So she said, it made more sense for her to move this way than for him to relocate to California.
"So far, I absolutely love it here," Bean said. "Everyone that I have met…has been just welcoming and kind and helped me to become acquainted. I love the area. It's beautiful here."
As with the state itself, Bean's first impressions of Molalla High School are positive.
"So far so good," Bean said. "Molalla High School is a really great place to work. The students that I have met here, and I've met almost all of them, seem to be really nice people, which is what I look for first when I'm looking at students.
"Same for the staff. I think we have a really good staff here. They seem to really care about their work. They care about the students that they serve. And everyone seems to kind of be focused on the same goal, which is to help our students succeed and grow to the best of their ability. So I'm very encouraged by that. And that goes all the way up and down the chain, from people at the district office to people at the other schools in the district."
In particular, Bean is excited about the community atmosphere, high academic standards and broad extracurricular offerings.
In the future, she said she would love to see extracurricular activities expand even further as the community grows in population and in diversity.
"I think that's a great opportunity for the high school because we're going to get a bigger variety of expertise as far as what we're going to be able to offer because we'll have greater resources to draw upon," Bean said. "But it also presents some challenges that we, I think, are going to be able to face and be able to overcome. We need to make sure that we are planning our programs and activities here to meet the needs of this diverse community and reaching within ourselves and also without of ourselves to make sure that our students are exposed to a diverse selection of experiences."
She noted that existing programs like FFA and Share the Love are steps toward providing students with glimpses of real-world, community-based experience.
Bean is beginning to settle into the rhythm of MHS, and as a lover of the outdoors, she is enjoying her time outside of school as well.
You might catch Bean and her husband riding motorcycles or hiking. They have capitalized on the nice weather and visited Oregon sites like the Gorge. She also likes to spend time with her family, which includes four adult children. When weather hinders outdoor activities, Bean is perfectly content snuggling up indoors with a good book.
"So far, [Molalla High School]'s fulfilled everything that I was expecting and more," Bean said. "So, I'm looking forward to continuing to grow and become a part of this community."