By Madge Wylie
The title of this could be “Small Town Boy Makes Good.”
Eric Forsgren has lived in Melba nearly all his life. And what he really always wanted to do was watch, play and coach sports – mostly football. He’s done all that, but now he has returned to Melba as principal of the junior-senior high school. He said that never was his goal really. Following his graduation from Melba in 1991 he’s taken his turn at college – Rick’s College (now BYU Idaho, a four-year school); spent two years on a church mission in Nicaragua; and finished his associate degree at BYU in Spanish. He then received his masters from University of Idaho.
He taught Spanish and P.E. at Skyview in Nampa and served as vice-principal there for four years.
He met Christina, a Florida girl, at college and they married in 1997. They have lived mostly in the Melba area until they bought their current home on top of the hill north of Melba. There they have raised Rebecca a sophomore, Dallin an eighth grader, Laura a fifth grader, Tyler in second grade and pre-schooler, Justin. During this time he has been busy helping in Little League football and baseball to coach where his kids are playing.
When asked why he wanted to be a teacher he said it was mostly the influence of his teachers at Melba. He named Phyllis Ober and Dave Mangum, almost everyone’s favorite elementary teachers. He cited Sandi Moore his English teacher in junior high and high school and Dick Davis, who was principal at the time.
When asked about his vision for the Melba schools under his jurisdiction Eric said he wants to see Melba in the top 80 per cent of the schools in Idaho in all areas of activity, quality and perception by those who test and judge and determine how schools should be rated.
He is looking forward to seeing that students are offered more choices in non-core types of study such as shop welding, nurses’ training, aerospace and other nontraditional offerings.
Third, Eric would like to see the students take more pride in their school and in the community.
He is excited about a grant from Monsanto that will provide a greenhouse and an opportunity for students to plant and develop crops in miniature.
Another opportunity is for students to receive education in fields they aspire to enter after graduation. Often they have as much as a full year of college credits to further their education. These include physical therapy, sports medicine, nursing assistants and dental therapy.
He is a traditional hometown boy who has never left town. He is proud to be from Melba and can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Growing up in Melba has led him to having a community spirit that some new teachers from out of town don’t have. His dad, Hal Forsgren, served in the military for four years, followed by two years in the Guard; then chose to move to his wife’s hometown, Melba. He has been involved in city government for nearly 40 years, serving several terms as mayor as well as serving on the city council. He spent five years on the planning & zoning committee for the city and 12 years as a volunteer for the fire department. Eric’s mother Bonnie spent 25 years working to see that all the elections in Melba went right. She has spent a few years helping at the little library in the park, carried the mail for a time and the last few years has been helping with special needs kids at the school.
Eric is so excited about being in the Melba school system and has only positive thoughts.
“It is like a dream come true,” he says.