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Otto Petersen Elementary principal to retire

Among other plans, Kelly Powell envisions a long motorcycle trip in his future


by: SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: ROBIN JOHNSON - Otto Petersen Elementary School Principal Kelly Powell takes a pie to the face-an award for a class that placed first in the schools annual food drive last December.Kelly Powell, principal at Otto Petersen Elementary School in Scappoose, will retire this year after a total of 30 years in education. Powell started as principal of Otto Petersen Elementary in 2008.

“It’s been an amazing opportunity,” he said, noting he felt lucky to enter the district just at it was about to receive a $33.3 million bond levy, a portion of which was used to construct the current Otto Petersen Elementary School.

“The first question I was asked as principal was, ‘If the bond passes, what would you want the school to look like?’” Powell said. “To be involved in building a school was an absolute dream. Few people get to do it and I got to do it in my first year as principal. I think we did a good job.”

After the school was built, Powell said teachers, staff and administrators immediately got to work in perfecting the school’s curriculum to meet Common Core State Standards.Powell

Once his retirement is effective, Powell said he would like to travel, but keep things mostly low-key.

“I’m young enough, I want to do something new,” he said, adding he might also relax, given that the job of principal can be stressful at times.

Powell said he hopes to go on a long motorcycle ride, visiting every school district he’s worked in over the years. That trip would take him south to Scio, then further to Sisters. Powell said he might ride to Yellowstone National Park as well.

“It will be mind-clearing and exciting,” Powell said of the trip, adding, “I get to reinvent myself.”

Powell started his career in education in 1984 in Scio, where he taught third grade and sixth grade over the span of five years. In 1989, he relocated to Sisters, where he taught kindergarten and fifth grade for 19 years.

“Kindergarten was fun,” he said. “More fun than you can believe.”

Powell earned an administrative license near the end

of his time in Sisters and finally landed his current Job in 2008.