MEDFORD, Ore. — While the teachers’ strike has come to an end in the Medford School District, the search for a new superintendent continues.
“We’re not just looking for a superintendent of schools, we’re looking for a key leader in our community,” said Medford School Board Chair Jeff Thomas.
Current superintendent, Dr. Phil Long, announced in August he would be stepping down after his contract expires in June. Thomas said the next superintendent will be walking into a district passionate about education.
“You’re not going to come into a district that is bankrupt. They’re going to come into a district where they see that their unions, the district, and their community work together to provide resources for kids,” said Thomas.
The union and district just came together last week after a contract dispute stretched on for months. The district will continue to take applications until the end of March, then the school board will review the candidates in April. While the dust continues to settle from the strike, Thomas doesn’t expect any problems in finding a successor.
“I don’t think it’s going to be an obstacle at all. I think somebody looking to move to southern Oregon is going to look at the sacrifices all staff have made,” said Thomas.
Dr. Long has been superintendent since 2005 and said in his time, it has been economically challenging.
“I think the biggest challenge for us is not having the resources for staffing to do that. Looking ahead, I know that’s going to be the challenge for the next superintendent and the boards that come,” said Superintendent Long.
A key to a smooth transition for the new superintendent will be the ability to transition in with a new long-term contract.
“I think it’s going to be extremely helpful. What we don’t want to do is have somebody come in and then twenty minutes later have to start negotiating with unions,” said Thomas.