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New director of Oregon Trail Academy hopes to reinvigorate charter programs.

COURTESY PHOTO: RACHEL WEEKS - Rachel Weeks took over as director of Oregon Trail Academy earlier this month after being hired in May. While Oregon Trail Academy has seen substantial turnover in recent years, new director Rachel Weeks is now at the helm with hopes of making OTA a long-term home.

Weeks, 35, resides in Damascus and has lived in Oregon for the majority of her adult life, excluding the years she served as a new teacher in Arizona schools.

Weeks is new to the administrative area of school, but not to education, where she has worked for nearly a decade. She obtained her bachelor's degree in social science from Portland State University and her master's degree in teaching from Warner Pacific University.

Weeks currently is working to complete a doctorate in educational leadership through Concordia University.

Her dreams of working in academia began after Weeks went away for her undergraduate degree. She said her plan was to either be a nurse or a teacher, and education won out.

"I love the people," Weeks said of her time thus far at OTA. "The kids are a joy to be around."

Weeks explained that it was the "small community" feel and allowance for a lot of "hands-on creativity" that appealed to her about the charter school.

Also, she added: "The staff here is so supportive and collaborative. It's an extremely positive climate."

Though OTA has returned to a K-8 program this year, Weeks said she's hopeful the staff can regrow the program to offer a high school International Baccalaureate degree program again in the future.

She also doesn't shy away from talking about the previous turnover in her office, but assured that she hopes to "drive positive change" and "gain trust that I am here for the school and want it to be the best it can be."

When Weeks isn't studying for her doctorate or spending time with her husband and four children, she enjoys running.

She also hopes to use some of that same energy to push OTA forward.

"I'm looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish this year," Weeks said.


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