School news — Wes Owens will apply his experience as an administrator in Sherman County to his new post at St. Paul High School

The St. Paul School District board of directors approved July 8 the contract of new St. Paul High School principal Wes Owens, clearing the final hurdle to appoint the school district’s new administrator.Wes Owens

Owens, who spent the 2012-2013 school year as the superintendent of Sherman County School District, will officially join the St. Paul staff Aug. 1. His prior experience includes six years as principal and athletic director of Sherman County’s junior/senior high school. He also has experience teaching and coaching basketball and baseball in Moro, the home of Sherman County’s 1A school district, which sits 45 minutes southeast of The Dalles.

“Mr. Owens’ experience, open and honest personality, as well as his record of professional accomplishments were all considered as positive evidence the he will be a good fit for the St. Paul position,” said St. Paul Superintendent Joe Wehrli.

Owens stood out among the other candidates with his genuine demeanor and excellent references from the Sherman County school district, said Kathy Wilmes, chairwoman of the school board.

“Where he’s leaving from Sherman County, they’re so sad he’s going,” Wilmes said. “That tells you what you’re getting. When there’s a district that doesn’t want you to leave in the worst way, it tells you you’re gaining something great.”

Part of what made Owens the ideal administrator for SPHS was the way in which he connected with the community in Moro, Wilmes said. Not only was he a popular mentor with the student body there, but he also made an effort to connect with parents and community members and that is something that Wilmes hopes he replicates in St. Paul.

“He really reached out and touched a lot of lives in the adult community,” she said. “He’s a very community-oriented person and I think that he will be building community not only with the school, but also within (St. Paul). I just got that feeling of (him) being genuinely a very nice person and I think these kids are going to really enjoy him and build a lot of respect for him.”

Owens’ hire was approved by the school board at a special meeting held June 25, pending approval of his contract, which was not available at the time. The board inspected and signed off on the contract at its regular monthly meeting held July 8, paving the way for Owens to take over as high school principal in August.

His hire is the final step in replacing former high school principal and district superintendent Sid Hobgood.

The school board will formalize an official date for the community to meet Owens in person at its August meeting.

“I’m excited that he’ll have the opportunity to build a relationship with these kids,” Wilmes said. “He just really puts kids first.”

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