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Medford educator Rich Miles announces retirement

The Medford School District's director of elementary education, Rich Miles, announced his retirement at Monday's school board meeting following a 33-year education career in Southern Oregon.

He plans to stay with the district through June.

Miles started his career in 1979 as a teacher at Jewett Elementary School in Central Point. He taught there for eight years, followed by one year at Southern Oregon State College and two years at Central Point's Richardson Elementary.

Miles was then a principal for 15 years, first at Jacksonville Elementary and then at Medford's Lone Pine Elementary.

He became Medford's director of elementary education and student services in 2005.

Miles' Oct. 7 letter of resignation was given to school board members at Monday's meeting.

The board expressed gratitude for Miles' service to the district and acknowledged the tough decision to retire.

"Making a retirement decision is always filled with all sorts of emotion," said Paulie Brading, board chairwoman.

Miles declared his resignation effective as of Dec. 31, 2011, with plans to contract with the district and finish the remainder of the 2011-12 school year.

"It has been a fantastic career. I couldn't have asked for more," said Miles. "I'm ready to move on and try something new."

Miles said he plans to travel after his retirement, pursue photography and take some downtime. He also is part owner of Togo's Sandwiches in Medford.

"I think people grow from change," said Miles. "I'm one of those people who likes to try new things."

Miles said he has enjoyed all of his jobs in education, particularly because of the people he has worked alongside.

In the future, he said, he hopes the economy will turn around and more money will funneled into education.

"My biggest hope for education is that schools are funded at the level they need to be," said Miles.

Superintendent Phil Long said Miles will be leaving a big set of shoes to fill.

"He has really been critical to the success of our elementary schools these past six years," said Long. "We will be looking at a different structure for our district because we can't replace him."

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