Superintendent: La Grande School District, La Grande Oregon



Administrative Position Posting

Position Title: Superintendent

Closing Date for Applications: March 31, 2017

Employment Begins: July 1, 2017

The La Grande School District, with a student population of 2,300, is seeking a superintendent of Schools to replace Larry Glaze, who is retiring after nine years in the position.  The position will begin July 1, 2017.  While not experiencing rapid growth, the district is adding new students each year.  

The Board is interested in a candidate who will make a long-term commitment to the district and its programs.   The District is proud of the progress it has made with its instructional programs and hopes to find a superintendent with the skills to build upon that success.
The District is also proud to be in the process of completing construction projects made possible by a $36 million bond issue.  Enhancements to district facilities have and will include a state of the art CTE building, a new elementary school, and renovations throughout the district.  Once the work is completed, the district will be able to move kindergarten classes back to neighborhood schools.
The Board is proud of its investment in Professional Learning Communities and board members have invested in their own professional growth in order to expand their collective understanding of the factors that impact learning and to better understand the learning process.  In addition, many of those responding to a district survey regarding qualifications and qualities of a new superintendent referred to the importance of offering both physical and intellectual activities for students.  

In looking toward the 2017-2018 school year led by a new superintendent, the board is anxious to continue the district commitment to Professional Learning Communities, to maintain a prudent fiscal process and policy that helps maintain sufficient cash reserves, and to conduct district business with a leadership model that represents consistency, fairness and trust.

The District has finalized a three-year contract with certified, classified, administrative staff, and confidential employee groups.

Knowing and understanding the critical importance of a quality staff, one of the challenges of the district will be to continue aggressively pursuing and retaining the highest quality staff.  

At the same time there is much to celebrate in the La Grande District including a cohesive board that has formed a strong team with the superintendent, a caring knowledgeable, and experienced staff, and a community which believes in its children.  La Grande is proud to be home to Eastern Oregon University and the Board is hopeful the district can build a strong relationship between the university and the school system.  The District is pleased with its strong and growing partnership with Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton and supports efforts to increase offerings in La Grande.
The La Grande School District is part of the Intermountain Education Service District and works closely with the ESD to access a variety of resources including the Eastern Promise Program which is designed to help secondary students access higher education opportunities. 

About the Community

La Grande is a small town located in the Grande Ronde Valley of Eastern Oregon at an elevation of approximately 2800 feet. It has a population of over 13,000 and serves as the Union County seat. It is home to Eastern Oregon University making it a regional educational hub.  La Grande has access to a unique blend of cultural, athletic, recreational and entertainment amenities. You can watch youth, high school or college sports or listen to or participate in music or theatre events at EOU, the Liberty Theatre or Elgin Opera House.  We have two bookstores, an array of bakeries, coffee-shops and restaurants, a movie theater and drive-in theater open in summer.  Our La Grande Farmers Market is open from mid-May to mid-October. We have a number of beautiful parks scattered throughout town, a community pool, and several fitness clubs.

You can ski, hike, camp, fish, bicycle, boat, bird-watch and play golf within an easy drive of La Grande. Explore nearby areas such as Morgan Lake, Ladd Marsh, and Mt. Emily Recreation Area or slightly further ones such as Anthony Lakes, Wallowa Lake, the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area, Umatilla National Forest, and Catherine Creek State Park.  Locals like to fish, hunt and collect huckleberries or mushrooms in season.  Our rivers hold salmon, steelhead and trout. We are within an easy drive of Wallowa Lake and microbreweries for beer and spirits. La Grande was one of the stops on the Oregon Trail and still serves as a cross-road through its location on Interstate 84.

Farming and ranching are important sources of income in the Grande Ronde Valley. Some key employers in La Grande include Grande Ronde Hospital, Boise Cascade and the Union Pacific Railroad.  La Grande has a Walmart, JC Penney’s, Bealls and several grocery and hardware stores.  We are within 2-3 hours’ drive of Walla Walla, and Tri-Cities (Pasco, Kennewick and Richland), WA and Boise, Idaho. Community members often access these areas for shopping, youth sports or specialty medical concerns.

Annual events of note in our area include the Eastern Oregon Film Festival, the Ladd Marsh Bird Festival, the Eastern Oregon Beer Festival, the Cove Cherry Fair, La Grande Crazy Days and Car Show, the Union Grassroots Festival, the Union County Fair, and the Eastern Oregon Celtic Festival. EOU hosts an annual Indian Arts Festival & Spring Pow Wow, as well as the Island Magic Lu’au.

Qualities and Qualifications

  • A good communicator who maintains a high level of visibility in the community, in the classrooms, and at school events
  • A leadership style characterized by inspiration, motivation, empowerment built upon a foundation of valuing and appreciating the expertise and contributions of all staff members
  • An individual who can foster cooperative working relationships throughout the district and who promotes a sense of family in the staff
  • Demonstrates a passion and ability to address instructional excellence, student achievement, and placing student first in all decisions
  • An understanding of professional learning communities and a willingness to build upon the strong program that has been put into place
  • An understanding of the culture and dynamics of rural communities
  • Someone who is not a micromanager but rather has trust and faith in both the administrative team and the staff
  • A strong background in both finance and personnel
  • Someone who understands generational differences within the staff
  • An individual committed to building a strong and effective working relationship with the board
  • A strong instructional leader who clearly understands both regional and state initiatives
  • The ability to communicate with a wide array of audiences and a willingness to listen, accept and respect different points of view
  • A willingness to be straightforward, fair, and consistent
  • Someone who is willing to become actively engaged in regional and state issues in order to keep abreast of emerging trends and issues
  • An appreciation and support for the critical role of early childhood education
  • An individual who understands poverty and can embrace what this community is and understands effective strategies for engaging children and families
  • Demonstrates personal characteristics such as integrity, honesty, a sense of humor, and a heart for children
  • The board prefers to have a superintendent who lives in the district and who will make no less than a 3-5 year commitment to the position

    Board Members

    Merle Comfort, Chair
    Joe Justice, Vice-Chair
    Greg Blackman
    Dayneen Koopman
    Robin Maille
    Danelle Wilson
    Chris Woodworth

    Application Procedures / Timelines /Compensation

    The district is offering a contract in the $125-135,000 range including a generous benefits package including the district contribution to PERS. The contract length is negotiable but the district is anxious to maintain a long-term relationship.

    The district would like to have applications no later than March 31, 2017 however the district reserves the right to expedite the search if it deems it to be in the best interest of the district so those interested in the position should make immediate contact with the search consultant to identify themselves. 

Photo's of the school and La Grande, Oregon can be viewed here. (This file is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.)

The Application Requirements are:

  • Letter of Interest addressing the qualities, qualifications, and expectations outlined in this posting 
  • Current Resume
  • Copy of Oregon Superintendent License or eligibility to obtain one
  • Statement of Leadership Style (1 page)
  • Letters of Recommendation (minimum of 4 preferred)
  • Other information demonstrating success in education

For additional information regarding the position, please contact:

George Murdock
Northwest  Leadership Associates
191 NW Johns Lane
Pendleton, Oregon 97801
Phone: 541-278-4691

Contacts may also be made with Dr. Dennis Ray at

Candidates sending materials by anything other than the U. S. Postal Service are encouraged to contact the consultant in advance at 541-278-4691.  Candidates are reminded materials received in advance of the deadline can often receive a more comprehensive review.   While materials may be sent via E-Mail, a hard copy assures both a better presentation and that everything is included and in order.  

The La Grande School District is an equal opportunity educator and employer and actively seeks minority applicants