Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Superintendent Dr. Douglas Nelson Announces Retirement

Educating Thriving Citizens

August 15, 2007

Dear Colleagues:

This e-mail is to let you know that last night, August 14, I tendered my letter of retirement to our School Board. My retirement is effective at the end of this upcoming school year – June 30, 2008. I wanted t let you know as the media is being informed and I wanted you to hear it from me rather than from the media.

I look forward to working with each of you this school year as we continue to do amazing things for our students.

Attached is the letter I submitted to the Board, and below is a copy of the press release to the media.

I will see you on the 27th at Bend High.




August 15, 2007 Contact: Julianne Repman, Communications Manager, 541.383.6002

Superintendent Dr. Douglas Nelson Announces Retirement
Nelson to retire June 30, 2008, after 38 years as an educator and leader

At 10 am this morning, Bend-La Pine Schools Superintendent Dr. Douglas Nelson announced his plans to retire on June 30, 2008 to a group of more than 60 administrative staff members during a back-to-school training. Nelson will be available for interviews at 11:00 am today on the front lawn at Bend’s High Desert Middle School. High Desert Middle School is located at 61000 Diamondback Lane.

Nelson says that he leaves the Bend-La Pine Schools poised to become the best school district in the state, and a world-class district in which the community can take pride.

“In the last eight years, Doug has helped lead Bend-La Pine Schools through tough financial times for Oregon’s public schools and helped build a financially, organizationally, and educationally stronger school system,” said School Board Chair Nathan Hovekamp. “His success is a testament to his strong work ethic and belief that every child deserves and receives a first class education.

“He will leave the district in a better place than it was seven years ago when he started at Bend-La Pine Schools,” Hovekamp adds.

He says that Nelson has been a champion of reducing class sizes, increasing test scores and student achievement in every subject area, reducing the dropout rate, increasing curricular rigor, adding educational technology to the classroom, and recruiting high-caliber teachers, administrators and staff – to name just a few of his successes.

“There is much work to do in the next twelve months and great initiatives to continue,” Nelson says. “We are in the midst of tremendous literacy and technology initiatives, the delivery of three new schools and more than 170 much needed improvement projects at our schools, and about to take a look at our current school boundaries - to name of few of the efforts we’ll be undertaking this year.”

“My career has been a wonderful journey,” said Nelson, “My work has given me a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, but now it is time to try my hand at retirement with my wife and three lovely daughters.”

Nelson says that he will stay in Bend, work on his golf game during the summer months, his skiing technique during the winter months, and is looking forward to spending extra time with his family - including at his daughter’s August 2008 wedding.

“The timing is right,” he said. “There are many new beginnings and successes to celebrate, in both my personal and professional lives.”

Hovekamp says that a national search for Nelson’s successor will begin immediately, and the community and staff will be asked to engage in the selection process.

“Doug’s early announcement of his retirement will allow us to make a smooth transition while continuing to build on our many school accomplishments,” said Hovekamp. “We wish him nothing but the best, he will be greatly missed.”

Nelson has served as Superintendent of Bend-La Pine Schools, the states seventh largest school district, since July 2000. Prior to moving to Central Oregon, he served as Superintendent of the Pullman, Washington School District from 1989-2000.

Nelson began his career nearly 38 years ago when he gave his first social studies lesson to a group of eager 11th grader students at Washington’s Auburn High School. Since then he has helped shape the future of thousands of students as a teacher, assistant principal, principal,assistant superintendent and superintendent.

A lifelong advocate for public education and furthering the successes of our children, Nelson

earned his Doctorate in Education from Seattle University in 1986, Masters of Education from the University of Puget Sound in 1974, and Bachelor of Arts in History from Whitman College in 1970.

He and his wife, Virginia, have three adult daughters: Kourtney, Karly, and Jenna.



August 14, 2007

Members, Board of Directors
Bend-La Pine Schools

Dear Board Members,

Doing the work about which I am passionate has consumed all of my adult life. This is my 38th year in our wonderful profession, my 19th as a superintendent, and eighth year with the Bend-La Pine Schools. It is a demanding and complex job that I enjoy immensely. It is very rewarding to know that I have positively influenced the education of so many young people.

We have accomplished much during my tenure with our schools because of the quality professionals we have working with our students. We have many good people doing great work. I have been fortunate to be the superintendent leading such an outstanding group of professionals in our schools – and it is they who deserve the credit for our many successes.

It has been a long and satisfying career. However, it is time to pass the mantle of leadership to a successor. Please accept this letter of retirement from my position as the Superintendent of the Bend-La Pine Schools effective June 30, 2008.

Since 2000, we have witnessed profound change in our schools. During a period of severe financial distress, our schools prospered and thrived. We laid the foundation to move our schools and staff toward being a “world class” school district and the best school district in the state of Oregon. When I review what we have accomplished over the past eight years, I am confident that I am leaving the district in a better place than when I arrived, and for this I am especially proud. It is my hope that I have provided the framework and culture for all to excel.

Some things of which we can all be proud:
➢ High quality of people working with and for our students
➢ A strong group of educators leading our district
➢ Positive, long-term direction for our schools with our current emphasis on literacy and technology, as well as our long-range facility work
➢ Improved student achievement in many venues – academically, artistically, athletically, and through service to our community while reducing the drop out rate
➢ Increased rigor and higher expectations in our curriculum
➢ Renewed financial stability as recognized by of our improved bond rating
➢ Management of growth with the tremendous and on-going support of our community
➢ Positive employee relations with our employee groups and staff members
➢ The number of schools being rated either strong or exceptional
➢ National level of success of many student groups
➢ Recognition of staff at both the state and national levels
➢ Improved relationships with COCC that has led to more opportunities for students
➢ Great sense of pride and satisfaction in the work all employees do each day
➢ Revitalization of our Education Foundation to support our efforts
➢ Streamlined processes that make our district organizationally stronger
➢ And so much more

By announcing now, you have sufficient time to conduct a thorough and effective search for a qualified successor. I will continue as the Superintendent of the Bend-La Pine Schools through the end of June 2008. We have so much to do this year with all of our initiatives and our continuing efforts to provide the best possible education for each student, and I look forward to actively leading our schools as we pursue these endeavors.

Thanks to you and all former school board members with whom I have had the pleasure of working; to all members of our staff who have given so much and accomplished so much for each of our students; to the administrators with whom I have worked so closely; and to our community who has been so supportive.

Very truly yours,

Douglas M. Nelson, Ed.D.