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Shumate drops hint that he is leaving

Medford School District Superintendent Brian Shumate may be on his way out of Southern Oregon entirely.

"After much reflection and soul searching, I find it necessary to be closer to my hometown and family," Shumate said in a staff-wide email sent early Tuesday afternoon obtained by the Mail Tribune.

Shumate, who has been Medford’s superintendent since 2014, will have his final interview next week for the superintendent position of Troup County School System in Georgia.

He told staff that significant life events in recent years have made him want to relocate back to the region. Those include the birth of their first grandchild, the weddings of both their children and illnesses and death of other close family members.

He is one of three finalists for the Troup County superintendent position, according to a media release that officials said would go out Tuesday.

“Some of the initial motivation is family stuff, but this is also a very, very attractive situation,” Shumate said Thursday afternoon. “And it’s much like Medford.”

He said he feels like he has “a fair shot” at the job, which he applied for in December.

Shumate thanked the community inside and outside of the school district for pushing student success forward.

“I would not be able to go out and pursue a job like this if it weren’t for all the great people in this district who have done great work and the support from the community,” he said.

It’s not immediately clear when Shumate might leave Medford School District if he is hired, but he told staff in the email he will continue to coordinate with the Medford School Board.

“Please be assured that I will continue to work on behalf of this district in the coming months and am in close contact with our board as we move through this process,” he wrote. “Thanks for your understanding and I appreciate what you do every day!”

Shumate has often said his goals at the Medford School District center on creating “a place for every kid.” During his time as Medford’s superintendent, he has overseen the implementation and expansion of the district’s Pathway courses at the high school level. The Pathways are vehicles for students to take classes that align with their interests, from metals and automotive to culinary and marketing.

The district's four-year graduation rate has risen from 65.21 percent in 2014 to 80.5 percent in 2018.

The Medford School Board renewed Shumate’s contract a year earlier than necessary in June 2018, bumping up his salary gradually. His annual salary was set at $212,000 through June 30, 2019.

From July 2019 through June 2020, his salary will increase to $222,000 and the next year, $230,000. Those $10,000 and $8,000 increases are the largest raises he has received during his time as Medford’s superintendent.

If Shumate left his position before June 30 this year, he would get none of the $10,500 “retention incentive bonus” offered in his newest contract. The bonus will be parsed out in thirds, one at the end of each contract year, if he is still employed by the district at that time.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Kaylee Tornay at ktornay@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4497. Follow her on Twitter @ka_tornay.

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