LEBANON — Wayne Reposa has resigned as principal of Seven Oak Middle School, taking paid personal leave for the remainder of the year.
Reposa left his principal's position Tuesday, the first day of the new semester. Superintendent Rob Hess said he has not been replaced and that Assistant Superintendent Bo Yates will be providing leadership for the school.
Reposa joined the district as principal of Pioneer School in 2010. He was transferred to Seven Oak as associate principal in fall 2012 and took the lead role there in 2015.
Hess did not give the circumstances of the resignation or say how the district plans to handle a successor. Reposa said only, "It is my personal belief that matters could have been handled differently and I was not able to continue with the current circumstances."
Information from Reposa about crowded conditions and growing stress and conflict problems at Seven Oak prompted a tense discussion with the Lebanon School Board at the board's meeting in December.
At the meeting, Hess, and some board members, questioned Reposa's class size figures, saying the data they had didn't match. They said the ratio of teachers to students appears to be adequate and noted while the building has 668 students, its official capacity is 750.
Reposa disagreed, saying while he has 25 teachers on his roster, prep periods mean only about 22 are teaching at any given time, which drives up class sizes. Official capacity figures also don't take into account narrow hallways filled with lockers, nor the fact that the cafeteria holds just 225 students when 270 seventh-graders are expected next year.
"This is by far the hardest year I've ever had," he told board members.
The board is considering retaining some sixth-graders at one or more elementary buildings next year to help with the problem, but is seeking both short-term and long-term solutions.
Community forums have been scheduled to talk about options for rearranging student populations to ease the crowding.
Reposa said he'll be seeking work closer to his home in Eugene and plans to pursue his doctoral degree in education.
He said he's proud to have helped lead the college prep program known as AVID and to have been a district facilitator for the behavior system known as PBIS during his time with Lebanon. He also helped secure a college prep "Gear Up" grant, started Seven Oak's first clothing closet, added back electives in performing arts and foreign languages and oversaw the return of sports to the middle school.
Reposa sent a letter dated Monday to families, students and staff, saying it has been his privilege to work at Seven Oak. He said despite the school's many successes, it's not where he believes it needs to be and asked for participation from parents to make it stronger.
"With increasing class sizes, higher educational standards, and more students with lagging skills, this is a priority that needs immediate attention," he said. "This is why we brought our concerns to district leadership and school board for help."