Canby School District Superintendent Trip Goodall will be stepping down from the position when his contract expires at the end of June, he announced in a message to families Wednesday.
Goodall did not give a reason for his decision to leave Canby. He had served as superintendent of the district of more than 4,700 students for seven years.
“Working in Canby has been a highlight of my career,” Goodall wrote. “I am very proud of what we have accomplished together. I have met some extraordinary people, both in and outside of our schools. People care deeply about Canby, myself included.”
He went on to say he has appreciated the encouragement, advice and support many district families had extended over the past seven years.
“I simply want to say: thank you!” Goodall said. “I have enjoyed being your superintendent in ways you probably do not know. … Thank you, community members, parents, students, and staff. Your advocacy for our students and for the district has made all the difference.
“Canby is a community that shows, time and again, a strong commitment to its youth. For that, I will be forever grateful and proud of my time in Canby.”
On Thursday, the Canby School Board published a statement thanking Goodall for his seven years of service and saying he led the district with “dedication, loyalty, and a heart for kids.”
“Superintendent Goodall’s leadership has been instrumental during the past seven years,” the statement read in part, “most notably he has worked to expand our school supports, including adding full-time counselors in our elementary schools, adding calendar days to the school year, putting equity at the heart of every decision, and building a strong team across the district.”
No doubt, Goodall’s most recent year as superintendent will be particularly memorable for reasons that go beyond the community of Canby.
Like all school officials and staff throughout the state, Goodall and his team have had to contend with the previously unimaginable challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, which forced students out of public school classrooms for almost a full calendar year.
As if that weren’t enough, Canby has also grappled with historic wildfires last September and the destructive ice storms of several weeks ago — which made even remote learning impossible due to widespread power outages and evacuations.
The pressure to return children to in-person learning has only mounted in the first two months of 2021, following new guidance by Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Department of Education that placed reopening decisions back in the hands of local school boards and administrators.
The district and, sometimes, Goodall himself have been targets of criticism by some parents and community members who feel they are moving too slowly and incrementally — making themselves heard in public comment at school board meetings and the Facebook group Open Canby Schools, which demands an immediate reopening.
Just this week, the Canby School District welcomed back its youngest students for a hybrid schedule offering two half-days of in-person learning each week — which critics say is not enough.
Middle school and high school students are scheduled to gradually return in the weeks to come.
In January, criticism of Goodall escalated into two formal complaints — one of them by a member of the Canby School Board, Stefani Carlson — who denounced his handling of a social media comment by Carlson that had concerned some community members (and sparked four other formal complaints).
Though the board last month declined to investigate any of the six complaints, they remain pending for further discussion in executive session and possible action at its next meeting Thursday night.
“I remain focused on the challenging work ahead,” Goodall concluded in his letter. “I am committed to serving all of you through the end of this school year and will support the district as it transitions to a new leader. I look forward to our continued partnership over the next four months.”
The school board said it would work with Goodall and the community to determine the next steps in choosing a new leader for the district.
“Once we have more information about the process, we will share it with the community and actively engage stakeholders to help with our decision-making,” the board of directors promised.
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