Hartley steps in to lead Vale High School

VALE – Vale High School’s new principal is on the job.

Chad Hartley, a former associate principal at Ontario Middle School, took the reins at the high school in June, replacing Lucas Tackman, who stepped down to take a position as vice principal at Alameda Elementary School in Ontario.

Before his stint as an associate at the middle school, Hartley taught social studies at Ontario High School for 16 years and moonlighted as a baseball and football coach over the years.

Hartley was a three-sport athlete during his high school career at Ontario High School, graduating in 1993. He then played baseball at the College of Idaho in Caldwell.

His wife Erin is a special education teacher in Ontario,

He said he felt drawn to the principal position at Vale High School.

During his years as a coach, Hartley said he had seen all the school districts in Malheur County.

He said he has close ties to the community in Vale. Both his mother and grandfather graduated from Vale High School.

“I’ve always respected the community in Vale and the people that work in the district,” Hartley said.

Hartley, 48, said exceptional teachers and coaches impacted him and that for him, sports had always been a vital part of his life. With sports, he said, there are a lot of life lessons that can be learned and relationships developed.

Hartley said he has been grateful to have been a teacher, coach and now a high school principal.

“It is a privilege to be able to work with kids and families and to help them to reach their goals,” Hartley said. “I love being an educator, it’s exactly the right career path for me, and I’ve never regretted it.”

Hartley said an exceptional teacher at Nyssa Elementary School, Christine Mahilia, helped him when he struggled with reading. That extra time she spent with him, Hartley said, impacted his future academically and gave him the boost he needed.

Hartley went on to become valedictorian at Ontario High School.

He said teachers like Mahilia that believed in him also pushed him and inspired him to excel, Hartley said.

“I really appreciate all the effort she put into me so I hope that I can be someone like that to somebody else,” Hartley said. “That’s why I love what I do as an educator and now as a principal.”

Hartley said he knows being a principal will not be a cake walk. It’ll be a “monster of a job.”

Having been in education for nearly 25 years, Hartley has noticed a lot more pulling at a teenagers’ attention now than ever before.

There is a lot more for kids to do on their phones and online.

“Some of the choices that kids are making now are made much faster,” he said. “Some of the most important choices a kid will make is at the high school level.”

Teaching kids about working hard, communicating, and working with others are the keys students need to learn and build on, he said.

“Those are bedrock principles that can help students find success,” he said.“Working hard, showing up, doing your best, inspiring others and being a good team player – those are things that have always been rewarded in this country and in this area.”

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