Jefferson County School District 509-J Superintendent Ken Parshall announced his retirement during the Monday, Oct. 12 school board meeting.
He plans to retire June 30, 2021.
"Last fall, Ken came to me as board chair and announced his plans for retirement at the end of this coming June, so he gave us well in advance notice of his plans," said board member Jamie Hurd. "As a board, we talked about a plan to address that so we could make the transition as smooth as possible."
She noted a letter Parshall had written to the board on Oct. 9 that thanked the board for his employment and his plans to retire at the end of this fiscal year.
"As of right now, the board is working on our RFP (request for proposal) for looking for a third party to help us navigate that hiring process, and we'll be moving in that direction the next couple of months," Hurd said.
Parshall addressed the board, thanking them for putting their confidence in him.
"It is an honor to be here and to work with children and staff and families of the school district," Parshall said. "This school district will always hold a very, very special place in my heart. It's a great place for an old guy to finish his career. It's been 35 years, and they have gone by tremendously quickly."
Parshall, age 57, replaced Rick Molitor as 509-J superintendent July 1, 2017. Parshall came to the district in 2015 as principal of Warms Springs K-8 Academy. Prior to coming to 509-J, he was assistant superintendent in the Salem-Keizer School District and was Crook County High School principal between 2000 and 2003.
"When I look back, I have many fond memories from multiple roles – as a teacher, as a coach, as a principal and now as a superintendent, and all of those roles bring joy in a different way," Parshall said.
He said he will remain dedicated to partnering with the board and staff to do the best they can to navigate this school year.
"When I thought about retirement a year ago, I didn't think the year would be filled with this kind of challenge – not just for schools, but for society," Parshall said.
He has not thought much about what is next – besides relaxing a bit and spending time with family and friends. He's not sure if he'll stay in Central Oregon, which he says he loves, or move closer to family.
"It's hard to think about anything other than the work within the district and our schools right now in this difficult time," Parshall said. "The school closures in Oregon have created very difficult challenges for educators and for our families and students. I'm hoping that we can move toward more normal circumstances as we progress through the school year."
Parshall is impressed with the dedication to education that local families have and the strength of the communities of Warm Springs, Madras and Metolius.
"The care and dedication to our children in our community is impressive," he said. "I'm proud of the work our staff has done to improve student achievement. We're doing the right work and have laid the foundation for improved work in the months and years to come."
Board Chair Laurie Danzuka said they have formed a committee that will oversee a superintendent search.
"We'll continue to move along in that process to make sure we can get the best candidates that we can for this position," she said.
Board members publicly thanked Parshall for his respect, executive skills, mentorship, work ethic and advocacy.
"I really want to take this letter and rip it up and not let it happen," Hurd told Parshall. "We all know that you give not just 100% but 200% in this position. We all know that you live and breathe 509-J, and with that is a lot of personal sacrifices, and this community is grateful and indebted to you."
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