An award-winning La Grande School District educator is set to retire.

Island City Elementary School Principal John Tolan has announced he plans to step down on June 30 after a 39-year career with the La Grande School District. The educator, who joined the school district in June 1980, has been Island City’s principal since 2002.

“The La Grande School District has been a wonderful district for my career. I was able to learn from so many outstanding teachers, principals and superintendent’s over my 38-1/2 years with the district,” Tolan said in a letter to Superintendent George Mendoza and the La Grande School Board.

The educator said the decision to retire was a difficult one.

“My wife, Debbie, and I agonized over the decision for a few years but now seems like the right time to retire from the district. The school district is in a wonderful position to continue advancing student learning with our supportive school board members, effective superintendent, outstanding school leaders and dedicated teachers. I would not have wanted to work at any other district other than La Grande,” Tolan wrote.

See complete story in Friday's Observer