Former Woodburn School District administrator Dr. William Rhoades was selected to take over the post of district superintendent on an interim basis for the 2019-20 school year.
He was voted into the position by a unanimous 5-0 decision by the Woodburn School Board on Thursday, July 18.
A 1974 graduate of Woodburn High School, Rhoades has a long history in the educational field, including 10 years in Woodburn when he worked from 1997-2007 as an administrator under Superintendents Jack Reeves and Walt Blomberg. He served as director of secondary education and strategic planning and later as a middle school principal, leaving the district to take the role as chief academic officer for the Bend-LaPine School District from 2007-10.
"I learned a lot from Jack and from his model, but also all of the professional development opportunities he provided me," Rhoades said. "He afforded me a real learn by doing experience while I was in Woodburn.
"I really think Dr. Reeves had everything to do with what I think would be big transformation in the school community. The level of strategic planning and vision he brought the community over 20 years ago has continued to be built on by (former superintendents) Walt (Blomberg), David (Bautista) and then Chuck (Ransom)."
Following his stint at the Bend-LaPine School District, Rhoades became the assistant superintendent for the Hillsboro School District for a year before being named superintendent of the West-Linn-Wilsonville School District in 2011. He served in that role for five years until he retired following the 2015-16 school year.
Rhoades returned to administration after current WSD Superintendent Chuck Ransom announced his impending retirement on July 31, allowing Rhoades to serve one more year in the community in which he grew up in.
"We appreciate Dr. Rhoades accepting this position during the transition period," Woodburn School District board chair Linda Reeves said. "His background is a good fit for our organization and he brings a skill set that will benefit our students and faculty."
After graduating from Woodburn High School, Rhoades went on to study at Western Oregon University (Oregon College of Education at the time), where he received a master's of science degree and interdisciplinary studies.
He worked for the Fern Ridge School District as a teacher while pursuing his Ph. D. in education at the University of Oregon.
After his retirement three years ago, Rhoades has stayed busy in the education field, working with several organizations including the Oregon Department of Education, Stand for Children, The Chalkboard Project and Northwest Regional ESD to name a few.
He coaches building principals and district-level administrators in assessment, equity and other student achievement issues. Dr. Rhoades is currently a professor of practice at the University of Oregon in the Educational Leadership department.
"They call it retirement, but I look at it as an opportunity to step back and explore some other aspects of education," Rhoades said. "Teaching at the college level and being involved with some leadership and non-profits, which I wouldn't have the opportunity."
Returning to the Woodburn community, Rhoades said he is excited for the chance to reconnect with former colleagues who are still in the district and work with new faculty members as he helps the school board choose his permanent replacement over the next calendar year.
"Hiring a superintendent is a really important part of the work of boards and school communities," Rhoades said. "I look forward to supporting that process, and hopefully feel like I'm paying back some of what I got from the district.
"I'll certainly be doing my best to move that vision forward to the next leadership," he continued. "I am really proud and happy to be coming back. In many ways it is a homecoming."
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