By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
Two Keizer elementary schools will have new principals when the 2017-18 year begins on Wednesday, Sept. 6—Christine Bowlby at Keizer Elementary and Stacey Lund at Weddle Elementary.
Bowlby is transferring from Washington Elementary, where she was principal for the last five years, but she already calls Keizer home.
Her oldest son will be a seventh grader at Whiteaker Middle. Bowlby also has twin boys entering the fourth grade at Keizer Elementary. Her husband, Ryan, is the head coach of the McNary High School boys lacrosse team and three of their sons play lacrosse, football and basketball. Christine has coached for the Keizer Youth Basketball Association.
“I have a passion for making an impact on my community,” Bowlby said. “This is actually my home. This is my kids’ school. I’m a big proponent on schools being a part of the community and being a resource for families so now I get to make an impact in my community where I live. I’m looking forward to working with local businesses, families, everybody, to really support Keizer’s community.”
Bowlby grew up in Hood River, graduated from Western Oregon University, did her student teaching in Salem-Keizer and never left.
Following in the footsteps of her father, Bowlby always wanted to be a teacher. She taught at Fruitland Elementary for five years and then at Swegle for six years, where she transitioned to an instructional coach for the final two years before becoming the principal at Washington.
“I had principals always say that they thought that would be a good role for me, being an administrator, and they just encouraged me,” Bowlby said. “I’ve loved it (being a principal). I didn’t think I would at first because I love working with kids. As an administrator, (I thought) you don’t get as much kid contact but you actually do and I feel like you get to help them and support their families.”
Bowlby wants to spend her first year getting to know the 695 students and close to 80 staff at Keizer Elementary. She wants parents to know that her door is always open.
“I always return messages, phone, email,” Bowlby said. “I want to talk and get to know everybody and help support their kids. I’m always open to talk and help them the best I can. I may not always have the right answer or the answer they want but I’m always willing to listen.”
Lund comes to Weddle after spending the last five years as the principal of Pringle Elementary.
While her mom was a science teacher and then a counselor, Lund wanted to follow a different path. She played basketball and got her bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Wyoming.
Lund then contemplated joining the Peace Corps before finally deciding to go into education.
She taught fourth and fifth grade at Hayesville for seven years and then became an instructional coach at Harritt Elementary.
Switching to the administrative side took getting used to.
“You don’t have your own classroom,” Lund said. “That was a big change. When you’re a teacher, you build this community of kids in your classroom. It’s your own little city, your own team and the first year that you don’t have that and you step outside of the classroom, it’s kind of sad. You don’t have holidays that you are celebrating with your class. You don’t have that same relationship with kids. It’s different. But you get to know more kids and you get to help more kids. That’s how I balance it.”
While Weddle is her first Title IX school, Lund has a passion for families that need more support. She also prides herself on being a good listener.
“I would hope that, rather you talk to kids or families or teachers or staff, that I’m a good listener, that I take time to listen to people and I look for the best in kids and the best in people in general,” Lund said. “I think it’s a good place to start when you’re trying to solve problems. I think I’m a good advocate for both, for kids and for families and teachers, too.”
Lund is working on her Spanish. Her daughter, a sixth grader at Waldo, is bi-lingual.
“I took Spanish in college and I’ve taken classes since,” Lund said. “I’ve always valued knowing another language, I’ve never gotten over the hump of learning one myself but this is my challenge.”
Lund also wants to look at more ways to reach out to families other than traditional parent-teacher conferences at the school.
“Inviting people to a school for a conference isn’t always the most comfortable for families so one of the things that I’d like to look into more is how do we make families feel more comfortable and going to them and developing relationships with people,” Lund said. “Setting up a home visit program so that we can go and visit with families and go where they feel comfortable, just because we want to get to know them, not because we’re having a problem. That’s something I would like to do more.”