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Medford schools continue administrator shuffle

Two school principals have been promoted to top-level posts in Superintendent Brian Shumate's restructured administrative cabinet at the Medford School District, as the district continues to reorganize and shuffle administrators at the end of Shumate's first year. 

Kevin Campbell, principal at South Medford High School, will be the director of secondary school achievement, and Jeanne Grazioli, principal at Oak Grove Elementary School, will be director of elementary school achievement. The Medford School Board confirmed the appointments in separate meetings last week.

Shumate will also ask the board in an upcoming meeting to approve his recommendation of Amy Tiger, a current North Medford High School vice principal, to serve as the district's director of athletics and student safety.

The appointments complete a restructuring of the cabinet underneath Shumate, who took over leadership of the district in July 2014. The changes mean there will be two additional administrators at the district's central office, along with two half-time staff positions. The overall central office budget will increase by $308,000.

School Board Chairman Jeff Thomas said the appointments are part of the plan Shumate set out when he was hired, which included the goal of raising the graduation rate to 80 percent within two years. Medford’s four-year graduation rate was 65.2 percent in 2014, placing it in the bottom 25 percent of districts statewide, according to the Oregon Department of Education. The board also approved the increased expenses for the added administrators.

"This is not a surprise to the board," Thomas said. "We understood the vision of Dr. Shumate when we approved this."

Campbell and Grazioli will have a more hands-on role in schools than their predecessors because their duties will be more sharply focused on academics. 

“What I have done is tried to have the two positions focused on the instruction primarily within the schools, to be principal coaches and help them build all the instructional systems within the schools,” said Shumate. “I really want them out in the schools the majority of the time.”

The appointees will work with principals on all aspects of instructional programs, including curriculum, teaching, use of data and targeted interventions, said Shumate.

Grazioli returned to Oregon three years ago to become principal at Oak Grove Elementary after working in a similar position in Florida for two years. She’s also served in both teaching and administrative roles in Roseburg, Florida and Washington state.

“Jeanne has got a wealth of experience, not only in Oregon but also in Florida, as a teacher and administrator,” said Shumate. “She had district-level experience in Roseburg. She is highly intelligent, thoughtful, hardworking and student-centered. Jeanne has proven herself as an outstanding instructional leader and a motivator of people.”

Campbell has been in education for 29 years, including nine in California and the last 20 with the Medford district. He’s been a teacher, counselor, a dean at McLoughlin Middle School, assistant principal at South and principal there for the last 11 years.

“I’ve been very impressed with his leadership abilities, instructional knowledge and student focus,” said Shumate. “Kevin is a great culture builder and has created a can-do, high-energy atmosphere at South.”

They will report to Michelle Zundel, who was named Medford's chief academic officer in May. The outgoing principal at Ashland High School, she will oversee the district’s instructional initiatives, including policy development, charter schools and professional development.

Shumate's restructured cabinet includes six positions, rather than four. Other cabinet members include Chief Operating Officer Brad Earl, formerly chief financial officer; Director of Special Education and Student Services Tania Tong, formerly supervisor of students, and Director of Human Resources Sharilyn Cano, who was hired last fall to fill a vacant position.

Openings for principals at Oak Grove and South will be advertised over the next three weeks, said Shumate. He hopes to fill those posts by early July. The principal vacancy at Hedrick Middle School should be filled within two weeks, he said.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.