New Forest Ridge principal started in Alaskan basement

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Marya Kalugin is the new principal at Keizer’s Forest Ridge Elementary School. Kalugin’s teaching career began in Alaska where other instructors were flown in by helicopter. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Marya Kalugin is the new principal at Keizer’s Forest Ridge Elementary School. Kalugin’s teaching career began in Alaska where other instructors were flown in by helicopter. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

New Forest Ridge Elementary School principal Marya Kalugin’s teaching career started out in the basement of a three-story building in Alaska.

“Teachers would come in by helicopter and guide my lessons from point to point. I loved that I was there making a difference,” Kalugin said.

Now in her first assignment as a school principal, Kalugin will be the one guiding lessons for the other teachers, and she lives in Gervais meaning helicopter rides won’t be necessary.

Kalugin takes the reins from Gary Etchemendy, who led the school for nine years and was recently reassigned to Englewood Elementary School. Kalugin taught at Swegle Elementary School and then served as an English language acquisition specialist for the Salem-Keizer School District before taking over at Forest Ridge. She is fluent in Russian and English.

With just a few weeks on the job, she’s been overwhelmed with the community involvement she’s inheriting.

“It’s so unique, and the parent involvement is awesome. I haven’t seen support like this in the past, it’s something I never even dreamed of,” she said.


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