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MailTribune.com
  • Ky. educator on track to lead Medford schools

    Brian Shumate would succeed retiring Superintendent Phil Long pending successful contract negotiations
  • The Medford School Board has named Brian Shumate, assistant superintendent for Academic Achievement K-12 of Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Ky., as its top pick for district superintendent.
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  • The Medford School Board has named Brian Shumate, assistant superintendent for Academic Achievement K-12 of Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Ky., as its top pick for district superintendent.
    The board interviewed Shumate, 48, and one other finalist in executive sessions Monday at Frau Kemmling Schoolhaus Brewhaus in Jacksonville. It was both candidates' second interview with the board.
    Shumate was every board member's top choice, said Board Chairman Jeff Thomas.
    "He is a guy that can drive a plan to execution, and the board believes he is the right guy for this job and this community at this time," Thomas said.
    The board will begin negotiating a contract with Shumate immediately but will not vote on his employment until the next board meeting on Monday.
    Once his appointment is official, Shumate will replace Superintendent Phil Long, who is retiring June 30 after nine years as head of the district. Shumate is expected to start work July 15.
    "Brian has been an educator for 27 years," said Thomas at a press conference Tuesday. "His accomplishments and his commitment to student success have made him the enthusiastic choice for everyone on the board."
    Shumate earned his doctorate in educational administration from the University of Louisville and, since 2012, has been one of six regional assistant superintendents in his district of more than 101,000 students, 6,500 teachers and 172 schools.
    In his current position, Shumate supervises four high schools, four middle schools, 15 elementary schools and one alternative school.
    Shumate also served in the district as a high school liaison for five years, a high school principal for six years, an assistant principal for seven years, and a math teacher and football and track coach for seven years.
    Shumate's wife of 27 years, Dana, also has worked for JCPS for 27 years and currently holds the title of coordinator of business involvement. The couple have two children, Kaitlin, 24, who is wrapping up her second year of medical school at the University of Louisville, and Colin, 20, who is studying secondary education at Western Kentucky University.
    Shumate said his district has done work with Portland-based nonprofit Education Northwest for the last several years, giving him the opportunity to follow the various education renovations being implemented statewide.
    Shumate said he was attracted to Southern Oregon, in particular, because of its natural beauty and the community's commitment to the schools.
    "After researching Medford, Medford public schools and the community, I became convinced that this is an outstanding situation," he said. "This school district is on a very solid foundation. Of course, there are improvements that can be made, and we'll get started on those right away."
    As his first act of business, Shumate, a self-described "numbers guy," plans to assess the data available and evaluate the district's systems at the central office and school levels, both operational and instructional.
    "The first thing we have to do is make sure everything we do, including every dollar we spend, is aligned with the goals the board has set," he said.
    "As I do that systems analysis, I'm going to ask central office staff and principals, 'Tell me about your systems. Tell me about your systems for implementing Common Core, for assessing students, for collecting and using data to make informed decisions about kids. What do your intervention systems look like?'" he said. "You'll hear the word systems a lot from me."
    Improving graduation rates also is a priority for Shumate, who would like to see every senior graduate with a "credential diploma" that would include some type of articulated credits, industry certification or postsecondary option, giving them "a better shot" at being successful.
    The board will meet in executive session either today or Thursday to negotiate a contract for Shumate. According to the job advertisement for the position, the district is willing to offer the superintendent up to $200,000, depending on his or her level of experience.
    "That's what market is for a superintendent of a district our size," Thomas said.
    Louisville's The Courier-Journal listed Shumate's salary as $155,494. In 2012, Long's salary was $145,247.
    Tuesday afternoon, Shumate was introduced to several administrative officials and given a brief tour of Jackson Elementary School.
    The board's interview with Shumate Monday lasted four hours and was an opportunity for each of the board members to ask questions and address individual concerns, Thomas said.
    "I feel very confident that we've made the right choice, and I'm excited about what he and his wife could bring to our community," he added.
    Reach education reporter Teresa Thomas at 541-776-4497 or tthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/teresathomas_mt.
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