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Mikalson top choice for Bend-La Pine schools chief


The seven-member Bend-La Pine Schools Board of Directors named Shay Mikalson as their top candidate for the position of superintendent during Tuesday night’s board meeting.

Mikalson has been the assistant superintendent of secondary programs for Bend-La Pine Schools.

“We are fortunate to have had a very deep and visionary pool of finalists to choose from. Their expertise and dynamic skill sets certainly made the decision a difficult one,” said board Co-Chair Nori Juba.

“Throughout the process, Mikalson demonstrated a clear vision for educational outcomes, a compelling plan and collaborative skills that will ensure that every one of our more than 17,000 students achieves a world class education that prepares them for life after high school,” Juba said. “We look forward to continuing to move our students and staff forward at Bend-La Pine Schools under Mikalson’s leadership.”

Mikalson has worked at Bend-La Pine Schools since 2012. He was originally hired as the executive director of instructional technology and curriculum. He has nine years of administrative experience, including two years as superintendent for the Redmond School District. He was principal at several schools, including Obsidian Middle School in Redmond. He also has six years of teaching experience, and has spent time as a math teacher, coach and adjunct professor.

Juba said the board will complete a site visit, begin the background check process and initiate contract negotiations with Mikalson in the days to come.

Juba thanked fellow board members and members of the search committee for their tireless work over the last three months, meeting with community and school teams dozens of times.

“Your commitment to this process will benefit the staff and students of Bend-La Pine Schools for years to come,” he said.

Mikalson will succeed Ron Wilkinson, who retires on June 30. Wilkinson has served as Superintendent of Bend-La Pine Schools, the state’s sixth-largest school district, since July 2008 and has been with the district since 1998.

Juba called Wilkinson “a passionate public educator” who has been an exceptional service leader for students and staff for the last 43 years. “I have greatly enjoyed working with Ron to move the district forward.”

Wilkinson’s career highlights include: 2012 Superintendent of the Year for Oregon, past president of the Oregon Association of School Executives, member of the Oregon Superintendent’s Vision and Policy Task Force, officer of the Confederation of School Administrator’s Board of Directors, and member of the Higher Education Action Team (HEAT) for central Oregon, to name a few.

Locally, Wilkinson is a member of City Club of Central Oregon, is a Leadership Bend graduate and a two-term United Way of Central Oregon’s board of directors member. In addition, he teaches a section of the administrative licensure program in Central Oregon for the University of Oregon.

Wilkinson’s career includes 35 years in Oregon wrapped around eight years in Washington. Wilkinson returned to Oregon in 1998 as Bend-La Pine Schools’ Director of Human Resources, became Deputy Superintendent in 2001, and superintendent in 2008. Prior educational experiences include 15 years as a middle school principal in Oregon and Washington, five years as a high school assistant principal, one year working for an educational consortium school improvement project, and five years as a junior and senior high school teacher.

In other action Tuesday night, the board picked Silver Rail as the name for the district’s new southeast Bend elementary school, choosing it over three other name proposals from an advisory committee. It also approved the charter school application for the Bend International School.

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