NORTH BEND — “Moving here was always something I wanted to do in my career,” said the new superintendent for the North Bend School District.
Incoming Superintendent Kevin Bogatin is excited to bring his family to town and start working, though his official start-date isn’t until July 1. Since beginning his education career in 1995, he has periodically looked for jobs on the southern Oregon coast, drawn to the beauty of the area since he grew up land-locked in Iowa.
Back in 2016, he made his first appearance in the local school districts after becoming one of the final candidates for the Coos Bay School District superintendent position.
Though he plans on meeting with district staff, local leaders and stakeholders to understand the needs of the community and students once he moves in, he brings with him years of experience and successful implementation of new programs.
Currently working as an assistant superintendent for the Corvallis School District, Bogatin pointed to the district-wide language merging program as one of the highlights of not just his hard work but also that of the district team.
“Our schools support a strong dual-language that gives great results for kids,” he said.
Not only that, but he has helped the district leap forward in its equity work which has led to more of its Latinx (a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina) students going on to attend college than the white students.
“They are graduating high school at the same rate, while our special ed graduation rate increased by 30 percent in five or six years,” he said. “I’m proud of that.”
In addition, the Corvallis School District has implemented one-to-one technology for its students and by the time he leaves for North Bend, he will have helped implement a robust sustainability management plan.
“There’s not one thing to point at, but a lot of hard work by people in Corvallis,” Bogatin said. “We have moved behind singular goals and missions for the betterment of kids.”
And that’s what he plans for North Bend.
“I’m excited about the challenge and opportunity and sense of adventure,” he said about the move. “I’m excited to have a three-year contract and would ask the board and community as we look at improved outcomes and change to see that it takes time. I want to see those things come to fruition, but it will take time to accomplish things and be successful.”
Since the North Bend School District announced that Bogatin would replace outgoing-superintendent Bill Yester on Monday, community members have reached out to him with plans to meet once he gets to town.
“The North Bend Police Chief (Rob Kappelman) reached out to have coffee so I can understand how the relationship has developed in past years with the school district and what’s possible in the future,” Bogatin said. “I want to have those conversations with community leaders, district leaders, business owners, families, students, staff members. I want to understand the area and what needs to be celebrated and what needs growth.”
Bogatin is also stepping into a district that underwent turmoil and national headlines last year after its former high school principal used the Bible as punishment. When asked how Bogatin would help the district continue to heal, he said he is coming in with an outside perspective, meaning he is a clean slate.
“It goes back to the early steps in learning and listening to people,” he said. “There’s what I can read in the paper and then hearing directly from those involved. There’s solutions in place, so I’m interested in the impact so far, but it’s important to be positive about the future instead of focused on the past.”
Bogatin said he is bringing ideas for the district, but wants to make sure they match what is needed and what the community wants.
“I bring a passion and enthusiasm for this work,” he said. “I’m excited and anxious to begin.”