Sherwood moves to hire interim superintendent
The Sherwood School Board has agreed that former Hillsboro School District Superintendent Jeremy Lyon would make a great interim superintendent for the 2022-23 school year.
Following an interview and special meeting on Thursday, May 2, the board voted 5-0 to hire Lyon and allow the board chair to negotiate a contract with him pending a formal vote on his hiring set for Wednesday, June 8. (No official votes can occur during special sessions or work sessions.)
Earlier this month, Sherwood Superintendent Heather Cordie announced she would be leaving the Sherwood district for a position as deputy superintendent of teaching and learning for the Beaverton School District effective at the end of June.
Lyon served as the Hillsboro School District's superintendent from 2004 through 2009 before leaving to accept a job in Texas. He most recently worked as a superintendent for the Frisco Independent School District in Frisco, Texas, a large school district north of Dallas.
Board Chair Sue Hekker said Lyon came highly recommended by numerous people and has an incredible wealth of experience.
While in Oregon, Lyon said he learned a lot from both former Sherwood School District superintendents Dan Jamison and Rob Saxton, the latter of whom would go on to become superintendent for the Tigard-Tualatin School District and Oregon Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction.
"But the real thing I learned from them was the power of collaboration," he said.
Lyon said his key priorities during his one-year contract would be to remove any mindset of viewing the upcoming school year as being in a holding pattern or adopting a "wait until next year" attitude.
"We don't have time to wait until next year," he said. "With that said, I think the most important thing right out of the gate is to meet with each of you as board members, understand what your points of pride are, your concerns, understand what your communication style is, understand the things you want to see happen in your community this coming year and then use my position and my talents and skills to meet those goals and outcomes that you want."
Lyon said the district has remarkable leaders and Lyon said he wants to make sure that top talent is retained.
In addition, Lyon said he wants to review with district staff and Sherwood's police chief both safety and security protocols within the district. The plan, he said, is to determine "if there are any gaps, which I doubt there are any, but if there are, we can address them this summer and then, of course, we would be in real time next year looking at those safety and security concerns."
Lyon's former Frisco Independent School District is located six hours south of Uvalde, Texas, where 18-year-old Salvador Rolando Ramos fatally shot 19 students, along with two teachers, at Robb Elementary School on May 24.
(The Sherwood School District recently posted an update to the school's safety and security protocol, which can be viewed at smore.com/6msrg.)
If hired, Lyon said he values listening to people's concerns in the district. He's also a big believer in acknowledging that the key to stability in any district is having a great communicator who can engage with the staff and community.
He said the goal of a good superintendent should be to find common ground between all groups.
As far as delegating authority is concerned, "the buck stops with the superintendent," he said.
Lyon said he expects loyalty, honesty and competency in his executive staff.
He noted that he didn't know if school districts will ever get back to a so-called point of being "normal" following the COVID-19 pandemic, but feels it's important to get back to ways of supporting teachers and staff.
"We need to support them from sunup to sundown because things have changed and there's a lot of issues that aren't simply put to bed by saying, 'We're going to go back to normal.' It is different. It is really different," he said.
Lyon said he viewed the YouTube video of the new Sherwood High School several times, saying while he's built some high schools in the past: "You guys hit a home run. That is just an amazing campus. It's the talk of Oregon really."
Before serving as Hillsboro School District Superintendent, he worked in the same capacity in the Coos Bay School District and served as OSAA president from 2006-07 during the time when the organization expanded school district classifications from 4A to 6A.
The board didn't have any discussion following Lyon's interview but moved on its vote to hire him.
The public is invited to watch Lyon's interview via the school district's YouTube site and provide public comment through email or in person before Wednesday's vote.
If approved by the board, Lyon's 12-month contract calls for an annual salary of $218,179 with his first day of work being July 1.
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