Reaction: Bayer will be 'super'

Sandy High principal chosen as district's next superintendent
by:  Aaron Bayer

Early in high school, Aaron Bayer knew his passion. Since age 16, the newly selected Oregon Trail School District superintendent has felt committed to education.

Bayer is finishing up his position as principal of Sandy High School before he begins his new role as superintendent July 1.

Despite the hurdles he faces in funding for the 2011-12 school year, Bayer is confident he can lead the district through a tough economy.

Bayer follows outgoing Superintendent Shelley Redinger and was selected by the Oregon Trail School District Board of Directors after an extensive selection process that began with 27 applicants.

'Shelley will be a hard act to follow because she has moved mountains in this district, but if anyone can follow in her footsteps, it's Aaron,' said Marie Teune, outgoing Sandy High School Booster Club president and Oregon Trail Education Foundation board member.

Teune described Bayer as a great communicator, strong listener and approachable leader who is always willing to talk with parents.

'One of the things that has made him so successful is that he's authoritative, but highly respected,' Teune said. 'He is going to be missed at Sandy High School, but it's good to know he's not far away.'

Lanning Russell, president of the Wy'East Education Association and a social studies teacher at Sandy High School, met Bayer when he became an administrator at the high school in 2008.

'He is a natural,' Russell wrote in an email.

According to Russell, Wy'East Education Association was satisfied with the superintendent search process and appreciated that teacher input was considered.

'He is dedicated to the students, his profession and his staff,' Russell wrote. 'But I have mixed feelings about his moving to the superintendent position. I recognize the move as a very strong plus for the district, and I'm crestfallen that Mr. Bayer will no longer be my principal here at the high school.'

Bayer said his focus as superintendent will be on communication, relationships and community -- 'critical elements to being in education.' He said he was committed to providing students education of the highest quality and opportunities to be successful and competitive in a global economy.

'At the end of the day, I hope families, students and staff realize I have a genuine interest, care and desire to serve them,' Bayer said.

Bayer cited Oregon's fiscal outlook as his greatest challenge coming into the superintendent position.

The Oregon Trail School District was projected to have a $3.5 million shortfall in the 2011-12 budget. With a $2.7 million target budget reduction in view, the district still would be $800,000 short of balancing the budget.

The district has been working with the Wy'East Education Association to determine teacher pay and benefits for this upcoming year.

'Continued collaboration and good choices should keep us in the strongest possible position to serve our students and the Oregon Trail community,' Russell wrote in his email.

Often, Bayer said, another big challenge of administrators and superintendents statewide and nationally is remaining humble and recognizing who they work for -- the students, families and staff.

'I continuously concern myself with the challenge of remaining humble and serving,' Bayer said.

Bayer is working toward a doctorate in education focused on organizational development through Grand Canyon University. He lives in Sandy with his wife, Lisa, and children, Ally, Brynn and Keenan.

'Aaron has shown exemplary leadership at Sandy High School,' said Shelley Redinger, outgoing superintendent. 'He has built a strong rapport with staff, students and parents, and I am positive he will serve our entire school community with the same passion and skills.'