Creswell, Education

Welcome aboard’ Johnson is new superintendent

Michael Johnson Photo provided

Candidate Michael Johnson has accepted the position of Creswell’s superintendent starting in the 2019-20 school year, after contract negotiations were agreed upon last week.
Johnson is currently the principal at James Monroe Middle School in Eugene. He has 28 years of administrative experience at all levels of K-12 education, as well as a master’s degree in education, policy, foundation and administration from Portland State University. He completed his administrative licensure program at Lewis and Clark College.
Johnson was one of two finalists for the position; Sean Gallagher was the other.
Board Director Lacey Risdal, who handled contract negotiations with Johnson, moved to approve the contract and Board Director Mike Anderson seconded the approval. During the discussion, Board Chair Tim Rogers brought up one of the major differences between Todd Hamilton’s contract and Johnson’s – residency.
Risdal explained that they decided to strike the language that ”requires” a superintendent to move to the district in favor of ”encourages.” She explained that because the board wasn’t providing any moving expenses, she didn’t want him to take a loss on his house for moving and wasn’t sure what the allotted amount of time should be until he moved into the district.
She added that after looking at other superintendent contracts, a lot of boards are removing that language because it’s a personal freedom. That said, Risdal said she was confident that Johnson will move here.
Board Director David Eusted said, ”I believe Michael Johnson has made it clear his heart is in Creswell and I don’t believe it’ll be an issue. He’ll find what’s right for him with the right timing.”
Rogers said that requirement was in Hamilton’s contract as well, but it was waived for him; however, one of the two key items the community wanted was a superintendent living in the district.
”I take that very seriously and I don’t like the current language,” he said. ”We should go back to where it was in Todd’s contract, and give the board the ability to relax it if they so choose.”
Risdal added that one of the reasons this clause was removed was the added clause under termination, which would give the school board the ability to terminate the person if they aren’t a good fit, giving them 10 days notice and a year salary. Risdal said that didn’t feel equal or balanced, because ”we’re asking so much commitment for Mike or anyone in the contract and not giving him anything.” She added that she spoke with the board’s attorney, and was following the attorney’s recommendation.
Eusted added that it was brought up in Johnson’s first statements that we would be moving here, but Rogers said that it feels ”disingenuous” that he would say that in the interview but remove it from the contract.
Risdal said that from the interview to the day of contract negotiations Johnson said that he wanted to live in Creswell. ”He wants to accept (the contract) but he wants to protect his family as well. I feel like it’s well balanced.”
After some consideration, Rogers said that although he’s ”not a fan” of the language, he felt that the no-cause termination item balances it out.
The board voted to accept the contract and accepted it unanimously. The board and guests then applauded for Johnson.
”Welcome aboard,” Rogers told him.



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