Canby High School Principal Greg Dinse will retire at the end of the 2021-22 academic year, he announced this week, bringing to a close a career in education that spans almost three decades.
He has led Canby High since 2015, including during both years of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a newsletter announcing his decision Wednesday, he called it a privilege and an honor to serve as principal for the past seven years.
“I am proud of our accomplishments,” he said. “From expanding academic programs to providing engaging and relevant co-curricular activities, Canby High has been a leader in innovation and cultural change, while maintaining time-honored traditions.
“With the unwavering support of our community, we’ve been able to navigate recent challenges, and continue to provide all students the experiences needed to learn, succeed, and prepare for the future.”
A San Fransisco native, Dinse graduated from St. Mary’s High in Berkeley, Calif., and went on to receive his undergraduate degree at the University of California in Berkeley. He later earned a master’s degree in teaching and a continuing administrator’s license from Lewis and Clark College.
But first, shortly after graduating from UC-Berkley, he would begin a 22-year career with the United States Marine Corps and Reserve, including four and a half years of active duty. He worked in intelligence and retired in 2006 as a lieutenant colonel.
Dinse also served as an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Los Angeles before he and his wife relocated to Portland.
He was an associate principal for Tualatin High School before accepting the top job in Canby in July 2015. He replaced Pat Johnson, who himself was retiring after 11 years as principal and 31 years as an educator in education.
“Mr. Dinse has dedicated his life to public service for four decades as a Marine, F.B.I. agent and educator,” Canby High School history teacher Bob Hammitt said. “I am thankful to have worked for him, and the community of Canby has been very fortunate to be graced by his leadership. He has been an inspiring leader for students and staff alike.”
Dinse was an energetic and colorful figure on the CHS campus, a frequent fixture at football games and other schoolwide events. He was also well-known for his tradition of playing the bagpipes on the first day of school and at graduation — usually in a traditional Scottish kilt.
His unique brand of leadership was never more needed or appreciated than during the pandemic, Hammitt said, which derailed graduation plans and other regular traditions that would have celebrated the Class of 2020 — and has continued to impact many aspects of school life in the months since.
“In the last couple of very challenging years for educators in Canby, he has been a rock, holding steadfast to the ethics and values that all educators should share,” he said. “He will be sorely missed by all at Canby High School.”
“I am very thankful for the years Mr. Dinse has dedicated to our students and for his thoughtful leadership at Canby High School,” Superintendent Aaron Downs told the Current. “I wish him the best on his retirement adventure. Fortunately, we will have the rest of the school year together, and I look forward to a strong finish.”
Downs said the search for Dinse’s replacement will follow established protocols, including seeking input from students, families and staff.
“Over the last seven years, Principle Dinse has devoted his time, energy and attention to the betterment of our Canby High School community,” said Canby School Board Chair Sara Magenheimer. “I truly appreciate the work he has accomplished on behalf of our students, staff and families, and wish him all the best in his next endeavors.”
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