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William Schildbach is settling into his new position in Warren, after serving several years in Alaska education.

PMG PHOTO: SCOTT KEITH - William Schildbach is beginning his new role as principal at Warren Elementary School. Warren Elementary School's newest principal is already at work, getting to know students, teachers and the community.

William Schildbach replaces Jen Angelo, who moved out of the area because of her husband's work transfer.

Schildbach spent nearly two decades as an administrator in Alaska, serving as K-12 principal, superintendent and elementary school principal.

Most recently, Schildbach had been principal of the Tikigaq School in Point Hope, which is located in the far northwest corner of the state, sticking out into the Bering Sea.

COURTESY PHOTO: SCAPPOOSE SCHOOL DISTRICT - William Schildbach has started his position as principal at Warren Elementary School. In an interview with the Spotlight, Schildbach reflected on his years in Alaska and his desire to move back to the "Lower 48" — particularly the Pacific Northwest.

Schildbach has roots in northwest Oregon, having graduated from Hillsboro High School.

After going for his administrative credentials, Schildbach said, "At the time, because of the way the job situations were, the only openings that were out there were basically in Alaska."

Having taken those jobs in the 49th state, Schildbach enjoyed the experience of being in the more rural reaches of Alaska.

"I think there were a lot of things I learned during the process about education that were very important," he said. "The other piece was that I got to talk with a lot of superintendents and the Department of Education … I had a really good experience from that perspective."

Schildbach continued, "I think I learned a multitude of skills that I probably wouldn't have learned in a more urban setting."

During his experience in Alaska, Schildbach had to deal with issues including teacher housing and staffing.

"I was in charge of making sure that we had utilities in place and curriculum, just making sure everything got flown in or shipped on the barge … you're living in a community that you have to fly in and out of," Schildbach said.

Noting that his relatives back in Oregon were getting up in years and needed assistance, Schildbach, who is also a trained microbiologist, decided to head back south to the Pacific Northwest.

"The original plan with Alaska was we were going to go up there for seven or eight years, then come back to Oregon," he said.

Schildbach's mother lives in Hillsboro and is getting older, he noted.

"I really wanted to move back down closer to family and relatives," he added. "I also have a retirement process here in Oregon I wanted to complete.

"Living out in the middle of nowhere is really difficult. It got to a point where, you know, I wasn't really looking forward to another winter."

Schildbach decided being principal at Warren Elementary would be a good fit for him.

"It's an awesome school," he said. "It's not too big, it's not too small. It's a nice place to be."

Schildbach has been getting to know staff and students at Warren.

"It's a very dedicated staff that's been here for a while," he said. "They seem to really be dedicated to what they're doing. It has sort of a family taste to it. I call it, like, a neighborhood school, because of where it's located."

While Schildbach currently lives in Hillsboro, taking care of his mother, his hope is to eventually move to Columbia County. He's impressed by what the county has to offer.

"The place is really grown up," he said. "There are lot of really good resources. It would be nice if there was more housing. But it's a great recreation area, and you're right down the street, basically, from Astoria, so that's always fun."

Whenever he gets a chance, Schildbach enjoys mountain biking, although he admitted, "I'm getting to the point where I have to watch stuff so I don't fall off."

Schildbach said he received a bit of a nudge from his wife when deciding on the Warren Elementary job.

"I had a couple of other job offers, and my wife and I went over them," he said. "She said, 'You would be some sort of nut if you didn't take this one.'"

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