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ESD Superintendent Steve Boyarsky to retire

After five years of leading the Southern Oregon Education Service District's efforts to provide special education services, staff training and other support to school systems in three counties, Superintendent Steve Boyarsky will go into retirement June 30.

The SOESD Board has hired Kerm Bennett, a consultant with the Oregon School Boards Association, to conduct a search for Boyarsky's replacement. The new superintendent, who would oversee the ESD's services to school districts in Jackson, Josephine and Klamath counties, is scheduled to be hired April 22 and in place July 1.

Boyarsky, 59, said he is retiring to spend more time with his elderly parents, of Modesto, Calif., who soon will move in with him and his wife, Mary, an English teacher at South Medford High School.

"My wife and I want them here," he said. "We want to spend time with them and make sure they're comfortable."

Besides, he joked, "I've talked to people who are retired and asked them the one piece of advice they'd give to others. It's, 'Retire as soon as you can. You can't imagine how fulfilling it is.' "

Bennett, the ESD's consultant, has put together a list of qualifications based on information gathered from local school districts, board members and the ESD's 250 employees. The salary for the position is expected to be in the $125,000 to $130,000 range.

It's unclear how many candidates the position will draw because of the state of the economy, Bennett said.

"What we're hearing now is that people aren't willing to leave their districts because of uncertain funding," Bennett said. "That aside, it would be a very attractive job for someone looking to be a superintendent."

The job's pay is comparable to that of a superintendent in a large school system, but the responsibilities are broader, Bennett said.

"When you're a superintendent of a school district, you have a little bit more contact with students," he said. "Decisions are easier to make because they affect only your district. With an ESD, you have to keep all the school districts happy."

Boyarsky has been a part of Southern Oregon's education community for more than 30 years.

His first teaching gig was at Medford Middle High School in 1975 after graduating with a master's degree from Western Oregon University in Monmouth.

He taught in Medford schools until joining the ESD 14 years ago. He was promoted to superintendent five years ago.

Under his leadership, the ESD launched an attendance initiative, hiring attendance officers to visit students' homes after multiple absences from school; started a mentoring program for teachers; expanded the classrooms for severely disabled students and took over Josephine County's early intervention program for students with autism.

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

ESD Superintendent Steve Boyarsky to retire