New principal predicts ‘good year’ for Hawthorne

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

Ryan Beck, the new principal at Hawthorne School, comes to Sweet Home from a position teaching grades one through five in Cottage Grove.

Beck, 36, of Eugene, grew up in the Seattle area. He attended the University of Oregon and then taught for 10 years in Cottage Grove. He started teaching first grade and then stayed with the same class through the fifth grade. He earned his administration credentials three years ago at the UO.

“I was fortunate enough to be hired here in June,” Beck said. “I did some research on Sweet Home. It seemed like a perfect, great spot.”

He has been in Sweet Home for three weeks, he said, and most of his staff has been working that long too.

“It’s a really great staff,” he said. “I’ve heard nothing but great things about the staff. It’s going to be a good year.”

Beck got interested in teaching while attending college, he said. He was working at a bank, as a teller and in loans at the time. While there, he was a Start Making a Reader Today volunteer.

“I loved it,” he said, and it convinced him to earn his master’s degree in education through a Pacific University extension in 1996. His 1993 UO bachelor’s degree was in English. No one was beating down his door to hire an English graduate, but SMART gave him an idea what to do.

“It was just amazing to watch kids grasp a concept for the first time,” he said. “What other job gives you those kinds of rewards – seeing a kid smile or having a kid come back five years later and give you a hug.”

“My goal is to be a resource for teachers, someone who gets them the resources they need so they can teach, continuing to allow the staff to do what they do best,” Beck said. “And that’s teach.”

That also means he keeps up on trends and information, so he can share the latest in ideas and techniques with his staff, he said.

Now, instead of just one classroom full of students, he hast 300 students, he said. “I’m excited. It’s a great opportunity.

“The problem now – the school’s missing kids. We’re all ready for the kids to come back.”

Beck said he has heard two questions more than any other since coming to work in Sweet Home: When is he moving here and is he a Duck or a Beaver? He is a Duck, and he’s not moving right away.

Beck is commuting from Eugene, he said. His wife, whom he met during college, teaches at Cottage Grove.

Eventually, he said, assuming Supt. Larry Horton and the district staff want him back, they plan to move to Sweet Home.

“This year gives me the opportunity to meet the community,” he said, and so far it’s looking like a good fit.

“The staff here have made the transition painless,” he said. “I can’t think of a better school.”

In his spare time, he enjoys running, reading and spending time with his 3-year-old son, Henry. He also is a big Seattle Mariners fan.