In the first of several moves to determine which staff and students will fill the new K-6 elementary school in Fitchburg, the Oregon School District named Kerri Modjeski as the school’s leader on Monday.

Modjeski, currently the principal at Brooklyn Elementary School, will continue in her duties there through the 2019-20 school year – her ninth as principal there – before heading north July 1 to be the first principal at the first OSD school in Fitchburg.

In a district news release Monday, superintendent Brian Busler called Modjeski “instrumental” in planning for the school as one of the co-chairs of the design team and said she “continues to be involved in the construction process as the school moves forward.”

“We know that Kerri will miss BKE (next year) and BKE will miss Kerri,” he said.

Modjeski started in the district in 1995, teaching at BKE, Rome Corners Intermediate and Oregon Middle School and later working as an administrative intern at OMS and BKE. Busler said Modjeski’s experience with children in a wide range of ages makes her “uniquely qualified” to lead the school, which will initially serve grades K-6.

Busler said that Modjeski had told him the role at the new school seemed to be one that would “bridge (her) experiences across grade levels,” and she offered to co-chair the design team.

Modjeski said throughout that process, her interest in working with students in a wider age range “continued to grow.” BKE and the district’s other two elementary schools are K-4.

She said she’s “very excited for the new adventure” but also “humbled to have been part of Team BKE.”

“It is an amazing school filled with terrific people who will continue to shine in the name of kids (and) I’m happy the transition plan allows me to continue to work at BKE,” she said in an email to the Observer on Monday. “It has been my honor to have served so many kids and families in my time here. It has also been fun to hire former students and work with children whose parents sat in my classroom. Next year will start a new adventure filled with new friends and new faces.”

The district is in the midst of collecting ideas to name the new school, with the school board set to pick two to five finalists for students to choose a winner next month.

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at scott.delaruelle@wcinet.com.