Three Local School Admins receive State Recognition

by Placerville Newswire / Mar 27, 2018 / comments

[Serena Fuson. Img: Superintendent Stephen Wehr and El Dorado High School Principal Chas Prior]

The El Dorado Union High School District (EDUHSD) is proud to have three administrators honored at this year’s regional Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Administrator of the Year Awards Ceremony. Stephen Wehr (Superintendent), Steve Volmer (Assistant Superintendent, Student Services), and Chas Prior (Principal, El Dorado High School) were all presented with awards at the March 9th Gala event in Lincoln, CA.

Stephen Wehr was recognized as the ACSA 2018 Region Administrator of the Year through his work as Superintendent at the El Dorado Union High School District in Placerville, CA. What makes Wehr unique is that he has a breadth of professional experience. He’s been a middle and high school social science teacher, coach, athletic director, assistant principal, dean of student services, high school principal in two districts, assistant superintendent of human resources and superintendent in his 34 years. He is humble, quiet and committed to students above all else. He describes his greatest professional time was when he was assistant principal at Center High School because this was when he found ways to connect with disconnected students. He quotes William Glaser, and describes how he was able to get into the “kids quality world”. This was a different experience from all others in his career.

Dr. Marcy Guthrie, Superintendent of the Mother Lode Union School District, stated “For 34 years Stephen Wehr has been a positive, student focused educator and leader. He describes his beliefs articulately. He views, ‘Education as one of the most significant vehicles for our nation’s future. As education is where students learn how to learn, learn how to think, learn how to care for each other and the greater community. He knows that the students he taught probably do not remember all of the social science but they remember how they were treated and inspired to be learners.’ Stephen is about relationships, with students, staff and community.

The stewardship of this vision of learning is rooted in his work with the district around the Skillful Leader, Professional Learning Communities and Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS).”

Dr. Ed Manansala, El Dorado County Superintendent of Schools, shared “Superintendent Wehr is an exceptional administrator whose experience, leadership, and genuine concern for student success has played a significant role in the development and implementation of many high quality education programs for students of the El Dorado Union High School District. A valuable quality that sets Superintendent Wehr apart is his ability to collaborate with staff, peers, and elementary school district superintendents. He was instrumental in developing academic and behavioral placement criteria for incoming ninth grade students, providing a multi-tier system of core instruction, academic and emotional support, and intervention.”

Steve Volmer, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, was recognized as the Silver Star ACSA Pupil Personnel Administrator of the Year. Steve has assisted our schools in developing plans to enhance school climates and staff/student relationships. Steve initiated a process that enables the Board of Trustees to effectively converse with/listen to diverse groups of students at each of our high schools about their school experiences. He has brought in outside assistance from nationally recognized authorities to help the district implement brain-researched strategies to lower anxiety, reduce distress, and regulate emotions. He has also guided and supported our schools in their efforts to establish effective suicide prevention and postvention procedures and practices.

Steve has been at the forefront of the District’s initiation of Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) and implementation science for the purpose of developing and implementing intervention strategies designed to meet the needs of all students. Steve facilitates a District Safety Committee, working with law enforcement to provide enhanced safety measures for our students and staff, including appropriate safety procedures and plans related to active shooter situations. He has worked diligently to develop and implement processes that ensure our athletic programs are emotionally and physically safe for students, with emphasis on appropriate coaches’ training, coach/athlete relationships, and student/athlete feedback processes.

Steve Volmer has spent the past four decades supporting students and their families as they navigated the high school experience. He is extremely dedicated to his calling and committed to the success of every student he serves. He seeks the best in those with whom he works and is just as committed to providing an emotionally supportive and encouraging environment for all district staff.

Chas Prior, Principal at El Dorado High School, was recognized as the Silver Star ACSA Secondary Principal Administrator of the Year. Through the years, Chas has been recognized as a person of high integrity and vision, with an unwavering commitment to his colleagues and the young people he is entrusted to teach. He possess many traits which make him an effective administrator and he consistently demonstrates a deep understanding of pedagogy, specifically focused on maximizing learning for all students and his purposeful work in building the capacity of the faculty/staff who serve our students.

Having the largest concentration of Spanish speaking families in the District, Chas understands the challenges facing EL students and is committed to supporting structures and staff that provide organized outreach to our Spanish speaking families. Under Chas’ direction ELD offerings have increased, Reading Improvement classes as well as Academic Support classes for EL students struggling in science have been added, and departments are working to create materials and assessments for improved access to learning. Theses increasingly successful efforts have led to growth in the number of events held in Spanish as well as an increase in information designed to support families, student connection to school, and student academic success.

Chas’ leadership facilitates a positive school culture for all who teach and learn at El Dorado High School. Teachers regularly share with me how much they appreciate his commitment to providing them with the resources necessary to do their work well and, upon visiting student leadership classes, it is clear that the student voice is an important part of the fabric of the campus.