Orono High School Names Jeff Aman Associate Principal

Jeff Amans picture featured on the Orono school website.

Jeff Aman’s picture featured on the Orono school website.

Orono High School Names Jeff Aman Associate Principal
Gracie Hornbaker
Editor in Chief

The past year has been full of transitions for Orono High School students. Many have been negative, as they have related to the current COVID-19 pandemic, but some have come as a pleasant surprise to students. This spring, Orono announced that former history teacher Jeff Aman would be stepping into the role of interim associate principal. Not long after taking the position, Orono superintendent Karen Orcutt shared the news to Orono families that Aman would be taking on the position long term.
“Jeff is a highly intelligent leader who places student needs as his highest priority. We have always felt fortunate to have him in Orono, and now even more pleased to be promoting him to our leadership team. He is a person of high integrity and a strong instructional leader. It is our privilege to have him represent Orono High School,” Orcutt said.
Before becoming a teacher, Aman earned his college degree at the University of Portland. Taking a gap between his B.A. and M.Ed., he traveled to Duran, Ecuador where he taught as a volunteer. Aman then came to Minnesota when he attended the University of Minnesota to obtain his M.Ed.
Aman has been with the Orono school district since 2008 when he joined the team as a social studies teacher. With his teaching skills, he brought new opportunities to Orono students when he created the curriculum for Orono’s World History program.
“It was really hard for me to think about leaving the classroom because I just love teaching and I love my students, but I just really was interested in kind of thinking a little bit bigger picture, you know, teachers have a lot to think about but as a teacher I was mostly focused on a classroom and then increasingly became interested in like looking at things from a bigger picture,” Aman said.
Along with Aman, students are also excited about his promotion to associate principal. Aman has been a positive figure in the classroom for many students throughout their years at Orono high school. Students have expressed feelings of gratitude for the comfort they find in having Aman step into an administrative role.
“It’s really nice because even though I only had him for a couple of weeks he still knows me personally and he goes out of his way to make sure to say hi and has a personal connection with the students instead of being scary,” senior Delaney Benke said.

Students and Aman are already on the same page about the image they want the associate principal to have. The overall goal is to broaden students’ view of Aman’s role as a leader.

“I think it used to just be a place where people can see it as a place you just go when you’re in trouble. And yeah, there might be some times where we have to have hard conversations, but I want this to be a place that people come for a whole lot of reasons and problem solving,” Aman said.

A goal made very clear by Aman was his wish to connect with more students. Although he can not connect as closely with students as he did in the past when seeing them in the classroom everyday, he appreciates the interaction he has continued to have with students from past classes and students that are new to him.

“Students that I know have come to talk to me about issues they’re having and then also I’ve been surprised about a few kids that don’t know me that come and have talked to me about concerns, and so I think that they must know that I’m here to solve problems, or help them solve problems,” Aman said.

This new page of Orono administration’s history brings on a new chapter for teachers too. Orono teachers have known Aman as a fellow teacher who has the same daily duties as themselves. In tough times, during this hard year among others, teachers need support from administrative staff. Students hope that not only they grow more comfortable with the administration, but that the teachers do too. Aman understands their lives in ways that not anyone else stepping into the role could.

“I think having a teacher in a leadership role could possibly help bridge the gap between the administration and the teachers themselves, which could be a plus,” senior Jack Stromberg said.

Orono high school students and staff are overall elated by the news of Aman stepping into his new role and have bright hopes for the future.