2019 – Linda Hugle

Louis F. Schultz Distinguished Service Award

When Linda Hugle graduated high school, she knew she wanted to make the world a better place but wasn’t sure exactly how. She considered many possibilities. The whole world? One region? America? Our state? Our local community? “Think Global, Act Local” resonated at the time. Reaching young minds became her goal and the next 40 years of her life were spent working primarily with teens and leading programs from ESL to TAG to Special Education and from Law-Related Education to Building Resiliency Skills Across the Curriculum to Multicultural Studies in every Discipline. Even the first Freshman Only Day at IVHS, now pervasive nationwide.

Linda has also been a volunteer and community activist since she herself was a teen and benefitted greatly from the wonderful people brought into her life and connections with her community in ways that made her feel useful, even in times when despair made more sense. Linda believed that working alongside adults offered richer experiences to youth too and often brought the community into her schools.

Linda Hugle’s m.o. has been “starting stuff”, initiating programs and in a few years passing them on to others. But her one long-term community connection has been to Women’s Crisis Support Team whose staff and volunteers have always awed her by the work they do for families in crisis. She first became involved after a violent incident at IVHS in the 1980s. She and the students formed an organization called SAVVE that successfully ended bullying and vandalism in the school and community. In fact, when she returned to IVHS after a ten year absence, bullying and fights were still unheard of.

Linda’s latest “starting stuff” program is Exchange for Change, an opportunity (eventually) for all Josephine County teens to have an inter-ethnic, rural-urban summer exchange experience. Thanks to the work of College Dreams, our local Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs, and too many incredible volunteers to mention, the first highly successful pilot session was July this year when an inter-ethnic group of twelve local teens representing all four of our high schools and twelve Portland teens from six schools came together to explore Self, Others and Systems during action packed weeks in each community.

Of all she was able to be part of, Linda is proudest of the schoolwide efforts —Reclaiming the Senior Year—that paid off for North Valley High School grads during her five year principalship. The basic question was: Are our seniors winding down or revving up? We focused on rigor, attendance, college readiness, and behavior.

  • Seniors increased math and science enrollment from 33% to 83%, foreign language from 6% to 28%, and AP enrollment from 54%
    to 95%.
  • Her final year, statewide tests put NVHS at number two in the entire Rogue Valley, behind Ashland.
  • Attrition was 10% in 2005 and fell to one student in 2010, meaning all our September students were still showing up in May.
  • Graduation rates increased from 62% to 89% and college applications from 46% to 86%.

That’s a lot of data but every statistic represents a student’s future. It was hard fought and not always popular with students looking forward to a slacker year.

But of course Linda is most proud of her unquantifiable loving and talented husband Scott Loomis who makes the world’s finest Native American flutes, her daughter Brandy Westerman who is a superstar in the international development field and son Jacob Loomis who is a change leader in international technology. While they change the world in ways different from hers, Linda sits on her porch in Wimer these days, petting Myrtle
and Tikka.

Selected non-profit: Exchange for Change