Brown appoints state education innovation officer
New position is charged with boosting state graduation rate
Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday appointed Eugene educator Colt Gill to a new position charged with boosting the state's nationally lagging graduation rate.
Brown announced her plan to create the "education innovation officer" position in December as part of her education policy, which is still taking shape since she took office in February 2015.
That same year, only about 74 percent of Oregon seniors graduated from high school, one of the worst rates in the nation.
I want all Oregon students to complete high school and be ready for college, post-secondary training, or a job, Brown said in an April 28 statement.
Gill, a 27-year educator and superintendent of the Bethel School District in Eugene, will be responsible for identifying educational strategies that have increased graduation rates in local communities and spreading those practices to other schools in other areas of the state. He starts his new job June 1.
Colts experience in the classroom, in the community, and as an administrator give him the perspective and vision to help us improve our dismal graduation rate," Brown said.
In Gill's 10 years with Bethel School District, he improved graduation rates for historically underserved students, according to Brown's office. The district's graduation rate is 9 percent higher than the state average for African American students, 16 percent higher for Native Americans and 7 percent higher for Latinos.
Gill began his career as an elementary school teacher in Creswell and later became the districts technology director. He also served as an elementary school principal and later the curriculum director in the South Lane School District. He has served as Bethel schools superintendent since 2006 and teaches as an adjunct professor at the University of Oregon.JW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT