Superintendent’s Newsletter

Happy New Year to the MSD community

Marcola School District and community continues to move forward with changes and innovations that are in the best interest of the students we serve.  As I prepare to hand over the Superintendency to another very qualified and innovative leader, I will be leaving with a strong sense of pride for our accomplishments the past 6 years.

We worked together to implement numerous changes that have led to an improved graduation rate, Freshman on Track rate, academic performance rates, and we doubled/tripled our enrollment in the process.

  • After we implemented 5 complete programs of study in Agriculture, Construction, Engineering, Health Occupations and Computer Science, our students have been more engaged in learning and more focused on their careers beyond high school.
  • The implementation of services to support the emotional/social needs of our students have made a tremendous difference in delivering a trauma informed counseling and instructional program.  We all know that students do their best when their physical, intellectual, emotional and social needs are met – we now have services to support needs in all four areas, Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Social (PIES).
  • The expansion of facilities (including a new elementary school) to allow more growth in the Marcola School District and to provide up to date facilities for the kind of education our students need to be successful in careers that require a wide variety of technical skills.  Currently, we are building a new CTEC building on the farm we purchased to provide more space for project based learning and our Farm to School/Community program.
  • I will never forget the numerous meetings (some very contentious) as we had to change our Mascot.  The process ended up being a positive experience for our kids. They took ownership of deciding they would now be “Mustangs”.  Our pride for extra-curricular activities and the students active involvement in embracing our new Mascot has made a huge difference in school spirit.
  • We are currently preparing for our second system-wide accreditation.  MSD was the 2nd district in Oregon to earn a system-wide accreditation – something I recommended our district do to identify our values, our goals and our strategies to meet our goals. We now have a strategic plan that identifies our community’s values and shared beliefs for a quality education.
  • Together, we started a virtual charter school, now called TEACH NorthWest (TNW).  Initially, we started the charter as a safety net for students who needed credit recovery or a different kind of education outside of the brick and mortar traditional program.  TNW has provided MSD extra revenue as the charter continues to grow and now has more students than does MSD. In addition, TNW has helped numerous MSD students with credit recovery and alternative options to succeed.

Our accomplishments in the last 6 years are truly amazing and I am so proud and honored to have had the opportunity to work with an outstanding group of students, staff and community.  As I prepare for the transition for hiring a new Superintendent, I never fear that what we have accomplished together will suddenly end. Marcola School District currently has two very innovative and experienced administrators who are invested in the continuous improvement efforts we started 6 years ago.  In addition, the staff (both certified and non-certified) have provided excellent leadership and support to implement and sustain the positive changes we have made during my 6 years as your Superintendent. It does take a whole village to improve the quality of education our children deserve. Thank you for all your support the past 6 years, I will be leaving in the summer with so many fond memories.

Marcola School Board Work Session for the Search of a New Superintendent

We hope you will consider attending the MSD work session to begin the process for hiring a new Superintendent.  The school board has hired an outside consultant to assist in the search and hire of the next chief executive officer. The consultants would appreciate your feedback at the work session on Monday in the Multi Media room at 6:30 pm.  If not you can go to our web-site and complete the online survey.  JFYI – I will not be attending the Superintendent Search meetings, I believe it’s important for people to have the freedom to express their opinions about past, current and future superintendents without my presence.

CTEC Building and Farm to School/Community Program Update:

We are building a new Career Technical Education building on the farm we purchased from Curt Irish.  Curt has supported us 100% and has donated thousands of dollars to make sure his property is used for a Farm to School Program.  He has been an amazing person and neighbor who supports CTE and education in general. Currently, we have been meeting with our architect and our CMGC (Construction Manager General Contractor) and we now have a design in place.  We have also met with Jaime Porter with the Rainbow Water District to make sure there will be no problems with the community well located on the farm property. In the next two weeks we’ll be meeting with Lane County to make sure we are meeting all the codes for a new educational building.  In February, I will have a community meeting to discuss the design and construction phases toward completion in late December of 2020. Although, my last day is June 30, I am always willing to help in any capacity with the completion of our CTEC building. Stacey Whaley, our High School Principal, Kelly Fisher our FFA and Agriculture teacher and Andy Rice our Construction and CTE coordinator have attended all the meetings for the completion of this project.  With or without me, this project will move forward in a positive way.

Again, I Happy New Year and thank you all for your ongoing support, together we made changes that will continue to have a positive impact on the kids we serve each and every day.

If you have questions or suggestions please don’t hesitate to email me. Please continue to check our website for updates on calendar events and information in general. We are looking forward to a great year ahead.


Bill Watkins
Marcola School District