2009 Winner - Jim Keene

Dr. Jim Keene -- Superintendent, Pendleton School District

Photo: Dr. Jim KeeneDr. Jim Keene has 39 years of experience in k-12 education, with 24 of those years as a superintendent. He has been the superintendent of the Pendleton School District for the past 10 years and is set to retire June 30, 2009.

Dr. Keene’s extensive experience and budgetary skills were evident as he repeatedly maneuvered the District through tough financial times. During his time in Pendleton, Dr. Keene has had the difficult task of overseeing $10 million in financial reductions. This includes reducing the District staff by almost 25%, or 90 positions. All of these reductions were achieved through attrition (resignations or retirements) without layoffs. This is a significant achievement, especially when considering implementing staff placement changes at the same time in order to make it fit academically for students.

Dr. Keene came to Pendleton during a difficult time of transition due to declining student enrollment. During this period the District continued to offer a comprehensive set of programs for its students. Dr. Keene has strongly felt this is important. One program, or activity, may be important to one student while different program, or activity, is important to another student (sports vs. art, for example).

Dr. Keene has been actively involved in state and national leadership organizations, providing an eloquent voice for eastern Oregon. He has involved himself in legislative efforts in an effort to influence legislation to support k-12 education. An example is his work on legislation to pass the local option tax equalization authority, funded by the state, for districts that qualify and pass local option taxes. Over the past 10 years, this legislation has resulted in an additional funding of $1.5 million to the Pendleton School District.

Dr. Keene provides calm leadership in all situations and settings. He is analytical and has the ability to “get to the core” issues and deal with them. He is dedicated to students and to the community, and is known as a compassionate, caring individual who values the opinions of others. Thank you, Dr. Keene, for your dedication to students, staff and the education community.


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