UHS Principal Honored with Doug Flatt Memorial Leadership Award

IMESD Superintendent Dr. Mark Mulvihill, left, and Cindy Nicholson, Mid-Columbia Bus Company regional director of operations, present Umatilla High School Principal Bob Lorence, center, with the 2018 Doug Flatt Memorial Leadership Award. (Photo: IMESD)

Bob Lorence, principal of Umatilla High School, has been honored as the 2018 Doug Flatt Memorial Leadership Award winner.

The award was announced at the InterMountain Education Service District’s 19th annual Crystal Apple “Excellence in Education” Awards at the Pendleton Red Lion Hotel.

The Doug Flatt Memorial Leadership Award is named for the late Doug Flatt, who was the chief executive officer of Mid-Columbia Bus Company (MIDCO). Flatt lost his life in a tragic plane crash while on business. In guiding the growth and operation of MIDCO, Flatt exemplified the finest qualities of leadership, attention to detail, service to his community, interpersonal relationships and customer service. The purpose of this award is to recognize a school administrator from a Mid-Columbia Bus Company school district who exemplifies the same qualities for which Flatt was legendary.

The award is sponsored by the InterMountain Education Service District (IMESD) and Mid-Columbia Bus Company.

Each year, only one administrator in all of Umatilla, Morrow and Union counties receives the Doug Flatt Memorial Leadership Award. Mid-Columbia representative Cindy Nicholson, regional director of operations, presented the award along with Dr. Mark Mulvihill, IMESD superintendent.

In his comments at the award ceremony, Mulvihill said Lorence is noted for his calm, steady demeanor and a reserved leadership style. When Lorence assumed leadership of Umatilla High School in 2016, the school was known as student-centered, but also had poor academic performance, in particular a graduation rate consistently below the state average. The school is in one of the poorest school districts in Oregon, with a population of students who experienced difficulty in meeting state standards.

By using data effectively to monitor students, meeting with them individually and embracing Wraparound and outside resources to provide a “whole child” support system, Lorence improved the graduation rate to 82 percent, five points above the state average. This is the first time the district has exceeded the state average in every single student group.

“Bob Lorence deserves to be recognized for his dedication and hard work in Umatilla. He is passionate about student success and courageous and relentless in his decision making,” said Mulvihill.

Lorence has worked in the Umatilla district for 27 years, first as an elementary teacher, then as an elementary vice principal and principal before his current job as high school principal.