Creswell, Education

Next challenge?

Former Creswell Elementary School Principal Ryan Beck Aliya Hall

After eight and seven years, respectively, in the Creswell School District, Todd Hamilton and Ryan Beck and have said goodbye – but they didn’t move far.
Both former administrators have been hired by the Springfield School District, Hamilton as district superintendent and Beck as principal of Riverbend Elementary School.
”I’m really excited,” Beck said. ”The school that I’m working in now reminds me a lot of Creslane and I’m excited to hopefully replicate a lot of the amazing things that are at Creslane that were put in place over the last seven years. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.”
Hamilton said that his past has always been about exploring opportunities, and every decision he’s made is centered on taking the knowledge gained from previous positions and sharing that at another organization.
”I’m pretty deeply rooted in this community, and so the opportunity to move into a larger organization and expand that circle of influences doesn’t come about very often,” he said.
Hamilton and Beck originally met in the South Lane School District, when Beck was a teacher and Hamilton was the director of technology in student services. They had the opportunity to work together there before connecting again in Creswell.
Before their professional careers started, Hamilton worked at a summer camp, teaching kids outdoor skills such as rock climbing and backpacking, and it inspired him to think differently about what he wanted to do after graduation. After he received a degree in psychology, he went back to school to earn a master’s degree in education, and became an elementary school teacher.
”That’s ultimately what inspired me, working with others to help them learn new skills that happen to be in the outdoors,” he said.
Beck graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in English, and started working at a bank. He volunteered at a reading support program during his lunch break and realized he wanted to go back to school and get his master’s degree in education as well.
Now that the two are taking the next step in their careers, Beck and Hamilton said that they will miss the Creswell staff, community – and the students the most.
”When you’re in a small town like Creswell, you’re pretty deeply rooted with folks,” Hamilton said. ”Creswell has about 5,000 residents and you think of the (school district), you’ve got 1,300 students, so you get to know folks on a pretty intimate level.”
Beck said he is most proud of all the Creslane staff did to help support students and families, through the Backpack and Intergenerational Reading Collaboration (IRC) programs, as well as the Family Resource Center. Hamilton said he’s most proud of all the programs that the district was able to successfully implement, as well as building partnerships with other agencies.
”We just tried to make sure that when kids walked in the door that there were adults and others there to care about them and help remove barriers so they can focus on learning,” Hamilton said.
Beck said the emphasis was on connecting with families and focusing on how the school could help them.
”I feel like the school is in amazing shape and I look forward to hearing how things go,” he said.
One of the greater and more challenging aspects of working in Creswell, he continued, was wearing so many hats. With Creslane being the only elementary school, Beck said it could feel like a team of one, but at Springfield there are multiple elementary schools that he can collaborate and problem-solve with.
”Leaving is bittersweet,” he said. ”I really enjoyed my seven years there, but I’m looking forward to this new challenge and I know that Creslane is in amazing hands with the people that are there.”
Beck said his first job in Springfield is to meet every staff member. He said that as the new member of the team, he wants to integrate into the school district and build on what’s working.
Hamilton said that long-term relationships are the key to successful organizations. He views the role of superintendent as a marathon, and intends on staying beyond the average superintendency run of three years.
He said that it’s not just a staff in a single building that he needs to get to know, and his strategy for the first year is connecting with all the employees, students and families, ”Helping them know who I am and giving them a chance to build trusting relationships by doing a lot of talking and listening to each other.”
He said he’s grateful the district looked outside its own school system for new leadership.
”Springfield was an opportunity to go and work with another amazing team,” he said. ”You get to bounce ideas off of others and it’s shared leadership at a different scale, but it offers different opportunities to take the good work that we were leading in Creswell and bring that to Springfield, and help enhance the good work that’s already happening here.”



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