'We didn't know how good we could be'
For the past year, Superintendent Michael Musick has led the Lake Oswego School District toward greatness. Musick has not used his time as interim superintendent to coast, but rather to continue to push for 100% graduation rates, academic and emotional supports, passage of the LO Learning Levy and implementation of bond projects.
Musick was named interim LOSD superintendent for the 2018-19 school year in January 2018 after serving four years as assistant superintendent for school leadership; he replaced Heather Beck, who left Lake Oswego to become deputy head of school for the Canadian International School in Singapore. Musick will be replaced this summer by Lora de la Cruz, an area superintendent and learning community director for the Aurora Public School District in Colorado.
On Monday night, Musick presided over his last school board meeting as superintendent, and school board members took the chance to
honor and thank him for his service.
"We're going to miss you. You've been a tremendous superintendent," said outgoing school board chair Bob Barman. "We can both look back and say we left this place in better hands than when we got it, and I want to thank you for that."
School board member Liz Hartman thanked Musick for his five years of service to the district. "You have been an excellent teacher to the board and mentor to our teachers. You have changed the way we looked at student progress, and we needed to change the way we were doing things," Hartman said. "We didn't know how good we could be."
Student school board representatives were also influenced by Musick's leadership. "I'd like to thank you for making me feel welcome on the board and providing all of the necessary supports,"student representative Anna-Marie Guenther said. "(You're always) really willing to listen to my ideas and my passions and guide me in ways that I can use them to help the district."
Student representative Penelope Spurr agreed, citing an example of when Musick took time to explain to her how bond funding works. "It really helped me broaden my perspective from that of a student who wants things, to someone who thinks more reasonably about how we actually fund things," she said. "You really listen to people, and that has influenced me so much. People these days really want to be heard, but I think it's really important to listen to people. You're a really great example of that."
As the district says goodbye to Superintendent Michael Musick, the Review asked him to reflect on his tenure.
The Review: What have been some of your favorite memories from the past year as superintendent?
Musick: There are so many great memories that I will leave with, but what stands out has been all the collective work we have done creating systems and programs that have provided LOSD with the foundation that will enable each and every student to feel safe, welcome and be truly ready to find success in their career and college journey.
The key was all the work leading up to and asking our voters to vote yes on the Learning Levy. This has been an 18-month journey starting with asking our stakeholders what our students will need to be successful. From this data and following the research, we develop a list of priorities and programs. In the next few weeks, we will be hiring over 40 teachers who will be specifically focused on: supporting students who have been historically underserved and as a result, underperformed in our district; and implementing the STEM and Career/Technical Education programs that our students need to compete in the world economy.
The Review: What have you learned from your time in Lake Oswego?
Musick: There is so much, where do I even begin? What makes LOSD so amazing is the commitment to excellence that our teachers, staff and instructional leaders demonstrate each and every day. With that said, LOSD is now in a place where "All Means All" can and will happen. Ensuring these commitments along with the upgrades to our school facilities within our bond program and athletic facilities upgrades have been extraordinary learning experiences for me.
The Review: Do you have a proudest achievement from your time as superintendent?
Musick: At the LOHS graduation, I had a student come up to me and said, "I would not have made it without all of the supports my school has put into place." I am so lucky.
The Review: What will you miss about this school district/community?
Musick: I will miss working with my leaders and principals. Being a part of their development and watching their dedication to a culture of collective efficacy driven by the use of evidence that will now change outcomes for all of our kids has been the highlight of my career. I know that this group will not settle until 100% of our students feel safe and welcome in their schools, graduate, and are truly ready for their next steps in their education and life. What I will miss most is leading and watching this collective work.
The Review: What do you plan to do next?
Musick: My plan is to take a year off. I'm calling it my gap year. It will give me a chance to reconnect to family and friends.
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