A veteran educator with experience working with English language learners and students living in poverty will be the next principal of Oak Grove Elementary School, the Medford School Board decided this week.

A veteran educator with experience working with English language learners and students living in poverty will be the next principal of Oak Grove Elementary School, the Medford School Board decided this week.

The board approved the hiring of Jeanne Grazioli, an elementary school principal living in Florida to fill the vacancy left open by Julie Evans, who is the new director of elementary education for the district. Grazioli was previously a principal in the Roseburg School District.

Grazioli was one of 35 applicants and one of eight selected for interviews by a committee of district administrators and School Board member Sally Killen.

"It was very, very stiff competition," said Rich Miles, the outgoing director of elementary education. "But she impressed me every step of the way."

Grazioli is the principal of Oneco Elementary School in Bradenton, Fla. The school outside of St. Petersburg is an urban Title I school with 90 percent of students living below the poverty line and 40 percent who are English language learners.

"She's been in some really tough schools," said Miles.

Grazioli oversaw the restructuring of the school by implementing Professional Learning Communities, the same program Medford secondary educators learned in a two-day workshop in January, and elementary educators will learn this fall.

Grazioli's school became the top performing Title I school in the district and was also able to increase parental involvement in the school, where 90 percent of students belong to an ethnic minority.

The committee interviewed Grazioli via Skype June 9, and met her in person last week when she flew from Florida to tour the campus.

Several Oak Grove teachers, now on break for the summer, attended the board meeting Monday night to learn more about their new principal.

Before her current position as a principal, Grazioli was a teacher of English as a second language in Brazil, a special education teacher and the principal of a middle school and elementary school in Roseburg.

"She has a lot of amazing skills," said Superintendent Phil Long, who brought the hiring committee's recommendation to the board. "She just knocked the socks off of all of us."

Reach reporter Teresa Ristow at 541-776-4459 or tristow@mailtribune.com.