Last year for CCDHS principal

 

In his nearly two decades at Custer County District High School, Principal Jamie Ogolin has had to make some difficult decisions.

Perhaps none as difficult, however, as the one to call it a career. After 19 years at CCDHS, nine as a science teacher and 10 as principal, Ogolin submitted his letter of resignation to Superintendent Keith Campbell and the Unified Board of Trustees last month. His final day as principal will be June 30.

“It was a tough decision, one that my wife and I agonized over,” Ogolin said. “Obviously, I’m retiring earlier than I would have anticipated.”

In his resignation letter, Ogolin called serving serving the students of the Unified School District a privilege, while outlining the reasons for his abrupt departure.

“The deciding factor actually was the fallout from the decision to reduce the administrative team at CCDHS to half time for the assistant principal, as well as eliminating the assistant activities director position,” he explained. “There’s just too much to be spread out to two-and-a-half people. Our school population will be up by 35 more kids next year, and there’s just not enough help. It’s a big enough hit that it affects what we can get accomplished.”

Ogolin said the necessity of spending three to four nights away from his wife and kids has taken its toll on family relations, as well as his health and other concerns.

“I guess at the end of the day, I’m just not willing to continue that schedule,” Ogolin said. “My wife has been more than tolerant and patient, and I want to spend more time with my family.”

Superintendent Campbell said Ogolin will finish out the school year, as well as log some time in the early summer, perhaps even aiding in the transition of whoever is hired as his replacement.

“In his own words, he’s not going anywhere,” Campbell said last month. “He just felt it was time to do something different. He’s done a great job here, been here for a long time as a teacher and as an administrator. We’ve definitely been the beneficiary of his commitment to our district and our high school. He will be missed. It’s definitely a tough cap to fill. We wish him the best, and hope things work out exactly like he has planned.”

Ogolin praised the faculty and staff he’s worked with over the years, saying he couldn’t have asked for a better working relationship with all of them. As for a legacy he’d like to leave behind, he said it’s simple.

“I would like to be remembered as being passionate about my job, and I loved the kids that I worked with,” he said. “I will forever revere the relationships and loyalty that I have been afforded by the staff of CCDHS. I appreciate the collegial relationships and support of the district administrative team.”

Assistant Principal Vince Gundlach said he’s learned a lot about being an administrator from Ogolin over the years, and is sorry to see him go.

“First of all, we’re just losing a good person,” Gundlach said. “Working with Jamie has taught me to put students first, to always do what’s in the best interest of the student. He’s always positive, always upbeat, and that’s one of the reasons I enjoy coming to work every day, working with the people I work with, and Jamie is one of them. I’m going to miss that.”

CCDHS Senior Beth Sutter, whose mother teaches at the school, said she’s known Ogolin a long time, and he will be hard to replace.

“I’m really going to miss his personality,” she said. “He’s always nice, he’s always funny. He’s always there for the students who need it. He’s really open to new ideas. I hope they bring someone in that’s open to new things like he was. He’s a really great guy, and he’s done a lot of great things for this school. He was an amazing administrator, as well as an amazing person. Whatever he does next, he’s going to do well.” 

As for his plans for the future, Ogolin said it’s a work in progress.

“I currently have no job after July 1,” he said, laughing. “I don’t think my wife is going to let me have the summer or hunting season off. I don’t know what I want to do for the next 20 years, but I still have a lot of energy. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next chapter brings. It’s scary, but also exciting.”