Jeff Hardesty hired as new Oroville School Superintendent

Elementary Principal Joan Hoehn resigns

OROVILLE – After a short executive session at last Monday’s Oroville School Board meeting Jeff Hardesty, the current Tonasket High School Principal, was hired to serve in his first Superintendent’s post at Oroville School District.

School Director Todd Hill made the motion to hire Hardesty at a salary of $105,000 for 260 days per year. The motion was approved by a unanimous roll call vote, which included board chairman Mike Egerton, who joined the meeting via conference call.

Jeff Hardesty Gary DeVon/staff photo
Jeff Hardesty Gary DeVon/staff photo

“I’m excited, thank you very much,” said Hardesty, who was in attendance with his wife and two of his three children.

Director Travis Loudon, who was serving as chairman in Egerton’s absence, read a board statement thanking the staff and community who took the time to meet the six candidates that were interviewed for the position. He said the board hoped to work toward a cohesive team that would work to improve the students education.

Hardesty said he wasn’t going to move his family from Tonasket where his wife Michelle is a teacher and his children attend school.

“I made it clear to the board from the outset that we didn’t plan on moving at this time,” said Hardesty.

After hearing reports from Superintendent Steve Quick and Principals Joan Hoehn and Kristin Sarmiento.

Elementary Principal Hoehn reported on Sixth Grade Camp at Lost Lake, as well as some of the field trips that some of the elementary classes have gone on. She also asked that people who plan on attending the Leadership Day on June 1 sign up so they know how many guests to expect.

High School Principal Kristen Sarmiento spoke about Spokane Falls Community College representatives who came to visit and how they may be able to offer additional college in the classroom classes.

“We trying to see how Spokane Falls can work with us to get an AA degree. To work to make sure we’re doing what we have to so the credits transfer 100 percent,” she said.

She also reported that the Smarter Balance test results showed improvement throughout the high school, with the exception of the eleventh grade.

“The eleventh graders already know they have met the requirements so many of them just don’t try, it is frustrating because we tried to emphasis how important it is. Otherwise our scores are coming in higher and comparing well with the state averages,” said Sarmiento.

Superintendent Steve Quick, whose job ends at the completion of the school year, will be going on to be superintendent at the Burns, Ore. school district. He gave his report on building maintenance planned for the summer. He said the district plans on carpeting the band room, as well as the elementary hallway and the district office. Other improvements include sealing to sections of the high school roof, replacing asphalt at the high school parking lot and putting new fencing at the elementary school – moving it back to allow for more parking.

“We are also waiting on the cost of fixing the tennis courts, maybe replacing one section at a time, especially the one by the road,” he said.

The board listened to a presentation by Wendy Ortega, Sugesi Layata and Katie Rawley on the benefits of Tree Top apple juice over the brand currently being served by the school’s food services supplier. The girls said the Tree Top juice was made from apples produced in Washington State and that Oroville producers supply some of the apples used in the juice, while the juice being served to the students came from apples produced in the U.S., but also China, Turkey, Spain and Mexico .

They said the Tree Top supports Washington farmers, the juice only travels about 231 miles to get here and comes in aluminum cans with two more ounces of juice than the cardboard containers used for the juice served to the students. They said that by buying the Tree Top they would involve less pollution created in shipping the other juice, as well as avoid buying a product produced with apples in countries that do not have as stringent of food safety regulations.

Mostly, they said, Tree Top has better taste because the can keeps the juice fresher and the carton requires refrigeration and cardboard is porous and can lead to mold. They demonstrated the difference in taste by letting the board and some of the audience do a taste test between the two products. Everyone chose cup number two, which contained the Tree Top juice. They said state Rep. Joel Kretz had chosen Tree Top in a similar taste test they conducted at an earlier time.

“Ardmore has no connection to local apple production, travels a minimum of 32,855 miles, is only four ounces, horrible taste and is not what students want,” write the students in a brochure they handed out to the board.

The students presented a petition signed by more than 250 people who were asking the district to change to Tree Top, one of the signatures was Rep. Kretz, they said.

The Tree Top apple juice would cost about 41 cents per 5.5 ounce can figuring in a 15 percent discount from Frontier Foods. That’s compared to the Ardmore which costs 25 cents per four ounce carton.

The board suggested the girls contact the district’s food service provider, Chartwell and see if they would be willing to make the change. They also suggested they contact Tree Top to get the lowest price possible.

Under new business, under Item A, the board discussed moving the board meetings from the district office to either the elementary or high school library. The elementary school library seemed to be their first choice as there is a pillar in the high school library that might block some of the public’s view.

They then approved a consent agenda that included the resignation of Hoehn as the elementary school principal. In addition, the board accepted the resignation of Jessica Budzak and Julie Tyus as Kindergarten teachers and Jennifer Clark as a third grade teacher. Steven Gunderson has also resigned as High School Counselor.

Director Loudon made a point to express the board’s gratitude for several donations, including $825 for FBLA National Conference and $2113 for partial payment of a new Sousaphone for the music department, both from the Booster Club. They also expressed their gratitude for a $160 donation from Len and Darlene Firpo for a scholarship for Sixth Grade Camp; a donation from Bill and Eunice Godwin and Lance and Vicky Haney of $150 for the HOSTS program in the memory of Elaine Emry Burton, a 1955 graduate of Oroville High School and donations toward FBLA Nationals from Shirley Roberts ($40), Brad Forthun ($100), Peter and Mary Cooper ($500), Chrystal Milholland ($57) and the Camary Motel ($100) for a total of $797.

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