John Deeder, superintendent of Evergreen Public Schools, submitted his retirement announcement to the School Board of Directors at its meeting tonight. Deeder, who has served 11 years as the leader of the fifth largest school district in the state and the largest in Clark County, says he will step down on July 31, 2017.
Deeder, who began his educational career 48 years ago as a sixth grade teacher, spent a number of years working as a teacher, counselor, coach, principal, instructional leader and assistant superintendent in several Oregon school districts. He joined Evergreen 15 years ago as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, before moving to Assistant Superintendent, then Chief Academic Officer before being named Superintendent in 2006.
During his tenure, Deeder put into action a number of instructional improvements such as implementing all-day Kindergarten at all schools (not just schools qualifying for state aid), increasing supports at the high school level that have dramatically increased the graduation rate, adding instructional positions and reducing class sizes, put into practice a personalized learning model for students and increasing technology-driven instruction to ensure students have 21st century skills.
At the same time, he was challenged to cut budgets during a downed economy, as well as take on the state funding model. Deeder shaped a three year recessionary budget by cutting $26.3 million including freezing his own salary for five years, yet preserving teacher positions, maintaining school facilities, added a new specialty high school and increasing safety and security at schools. He also oversaw the temporary relocation, then rebuilding of, Crestline Elementary, in less than 18 months after the school was destroyed by an arson fire in 2013.
"John is a true champion of all students. He could have retired several years ago, but had important initiatives he still wanted to implement including launching an equity program that involved eliminating elementary school supply lists, and fees for sports and activities at the secondary level. He has also made it possible for the district to open 14 Family and Community Resource Centers to further help remove barriers," said School Board President Victoria Bradford. "And he wanted to ensure labor agreements were in place at the district level, even as the state has struggled to meet the mandate of Basic Education funding."
Deeder has also been involved in a variety of community issues that help further the health of the community and offered options for students and families. He has served on the boards of the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Washington, Columbia River Mental Health, Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, the Columbia River Economic Development Council, the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council, Partners in Careers and the Fort Vancouver Regional Trust, among others.
"Although we have some family travel plans, I will continue to be involved in a number of community organizations, and will remain active -- especially if it involves projects around helping kids," said Deeder.