A visit to North Central High School by several University High School parents and teachers put Erik Ohlund over the top for the job of principal at U-Hi.
“The people who worked with him had nothing but good things to say about him,” said Wally Stanley, Central Valley School District’s personnel director.
The people who visited North Central, where Ohlund is assistant principal, came back with a laudatory report.
Indeed, North Central’s principal, Sandy Fink, who hired Ohlund seven years ago, said he will be sorely missed. One of Ohlund’s greatest strengths, Fink said, was his ability to help the staff develop goals and a vision for the school.
“I think Erik has been a real guiding force at North Central,” she said. “Obviously, we hate to lose him.”
Ohlund, 46, was chosen Monday to head up U-Hi. He replaces Dennis Hill in August, although he plans introductory visits with U-Hi staff and parents in June.
Ohlund will earn about $68,000 a year.
Hill, who has been U-Hi’s principal since 1987, has been reassigned as assistant principal at Central Valley High School.
Ohlund also was a finalist last year for principal of East Valley High School.
He said he’s excited but realistic about his new job.
“There’s a lot of hard work to do,” he said.
While at North Central, Ohlund promoted interdisciplinary study and is excited about four new classes there that combine a variety of subjects. One of them, primarily for sophomores, mixes chemistry, geometry, English and world history in creative problem solving.
This type of study prepares students better for life and work, said Ohlund, who plans to sit down with teachers and staff this summer to discuss U-Hi’s strengths and possible growth areas.
Prior to becoming assistant principal at North Central, Ohlund spent 16 years in the Coeur d’Alene School District - 13 years as a teacher and coach at his alma mater, Coeur d’Alene High School. In 1985, he became athletic director at Coeur d’Alene High.
Ohlund has a master’s degree in education from Whitworth College and a bachelor’s degree in education and American government from Idaho State University.
He lives in Spokane with his wife, Julie, and has two grown daughters, one of whom teaches at Lakeland High School in Rathdrum, Idaho.