District names three finalists

By Dick Mason, The Observer February 26, 2014 10:00 am

Candidates for district’s superintendent position will be in Imbler Monday

The Imbler School District has narrowed its list of candidates for its superintendent position to three educators.

The finalists are Kenneth Cox, the superintendent of the Vernonia School District in Western Oregon, Beth Burton, the language arts and early college coordinator at Arlington High School, and James Baldwin, the superintendent of the Choteau (Mont.) Public Schools.

All three are seeking to succeed Doug Hislop, who will retire at the end of June. Hislop is completing his 10th year as superintendent and his 43rd year as an educator.

The three finalists are among 12 who applied for the superintendent’s position earlier this year.

Cox applied for the Imbler position because he likes the drier weather of Eastern Oregon and the opportunities to work closely with students in a smaller district like Imbler, which has about 330 students. 

“Education is all about the individualized attention,” Cox said.

Cox is completing his eighth year as superintendent of the Vernonia School District in Columbia County. The school district has 580 students. Cox came to Vernonia from the North Wasco County School District where he worked from 2004 to 2006. He was a grade school principal in the school district in 2005-06 and an assistant high school principal in 2004-05. He earlier was an educator in the old Chenoweth School District in Wasco County from 1983 to 1996 and from 1999 to 2004. He first was a teacher and technology coordinator in the Chenoweth School District and later was an administrator.

Baldwin is completing his first year as superintendent of the Choteau Public Schools in Choteau, Mont. The district has 350 students. Baldwin previously was an administrator in the Alberton School District in Alberton, Mont., from 1998 to 2013. He served as superintendent, a principal and an athletic director during his tenure with the Alberton School District.

He has a total of 19-1/2 years of experience as a school district superintendent.

Baldwin started his education career in North Dakota, where he taught for one year before moving to Montana, where he has served as an educator for the past 37 years. He speaks like he is intrigued about the possibility of coming to Oregon.

“I wanted to take a different journey in my life,” Baldwin said.

He also said that he would like to run a small school district like Imbler.

“It is about the size of school district I would feel comfortable running,” Baldwin said.

Burton has worked in the Arlington School District since 2011, where her responsibilities include coordinating and managing its early college program. In this capacity, Burton has worked with Columbia Gorge Community College to put together a program that gives high school students the opportunity to earn community college credits.

Burton worked for the Molalla River School District from 2008 to 2011. She was a high school language arts specialist and athletic director for the district.

The educator grew up in Athena.

“I love Eastern Oregon,” Burton said.

She has been very impressed with what she has learned and seen of the Imbler School District.

“It would be a great place to start an administrative career,” Burton said. 

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