News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Principal accepts new position in district

After nine years as the principal of Sisters High School, Joe Hosang has accepted a newly realigned position for the Sisters School District. He will be working as the director of human resources and also director of curriculum.

In an announcement delivered via e-mail Friday, February 14 to school district staff, Superintendent Curtiss Scholl said, “After the human resource and curriculum director position closed, we screened the candidates and there was one top candidate. This candidate was interviewed earlier this week, and Joe Hosang has accepted the position. We are excited about this move for Joe and the work he will be doing to support the District in this new capacity.”

Hosang will finish out the school year at Sisters High and will assume his new duties July 1, 2020.

“I’m not leaving, just changing jobs,” he said.

In 2011, Hosang arrived in Sisters with his wife, Kim, and two sons, Ethan and Tanner, from a suburb of Detroit, Michigan to take over the principal position vacated by Bob Macauley. In his own words, Hosang said it was quite an adjustment transitioning from his previous job as a middle school principal in a much different community.

“The first couple of years it took some adjustment to get to know Sisters because the community is so involved and helpful, which is so much different from where I came from,” he said. “There was very little community involvement, which is the complete opposite of Sisters.”

In addition to getting adjusted to Sisters, those first couple of years the District faced historic levels of cutting the budget, which meant losing numerous staff positions.

“I think we lost over 20 staff positions in the District in those years,” he said. “That was a very difficult time, but I think it helped me develop from someone focused on data to someone focused more on people and relationships, since trust among staff was shaken.”

Originally attracted to Oregon after visits, beginning in 1990, to a close friend residing in the Portland area, Hosang sought jobs in the metro area as well as Central Oregon. An outdoor enthusiast, Hosang was drawn by the mountains, trails, and other outdoor opportunities.

“I think changing positions within the District is good for me to stay fresh and also may provide a more likely chance of being able to retire here,” he said.

Already the longest-serving high school principal in District history, Hosang felt going many more years in the position may not have been in anyone’s best interests.

“I wanted to stay in the community, but I couldn’t see myself being a principal for a total of 20 years,” he said. “Being in the head position is demanding, and a change like this allows me to still contribute, but in a different way.”

Hosang believes the high school is in a very stable and healthy position, which made his decision easier. According to Hosang, increased funding through the Student Support Act has allowed the high school to add more support services for students than ever before, which has made it possible to act in a more proactive — versus reactive — way to help keep kids on track to succeed and graduate.

“We are probably in a better position as a state than we have ever been in as far as education funding goes,” he said. “I am very proud of what my staff at the high school have dedicated themselves to doing to support all of our kids, especially those most vulnerable to not completing high school. We really are working to have 100 percent finish.”

Hosang’s new position amounts to a re-shuffling of duties. For much of the last decade, Sisters School District contracted with the High Desert ESD for Jayel Hayden to serve as the director of human resources, while Shirleen Cundiff, who is retiring at the end of the year, served as the in-house human resource specialist. Hosang will assume Hayden’s responsibilities and Cundiff’s position will be filled as well.

In addition, Hosang will take over the direction of curriculum from Superintendent Scholl, which fills in a portion of the administration void left with the departure of Mark Stewart as special education director last year. His replacement, Martha Hindman, is contracted at just under half-time.

“With so many state educational initiatives and benchmarks being re-defined it is important to have someone focused on the alignment of our curriculum K-12,” said Hosang.

“I look forward to the human resource responsibilities,” he said. “There is a movement called ‘strategic human resources’ that includes more focus on professional development and work culture than previous models, and I really like that approach.”

Stepping away from the day-to-day workings of the high school is bittersweet for Hosang.

“My advice to whoever takes my place is that they take time to watch and observe and to trust in the staff, who are very capable and dedicated, to help in decision-making and contributing leadership in the building.”

He added, “And I will be here to help them as needed.”

“We are excited for this new opportunity for Joe, who has done a fine job of leading the high school,” said Scholl. “We look forward to using his expertise to support the building administrators and teachers with curriculum and believe he will be a strong asset for our District with the human resources work that he will be doing.”

According to Scholl, the high school principal job will be posted soon and high school teachers as well as students and community members will help in the selection of Hosang’s successor.


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