Nyssa School Board gives high marks to interim superintendent

NYSSA – The Nyssa School Board believes the district’s interim superintendent has effectively performed on the job since stepping into the role in July.

According to a four-page board evaluation summary of Ryan Hawkins, interim superintendent of the Nyssa School District, received a score that consistently met the standards devised by the board. He was evaluated across eight standards that, among others includes, “visionary district leadership,” “ethics and professional norms” and “communication and community relations.,

The board evaluated Hawkins in a closed session Feb. 5 and presented a signed evaluation at the board’s Feb. 12 meeting. Board members individually completed assessment sheets as part of the standard review.

Hawkins’ evaluation didn’t result in a raise, he said. According to his contract, he is paid an annual salary of $122,800. He stepped in when the prior superintendent, Darren Johnson, was paid to cut short his contract as superintendent July 17.

Hawkins said Wednesday, Feb. 14, the evaluation was “positive” and an opportunity to communicate with the board about where he can improve.

The board gave Hawkins the highest marks in policy, governance and advocacy, including developing relationships with county and state leaders.

The document noted that Hawkins had been communicating state and national regulations well to the board and wrote that he “looks at and advocates for the district.

The members also complimented them on his “board updates.”

Hawkins said he and the board have “made strides” since he took the helm.

He said he had been working on learning Spanish to engage better with the Latino community.

The document noted that he had made inroads in connecting with the district’s “diverse population.”

The board wrote that Hawkins promptly follows up when board members bring concerns to him.

Making progress on the job has been a team effort, Hawkins said.

“This is a we thing,” Hawkins said. “I’ve really enjoyed our conversations.”

On the other standards, about ethics and professional norms, the board wrote that Hawkins was knowledgeable of the law, “takes the blame if needed,” and, when “mishaps happen,” he quickly fixes them.

The board wrote that Hawkins tries to be inclusive of all ethnicities and made “remarkable changes” in fostering an inclusive district culture. Nonetheless, the board wrote that there are “still issues with LBGTQ and race.”

The board wrote that it wanted to see him connect more with the Hispanic community, which makes up 65% of the district’s more than 1,000 students. Hawkins said he and the board have “made strides” since he took the helm.

“It’s getting better,” he said, “but we have a long way to go.”

Hawkins will join a pool of candidates the board will review for the permanent superintendent post. The application window closed Monday, Feb. 12. The board’s search firm will bring the members a list of applicants to begin interviewing Tuesday, March 12, with a hiring decision expected by March 15.

News tip? Send your information to [email protected].

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE – The Malheur Enterprise delivers quality local journalism – fair and accurate. You can read it any hour, any day with a digital subscription. Read it on your phone, your Tablet, your home computer. Click subscribe – $7.50 a month.