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Former local educator named superintendent of the year

Tim Sweeney, a former Eagle Point and Butte Falls school administrator and current Coquille School District superintendent, has been named the 2019 Oregon Superintendent of the Year by the Oregon Association of School Executives and the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators.

Sweeney’s selection as Oregon’s superintendent of the year will be formally announced at the Oregon School Boards Association annual conference in November.

“In his eight years as superintendent of the Coquille School District, Tim Sweeney has shown that one person can be the change agent for not just a school system, but for an entire community,” said Randy Schild, Tillamook School District superintendent and OASE president. “As a community leader and a catalyst for early childhood education, he has committed himself to making his small community one of the best places in the state to raise kids.”

Sweeney began his education career three decades ago as a substitute teacher and high school soccer and basketball coach in Medford before moving on to teach at Eagle Point. His first foray into administration duties came in 2003, when Eagle Point named him athletic director of the middle school after he organized volunteers to keep school sports going following budget cuts.

After getting his administration license in 2007, Sweeney accepted a job as Butte Falls’ elementary and high school principal. But when the superintendent quit 10 days later, he assumed that position along with a slew of others, including transportation supervisor and food service coordinator. In Sweeney’s three years as superintendent, Butte Falls High School’s state rating rose from “needs improvement” to “outstanding.”

Sweeney was hired as Coquille’s superintendent in 2010. Since then, the district’s graduation rate rose from 70 percent in 2009 to 90 percent in 2016, with 50 percent of the graduating seniors in 2016 having also taken at least one college class prior to graduating.

Coquille students now have a comprehensive alternative school for grades K-12, an early learning center Sweeney personally oversaw to meet the needs of children up to 6 years old.

Sweeney was named citizen of the year by the Coquille Chamber of Commerce in 2012.

In his nomination of Sweeney, the district’s special programs director, Wayne Gallagher, said Sweeney transformed the district from one of “declining enrollment and scarcity to one of hope for the future.”

“Tim led the change movement by reconfiguring the entire school district’s approach to learning,” said Gallagher. “The Coquille School District is a prime example of a rural school district with limited resources that has been transformed into a shining example of success by a visionary leader.”