Fast growth, new chief for state’s largest charter school


Seasoned Educator with 36 Years Experience
to Lead State’s Fastest-Growing and largest Charter School

SCIO – Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA), the state’s largest public charter school and provider of high-quality at-home education for grades K-11, today announced the selection of Jerry Wilks as the school’s new principal. Wilks, along with ORCA’s state-certified teachers, will operate out of the school’s expanded facilities in Scio.

Wilks previously served as principal of Lincoln Southwest High School in Nebraska since the school opened in 2001. Wilks has been principal of four public high schools in Nebraska and Iowa over the last two decades and brings a total of 36 years experience in education and administration to ORCA.

Wilks has family in the Salem area and, after many years of visiting, was relocating to Oregon when he became aware of the opportunity at ORCA. “I have built my career on educating children and am thrilled at the opportunity to move to Oregon and be part of such a high-quality school,” said Wilks. “Oregon Connections Academy is a state leader in public education innovation and I am looking forward to building on the fantastic success of the school’s first two years. Parent satisfaction levels are very high at ORCA. It will be my job to raise the bar even higher.”

ORCA is a public school chartered through the Scio School District. The school opened in the fall of 2005 and currently serves approximately 1,500 students in kindergarten through 10th grade. Students learn at home under the guidance of a certified public school teacher, along with oversight provided by a parent or guardian who serves as a “Learning Coach.” A recent independent survey of ORCA parents found that 92% gave the program a grade of either “A” or “B.”

About Connections Academy

Connections Academy is a leading national provider of high quality, highly accountable virtual public schools operated in partnership with charter schools, school districts, and departments of education. Connections Academy schools deliver top-quality, personalized education for students that combines certified teachers, a proven curriculum, technology tools, and community experiences to create a supportive and successful environment for children who want an individualized approach to education. In Connections Academy ‘s unique Personalized Performance Learning® approach, students use daily lesson plans and curriculum materials provided by Connections Academy . Teachers develop a learning plan for each student, whose progress is tracked through a proprietary, web-based Learning Management System. In 2007-08 Connections Academy will serve students in grades K-11 in Arizona, California, Idaho, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, and Pennsylvania; grades 4-11 in Nevada; grades K-9 in Colorado; and grades K-8 in Florida and Wisconsin . For more information, call 800-382-6010 or visit