May 31, 2001 11:00 pm
Doug Potter ().
Doug Potter ().

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

The career path of La Grande educator Doug Potter has taken an unexpected twist.

Potter, the school districts staff development and grant administrator, was named the new principal of La Grande High School this morning. Potter will succeed Jeff Kleck, who announced last week that he will resign June 25 to pursue a new career. Kleck served as principal for three years.

Potter is best known for the five years he was the principal of the La Grande Middle School before he took his present position last summer.

I cant think of a better person for the position, said La Grande School District Superintendent Jerry Sessions. He is well known in the community and well respected.

Sessions made his announcement this morning in the high schools library at a meeting with the faculty.

Earlier this spring it was announced that Potter would succeed Don Ulrey as the districts personnel and curriculum director. Ulrey is moving to Baker School District 5J to assume the same role.

Potters plans changed, though, after Kleck announced May 24 that he was resigning. Potter, who said he missed working in a school environment, volunteered for the position after Kleck resigned.

Doug will bring a lot of energy. He expects a lot of himself, Sessions said.

In an earlier Observer story Sessions said that Potters leadership attributes include an ability to get people with differing viewpoints to come together.

He can work with diverse individuals. He can work with any group and get it to come to consensus, Sessions said.

This morning Sessions said he was delighted to have a principal named so quickly. He said this will help significantly with the planning for the next school year.

Potter told the teachers that he has a high regard for them. He said he would not be taking the position if did not feel that way.

I am very, very impressed. ... You are doing so many things well, Potter said.

At La Grande Middle School, Potter was credited with making several positive changes.

They included the development of a schedule that features longer class periods, an integrated curriculum, an advisory program, and academic teams that allow students to have the same group of core subject teachers throughout the year.

In addition, Potter helped get the school involved in the Drug-Free Youth program and restored interscholastic athletics.

Potter and his wife, Jody, have a daughter, Lauren, an eighth-grader at the middle school, and a son, Chris, a sophomore at La Grande High School.

Potter came to La Grande in 1995 from the Beaverton School District where he had worked for 16 years.

He was a middle school social studies teacher for 10 years before that.

He enjoys fly fishing, reading books such as John Grisham novels and following sports.