April 07, 2002 11:00 pm

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

Two La Grande School District administrators are preparing to trade places.

La Grande High School assistant principal Jim Boen and La Grande Middle School vice principal Mat Miles will switch positions after the school year.

We wanted to give both an opportunity to broaden their experience, said Jay Rowell, the school districts personnel and curriculum director.

Boen is completing his second year as assistant principal at LHS. Previously he was a counselor at LHS for three years.

Boen is looking forward to the challenge of working with seventh- and eighth-graders.

It is a real growing time in their lives. It will be fun to be a part of that, Boen said. I hope to be a positive model for them.

Vice principals are often put in the position of being disciplinarians. Boen said that he tries to discipline by focusing on the persons improper action.

I tell a student, You are not a bad person but you made a poor choice. We all make bad choices, Boen said. Kids understand that I am just doing my job and that it is nothing personal.

Boen likes getting to students on a personal level. He recalled how much he recently enjoyed having an LHS student share his cougar skin with him.

When you get to know kids on a personal level it is a lot of fun, he said.

Boen said he is ready for change because of the uncommon time demands of his job, but said that he will miss the people of LHS.

We have a great staff at the high school. I have enjoyed my five years here, he said.

Boen grew up in Gladstone and earned his undergraduate degree from Western Baptist College in Salem. He was a counselor at Gladstone High School prior to coming to La Grande.

Miles is completing his second year as LMS vice principal.

Im looking forward to the new challenge, Miles said.

Like Boen, he will also miss his schools staff.

This is the best staff Ive ever worked with, Miles said.

LMS Principal Doug Hislop is confident that Miles will do well at the high school.

Mat is a very caring individual, Hislop said.

Hislop applauded the way Miles keeps students linked to school. He does things like make a concerted effort to call up students who are being home-schooled and tell them that they are always welcome at LMS.

He keeps families and students connected to school, Hislop said.

Miles grew up in Baker City and graduated from Eastern Oregon University. He came to La Grande two years ago from La Crosse, Wash. In La Crosse he had served as principal of the grade school and the high school for two years.