From math teacher to administrator


In her third year as assistant principal at West Linn, Annikke Olson has taken maternity leave as she spends time with her newborn son Diego who was born Dec. 4. In his second year teaching at WLHS, math teacher Kaleb McKern has taken over duties as the assistant principal and so far has enjoyed his time.

“The first few days have gone really well but have also been pretty busy,” McKern said. As a math teacher, McKern taught Algebra I, Geometry, and Advanced Algebra. Now as an administrator, McKern’s responsibilities have been working with attendance along with disciplinary areas for freshmen and seniors.

“Along with all of that I do have meetings, lots of meetings,” McKern said. “But I’m also able to work closely with the counselors and special education staff.” He can also be spotted supervising sporting events such as boys and girls basketball games.

Prior to joining the West Linn community, McKern was tenured in Arizona and taught math for six years. McKern also earned his administrator license in Arizona and then ended up teaching at Ridgefield High School in Wash. for another two years. Though his time at West Linn has been short, McKern has nothing but praise for the environment and culture around the school.

“West Linn has great traditions and a great community. The kids here are all fantastic and being able to coach freshmen baseball has been great because I’ve been able to bond with students outside of the classroom,” McKern said. Not only that, but he has noticed that the parental support is something that really stands out.

“Occasionally I have to call home to parents about discipline issues, but what’s great about it is that they always seem to agree with my decision and support it which makes it a lot easier.”

Moving up from a teacher to one of the administrators is a significant schedule change along with a different type of day at the school. For McKern, the change isn’t all that bad of a thing.

“As a teacher your everyday job is predictable; I decide how it’ll run, what lessons to teach, etc. But as an admin, I never really know what is going to happen,” he said. “One of the best things about that though is that I’ve been able to go into classrooms that I wouldn’t normally find myself in and that’s been a really cool experience.”

Olson has only been here two and a half years but McKern has noticed the impact she has had on a lot of the West Linn staff and students.

“When I tell people who I’m filling in for I’m usually told how awesome Mrs. Olson has been and that I have big shoes to fill,” McKern said. “She’s been great here.”

As an administrator, McKern has been able to participate in the Freshmen Finals Prep Program which has been created by Olson and other staff members to help aid freshmen in preparing for their first ever finals experience.

“I think it’s a great thing because for freshmen who have never been through finals it can be pretty overwhelming. Giving them that assistance will really help,” he said.

When not in his office replying to the numerous emails in his inbox, McKern can be found socializing with students and trying to build a relationship in the short amount of time he has. McKern’s life may be a little more hectic, but for now he seems to be enjoying the opportunity that few are given.