A former school psychologist and behavior specialist from the mid-Willamette Valley will be the Southern Oregon Education Service District's new superintendent.

A former school psychologist and behavior specialist from the mid-Willamette Valley will be the Southern Oregon Education Service District's new superintendent.

Scott Perry, student services director at the Linn Benton Lincoln Education Service District in Albany, was hired late Wednesday by the Southern Oregon ESD's board of directors. He will replace Superintendent Steve Boyarsky, who will retire June 30.

"I had been interested professionally in becoming a superintendent of an ESD, and Southern Oregon ESD has a good reputation," Perry said. "I was very interested in applying for the position when I heard Steve Boyarsky was retiring."

Perry, who has 27 years' experience in education, will be paid a $120,000 annual salary to oversee the ESD's staff of 320 and its programs.

Those programs include special education, educator training, migrant education and instructional technology, school improvement and early childhood development. The agency's main purpose is to provide support services for public schools.

Perry, 54, was the only finalist out of a candidate pool of 19.

Perry said he had been to the Southern Oregon ESD for workshops and other events over the course of his career and was impressed by the agency's innovation in special education instruction and school improvement.

He said he had no immediate plans for major change.

"It doesn't make sense to tear down fences if you don't know why they were put up, so I want to spend some time listening and observing and learn what has made this such an innovative ESD," Perry said. "My main goals are service and establishing a good relationship with the school districts and providing the quality service this ESD has become accustomed to."

Perry began his career as a school psychologist in 1982 in Clatsop County Public Schools in Astoria and has since worked as a behavior specialist in the Linn Benton Lincoln ESD, school improvement specialist at the Oregon Department of Education and elementary principal in Albany Public Schools. He was hired as the director of special education at the Linn Benton Lincoln ESD about 10 years ago. Four years later, he became the ESD's director of student services.

Perry said his hobbies include ventriloquism and song-writing and that he has used both of those skills in his work with students.

He begins the Southern Oregon ESD superintendency July 1 but plans to visit Southern Oregon on several occasions in May and June to visit some of the ESD's special education classrooms and meet staff members from across the agency's service area, which spans Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties. He began making the rounds Thursday at the ESD's Medford office.

"I would like to meet as many as I can before the school year ends," Perry said.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or pachen@mailtribune.com.