Steve Emmert, Principal  

After spending my first three years in college majoring in Psychology and voluntarily working with troubled youth, I realized that my calling was to educate young people.  Education, after all, is one way for people of all ages to create options and to achieve their goals.  As Robert Frost once stated in my favorite poem, The Road Not Taken, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."  Education provides a way for young people to take the road less traveled if they so desire.

Prior to graduating from college, Sandi and I spent a semester teaching high school in Eleuthera, Bahamas, providing our first glimpse into a more global perspective of education.  In 1983, I graduated from Corban University and Western Oregon University and moved with my wife, Sandi, and our son, Chad, to Medford, Oregon to teach high school English at Cascade Christian High School.  After teaching for one year I was offered a job in Sweet Home, Oregon, teaching English and coaching volleyball.  Sandi and I spent the next twenty-two years there educating young people, coaching, working in ministry at Community Chapel and raising our three children, Chad, Ty, and Nicki.  When our children were all beyond their elementary years, in 2000, I moved into the world of school administration working first as a middle school Assistant Principal then moving back to Sweet Home High School serving as their Athletic Director and Assistant Principal.

In spite of having solid positions in Sweet Home education and the deep friendships we had built over the years, after all of our children had graduated from high school, Sandi and I felt a tug and began exploring the idea of moving closer to the Portland area.  I was fascinated with all that I saw happening in Sherwood education and was excited to join the administrator team in the fall of 2006.  Looking back, each step of my journey in some way prepared me for where I am today.

Sandi and I live in Sherwood and love being a part of this community.  All three of our children are happily married, we have one amazing grandson, Jake, and three more on the way.  We work at staying healthy, and we love to read, explore Portland, hike, snow ski, water ski, horseback ride, and spend time with family and friends.  I am one of the fortunate few who loves going to work every day and loves going home every night.

At Laurel Ridge, we value many things, one being intentional preparation.  We believe that preparing our students for high school and the work force is one of our primary responsibilities, so we work on prioritizing and investing time and energy in that task using a proficiency-based system of teaching and learning.

Educational research shows that the teacher and the quality of instruction delivered in the classroom are the most important factors in student achievement.  The most effective way to improve classroom instruction is through structured teacher collaboration, so we are thankful for the collaborative time that occurs on our early release days.  James (Doc) Councilman, a former swimming coach, once said, "Develop a state of mind that will concern itself with everyone on the team, then you will have more than your share of champions, and fewer of these champions will have a distorted idea of their own importance."

In addition, we work to help our students discover their responsibility in bettering our world locally and globally.  At Laurel Ridge, we work to help our students understand and accept one another as unique individuals, to give back to the community in which they live, and to reach out to our global community. 

I appreciate the gift of working with an amazing staff at Laurel Ridge Middle School and a committed group of parents and community members in Sherwood.  Together, we will continue to make great things happen for our young people.