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State education head taking top post at NWESD

Rob Saxton accepts 2-year contract to lead local service district

Rob Saxton.The administrative head of the Oregon Department of Education announced Wednesday, April 8, he will step down at the end of this school year.

Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton said he was offered and has accepted a two-year contract to serve as interim superintendent of the Northwest Regional Education Service District.

Headquartered in Hillsboro, the Northwest Regional ESD provides special education, alternative education, technology and training services — among other umbrella needs — to school districts in Clatsop, Columbia, Tillamook and Washington counties.

The district had been looking for a new superintendent since Dec. 10, when Superintendent James Sager announced he wanted to retire at the end of the school year. Its board of directors recently voted to make an interim hire rather than seeking a permanent successor to Sager.

“I look forward to continuing to support our students and schools in this new role, as I have for the past 33 years,” Saxton said in a news release.

He added, “I have witnessed firsthand the power of collective impact and regional collaboration, and I am excited to enter into that important work with Northwest Regional ESD. As an ESD, our combined regional strength can influence not only our own work, but that of the entire state.”

The Northwest Regional ESD has contracts with the Scappoose and St. Helens school districts. The ESD’s assistant superintendent, Paul Peterson, is a former superintendent for the Scappoose School District.

Saxton was superintendent for the Tigard-Tualatin School District before taking the Salem post.

His last day in Salem will be June 30.

Betsy Miller-Jones, executive director of the Oregon School Boards Association, responded to the news of Saxton’s resignation with a statement praising him.

“Rob Saxton has continued his lifelong advocacy for students over the past three years as deputy superintendent of public instruction,” Miller-Jones said. “He has tirelessly traveled the state and spoken to thousands of parents and educators about the importance of Oregon’s schools.”

The search for a new deputy superintendent for the Department of Education will begin immediately. Gov. Kate Brown has authority to appoint a successor to the position.