Holstrom to retire to Arizona after 14 years in West Linn

Finishing up a career that has encompassed teaching, administration and coaching sports from basketball to football to golf to tennis, Rob Holstrom, assistant principal of athletics and activities, is retiring at the end of this year. In an e-mail sent to faculty members on April 9, Holstrom announced his plans to move to Arizona to be closer to his daughter Ashley and son Ryne. Ryne was recently hired as the Boulder Creek High School boys basketball coach and biology teacher, and Holstrom will join him as an assistant on the coaching staff.

“After 33 years in education and the last 21 spent as an Athletic Director, I will be looking forward to returning to the coaching ranks as an assistant without all the pressure,” Holstrom said.

Holstrom was originally planning to work for one more year until his retirement, but shortly after Ryne offered him the assistant coach position, he met with his financial adviser to determine how to make it work. Holstrom and his wife, a teacher at Boones Ferry Primary School, will be living separately for a year as she needs to work for a total of 30 years to receive unreduced benefits from the Public Employees Retirement System.

“I’m only 54,” Holstrom said, “so I’m still fairly young to retire.”

This move is one of many Holstrom has made in his career. He has said that he doesn’t enjoy sitting in one position for very long. His career has taken him from teaching math and business at Mapleton, a small high school on the Oregon Coast, to coaching basketball and directing athletics at St. Helens High School — another “home of the Lions” — to administration at West Linn. He has also been a member of the Oregon Athletic Directors Association, serving as its president in 2006.

All the while, Holstrom has enjoyed many fond memories, such as when Mapleton qualified for two boys basketball state championships in 1984 and 1985. That feeling of the school community coming together to support their athletes came back when West Linn won the 2013 state championships. He finds that the relationships he forms with students and athletes are the most memorable aspect of his educational career.

“There are all kinds of special moments,” Holstrom said. “There’s no definite moment; there’s more of a feeling when students and student athletes get it. They know what they’re getting out of the other, non-academic half of their day, the other half of the educational piece when you apply what you learn. That’s when you start learning about life.”

The relationships he has formed with fellow faculty members have also been memorable.

“Rob has a gentle heart and a great sense of humor,” Michelle Olson, counselor, said, “which makes it easy to work with him.”

He’s excited to be closer to his son, “supporting him from the cheap seats,” as well as to his daughter, the CEO of a high-profile Las Vegas cake decorating company, and any children Ashley or Ryne may have in the future.

The process of choosing a new athletic director will begin this summer.