Medford Superintendent to Step Down

Phil Long to step downMEDFORD, Ore. – Medford Schools Superintendent Phil Long will leave his position when his contract expires June 30, 2014.

Long informed the school board of his decision in a letter sent this weekend. Long had been superintendent since 2005 and has served in the school district for 30 years.

“I think we accomplished a lot of the things we set out to do eight years ago, in terms of stabilizing the district,” Long said. “And I’m thinking this is a good transition time for me and for the district.”

The school board had brought up the topic of Long’s contract this year. In a June meeting, board member Kim Wallan moved to terminate Long’s contract immediately, but the issue was ultimately tabled by the board.

Long would not elaborate on what influenced his decision, only saying it was a “personal and professional” decision for him. He did not indicate what he intended to do next.

Long said he made the decision now in order to give the school board enough time to find his replacement. Board chair Jeff Thomas said the board will conduct a “nationwide” search for the new superintendent, and said the candidate should be a community leader who will meet the board’s goals of higher graduation rates and closing the achievement gap.

“As we’re looking for the next superintendent, we as a school board, and me as one school board member, expect even more, and we’re not going to say, hey come in and do what we used to do, we want to know what you will do to push us to the next level, and that’s what we’re looking for,” Thomas said.

The school board will hold a special meeting Aug. 12 at 6 p.m. in order to get public input on the next superintendent. It will be held at the school board meeting room, at 815 S. Oakdale Ave.