Jun. 22—Central Point School District 6 Superintendent Walt Davenport received a second seal of approval from his own school board Tuesday, when it renewed his contract, effective through 2025.
The deal, unchanged from the 2021-22 school year contract, includes a base salary of $165,000; travel and technology allowances of $500 and $100, respectively; as well as 25 days of vacation and three days of professional leave a year, including opportunities for "professional growth."
Davenport's performance, like other superintendents in the Rogue Valley, is assessed every year, creating a rolling three-year contract.
In a Wednesday interview, Davenport said he was pleased the deal came through and called it "a privilege" to work for the district.
"We have a fabulous school board that really cares about serving each kid and personalizing their instruction," Davenport said. "The culture of D6 is really unique, and I really feel fortunate to be in the superintendent's role."
Board Chair Bret Moore praised the superintendent during the meeting, saying he did a "great job" this past year and then joking, "none of us would want to be you."
Davenport counts some of the challenges associated with the 2021-22 school year among the district's accomplishments. That includes the pandemic, which saw a school year beginning with masks in schools and ending without them. A requirement of COVID-19 vaccinations for employees, but not for students. And while his district's school board did not adopt a "local control" resolution like many other school districts, Davenport fielded a fair number of parental complaints about the mandates.
"One of the biggest accomplishments was navigating a very tough situation with the COVID-19 mandates ... and then re-engaging our students and community in a more normal environment toward the last third of the year," Davenport said. "I saw a big shift in attitude."
Aside from that, keeping District 6 schools open all year long without pandemic-related challenges getting in the way was another accomplishment for the school year.
"Obviously, as COVID-19 was moving through the community, it was affecting our staffing levels; we had to shift staff around a number of times to make sure we could keep the school doors open," Davenport said.
He also noted the bus driver shortage — a challenge experienced across the state and nation — which forced the district to change routes.
Some lesser-known accomplishments include "aligning more closely" with the district's high schools (Crater Academy of Health and Public Services, Crater Renaissance Academy, Crater School of Business, Innovation and Science) to offer more classes and share more resources.
Davenport said he was proud the district settled with both of its unions after "challenging" negotiations made harder by the pandemic. A two-year contract with the licensed union was signed at Tuesday's board meeting, and a tentative, three-year contractual agreement has been reached — but not yet signed — with the classified union.
As for the 2022-23 school year, Davenport said he hopes the "play-based" K-2 school Rogue Primary can be completed after some delays in construction. That project, and others, are being paid for by a bond.
Whatever happens, Davenport said he hopes to work at "building District 6's culture post-pandemic" next year — making a more personalized education for students that leaves them with something they can remember for the rest of their lives.
Davenport, who has worked in the district since 2004, succeeded Samantha Steele superintendent. He has lived in the Rogue Valley since 1987 and resides in Shady Cove with his wife, Dawn, and two daughters, according to a message Davenport posted to families on D6's website last year.
Reach reporter Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.