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OAKLEY— Cassia County school officials hired a new principal for Oakley High School to replace David Wagner, who retires in June.

The Cassia County School District’s board hired Ryun Payne during the board’s special meeting in Oakley on Tuesday.

Payne was hired from a pool of 15 applicants. Three of the applicants were interviewed by the board before he was selected.

“It’s an exciting time to be in education. I am elated to work with the community members of Oakley and especially excited to work with the students to find what works best for kids to pave a way for academic, athletic and social success,” Payne said.

He plans to visit with faculty and community members in the coming weeks.

Payne is currently the principal at the district’s preschool center, vice principal at Dworshak Elementary School and special education teacher at Dworshak.

He was hired by the district one year ago. He worked previously at Black Butte High School in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where he was a special education teacher for two years. Before that he was a special education teacher at Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah.

Payne said special education “called his name.”

“I started as a para pro and the hard work of that environment drew me in,” he said.

He also coached soccer and let afterschool programs for students.

“All students can learn,” he said.

Payne thinks leaders should be “visible with the people they lead and always listening.”

He wants to bring his belief in the diversity of learning to the school and help students develop life skills.

Payne attained his first bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University-Idaho in social studies and a second bachelor’s degree in special education from Weber State University in Utah.

He earned a master’s degree in special education with an administrative license from Utah State University. Five of his last seven years in education were spent in leadership roles.

Payne and his wife Lindsay have five children. Their family hobbies include fishing, camping, hunting, hiking and local history.

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