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New Oaktree Elementary principal ready to return to Michigan

May 21, 2014 - Goodrich-On Monday night the school board voted 7-0 to hire Ryan Relken as principal of Oaktree Elementary School.

A Port Huron native, Relken, 38, earned a master's degree, educational leadership and administration, general, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania; master of education (M.Ed.), elementary education and teaching, Northern Arizona University; and bachelor of arts (B.A.), elementary education and teaching, Arizona State University.

"I left Michigan at the age of 23 for a job in professional hockey," he said. "That lasted about a year and I very quickly found myself at Arizona State working to become a teacher. I had the privilege of being a fourth grade teacher and a fifth grade teacher with Gilbert Public Schools in Arizona from 2004-2010."

In 2010 Relken and his family moved to Newport, Ore. where he became principal at Sam Case Primary School. The kindergarten through third grade school has an enrollment of about 600 students. Ryan's wife, Meredith, is a speech pathologist and they have been married since 2002. They have three children, Brendan, 8, Genevieve, 5, and Dylan, 4.

"We are so excited to come home to Michigan and become a part of the community in Goodrich," he said.

The open position was created by the resignation of Oaktree Principal Michael Ellis last December. Ellis was replaced by Interim Principal Jason Wilcox.

Scott Bogner, district superintendent, said about 75 applications were received and nine candidates were interviewed for the job. In addition, beginning in the new school year, Oaktree Elementary School will include second through fifth grades. Reid Elementary will house preschool, developmental kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade.

"Reid will become a true primary center where the needs of our earliest learners are addressed with strategies uniquely designed for that age group," added Bogner.

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