Split school board votes to keep Hawkins as Nyssa superintendent

NYSSA – The Nyssa School Board voted 4-3 on Thursday, March 14, to hire Ryan Hawkins as the district’s permanent superintendent.

The board’s action ended two days of separate interviews with Hawkins, the Nyssa district’s interim superintendent, and Derek Johnston, currently a senior director for elementary schools for Portland Public Schools.

The district held a series of community forums to introduce the finalists over two days and then went into executive, or closed, session to discuss confidential information. Board members Dustin Martinsen, Jeremy Peterson, Susan Ramos and Pat Morinaka, the board chair, voted to enter negotiations with Hawkins, while Megan Robbins, Donny Ballou, and Maribel Ramirez dissented. The board made its vote in a public session.

Hawkins, who holds a master’s degree in educational administration from George Fox University, has worked for the Nyssa school system since 2016. Before that, he spent 12 years as a high school principal and assistant principal and was an elementary and middle school teacher in Lincoln County, McMinnville and Sumner, Washington. Hawkins grew up in Adrian.

In Nyssa, Hawkins has been a director of district operations and assistant superintendent. He stepped into the role of interim superintendent when the prior superintendent, Darren Johnson, was paid to cut short his contract with the district last July 17. According to Hawkins’ contract, he is paid an annual salary of $122,800.

According to Oregon Department of Education data, the Nyssa School District had 1,329 students in 2023.

The position was posted as paying an annual salary of $145,000 and $155,000.

Hawkins could not immediately be reached for comment.

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