New 'super' discusses goals for school district
Though Ryan Carpenter was only recently hired as the Estacada School District's permanent superintendent, he's anything but a new face in town.
Carpenter has lived and worked in Estacada since 2009, where he began teaching high school social studies before becoming principal of the school in 2015. He was selected as interim superintendent earlier this year. At their November meeting, members of the Estacada School Board ratified Carpenter's contract as permanent superintendent through 2021.
Carpenter said he was "humbled" to be selected for the position.
"It's truly an honor to be recognized," he said. "I love this district. (The opportunity to lead the district) is a really cool challenge that I gladly accept."
Carpenter has many goals for the Estacada School District, including increased student learning and communication with the community.
One of the ways in which he hopes to increase student learning is through the use of professional learning communities, where educators can discuss teaching strategies and student progress. This year, PLC groups meet for two hours each Wednesday — twice the amount of time that they did in previous years.
"Teachers gave us feedback that there wasn't enough time to do this work in a thorough manner," Carpenter said. "We're trying to give our teachers an opportunity to truly work together for two solid hours to really look at assessment data, to really have conversations about teaching practices that were successful and were not successful."
Carpenter noted that, in particular, he hopes to see increased results for students in special education and students who are learning English as a second language.
"I'd like to divide a lot of research and focus on (those student groups) this first year and see how we can better impact those students to get them to perform at grade level and feel connected inside our school community," he said. "We're really holding a magnifying glass to see how we can better serve those students."
In addition to serving all groups of students, Carpenter also hopes to lead the district to increased connection and communication with the Estacada community.
"In order to educate our students we also have to include the community, and they have to play a role as we shape the entire kid," he said. "How can we better maximize the strengths of our community to partner with our schools, and keep the community engag-
ed and informed with what we're trying to
This summer, Carpenter hired a communications coordinator, a position that the school district previously did not have.
"Our early hire of a communications person has already had a dramatic presence in social media," he said. "We have found that a lot of our adult community members utilize the social media forum to pass information back and forth and to have a dialogue with each other when it comes to information about our town. We've immediately tried to jump on there to enhance our communication."
Carpenter said increased communication through social media and other outlets is valuable.
"In the past, we have struggled to tell our story to the community, and so by our inability to tell our story, our story gets made up for us," he said. "More than anything else, I'd like to be able to share the message...to make our community more aware of the things that we're doing."
In addition to increased communication, Carpenter also hopes to see the district partner with organizations in the community.
"I'd like that to develop into being able to have some of our (high school) students become engrossed in internship and real work opportunities, as well as give it back opportunities to some of the community members who do so much for our school.
Carpenter noted that he hopes to stay with the school district for many years.
"(Community members) will see me as someone who authentically loves Estacada and who plans to be here for a long time, if they'll have me," he said. "This is not a jumping spot for Ryan Carpenter. This is a destination where I'm committed to serve and live. So I think the community can expect from me intense focus, never settled with where we're at and a positive attitude through the whole process."
When not working with the school district, Carpenter enjoys being in the Estacada community.
"Ever since myself and my family moved here in 2009, Estacada has always been extremely welcoming to us...So we feel like we're here. We feel like we're home," he said.