New Medford superintendent restructuring administration

Many parts are moving across the Medford School District, and the faces of those in senior positions are changing with them.

Michelle Cummings, who for more than four years worked as the Medford School District’s chief academic officer, confirmed from her new home in Manhattan that her chapter as a Rogue Valley educator closed in December.

She’s now vice president of content for Teachers Pay Teachers, an online marketplace where educators nationwide can buy and sell curriculum they’ve created.

“It’s just an extraordinary opportunity,” Cummings said, adding that moving closer to family was another incentive. “I … have so much respect and love for the educators I’ve been able to work with, and the idea of being able to help teachers and students regardless of their ZIP codes is really exciting to me.”

Cummings’ departure wasn’t the first or last among high-level administrators in Medford in the past year. But the handful of resignations and retirements come as even broader change is unfolding across Medford’s administrative landscape.

Former Medford School District chief academic officer Michelle Cummings. Cummings is now vice president of content for Teachers Pay Teachers

Superintendent Bret Champion said he began reimagining the organization of the district’s administrative positions shortly after his July 2019 arrival in Medford. He used the feedback he gathered while creating his entry plan as well as research to decide what positions to create and change.

“It’s just a matter of, what makes sense,” he said. “How do we organize this in a way that supports those things in the center best?”

That center, he said, is students and teachers.

The Medford School Board will at some point need to approve the changes to the structure, but for now, Champion said the system still is in flux, with some positions open and others subject to change.

Because of that, Champion said, he doesn’t yet know the exact budget impact of the changes, but said he thought it would ultimately bump up the district’s overall personnel spending.

The new structure organizes positions into specific but interconnected “buckets,” Champion said. People make up one bucket. District resources, including finances and facilities, make up another. Programs fall into a third, he said.

“I said to myself, ‘What if we were to arrange it some way around that?’” he said. “That’s (how) we ended up where we are.”

The top two positions under the superintendent now reflect that change. Brad Earl, formerly the chief operations officer, is now assistant superintendent for operations.

Debbie Simons, formerly the director of human relations, is now the assistant superintendent for teaching and learning.

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