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Retiring pair mean new principals

Two Medford School District elementary schools will have new principals next year after Joe and Patti Frazier ride off into the sunset.

Joe Frazier, principal of Jacksonville Elementary, and his wife, Patti Frazier, principal of Abraham Lincoln Elementary, plan to retire at the end of the school year after nine and eight years, respectively, as principals in the Medford School District.

Patti Frazier started in education 43 years ago as a second-grade teacher in Sams Valley and has since worked as a teacher in Oklahoma and Washington and as an administrator in Oregon.

“I love all the smiles and hugs that start each day, and I love watching the kids learn and grow to have confidence in themselves,” Patti said, adding that these moments are even more special now that she’s leaving. “They’d come to my office and share their notes and stories, and I’d get to celebrate with them.”

Joe Frazier has been an educator for 42 years, teaching in Perth, Australia, and Vancouver, Wash., before moving to the Rogue Valley to be principal at Washington Elementary and, seven years later, Jacksonville Elementary.

“I love what I’m doing, I just love it,” he said. “As much as it pains me, because Jacksonville is the best school I’ve ever had the privilege of working in, I want to spend time with family. And there are so many things (Patti and I) can do if we retire together. We can travel together. We can visit grandkids together. This way we can walk hand and hand into that golden sunset.”

Megan Young, a school improvement specialist to seven of Medford’s 14 elementary schools, will start as principal of Abraham Lincoln on Aug. 9.

Young attended elementary, middle and high school in the Medford School District and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern Oregon University. Of her 14 years in the teaching profession, she’s spent 10 in the classroom and four as a teacher on special assignment.

“I’m excited to be at one building, and be part of a family,” she said. “My son actually goes to Abraham Lincoln so I’ve felt a connection with that school since he’s been there, and I also wanted to grow myself professionally, and I was drawn to the positive atmosphere of the school.”

Fred Kondziela, who currently serves as Hedrick Middle School’s assistant principal and athletic director, was hired to replace Joe Frazier as principal of Jacksonville Elementary.

“That school has a great staff, great students and a lot of family support, and I’m just very excited,” Kondziela said.

During his 19 years as an educator, Kondziela has worked for the Tigard-Tualatin, Central Point, Eagle Point and Medford school districts.

Kondziela has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Southern Oregon University and a master’s degree in teaching from Pacific University, and earned his administrative license from Portland State University.

From 2007 to 2011, he was the dean of students at McLoughlin Middle School before taking his post at Hedrick.

“I feel like I can work with any age level, and while there will certainly be a learning curve, I’m looking forward to the challenge,” he said.

Reach education reporter Teresa Thomas at 541-776-4497 or tthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/teresathomas_mt.