I served as Superintendent/Principal, Curriculum/Instruction and assessment lead, Human Resources Director, Federal Programs Director and Special Education Director for Jewell. I came into Jewell in 2009 as the seventh superintendent in 26-months. My predecessor (an interim) was hired to clear up an extensive ethics and fraud case, but his business experience did not include curriculum and instruction. I was the next leg of the school reform process, organizing the instruction and curriculum practices for the district while bringing the budget back into line with revenues. I cautiously waded into an environment where two board members had just been recalled and my predecessor was attacked as “only being interested in doing financial things and not praising the staff enough.” It was a challenging environment. I hoped my leadership would not befall the same fate.
In the first two years we focused on curriculum as that is my specialty, and we made extensive gains in student performance on both local and state measures. We instituted new curriculums in reading, mathematics, science, social studies, library media, music and advanced placement options. We also did extensive trainings in instructional practice and linked trainings opportunities to annual teacher evaluation plans, well before Oregon went to SB90 as part of the ESEA wavier.
When the School Board was determined to cut 1.0 million from the 6.0 million dollar budget in 12 months the staff voiced resentment. However, in the end our students were successful because of our willingness to put students first, take a close look at our curriculum, visit other schools and challenge ourselves, and to maximize student experiences.