Klamath County School District’s human resources team of Mark Greif and Chelsey Tyree swept the Oregon School Personnel Association’s 2020-21 awards last month, bringing home top honors as HR Director of the Year and HR Specialist of the Year.
For Greif, who is retiring this fall, the award tops off a successful, decades-long education career in the Klamath Basin. For the last 10 years, he has worked as the district’s director of human resources. He was a school counselor and special education teacher before entering administration as a vice principal and principal at Henley High School. He started teaching in 1987 as a special education teacher in Klamath Falls City Schools before moving to the county district in 1996.
Tyree joined the district as human resources executive assistant/specialist in 2012, a year after Greif took the reins as HR director. She came to the district after working in human resources at Sky Lakes Medical Center and Klamath Community College. Since joining KCSD, she has taken the lead on developing and updating processes and systems to serve more than 900 employees. During pandemic, she managed employee communication and leaves required due to COVID-19, ensuring all staff had proper paperwork and notification.
Mark Greif: ‘An educator at heart’
In nomination letters to OSPA, district principals and administrators touted Greif’s expert knowledge of school law, bargaining, staff and student discipline, and recruitment and hiring. But, they say, it is his innate leadership skills and ability to mentor, build confidence, and work side by side with administrators that sets him apart.
“Mark is an educator at heart. He grounds his work in relationships he builds with staff and the community,” writes Jenn Sedlock, KCSD’s director of special services. “…Many employees seek Mark out for his guidance and advice because we know he authentically cares about us.”
During the pandemic, Greif worked with employee groups to make decisions that would keep staff employed, and was instrumental in opening child care facilities within the district to support employees with families. He also headed up the effort to organize vaccination clinics for KCSD employees.
“Where he really excels is the human side of the job,” writes Jordan Osborn, principal at Bonanza Junior/Senior High School. “… I am undoubtedly better for having worked under him. Mark Greif is as good as it gets.”
Chelsey Tyree: ‘The go-to person’
Mark Greif describes his executive assistant as the “person in the office who keeps the HR train on the tracks” as well as the “go-to person” for human resources professionals and KCSD staff.
Tyree’s professional and calm demeanor and her ability to support all employees is one of the reasons she is at the top of her profession, her nominators say.
“Chelsey provides encouragement when she senses stress and has a great sense of humor,” says Jenn Sedlock, KCSD’s director of special services. “She treats ALL staff with respect. Every day.”
District HR support specialist Misty Phelps works directly with Tyree. “Chelsey has an easy going, confident, and authentic personality that makes her a natural leader,” she writes, citing Tyree’s ability to maintain positive relationships with all administrators, supervisors, and certified and classified staff.
In his nomination letter, KCSD Superintendent Glen Szymoniak writes, “I have worked in several school districts in three states and have never seen the level of skill, expertise, dedication, and professionalism that Chelsey Tyree demonstrates.”
Oregon School Personnel Association (OSPA) is a membership organization that serves as a statewide hub for Oregon public school employees with personnel administration or related responsibilities. The organization’s goal is to create a strong network to amplify best practices, provide relevant training and help navigate the complexities of human resources in the Oregon public education sector.