New superintendent to take on human resources duties

Chris Fritsch

Pendleton School District Superintendent Chris Fritsch has only been on the job for one day, but he may have already taken on more responsibility.

Fritsch said Wednesday he will assume human resource duties after budget cuts required the district to eliminate its human resources director position.

Brad Bixler, who held the job during the 2016-2017 school year, was one of several employees laid off by a district-wide reduction in staff.

The former Highland Hills Elementary School principal and Pendleton High School principal was hired to cover the human resources duties left behind by former Assistant Superintendent Tricia Mooney, who took a similar position with the Hermiston School District.

Following the layoff, Fritsch said Bixler found a similar position in the North Bend School District.

With Bixler and Mooney gone, Fritsch said the district’s tentative plans are focused on directing its funds toward the classroom rather than finding a replacement.

At his previous job as the assistant superintendent for the Longview School District in Washington, Fritsch said he had six years of human resources experience.

Fritsch said he and other district staff members will cover Bixler’s human resources duties.

As Fritsch settles in as the district’s new superintendent, he plans to meet with Michelle Jones, director of business services, and Matt Yoshioka, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, to see how budget cuts will affect the district going forward.

Fritsch was hired by the Pendleton School Board in May, beating out three other finalists from across the country.

He replaces former superintendent Andy Kovach, who left the district in April after less than a year on the job. Fritsch’s arrival allows Yoshioka to return to his permanent position after serving as the interim position for two months.

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