Dr. Paul Hillyer, Superintendent
1336 Avalon Street • Klamath Falls, OR 97603 • (541) 883-4700
Information from the Superintendent!
Let’s get into a time machine and go back to Klamath Union High School in 2014. What do you see? First, there are 28 different entry points to the school that cannot be secured during the school day. There are hallways and stairways that are dead ends. Students are trying to learn in classrooms that have little ventilation or climate control. These classrooms also have limited technology. Ceilings are old and water stained. Worn out vinyl floors are stapled down to keep students from tripping. Carpets are threadbare and torn. Walls are cracked and paint is peeling and faded.
Community members are very saddened and embarrassed by the condition of their 86 year old high school. Some note how hard it is to encourage anyone to move to the city once they see the high school facility. “Rundown” is a kind way to describe this building. “Needing to be condemned” is a more accurate one. Is this the end of the story?
Now fast forward to 2019 and what do we find?
One of the requirements KFCS asked of DLR architects was to design a facility with a “wow” factor. This mission was fully accomplished: a beautiful new gym and theater were built, a refurbished and pristine Pel Court was accomplished, an amazing grand staircase was erected, a modern new front entry was installed, a breathtaking library was created, a truly beautiful landscape was planted, a new student courtyard was installed, etc. The list of impressive features just goes on and on making the new KU an amazing learning environment and a valuable community asset.
We now have a high school that is safe and secure. It has only one unlocked entryway during the school day -- a secure office entry where visitors are identified before going into classroom areas. Card reader access is found across the campus so that only people with permission can enter the building at any time day or night. Also noticeable are top-quality alarm, camera and notification systems to further enhance school safety. Added to this is a completely seismically retrofitted campus.
Then one sees the active learning that is taking place throughout the building. This is facilitated by state of the art technology in every learning space. Also seen throughout the school are many collaborative learning spaces that students use continually to work with their peers in a college campus-like atmosphere. Teachers are also working together in special office spaces that have been built for every subject area so they can work as learning teams. Technological access to other learning facilities (such as colleges) through synchronous technology is built into every classroom.
The comfortable and extremely attractive building makes school enjoyable for students. They are extremely grateful to the community that provided this for them. Students display this appreciation by dramatically improving their attendance in school (by more than 10%). They also show it by helping the custodial staff keep the building beautiful.
Now one finds a community that is no longer embarrassed by the building their children attend. They are proud of this new high school that shows their commitment to education and to their children. No longer do they discourage visitors from seeing their high school. Now they encourage them to do so.
They now have the most unique high school in Oregon – with its beautiful blend of the old with the new.
The completion of the KU project is more than a hundred-year milestone for the district. It is also a necessary building block in our community’s future. Without the successful completion of this project, there would have been very little chance for Klamath Falls to grow and improve. This beautiful new building now makes this possible. It presents a loud and clear statement of hope and optimism about the Klamath Falls future.
Many people need to be thanked for making this a reality. The building of this community asset was a team effort. Five years ago, having a first-class high school facility seemed very unlikely, if not impossible. Today we can pinch ourselves and find out that we are awake. A dream has come true!
With the holidays being in full swing, I wanted to take the time to thank each and every one of our teachers and staff for all you do to ensure that the students of the Klamath Falls City Schools "Do their best work and become their best selves." The bright futures that lie ahead of them are because of you and all your efforts to help them toward success.
There are wonderful improvements happening in our schools and I am grateful for the patience, determination and compassion that I have seen in so many people through the journey that we travel together. As we stay the course and begin a new year may we do so on an even stronger foundation than we did in 2018 and may our focus always be on striving for improvement and success in all we do. Impacting children's lives each and every day is an opportunity that we all share and I know that we will make the most of it!
For everyone in Klamath Falls and the surrounding communities, I invite you to learn more about what we are doing in our district, in our schools and in our classrooms. I know you will be pleased and excited by the strides being taken on a daily basis to make our district one of which we can be even more proud. It is truly an honor to work with so many individuals and organizations who support our work.
I look forward to continuing our efforts when each of you returns to school in January, but in the meantime, please enjoy a safe and restful winter break.
Dr. Paul Hillyer, Superintendent
Dr. Hillyer has been an educator for more than thirty years. During that time he has been an elementary and middle school teacher. He has also served as building principal at the elementary and middle level for thirteen years. For twelve years he worked in the Owatonna, Minnesota, public schools. Ten of those years were as their Director of Instructional Services. From the 2005-2006 school year through 2009-2010 he served as Superintendent of the Columbus, Nebraska, Public School District.
In 1998 Dr. Hillyer was awarded a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Iowa State University. It was at ISU that he also received his superintendent training. Other degrees earned by Dr. Hillyer include a Master of Science degree from Northern State College in Aberdeen, South Dakota and a Bachelor of Arts degree at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota.
Dr. Hillyer also received his elementary teaching certificate through his home town of Bismarck, ND, at the University of Mary. He graduated from St. Mary's Central high school in Bismarck.
His wife, Janie, and he have been married for 31 years. They have five boys. His interests include hiking, boating, biking, and church activities.