The Oregon Small Schools Association (OSSA) is proud to announce Bob Lorence as its 2018 Administrator of the Year. Lorence is the principal of Umatilla High School, a position he has had for two years.
Known for his steady demeanor and reserved leadership style, Lorence has helped his school achieve a graduation rate of 82%, five points above the state average. The rate also marks the first time the Umatilla School District has exceeded the state average in every single student group. The Umatilla School District has a high population of students who live in poverty, and the high school’s graduation rate has been historically below the state average.
Lorence’s leadership brought the high school staff together to establish a “no excuses” mindset to work on boosting the graduation rate. They started by using data effectively to monitor individual students and implementing an early warning student system, meeting individually with students to review their academic progress and embracing Wraparound and outside resources to provide a “whole child” support system.
Heidi Sipe, superintendent of the Umatilla School District, said, “Bob understands that rural educators must wear many hats, and he embraces each role he must fill. He is the model of servant leadership and I appreciate all he does for our schools and community.”
Lorence has worked in the district for 27 years, starting out as an elementary teacher, then vice principal and principal of the elementary school. According to Julie Hunt, special education director for the district, Lorence is sincere, dedicated and empathetic, setting high expectations at the school, which has resulted in increased morale. “In looking for influential individuals, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. Mr. Lorence has all three,” Hunt said.
Lorence received his OSSA 2018 Administrator of the Year award at the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) Conference at Seaside on June 20. "This award is a reflection of the hard work my staff and I have achieved together by building relationships and believing in our students' abilities. I set the vision and together we have worked with the students to take pride in their school and to reach for higher goals,” Lorence said.
OSSA recognizes one school administrator each year who excels in his/her leadership position. Criteria include integrity, leadership, commitment to community, scholarship and student achievement. OSSA serves as an advocate for the benefits of rural education and small schools across the state. For more information, visit www.oregonssa.org