Scappoose school board hires new leader
UPDATED 4/12/18 — The Scappoose School District board of directors announced its selection for a full-time, permanent superintendent on Friday, April 5, wrapping up a months-long effort to hire the district's new administrative leader.
Timothy L. Porter, one of four finalists for the job per a district announcement last month, was chosen to be the next superintendent.
The board of directors voted unanimously to approve a contract with Porter Monday, April 8, during a school board work session. Prior to approving the contract, the school board announced its choice to hire Porter in a press release Friday, April 5.
The school board last met in a closed executive session for the purpose of discussing staff hiring on March 25. The board made no public decisions following that meeting and had not met in a public session again until Monday night.
Oregon public meeting law requires governing public bodies to make decisions, such as the final hiring decision or decision to extend an offer to hire to a school district's top administrator, in a public meeting.
"If the majority of the board says, that's our person, that looks to me like there's been a decision made by the school board — that needed to be made at a public meeting," said Jack Orchard, an Oregon public meetings and records expert with the Portland law firm Ball Janik LLP. "Why make it so hard? I don't understand why there's some mystery about this."
"A decision to formally offer the position to one candidate is a final decision, even before acceptance," the Oregon Attorney General's Public Records and Meetings Manual further states.
Board Chair Phil Lager explained the final decision to hire Porter was made on Monday, April 8, and prior to that date, "the school board and Porter are working on the terms of a tentative agreement," Lager said, referencing the April 5 press release.
The first line of the April 5 press release, however, reads, "Completing its search for a new Superintendent, the Scappoose School District Board of Directors is pleased to announce Dr. Timothy L. Porter has been selected to be the District's next Superintendent effective on July 1, 2019."
A full copy of the press release from the Scappoose School District is available here.
On Monday night, the school board voted to approve the contract with Porter with little board discussion.
The details of Porter's contract, which are subject to disclosure under Oregon public records law, were not made available in the agenda packet, and there was no opportunity for public comment on the contract prior to its approval. A records request for the contract, which would include the length of his employment, salary and other information, was not fulfilled by the Spotlight's press time Thursday.
Porter is expected to begin working with the district in July.
Porter has been the superintendent for the South Umpqua School District since 2016, where he has served a student population of about 1,500. Prior to that, Porter also served as the director of technology and student achievement for two years at South Lane School District in Cottage Grove, and served as curriculum director for five years with the Sweet Home School District. Porter also has 11 years of classroom experience teaching math and science curricula in Oregon and California.
Porter has a doctorate in educational leadership from George Fox University and a master's degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.
In March, the school district hosted the four finalists at a public meet-and-greet, where they met with staff, toured school facilities and mingled with community members. The finalists, which included Interim Superintendent Paul Peterson, also held secondary interviews with the school board prior to Friday's announcement. Peterson withdrew his name from the applicant pool in late March after the second round of interviews.
"Tim had a strong showing at all phases of the search in the face of stiff competition from a strong group of finalists. In the end he emerged as the right fit to be our next Superintendent," Lager stated in the press release. "We're excited to get Tim onboard as Superintendent and start our journey toward the future of Scappoose."
The school district has been under Peterson's leaders-
hip since last May. His inter-
im contract concludes June 30.