Eugene 4J’s New Superintendent Andy Dey Talks Goals and Communication

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Newly hired Eugene School District 4J Superintendent Andy Dey has been in district administration for seven years, but he is still easing into his new role as district leader.

Dey was named superintendent by the 4J Board of Education in June after a lengthy search that resulted in a 4-3 split vote in favor of Dey. Dey told The Register-Guard he was honored to be cast.

“There’s a lot to learn in a new position,” Dey said. “A different set of responsibilities means you have a different exposure to things.”

Dey came to Eugene in the mid-1990s to work with the Northwest Youth Corps. He earned his BS in Biology from the College of Charleston, South Carolina, and his M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership from the University of Oregon. He considers Eugene his true home.

“It’s my community, I’ve lived here for a long time,” Dey said. “If you’re considering making this level of investment, ideally you would do it in a place where you call home and you wouldn’t have to go anywhere else, so I took the opportunity. I feel really lucky to have been chosen as superintendent.

While working with the NW Youth Corps, Dey discovered a passion for secondary education.

Dey has now worked in education for 20 years. Prior to joining District 4J administration, Dey taught at Roosevelt Middle School, served as vice-principal at Thurston High School in Springfield, served as principal at Agnes Stewart Middle School in Springfield, and principal at South Eugene High School.

Prior to assuming the role of superintendent on July 1, Dey was director of secondary education for 4J.

Goals for the school year

Dey has three main focuses for the school year:

  • Increase communication and meaningful engagement with families
  • Ensuring equitable outcomes for students
  • Support the safety and well-being of 4J staff and students

“How can we, as a district, how can we, as individual schools, partner with parents who give them the information to ask questions other than what you did in school today ‘today? Dey said. The idea is to keep parents up to date with what their students are doing at school on a day-to-day basis.

In recent weeks, Dey has held community meetings for his “100 Talks”, intended to allow parents and staff to get to know him more personally before the start of the school year. He said it’s part of his intention to foster more communication with families, but it won’t end with just 100 meetings.

“How can we, as a school system, go where people congregate and feel comfortable and talk to them. Often we ask students and community members to come to schools, and I think that’s important,” Dey said. “We can also do our part to meet people where they are.”

Especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, disparities between students are more apparent than ever, Dey said. Some students need different supports and resources to perform at their best.

“We don’t need every teacher to do the exact same thing, but we do need the student experience to be coordinated and consistent,” Dey said. “We must, in a unified way, come together and respond to the needs of students and families.”

Dey also spoke about student and staff well-being, which extends to both mental and physical health.

Eugene 4J School District Superintendent Andy Dey is excited about the start of the school year, with goals to strengthen community engagement, create an equitable learning environment, and ensure student well-being. staff and students.  Dey is pictured in his office in Eugene on Tuesday, August 23, 2022.

This may include school safety and security, the amount of pressure placed on students, and assessing the needs of staff, students, and families post-pandemic.

Dey and her team will work to visit schools and talk to teachers, parents and students the district serves to get a sense of those needs. There is no formal investigation at this time, but Dey said this community engagement will be an “ongoing process” throughout the school year.

Dey expects more professional growth

Since assuming the role of superintendent, Dey has worked with an executive coach, appointed by the school board. Dey said it was beneficial to bounce ideas from another person and talk about leadership.

Some discussion topics involved examining one’s own weaknesses and strengths as a leader and working on building a network to connect with other school districts.

“Every professional performing artist, opera singer, athlete has a coach, people in the corporate sector have a coach,” Dey said. “I hope everyone in the district understands that coaching is an essential part of getting better at what you do.”

He said part of being an educator is constantly looking for more ways to educate yourself, so he plans to continue working with an executive coach and equity trainers.

Start the new year strong (and healthy)

The 4J school year begins September 7 for elementary, sixth grade, and ninth through twelfth grades; and September 8 for grades seven and eight. September 6 is ninth grade orientation day.

With the first day of classes fast approaching, Dey reminded students and staff to stay home if they feel sick. Dey added that masks are still optional and encouraged for those who feel comfortable wearing one.

“No one wants to miss work or school, but we also know how important it is to be healthy when you teach and when you learn,” Dey said. “That way you can focus on that rather than how you feel.”

Miranda Cyr reports on education for The Register-Guard. You can contact her at [email protected] or find her on Twitter @mirandabcyr.

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