After nearly 40 years in education, the Washougal School District’s human resources director is ready to say goodbye to work, but not to learning.
WSD Human Resources Director Marian Young announced in January that she plans to retire at the end of this school year.
Washougal High School Principal Aaron Hansen will assume the new title of assistant superintendent for human resources and student services.
During the course of her 39-year career in education, Young has been a math teacher, assistant principal, principal, mentor, consultant and human resources director.
She said she has relished the variety of her positions, which have provided her with perspectives that have assisted her ability to understand and connect with different groups of people.
“I think it’s given me credibility with people that I work with,” Young said. “I’m able to be at a bargaining table with a group of teachers and they’re talking about how hard they work, and I know. I’ve been there, done that. Have I used my own money to buy supplies for school? You bet. Have I worked every weekend? You bet. Having been a principal, that’s given me credibility with the principals that I work with now. I get where (they’re) coming from, and I understand what (their) issues are.”
During her time in the Washougal district, Young has led staff recruitment efforts, negotiated contracts with staff associations, supported principals in ensuring that highly effective teachers are in every classroom and shepherded the recruitment and hiring process for administrators, including Washougal School District Superintendent Mary Templeton.
“Marian Young is one of the most effective school leaders I have ever worked with,” Templeton stated in a news release. “Marian has been an integral part of our success as a district by providing guidance, strength and wisdom for our team. We can always count on her to treat people well and keep us laughing with her amazing sense of humor. Marian’s wealth of experience as a classroom teacher, building leader and central office administrator have allowed her to play a key role in helping us see Washougal rising to be one of the top performing districts in the state. We will miss her tremendously and wish her well on her next journey.”
Young grew up in Henley, Oregon, an incorporated community four miles southeast of Klamath Falls. She knew she wanted to be a teacher when she was 6 years old, holding “class sessions” for her stuffed animals in her bedroom with a small blackboard.
“My mother talked to me a lot about her teachers and her high regard for them,” Young said. “At that time there were not a lot of professional role models for girls. I saw these women that I very much admired, and that’s what I wanted to be.”
Young earned her teaching credentials from the University of Oregon, then began her career as a math teacher at Ontario High School in Ontario, Oregon, where she worked for 15 years.
She was then hired as assistant principal at Ontario Middle School, also in Ontario, and was there for four years. After moving to Portland, she became the principal at Woodlawn Elementary School in the Portland Public Schools district, where she spent another four years. She was then hired as human resources director for East Portland’s Parkrose School District, a position she held for seven years.
After that, she spent three years as an independent educational consultant, helping school districts implement teacher evaluation. She also mentored new principals and taught coursework in educational administration before coming to Washougal.
She’s loved the variety of experiences that she’s had with teachers, students, parents and other educators.
She said she has savored the intellectual and logistical challenges that she’s constantly been presented with. When she was a teacher, for example, she never reused lesson plans. Instead, she looked forward to the process of generating an even better plan for the following year.
“One thousand decisions a day are coming across (your desk), whether you’re trying to decide how to handle a squirrely (student) or trying to figure out the best way to present (a) mathematics topic,” she continued. “I loved having to be ‘on,’ be thinking, be problem-solving all the time.”
As for the future, Young doesn’t have a lot of set plans. She knows that she’ll spend more time with her family, which includes two children and five grandchildren, and continue her lifelong pursuit of knowledge.
“The thing that I know about myself is (I have a) love of learning,” she said. “I want to explore art, music, world languages and anywhere else that all of that takes me. It hasn’t take shape yet about what that looks like.”
Washougal High principal assumes new title
Hansen’s new position expands beyond the current human resources director role to include oversight of the district’s nursing services, K-12 counseling program and 504 compliance process. Hansen will also and serve as the district’s equity officer.
Hansen has been the Washougal High School principal since 2011, and previously served as the school’s associate principal and athletic director.
He began his tenure with Washougal schools at the former Excelsior High School, where he was a math and science teacher. Prior to joining the Washougal district, he was a math and science teacher at Rogers High School in Spokane, Washington, for eight years.
“Aaron brings valuable experience supervising and evaluating a diverse teaching and support staff to this role, as well as experience working through complex challenges with students and families at the high school level,” Templeton stated in a press release.