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Brad Berzinski will leave the district at the end of the school year to be closer to family.

Molalla High School principal Brad Berzinski announced he would be leaving his post at the end of the 2021-22 school year to relocate to Minnesota to be closer to family.

He is the second district administrator to announce an exit at the end of the year. In early December, Molalla High Associate Principal and Athletic Director Kristen Rott announced she'd be leaving at the end of the school year as well.

Berzinski said it was a tough decision.

"This decision has been an extremely difficult one because I have been so blessed to work alongside an incredible staff serving amazing students and their families in Molalla," he said. "On a personal level, I feel drawn to return to Minnesota to be closer to our extended family."

COURTESY PHOTO: MOLALLA SCHOOL DISTRICT - Molalla High School Principal Brad Berzinski will leave the district at the end of the current school year.

Superintendent Tony Mann said it would be tough losing Berzinski.

"Five years ago when Brad joined the Molalla River School District, we knew he was the right person to lead MHS," Mann said. "When he moved his whole family here from Minnesota after accepting the job, he dug right in, built relationships and set about working to lead one of the greatest high schools in Oregon."

During his five years at Molalla High School, Berzinski says he is most proud of the improvements made to create and nurture an environment that supports exceptional academic achievement for all students. These efforts were rewarded when the MHS Class of 2020 marked the highest on-time graduation rate in school history. Under his leadership, Molalla High School has dramatically increased students' course offerings and learning opportunities.

Notable new course offerings were introduced in career and technical education. Fire sciences and early childhood development were introduced in partnership with Molalla Fire and Clackamas County Preschool Commission. Both programs offer articulated credits through Clackamas Community College.

"My greatest hope for MHS is that future leaders continue to provide opportunities for students to discover their individual interests and provide programming that supports individual development," Berzinski said.

Additionally, with the trials and tribulations of the last two years, Mann said Berzinski's leadership was crucial in supporting students and their families through the challenges introduced by the Covid pandemic.

"With a student-first focus, Brad and the staff at MHS assisted students in navigating the variety of learning models introduced, from full distance learning, to hybrid learning and the final transition back to full in-person learning," Mann noted.

Berzinski said that one of his fondest memories during his tenure in Molalla comes from the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020. The pandemic impacted the more traditional commencement ceremony, and the high school quickly transitioned to a community parade and a drive-through diploma pick-up.

"Although non-traditional, I loved handing each graduate their diploma. I was able to spend individualized time with each graduate and that was very special to me," Berzinski said.

"It is amazing to think about the kind of high school our students, teachers, and support staff have created under Brad's leadership, especially in the face of these turbulent last few years," Mann added. "I'm confident as he returns to Minnesota, only great things are ahead for both Molalla High School and Brad Berzkinski."

The search for Berzinski's replacement will begin immediately, and a broad candidate pool is expected. The district administration will provide opportunities for staff, parents and students to provide input to the process and candidate review.

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