Salem-Keizer superintendent announces plans to retire

By Elizabeth Miller (OPB)
July 28, 2022 1:26 a.m.

Christy Perry has led Oregon’s second largest school district since 2014.

Salem-Keizer Public Schools superintendent Christy Perry has announced plans to retire at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.

Perry, 56, shared the news at the end of a school board work session Tuesday evening.


“I’m here for the duration, I’m energized to do the work and a little mixed in how to think about it, but it feels like the district’s in a good place, and it’s time to think about how we transition leadership,” Perry said Tuesday.

Perry asked the school board to begin a superintendent search. She said she wanted to give the board time to conduct a thorough search, especially in light of the board’s planning for the year.

“Part of good succession planning is a really good, thoughtful succession plan,” she said.

Perry later shared a message with district staff, noting that she’s beginning her 19th year as a school superintendent in Oregon.

“I love what I do and can easily see myself doing this work for another five years, yet I believe this is the right time to make this decision,” she wrote.


Perry has served as Salem-Keizer superintendent since 2014. In 2021, she was named Oregon Superintendent of the Year, and was named a finalist for National Superintendent of the Year.

Perry previously retired from the district through a provision under Oregon’s Public Employees Retirement System approved by state lawmakers in 2019. She retired in January 2020 only to be rehired immediately by the district.

Prior to serving in Salem-Keizer, Perry held the top job 15 miles away, at the Dallas School District from 2005-2014.

Board chair Ashley Carson Cottingham said Tuesday that the board will work to find a search firm as soon as possible.

“I’m happy for you, disappointed for us because we’ve only had one year on the board getting to work with you,” Carson Cottingham, one of four school board members elected in 2021, said. “You’ve been such an asset to every community served, but in Salem-Keizer, really, your accomplishments are incredible.”

Two other large Oregon districts recently hired new superintendents. In March, former superintendent of the year Gustavo Balderas was named to replace retiring Beaverton superintendent Don Grotting. In June, Eugene 4j Director of Secondary Education Andy Dey was named superintendent of that district.