Philomath Superintendent of Schools Melissa Goff is in line to become the next superintendent of Greater Albany Public Schools, according to an announcement released Friday.
The Greater Albany Public Schools Board of Directors said through an emailed announcement that contract negotiations are underway and any board action would take place at its April 22 meeting.
“There were 30 applicants for the position of superintendent,” said Jennifer Ward, Greater Albany Public Schools board chair. “Melissa quickly rose to the top.”
The announcement was sent to Jim Kildea, board chair, the Philomath School District’s executive administrative assistant and the media.
In the release, the board said that in a confidential selection process, the original 30 applicants were narrowed down to five semifinalists, who were interviewed in March. Goff and another candidate were invited to finalist interviews with the board and a community stakeholder committee, which consisted of a community member, staff and parents.
Kildea said two GAPS board members did a site visit with Goff on Thursday.
“Melissa has been impressive in every interaction I’ve had with her,” Ward said. “The board recognizes she has the leadership skills and personal integrity necessary to lead our district and this understanding was reinforced at the site visit to Philomath with Director (Lyle) Utt.”
Goff took over as Philomath’s school superintendent during the summer of 2015 in succession of Dan Forbess. Notably, she became the first-ever female superintendent in Philomath’s history. Goff, who grew up in Bend, joined Philomath after serving as assistant superintendent of teaching and learning for Portland Public Schools.
“I’m thrilled to be considered by the Greater Albany Public Schools Board as the next superintendent,” Goff said. “Joining this well-performing district and supporting their continuing growth and evolution would be a privilege. I particularly look forward to engaging with parents and the community to listen and learn from these critical partners. The staff at GAPS is passionate about serving all students, and this is an ideal place to be leading into the future.”
The Philomath School District and its governing board have gone through ups and downs over the past four years with Goff in the superintendent’s seat.
“Departing Philomath School District would be bittersweet, as we have grown as a community over the last four years,” she said. “Together, we have expanded social emotional learning programs for our students, implemented common effective instructional practices, and fine-tuned our system of support for students who have been historically underserved.”
Kildea said Goff will be missed.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for Melissa,” Kildea said. “I think she’s going to be great in Albany. She’s done a lot of great things for our district and I think she’s a great choice there.”
Kildea expects a superintendent search to be included on the April 18 Philomath School Board agenda.
“The first thing to figure out would be do we want to look for an interim or start some sort of external search for a superintendent?” Kildea said.
Kildea said this time of year can be tough to get in quality candidates for a superintendent position.
“These things have a real season to them and this is kinda the very end of the season,” he said. “When we hired Melissa, it was like in the March time frame. To be starting a search now is not a good thing.”
Another factor could be the addition of two new school board members. Both Rick Wells and Shelly Brown are not running to retain their seats and five candidates are trying for those positions.
“The other thing to consider is we’ll have a change in the board membership so I would assume we’d want to have new board members be a part of that process,” Kildea said.
Goff feels good about what she has accomplished in Philomath.
“Philomath Schools are stronger today than ever,” Goff said, “and I expect to see continued success and achievements in the years to come.”
Kildea believes her impact will be felt well into the future.
“I think when we sit back and look at all the changes and improvements she’s made and her accomplishments with the district, I think it’ll be a pretty impressive list,” he said.
If the contract is worked out and approved by the board, Goff would replace current GAPS interim superintendent Tim Mills.
The April 22 GAPS meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 22 at its district office located at 718 Seventh Ave. SW.