A familiar face is set to join the La Grande School Board.

The Board of Directors of the La Grande School District voted to appoint retired educator Bruce Kevan to the board Tuesday night. Kevan will fill the unexpired term of Chris Woodworth, who resigned a month ago because he was moving to Summerville.

Kevan worked in the La Grande School District for almost 20 years, first as an assistant principal at La Grande High School and then for 10 years as principal of Central Elementary School before retiring in 2010. He came out of retirement in 2014 to serve as interim principal of Central for about three months before stepping down due to serious injuries suffered in a bicycle accident.

Kevan, who has 34 years of experience as an educator, was one of three applicants for the position, all three of whom were interviewed by the board for the position. The other two applicants were La Grande residents Stacey Kay Candlish, a bank manager, and David Moyal, a retired physician’s assistant.

School board member Joe Justice said the board had three strong candidates to choose from.

“(Each) would bring a lot of value to the board, all in different ways,” Justice said before the board’s vote.

Several board members, including Justice, said one of the strengths Kevan will bring to the board is the
perspective of an educator. Justice noted that the board has not had an educator since Michael Frasier, a retired La Grande High School music teacher, was on the board. Frasier served on the board from 2007 to 2015.

Kevan told the school board during his interview that he believes one of the challenges the school district faces is continuing to meet the high expectations of the state while maintaining a vibrant learning environment that makes students want to be in school.

Kevan’s road to the La Grande School District was unconventional. He did not begin pursuing a career in education until after graduating from Bucknell University in 1974 with a degree in animal science. He worked as a chef for a year in Snowmass, Colorado, before entering the University of Oregon where he earned his teaching certificate and later a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, according to a June 17, 2010, Observer article. He then began his teaching career at Ganado High School on a Navajo Indian reservation in Arizona.

Kevan will be sworn in as a new school board member at the board’s Aug. 14 meeting. The unexpired term he will be filling will run through June 30, 2021.