McKenzie School District – What’s next?

   McKenzie Schools superintendent Sally Storm's acceptance of a new position has opened up an opportunity for the community to rethink the way educational programs function locally. Occurring this late in the year, her resignation makes it tough for the school board to conduct a full search for a new chief executive.

Should they? The April 3rd special meeting provided an opportunity to remind folks that quick action may not be the best way to react. In the past, the McKenzie district has worked with the Oregon School Boards Association and taken them up on their offer of interim executive search assistance. OSBA is available to help boards find a short term executive who can serve until the board can conduct a full search. They can meet with boards to discuss the process and furnish a list of potential interim candidates. Only meals, mileage and lodging expenses are charged for this single meeting assistance.

The McKenzie district has taken this route in the past. In fact, it has worked out rather well. If you have a chance, talk to someone who remembers when Jim Howard took on the interim role several years ago. Perhaps we were just lucky to get him, but my understanding is he was one of a pool of retired school superintendents who travel from district to district helping communities work through whatever issues might benefit from a fresh perspective. There is also a pool of retired mayors and retired county administrators who do the same thing in their professional fields.

That fresh perspective could be helpful in addressing some of the ideas voiced by people at the special board meeting – from sharing a part-time superintendent with another school system to looking at the district’s Strategic Plan and addressing issues that have been on the shelf since 2011.

Opportunity is knocking. Let’s hope the school board will reach out and welcome community involvement, rather than moving too fast to hire a replacement.


McKenzie River Reflections

McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: Purchase copies online at: Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.