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New superintendent hired for St. Helens School District

Scot Stockwell inks 3-year contract with district

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: MARK MILLER - Incoming Superintendent Scot Stockwell (center) signs an employment contract Wednesday, June 10, at the St. Helens School District administrative office, surrounded by (from left to right) school board member Jeff Howell, board Chairman Gordon Jarman, business manager Jessica Pickett, outgoing board member Ray Biggs, board member Kellie Smith and board Vice Chairman Bill Amos.The St. Helens School District signed a contract with Scot Stockwell, a Beaverton elementary school principal and former administrator in St. Helens, to bring him on as the district's next superintendent Wednesday, June 10.

Stockwell, who has served as principal of Ridgewood Elementary School since 2007, was on hand at Wednesday evening's school board meeting to accept the board's formal job offer and sign the three-year contract alongside school board members and the district's business manager, Jessica Pickett.

"We'd certainly like to offer you this contract with the St. Helens School District, and if you'd accept it and sign off on it, we'd appreciate it," Gordon Jarman, chairman of the school board, told Stockwell.

“I'm just thrilled that we were able to work something out that was good for me and good for the district,” Stockwell said after the meeting. “I'm just really excited to get to work.”

Scot Stockwell.Under the terms of the contract, Stockwell's starting salary for the 2015-16 school year is $139,000. That pay level comes in at the upper end of a salary range set by the school board of $115,000 to $145,000. The document also provides for step increases over the subsequent two years of the contract.

Stockwell has no prior experience in the central office of a school district, although he has been working continuously in schools since 1991.

The incoming superintendent has worked in the Beaverton School District since 2004. Prior to that, he was a teacher at St. Helens High School from 1995 to 1999, assistant principal there from 1999 to 2002, and principal of McBride Elementary School from 2002 to 2004.

Stockwell graduated from St. Helens High in 1986, going on to earn a bachelor's degree in education from Pacific University in 1990 and a master's degree in education from Portland State University in 1998.

He worked alongside now-school board members Jarman, Jeff Howell and Bill Amos at St. Helens High. Jarman was also his wrestling coach at the school when he was a student there. Melody Killens, who was elected to the board last month, was also on the school board at the time he worked in the district.

Stockwell said he views his familiarity with board members “as a great starting place,” although he noted it has been more than a decade since he last worked with them.

“I think you can use that as a benefit,” he said. “I guess I see that as a plus, because they have a certain degree of respect built in with me, and I for them. And so it's a great way to start out a team.”

The motion to approve Stockwell's contract was offered by Ray Biggs, who was appearing at his last meeting as a member of the school board Wednesday. Biggs, who was first elected in 2011, lost his bid for reelection to Killens last month.

Next month will complete a dramatic change in leadership at the school district that began in 2013. Since then, the entire school board has turned over, as have three school principalships and the business manager position, along with the superintendency. The district is also losing its curriculum director at the end of the month.

Stockwell will start work on July 1, succeeding outgoing Superintendent Mark Davalos. He said his plan is to do “a lot of listening” as he assumes his new position leading the district where he grew up.

“I need to see what's going on,” he added.