Principal shifts position in district


Caleb Oten


Joe West

An employment advertisement announcing opening for top administrators at Mabton Junior-Senior High School made some employees nervous, until they discovered Principal Caleb Oten and Assistant Principal Joe West will both remain in the School District.

“I love these kids,” Oten said Monday, following the annual college signing ceremony.

Oten, who moved to the principalship in Mabton after teaching in the Sunnyside School District, has been on the job for five years.

“I couldn’t leave,” he said.

Instead, he will be taking a new position in the district July 1.

“I’ll be the director of curriculum and federal programs,” Oten said.

While principal, he has seen the number of high school graduates increase from less than 40 percent to a high of 65 percent of the senior class walking with diplomas in their hands in 2017.

He predicts that the 2018 class of 62 students will have 100 percent success rate.

“That is what we are shooting for,” he said.

On Monday, nearly 30 of the seniors signed letters of commitment to seek college and trade school education and training.

“We still have some out there trying to make up their minds about which school to attend,” Oten said.

Mabton Junior-Senior High School was presented School of Distinction honors for having made huge strides in its graduation rates earlier this school year.

West, who has served as the assistant principal and athletic director, will be moving to the Artz-Fox Elementary School, where he will be head principal.

Their changes come as the district welcomes new school superintendent Joey Castilleja. Castilleja was recently hired.


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