Standing in front of Woodland on the first day of school, tie blowing in the wind, walkie-talkie in hand, and hands on his hips, Kurt Ogren appeared to be just as anxious as the students getting off the buses.
On August 14th, the Board of Education announced that Ogren had been hired as Woodland’s new principal. Former principal, Dr. Arnold Frank had retired in June, but served as the school’s interim principal until Ogren was hired.
During his first few days at Woodland, Ogren followed under the leadership of Frank and learned the ways of the school. One of Ogren’s favorite things instilled in the school by Dr. Frank is the “Woodland Way”, a statement that summarizes the way members of the Woodland community are expected to act. This statement, along with the climate of the school were the main reasons that Ogren chose to apply to Woodland over any other high school.
Prior to his position at Woodland, Ogren previously worked at West Haven High School where he was very involved for 15 years. Ogren worked as a provost (associate principal) for eight years and before that as a health/physical education teacher. As provost Orgen handled all large discipline problems including arrests and investigations that took place inside the school.
As a high school student himself, Ogren looked up to his high school teachers and coaches. In high school he ran cross-country as well as indoor and outdoor track and still believes today that athletics are an important part of the high school experience.
“I think it keeps you balanced, it’s great if you’re focused on one thing, but especially during teenage years that balance is a good thing,” said Ogren. “Research also shows that if a student is involved in two or more activities it is likely that their grades will be higher.”
While Ogren mainly focuses on working with high school students he did have an experience where he worked as an interim principal for a year at a pre-kindergarten through fourth grade school. He enjoyed the position and found it a bit different than being at the high school level because he was actually taller than most of the students.
Coming to Woodland, Ogren had a lot to prove.
“With Dr. Frank, I have big shoes to fill, everybody loved Dr. Frank,” said Ogren. “He created a climate where people have really been able to excel.”
As for himself Ogren hopes to help both students and teachers develop into leaders. He hopes that teachers will continue to take ownership and to be there for the students.
While Orgen is still new to the district his first impressions have been very positive.
“People have been great,” said Orgen. “I’ve met many administrators and teachers as well as staff and everybody has been fantastic.”
Aside from his time spent focusing on being an administrator, Orgen enjoys running and horse racing. He has already signed up to participate in Woodland’s Run for a Revolution. Orgen is also a strong supporter of fundraising for programs such as Wounded Warriors and the Fischer House. Not only is Ogren working to improve Woodland, but also the entire world.