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David Douglas leader Grotting named Oregon Superintendent of the Year

David Douglas School District Superintendent Don Grotting has been named the 2014 Oregon Superintendent of the Year by the Oregon Association of School Executives (OASE), which represents all Oregon superintendents, and the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA). 

Grotting, who has served David Douglas as superintendent since 2010, was nominated by his administrative team.  He was selected from among more than half a dozen worthy nominees by the elected leaders of OASE.

“Don’s leadership, transparent communication, passion for student outcomes and relationship building are a revelation for the David Douglas community.  His determination that all students, regardless of ethnicity or poverty, can and will succeed has transformed not only our practices but our culture,” the David Douglas leadership team wrote in their nomination letter. 

David Douglas is a diverse school district.  More than 70 languages are spoken by students as their first language; a majority of students are either an ethnic minority or first spoke a language other than English; and more than 80 percent of students quality for free or reduced-price meals.  “For Don,” wrote the David Douglas leadership team, “these all represent opportunities, not obstacles.”

Grotting is recognized by other leaders statewide for his passion for preventing the “achievement gap” and for being on the cutting edge of incorporating early childhood programs into the district’s K-12 structure.  David Douglas’s Earl Boyles Early Learning Project is a state model for delivering free, pre-kindergarten education within an elementary school.  Superintendents from throughout the state have visited Grotting and David Douglas to learn more about the district’s success in connecting early childhood to K-12.

Grotting’s leadership has resulted in changing the district’s model for English learner (ELL) delivery from a pull-out program to one that serves all K-5 students as part of their regular classroom lessons, which also serves to enhance the language skills of many English-speaking students.  During Grotting’s tenure, student achievement results in David Douglas have continued to improve.

"Don is all the things you want in an educational leader," said Cascade Superintendent Darin Drill, who serves on the OASE Executive Committee.  "He is thoughtful, decisive, cares deeply about kids, and is always looking forward to improve education. Don's ability to think through difficult and complex problems makes him a superintendent that others should listen very carefully to. He is an outstanding leader and a great mentor."

"Don continues to lead the region and the state in addressing early childhood education," Gresham-Barlow Superintendent Jim Schlachter and OASE Executive Committee member said.  "Regarding K-12 education, Don's ability to engage partners and work with other education leaders to improve opportunities for students in David Douglas along with students in other districts has been a key element of the successes we are experiencing in Multnomah County. Don is a team player and genuinely interested in supporting student success throughout the state."

Prior to his superintendency in David Douglas, Grotting served for a decade as superintendent of the Nyssa School District.  He previously served as superintendent, high school and middle school principal, and elementary school teacher in Powers.

Superintendent of the Year finalists are measured against the following criteria:

  • Leadership for learning - creativity in successfully meeting the needs of students in the school system;
  • Communication - strength in both personal and organizational communication;
  • Professionalism - constant improvement of administrative knowledge and skills, while providing professional development opportunities and motivation to others on the education team; and
  • Community Involvement - active participation in local community activities and an understanding of regional, national and international issues.

Grotting succeeds McMinnville Superintendent Maryalice Russell as Oregon’s Superintendent of the Year.  He will be a candidate for the 2014 National Superintendent of the Year, which is sponsored by ARAMARK Education, VALIC and AASA.

Grotting will be honored at the annual Oregon School Boards Association Convention on November 16; at the Oregon Superintendents and Central Office Administrators Annual Conference at Salishan, January 30-February 1, 2014; at the 2014 AASA National Conference on Education in Nashville, Tenn., February 13-15; and at the annual COSA Conference in Seaside, June 18-20, 2014.

don grotting photo