After an exhaustive search, the Medford School Board has hired Brian Shumate to succeed Phil Long as head of the district.

After an exhaustive search, the Medford School Board has hired Brian Shumate to succeed Phil Long as head of the district.

Shumate will resign from his current position as assistant superintendent for Academic Achievement K-12 of Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Ky., and move to Southern Oregon to begin work July 15, two weeks after Long retires.

The board voted unanimously to hire Shumate and approved a three-year contract with the new superintendent at a public meeting Monday evening. Shumate was not present.

During the meeting, each board member was given the opportunity to comment on Shumate's qualifications.

"He is articulate, he's a leader, and he is a great motivator of people," said Board Member Larry Nicholson. "I think he understands his role very well, and he wants to be a servant to the district and a servant to the kids."

Board Chairman Jeff Thomas said Shumate arrived at his interviews well-prepared with a thorough knowledge of the district.

"He showed up with a plan and with data," Thomas said. "Data doesn't have to be scary. It can drive decisions."

Board member Sally Killen called Shumate "a data head with a heart," saying he intends to use data to analyze the district's operations and to make informed decisions for the future.

Shumate agreed to the advertised salary of $200,000 and to pay his 6 percent employee contribution to the Public Employee Retirement System.

"The reason we decided on $200,000 is because we wanted to be extremely transparent to the public," said Thomas. "There are not any hidden benefits that you would find in many superintendent contracts."

Shumate will receive 26 vacation days, $400 per month for district-related travel within Jackson County, $75 a month toward his work cellphone, and the same health insurance benefits promised to other licensed administrators. He will not be entitled to early retirement benefits.

His duties, as described in the contract, include abiding by state laws, overseeing the operation of the district, managing the administrative staff in a way that "serves the district," handling personnel matters, providing evaluations to employees, communicating with the public, maintaining his professional competence and performing additional duties as delegated by the board.

Shumate has been an educator for 27 years, having served as a deputy superintendent, high school liaison, high school principal, assistant principal, math teacher and football and track coach.

He 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.

"I'm extremely excited about the opportunity," Shumate said by telephone Monday night. "This is a great school system. The board has been excellent to work with as have the staff, thus far. I'm extremely honored to have the opportunity to be the superintendent of Medford."

Reach education reporter Teresa Thomas at 541-776-4497 or Follow her at