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Civics 101

Fresh perspective By Brenna Wiegand As the football team practices outside the window of his new office, Paul Peterson is gearing up as Silver Falls School District’s Interim Superintendent for the 20192020 year. Peterson was superintendent of Scappoose School District from 2006-2011 then spent seven years as superintendent of the Northwest Regional Education Service District, serving 123,000 students over 184 schools and 20 school districts. Prior to 2006 Peterson taught English, was an assistant principal and then went to Klamath Falls where he was in turn IT director, business manager and personnel director. “I’m so grateful to have that experience; there aren’t a lot of superintendents who have that business manager experience,” he said. Last year Peterson returned to Scappoose as interim superintendent to help the district through a rough patch.

Silver Falls School District hires interim superintendent

“Challenging times call for us to look within and dig deep sometimes; to refocus on what’s most important and intentionally look for and celebrate the joy in our lives,” Peterson said, “and in our work, that’s the children and the chance we have as educators to be a part of improving their lives.

to find someone who knows the ropes and what it takes to run a district.” The board contracted Oregon School Boards Association to administer the hiring process for the 10 and ½-month position and are strongly considering using its services again in the much more involved process of finding a permanent replacement for Andy Bellando, who retired in July.

“If we do things right and focus on kids who are Silver Falls School District’s experiencing poverty or other Interim Superintendent Paul difficulties we can, in the Peterson. SUBMITTED PHOTO course of one generation, change the trajectory of their lives and “There’s a cost involved, of course, but of their future families – that’s a huge there’s a lot of hand-holding and they responsibility and an honor.” do a lot of the legwork,” Edmonds said. Peterson grew up in Ferndale, “They facilitate community forums, gather Washington, in a family of educators. information and bring it back to us.” He and wife Tracie have two teenaged children. Twenty-one people applied for the interim position. The school board, “We especially like his relevant experience,” teachers, community members and other Silver Falls School District Board Chair Jonathan Edmonds said. “It was important administrators narrowed the field to 10.

“OSBA collected that information and sent it back to us,” Edmonds said. “We then narrowed the field to six and by the time we got to that point two had bowed out.” The goal is to have a permanent superintendent in place several months before the end of the upcoming school year. “We’re looking for someone who can help us through what I’ll call a healing process; there clearly was some division among the ranks over the last several years,” Edmonds said. “I don’t think we’re that far apart but I think what we’re looking for more than anything is someone who will bring us all back together.” Meanwhile, the district is in the middle of contract negotiation with the Silver Falls Education Association. “There’s all this stuff,” Edmonds said. “We have a fairly different board than we did even a year ago and I think as a result we need somebody who’s got a




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Our Town Community News serving Silverton, Mt. Angel & Scotts Mills.”