The Beaverton School District has hired a highly-regarded superintendent away from a district on the other side of the Willamette River.

The Beaverton School Board agreed to a three-year contract with Don Grotting, the superintendent of the David Douglas School District in East Portland.

Rob Manning/OPB

Board chair Anne Bryan celebrated the hire in a statement released Monday night.

“As a superintendent, he has an exceptional track record in providing student-focused learning, increasing achievement for students of all backgrounds, and carefully managing District resources,” Bryan wrote. “Superintendent Grotting is a tireless advocate for students and an important and respected voice in the state of Oregon.”

Beaverton is Oregon’s third largest district, and appears to be giving Grotting the highest salary of any public school superintendent in the state.  

The salary starts at $265,000. That’s nearly $20,000 more than what Portland’s Carole Smith earns as the head of Oregon’s largest district.

The David Douglas district has drawn praise in recent years for efforts to close achievement gaps and manage finances responsibly. Grotting was named Oregon Superintendent of the Year in 2014 by the Oregon Association of School Executives.

Grotting offered a summary of his approach to education in a statement published Monday night as part of the Beaverton announcement.

“Throughout my career, I have worked to develop educational environments to serve students,” Grotting said in the statement. “This effort has increased family engagement, improved student achievement, created more opportunities for all students, and built business, private, non-profit, higher education, and other community partnerships. These have truly made a difference for kids.”

An official at the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators praised Grotting’s hire, and said David Douglas should be in a good position to continue, given the competence of senior administrators, such as Deputy Superintendent Ken Richardson.  

Officials at David Douglas say Grotting told board members and his administrative cabinet last week that he was leaving. Staff were reportedly saddened by the news, but not worried about the future of the district.  

Grotting will face difficulties right off the bat, as he starts the Beaverton superintendent job in July. The Beaverton School Board rejected high school boundary changes proposed by previous Supt. Jeff Rose, under pressure from parents. Beaverton has to re-draw boundaries to make room for a new high school that is under construction on the district’s south end.

Jeff Rose left Beaverton at the end of May to run the Fulton County schools in Georgia.