Longtime principal, schools employee calling it quits

After more than 21 years working for School District 55, Curriculum Director Jan Sharp retred effective Jan. 31.

“Jan is one of the most effective educators with whom I’ve ever worked,” said Supt. Larry Horton. “She knows curriculum. She knows staff development. She’s a great people person. She and all of her skills will be greatly missed, but we wish her well in her retirement.”

Sharp has made teachers’ jobs easier, and they appreciate her support through the years, said Sweet Home Education Association President Dan Swanson.

District 55 hired Sharp as principal for Holley and Crawfordsville in 1988 after she taught for several years in other districts.

She began teaching in 1983, she said. “I started out with a temporary position in Arlington. Someone was on maternity leave, so I taught first grade.”

She moved on to a permanent position in Boardman, where she taught third and sixth grade, she said.

District 55 reopened Pleasant Valley as a kindergarten in 1990, and Sharp served as principal there and at Oak Heights for the next two years. She served as Oak Heights principal for three more years before serving as co-principal with Hal Huschka at Sweet Home Junior High through 1997.

She was hired as curriculum director in 1997, she said. “When this position came open, I came here and started doing this.”

In 2003, she handled those duties and was principal at Holley School. From 2008 to present, she served as half-time curriculum director.

She officially retired at the end of last year and went to work under contract this year.

Sharp grew up in Castle Rock, Wash. She moved to Eastern Oregon with her husband Larry Sharp.

Prior to working in education, she was a medical transcriptionist.

She graduated from Lower Columbia Community College and Eastern Oregon University and completed her graduate studies at Portland State University.

She has three daughters, one of whom attended Sweet Home schools. She became interested in education after volunteering in her children’s classrooms.

“I love teaching,” she said. As a teacher, she said, she was able to impact 30 children at a time.

As an administrator, she has been able to impact hundreds.

Her office handles the talented and gifted program, libraries, assessments, textbooks and curriculum among other things.

She also has been the district’s leading grant writer.

When other government agencies make resources available, chasing grants is another way to support the teachers, classrooms and students, she said.

Sharp plans to stay in Sweet Home, which is located conveniently close to larger cities, the mountains and other destinations, after retirement, she said. “I like the size of the town.”

Castle Rock is a little smaller, she said, but “I’m very comfortable with a small logging town, and this community has always been very supportive of education.”

Her youngest daughter had many opportunities while attending school here, and she did well in college, Sharp said.

Sharp is retiring for health reasons, she said. She is planning to travel the United States. She is particularly looking forward to visiting historical sites and national parks, starting with Utah, which has a number of parks.

She also plans to spend time with her grandchildren, some of whom who live in Sweet Home and are starting to play sports.

Horton hopes to have a new curriculum director in place by mid-February, with interviews and screening during the next few weeks. Sharp plans to fill in and help train her replacement as needed.

“I am going to miss the people, the projects and the variety this position offers,” she said. “I think it’s a good school district. I think it’s a quality school district, good staff, good leadership team.”