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Interim principal replaces injured O'Donnell

A White Mountain Middle School teacher will fill in at Shady Cove and Elk Trail schools while Principal Tiffany O'Donnell recovers from serious injuries caused by a motorcycle accident last week, Eagle Point schools officials said.

As interim principal of Shady Cove School in Shady Cove and Elk Trail Elementary School in Trail, Tiffanie Lambert will temporarily give up her job as a special education teacher at White Mountain in White City. In addition to being principal, Lambert will teach special education at Shady Cove and Elk Trail, both on the Upper Rogue in the Eagle Point School District.

The school district plans to hire a special education assistant to help Lambert, especially when Lambert is called away to principal duties.

Lambert will serve in the position until O'Donnell returns to work, though it's unclear when that might happen.

"I don't think anybody knows what her rehabilitation time will be," said Michael Remick, Eagle Point schools human resources director. "We just want her to take time to care for herself and get well. She needs to take as much time as she needs, and we'll take care of the rest."

Eagle Point schools Superintendent Cynda Rickert said all the teachers in the district with administrative licenses or in the administrative license program were considered for the position.

"Besides being an awesome educator, Tiffanie is the only person from that list who has actually served as a principal before," Rickert wrote in a message to employees. "In fact, Tiffanie served as both principal and (special education) teacher at the same time in a small school in Sweet Home before joining us."

Lambert has 11 years' experience as an educator and has an administrator's license, Remick said. She served as dual principal-special education teacher for a year at Sweet Home.

Sheila Gruver, the current special education teacher at Elk Trail/Shady Cove, will take Lambert's place at White Mountain while Lambert is away, according to Rickert.

O'Donnell, 44, suffered multiple fractures in her right leg, a ruptured bladder and a broken pelvis after her Suzuki motorcycle was struck Sept. 13 by a 1999 blue Nissan Frontier pickup attempting to make a U-turn on Highway 62 near Trail.

She remains at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland and has been undergoing a series of surgeries to reconstruct her right leg and pelvis, said Medford resident Kathy McMeen, O'Donnell's friend.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or e-mail pachen@mailtribune.com.