David Douglas Schools District welcomes new Superintendent

Here’s your opportunity to meet Don Grotting, who steps in to head the District. Find out where he’s from – and where he intends to guide David Douglas schools …

Lore Wintergreen of East Portland Acton Plan and Paul Ellison from Bank of the West welcome Lisa and Don Grotting, the new Superintendent of David Douglas Schools, along with retiring DDS Superintendent Barbara K. Rommel, and Nick Sauvie of ROSE Community Development.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although he won’t move to outer East Portland until mid-summer, the newly-named Superintendent of the David Douglas School District, Don Grotting, made a springtime visit to the area earlier this month.

Grotting spent a few minutes with East Portland News, telling us about his past – and his future plans.

“I’m currently the Superintendent at Nyssa, Oregon, School District,” Grotting began.
”It’s located as far east as one can go in eastern Oregon – the Snake River runs through our community – about 50 miles from Boise, Idaho.”

Asked how he’d personally manage the change in climate from high desert to being in the lush – and rainy – Willamette Valley, Grotting said he’d lived most of his life in Southwestern Oregon.

“I’m looking forward to getting back over here,” Grotting smiled. “This is where the majority of my family live. For me, it’s like coming home.”

During a meet-and-greet open house at the District office, the incoming Superintendent of David Douglas Schools, Don Grotting, shares a moment with retiring Superintendent Barbara Rommel.

Dealing with challenges presented in the district
“I’m very much aware of the tremendous opportunities here at the David Douglas School District,” Grotting continued.

“And, there are major challenges, too. I chose to come to this school district because of its high level of diversity, knowing full well the economic challenges that many of the students’ families face. In my current school district, we have similar school-issue challenges. About 60% of our population there is Hispanic. And, our District is one of the lower economic level communities in Malheur County.”

Looks forward to continuing educational progress
“The School District that I am leaving has been recognized both on the state and national level for the good things we’re doing,” Grotting went on. “I’ve been going around to schools in this district, meeting some of the kids and staff. I’m looking forward to coming to David Douglass, where they’ve had some great successes in the face of significant challenges. I look forward to working – with the help of staff, students, and their families – to continue to improve outer East Portland: Not only the schools, but also the community itself.

“I believe that all kids have an unlimited capacity for learning, regardless of their socio-economic status, their ethnicity, and other community factors that might be an influence or a barrier. The concept on which I stand is ‘no excuses’.”

About his administrative style, Grotting advised, “I have an open-door policy – not only with school staff, but for parents and the community. If there is a problem, I want to know about it quickly. I want to be able to sit down and talk about it and listen; I feel that I’m a great listener. I might not always agree with every opinion, but I will never turn anybody away – I’ll always be there listen to them and make myself aware of their point of view.”

While he says he’s serious about his “no excuses” policy about great education, Grotting laughs easily, and says he his door is open to all who are concerned about education in outer East Portland.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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