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SchoolWatch: Phoenix-Talent School District's Brent Barry named Oregon Superintendent of the Year

The award also places Barry in the running for the National Superintendent of the Year Award from the American Association of School Administrators.

Posted: Aug 30, 2021 10:10 AM
Updated: Aug 30, 2021 10:11 AM

PHOENIX, Ore. — After a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastation of the Almeda Fire, Phoenix-Talent School District Superintendent Brent Barry has been named "Oregon Superintendent of the Year" for 2022 by the The Oregon Association of School Executives (OASE) and the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA).

The award also places Barry in the running for the National Superintendent of the Year Award from the American Association of School Administrators.

COSA highlighted Barry's leadership for the Phoenix-Talent school community through the pandemic and the Almeda Fire, the latter of which devastated both Phoenix and Talent and left roughly one-third of the District's students, staff, and families without homes.

"In the aftermath of the fire, most Phoenix-Talent school buildings were inaccessible for weeks, and school district facilities were without electricity, phone and internet service," COSA said in a statement. "Nonetheless, Barry rallied his staff and found a way for them to make contact with every family to check on their well-being. Staff also worked in emergency response roles, providing food, clothing, gift cards, language services and disability support to fire survivors."

Within two weeks of the fire, the Phoenix-Talent School District was able to start online learning, including the delivery of hotspots and Chromebooks to displaced families and staff — setting up internet router at motels and RV parks, adding tutoring centers and internet connectivity sites throughout the Rogue Valley. Staff went out to the evacuation center to deliver both emotional support and education help.

The Phoenix-Talent Schools Fire Relief Fund collected and distributed a total of $2 million to families displaced by the fire.

Barry has led the Phoenix-Talent SD since 2017, when he was promoted from his role as assistant superintendent for academics and student programs. He was born and raised in the Rogue Valley, and worked as a teacher in Oregon for years before starting his service as an administrator within the Phoenix-Talent School District when he became principal at Orchard Hill Elementary.

Barry will be honored at the 2021 Oregon School Boards Association Convention in November, the 2022 OASE Winter Conference in January, the 2022 AASA National Conference in February, and the 2022 COSA Annual Conference in June.

“The exceptional way Brent dealt with the ongoing COVID pandemic made him an outstanding candidate for superintendent of the year – but it was his incredible leadership during one of the most terrifying events in the history of the state, the Almeda Fire, that showed Brent's true strength of character,” said OASE President Tim Sweeney, superintendent of the Coquille School District. “Brent led his district through the flames, smoke, terror, and shocking aftermath of the tragedy. He stood side-by-side with his students, families, staff, and community and ensured every student in his district had an opportunity to learn. Students from the Phoenix-Talent School District were displaced and spread across the length of the Rogue Valley, but it did not matter where a student was located; Brent and his team found a way to meet not only their educational needs, but all the needs that his suddenly homeless families faced. Truly, Brent is exceedingly worthy of this honor and we congratulate him on his amazing leadership.”

“Superintendent Brent Barry is a steady, calm, and compassionate leader who builds resiliency in students, staff, families, and the community,” said Southern Oregon ESD Superintendent Scott Beveridge. “At a time when 30% of students were displaced by wildfire overnight in the midst of the impact from COVID 19, Brent offered PTSD to serve as a pillar for coordinating emergency community resources, while supporting families' social-emotional health, and students' academic success.”

“Through the challenges faced over the last school year, Brent Barry has led our district with honor, clarity and calmness,” said assistant superintendent Tiffanie Lambert, who nominated Barry for the award. “The pandemic and wildfire have impacted our Latinx communities disproportionately, and Brent continues to speak up for our unheard patrons. He continues to keep the principles of equity in the forefront and works actively to remove linguistic and accessibility barriers.”

Phoenix-Talent school board vice chair Michael Campbell agreed:

"Brent Barry is an exceptional leader and even better person who fosters a culture of caring, compassion, and an unrelenting commitment to student success. In the face of unspeakable challenges, Brent has provided a shining example of balancing community responsiveness with our core mission of educating kids. Today, we take a moment to pause and celebrate Brent on this tremendous honor. He certainly deserves it."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 357526

Reported Deaths: 4284
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55810707
Washington38782324
Marion36837455
Clackamas29779309
Lane27744302
Jackson23059310
Deschutes20336125
Umatilla14492150
Linn12911131
Douglas12118243
Josephine9384196
Yamhill8715113
Klamath8020119
Polk737381
Malheur563677
Benton549431
Coos503794
Columbia382644
Jefferson376052
Lincoln319939
Union319549
Crook291846
Wasco288841
Clatsop244328
Baker203529
Tillamook196932
Hood River192837
Morrow185023
Curry180625
Harney113927
Grant100013
Lake93912
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1523
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 4848946

Reported Deaths: 71328
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148303126527
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3666614183
San Bernardino3586775692
Orange3242885562
Sacramento1596362309
Kern1463481648
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921400
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen754347
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
Mariposa133916
Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
Alpine1050
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