Logos Public Charter School co-founder and executive director Joseph VonDoloski has handed over the reins of his beloved school to its elementary principal, Sheryl Zimmerer.
VonDoloski, who has decided to pursue a career as a private charter school consultant, said he is pleased with where the school is at and confident in Zimmerer’s leadership capabilities.
The school has grown from 250 students in 2010 to its current cap of 1,000 students, is breaking ground on a new facility in September, has had the highest graduation rate in the county for the last two years (91 percent in 2014-15 and 90.7 percent in 2015-16), graduated seven students in June with associate’s degrees, and was recently recognized by Oregon Business Magazine as one of the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon.
“I’m like Alexander the Great, and there’s nothing left to be conquered, so I’m going to help other schools do the same,” VonDoloski joked.
“Sheryl is one of the most impressive people I’ve ever met, so I know (the school) is in good hands,” he added.
Zimmerer started as executive July 1 and, since then, has been busy trying to persuade the Medford School District to increase its student cap before school starts, is training her replacement, putting the final touches on the designs for the new facility, hiring additional staff and offering weekly informational meetings to parents.
“I tease that I am in triage mode right now,” she said.
Zimmerer home-schooled both her daughters while earning her bachelor’s in history and, later, her master’s in teaching from Southern Oregon University. After graduating, she worked briefly at McLoughlin Middle School before accepting a teaching position at Logos for its inaugural year. She later earned her administrative license, was promoted to elementary principal in 2012 and served as chairwoman of the school’s board for nearly four years.
Her experience working under VonDoloski, on the board and with the district’s administration has prepared her for the job, she said.
“I believe in servant leadership, and I have a great team of administrators, and I want to keep working with them and keep doing what we’re doing well,” she said.
Logos, the state’s largest non-virtual charter school, targets the area’s home-school population and provides additional support to these families.
“We want to help families invest in their kids, and families want that but are sometimes afraid they can’t do it alone, so we help them with curriculum and teaching and partner with them to provide campus classes, field trips, business partnerships and internships,” Zimmerer said.
This coming school year, Logos will debut its performing arts program and host two productions: “Annie” in the first semester and “The Lion King” in the second. The school also expects to receive about $140,000 in Measure 98 funds, which it intends to use to expand career pathways for all students — not just those pursuing four-year degrees — and create internship opportunities, Zimmerer said.
In the meantime, Zimmerer said she hopes the Medford School District will increase the school’s cap from 1,000 students to 1,200 so it doesn’t have to turn away families this fall.
“We have 100 students currently on our waiting list, and it’s just the beginning of August, so we’d like to get them into our school,” she said.
— Reach education reporter Teresa Thomas at 541-776-4497 or by email at email@example.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/teresathomas_mt.