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New LOSD administrator - and a new role

Megan Kim fills a newly created position designed to improve student achievement

Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - 'I've been in private industry, which was a good experience for me,' says new school district administrator Megan Kim. 'But I was really longing to come back to education, so I can't even tell you how happy I am to be back.'Megan Kim last week stepped into a newly created administrative position in the Lake Oswego School District.

As director of student data and accountability, Kim will look for trends in school district data — positive as well as troubling — that support improvements to student testing and curriculum.

Kim has served as a data analyst in the private sector and at the Clackamas Education Service District. Carol Middleton, the CESD’s director of school improvement, says Kim is a “10” and LO is blessed to have her.

“Megan is very adept and highly competent, and she is skilled in taking adult learners — educators — forward in their learning of how to analyze data to improve student achievement,” said Middleton, who worked directly with Kim in a supervisory role.

That’s what Kim will do in her new position, too.

The 46-year-old Portland resident will help to make possible the accurate measurement of student achievement growth from one year to the next. Growth is one of the cornerstones of the freshly implemented Common Core State Standards curriculum and of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s standardized tests, which debut this spring.

Analyzing data will also pinpoint trends, good and bad, which can guide teachers and administrators in how they handle a program or support an individual student, Kim said.

“You can look at trends and say, ‘Does this make sense?’ or say, ‘Is there some practice or pattern or behavior that we aren’t even noticing but could change?’” she said.Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego School District has hired Megan Kim to fill a new administrative position, director of student data and accountability.

For example, Kim said if a district sees there are more girls than boys in the Talented and Gifted program, the district could then look for reasons and respond appropriately. In that hypothetical district, it could be a matter of demographics, or there might be something more that teachers could do to change those numbers.

Lake Oswego School Board member Bob Barman said Kim’s role is important to the district.

“I’m just happy you’re filling an important void,” Barman said. “I think it is essential for everyone.”

Board member Sarah Howell said having another employee on board will relieve the pressure on beleaguered district administrators, who already are dealing with the transition to Common Core; the administration of state testing; safety, policy and facility upgrades; and the possibility of taking a new construction bond to voters.

Kim’s got a lot of work ahead of her. But, CESD Superintendent Milt Dennison said Kim is not only a “dedicated, hard worker,” but also a very bright and knowledgeable person who is the “ideal employee.”

“She was certainly one that we hated to see go, but we understand there are other opportunities out in the world,” Dennison said.

For nine years, Kim was employed by the CESD, which offers services and programs to school districts within its coverage area, including LOSD. Twice promoted, she was responsible for using schools’ data to enable and improve student learning, not a skillset many people have. That made recruiting for the job a little tough.

Joe Morelock, LOSD’s executive director of secondary education, said 11 people applied for the new position and five made the first cut. As a test, they were asked to organize eight to 10 data sets within 24 hours and come up with a presentation. One of the applicants dropped out, and four were interviewed.

“It’s a very challenging position to fill, because you’re looking for somebody who can understand detail at its very smallest point and yet understand how that connects to the much larger picture of school and of teaching and of learning. So that kind of range is very challenging,” said Morelock, Kim’s new supervisor and a member of the hiring committee.

The interviewees all were strong candidates, but Kim stood out, Morelock said. “She is well known as a state leader in managing data systems,” he told board members Monday.

Kim is also a familiar face. After leaving CESD, she worked for the Lake Oswego School District in a contract position for about six weeks before starting work in the private sector as a business systems analyst at CorVel Corporation, which provides guidance to employers about workers’ compensation.

“I’ve been in private industry, which was a good experience for me, but I was really longing to come back to education. So I can’t even tell you how happy I am to be back,” Kim told the school board on Monday.

CorVel, the company where Kim last was employed, is where software developer Maxim Shishin got to know her, working on several projects with her.

“She definitely was one of the best business analysts I’ve ever worked with,” Shishin said. “She’s very smart. When we work on complex projects, she quickly understands the problem.”

And, she always makes herself available to fix any of those problems, he said.

“I’m going to personally miss her because she was a huge help,” Shishin said, adding that he thinks she will be an asset for local public schools.

Before CorVel or CESD, Kim designed databases for Prowell Environmental, a job that was a far cry from her academic studies. She wasn’t always a database guru.

She graduated from Clark University with a bachelor’s degree in the classics, the study of ancient Greek and Latin languages.

Originally from the East Coast, Kim grew up in Vermont but has been a Portland resident since 1993. She loves the comparatively warm climate, she said.

“It’s funny, because everyone always complains about the weather out here,” Kim said, “but I just love it.”

By Jillian Daley
503-636-1281, ext. 109
email: jdaley@lakeoswegoreview.com
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