Halsey, OR - The Oregon Small Schools Association (OSSA) is proud to announce Amanda O’Brien as its 2017 Administrator of the Year. O’Brien is the principal of Central Linn Elementary School and has led the school for five years. When she arrived, the school had been identified as one of 61 Oregon Title 1 schools labeled as a “focus school”, meaning in the bottom 15 percent of Oregon schools based on the standards measured for ESSA. Nearly the entire state of Oregon (over 1,300 schools) were performing better than Central Linn Elementary.
According to Brian Gardner, superintendent of Central Linn School District, O’Brien’s response to hearing about the status of her new school was to exhale a sigh of relief and state there was nowhere to go except up! Committed to moving the school from the bottom to the top, she did just that, working to improve school culture, parent/community involvement, professional outreach and improving school-wide focus on rigor, learning standards and academic assessment.
“Amanda demonstrated a willingness to learn from the best practices of others and used collaborative efforts to gain powerful practices for her school,” said Gardner. “From staff to student to community, Amanda has resourced the best available people and brought them together for the school’s benefit and growth.”
Under O’Brien’s leadership, Central Linn Elementary School has risen to the 89th percentile in school rankings; when compared to similar schools demographically, Central Linn is in the top three percent of Oregon schools.
Jon Zwemke, principal of Central Linn Jr/Sr High School, said that elementary students now demonstrate school unity and an attitude of accomplishment and believe that achieving their learning goals is simply a matter of time. “Pride is more evident than ever. Amanda has kindled that spark and made her school one of the best in the entire state as a result,” said Zwemke.
The Central Linn School District’s purpose of "an individualized education for all learners” focuses on every child’s learning needs, driving every decision and ultimately benefiting every child, said Superintendent Gardner. “Amanda has led with this vision in her heart,” he said.
About receiving the award, O’Brien said, “I am so very proud and honored to be named OSSA’s Administrator of the Year. This award wouldn’t be possible without the time, energy and overall commitment our Central Linn staff have shown over the last five years. When we focus on the individual learner and his/her needs, coupled with exemplary teachers, we achieve! The recognition is a validating bonus!”
The Oregon Small Schools Association (OSSA) recognizes one school administrator each year who excels in his/her leadership position. Criteria include integrity, leadership, commitment to community, scholarship and student achievement. O’Brien will receive her award at the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) Conference at Seaside in June.