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Rogue River will need a new schools chief

The Rogue River School District will have to find a new superintendent and high school principal.

Dave Orr, who added the superintendent's job to his duties as high school principal last fall, will retire at the end of the school year, said School Board Chairwoman Trayce Geddes.

"He called me at 8 a.m. Friday," Geddes said, "and told me it was his intent to retire as of June 30."

Orr, 55, also served as the school district's curriculum director. Efforts to reach him were unsuccessful Monday, the first day of spring break for public schools.

Geddes said Orr did not say much about what led him to step down.

"We didn't get into lots of the particulars," she said, but she noted that Orr has worked in the public schools for at least 30 years.

Orr came to Rogue River to become high school principal in 2000, after many years in the Central Point School District as a teacher and basketball coach. He took on the superintendent's job and the curriculum director's post in September 2006 (after former superintendent Charles Hellman retired) to help the cash-strapped school district try to save some money.

The arrangement was expected to save the district about $60,000 per year. Geddes said the school board recognized that asking Orr to do two jobs "was an experiment that might not work."

As high school principal, Orr brought "a real progressive attitude and instilled it from the top down through his leadership example," Geddes said.

Orr said in 2006 when he took on the three jobs that he would step away from doing them all if he thought the district's quality of education was slipping.

Geddes said other school districts have combined the superintendent's job with school principalship, but they are generally smaller than the Rogue River district, which has about 1,100 students.

Geddes said the Rogue River School Board will meet in a work session April 12 to discuss how to fill the vacancies left by Orr's announcement.

"I personally believe our district should look into (hiring) a half-time superintendent if we're going to have a full-time principal," she said. "I don't believe we should ask anybody to come into our district to do two jobs who's new to our district."

Reach reporter Bill Kettler at 776-4492 or e-mail bkettler@mailtribune.com.

Rogue River will need a new schools chief