Central Howell School has a Special Draw

Central Howell School teacher Ashley Crisell works on math bar models with a group from her second grade class.

Central Howell School teacher Ashley Crisell works on math bar models with a group from her second grade class.

There’s something peaceful about Central Howell School. From the veteran teachers and staff to the newest team members and students, everyone seems relaxed and comfortable. Many of the students are the children of former students and others have transferred from larger school districts to be part of the unique rural K-8 school experience.

“Most of our teachers and staff have been with us for many years and they’ve watched generations of families come through our doors,” said Principal Dustin Hoehne who is also Principal for Pratum School a few miles down the road. “Things run smoothly when you have great team members who know the students and families so well.”

(From left) Sixth graders Gracie Goemaere, Kathryn Watter and Julie Kuenzi enjoy a 15-minute break from class to walk and talk in the fresh air at Central Howell School.

(From left) Sixth graders Gracie Goemaere, Kathryn Watter and Julie Kuenzi enjoy a 15-minute break from class to walk and talk in the fresh air at Central Howell School.

School secretary Gerry Wiesner is one of the committed team members who has dedicated 23 years of her career to serving families at Central Howell.

“It’s the people who make the school special and it’s nice to see the kids’ kids coming here now,” said Wiesner.

Even Superintendent Andy Bellando met the second grade daughter of a former student during a recent visit to Central Howell.

“It was fun to chat with Charlie Dettwyler because her dad Karl was a student of mine back when I was teaching at the High School,” said Bellando.

According to Bellando, Central Howell draws a large number of students from outside of Silverton with nearly 40% of the school’s students transferring in from the Salem-Keizer School District.

“Parents really like sending their kids here because it feels like a private school,” said Hoehne. who explained that with only 173 students, class sizes are small and family-like.

The students seem to agree.

“It’s so small and you can have really close friends,” said sixth grader Kathryn Walter.”