New executive director named for Healthy Beginnings
This week, the Healthy Beginnings board of directors and the High Desert Education Service District announced that Diane Murray-Fleck has been selected as the next Executive Director for Healthy Beginnings. Murray-Fleck will replace Holly Remer, who will retire on July 1 after serving as the agency’s executive director for 16 years. Healthy Beginnings is both a non-profit organization and a program of High Desert ESD that provides free 12-point screenings to children birth through age 5. The program serves approximately 700 children annually in the communities of La Pine, Redmond, Sisters, Sunriver, Bend, Madras and Prineville. Screenings focus on development (speech, motor and concepts), behavior, vision, hearing, health, dental, nutrition, kindergarten readiness and literacy. Along with screenings, Healthy Beginnings provides parent education, referral and follow-up, ensuring families are connected to the resources they need.
“We are excited to have Diane joining the Healthy Beginnings team and we look forward to her leadership and insights that will help us expand our reach,” said Healthy Beginnings board president Jennifer Moss Lewis.
Murray-Fleck is a licensed clinical social worker with more than ten years of experience in the education and non-profit sectors. She has also been a private business owner, executive coach/trainer and national speaker. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Services from Potsdam College in New York and her Masters in Social Work from New York’s Syracuse University.
“In addition to bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the Healthy Beginnings program, Ms. Murray-Fleck also demonstrates extraordinary energy and passion for this cause to promote early childhood health and development in Central Oregon,” said HDESD Deputy Superintendent Paul Andrews who will serve as HDESD superintendent beginning July 1.
Having served as chair of the Portland public school Stephenson Foundation, Murray-Fleck is also passionate about community building and fundraising.
“The mission of Healthy Beginnings is in complete alignment with who I am as a social worker, leadership coach, public speaker, parent and community member,” said Murray-Fleck.
This month, we say farewell and happy trails to our fearless leader John Rexford
After more than 32 years in education, John is retiring from his role as Superintendent for HDESD.
Funny thing is, John never wanted to be an educator. Born and raised in a family of teachers, he was determined to do something different. His dad was his high school math teacher, and his mom, trained as a business and English teacher, worked as a substitute.
“I was firm set on not to go into education,” said Rexford with a laugh. In college, he earned a business degree from Oregon State University while working on the docks in Newport, Oregon, where he stayed on as a fishmonger after graduation.
During the long days and nights on the docks, he learned grit, perseverance and teamwork, but he also discovered that he loved teaching. His first teaching experience was alongside coworkers as he shared the ins-and-outs of cleaning, dressing and packing fish for sale at local fish markets or for wholesale customers around the world.
After eight years of working in the salty sea air, and with a baby girl in his arms, he traded fishing lines and canning equipment for a temporary office job with the Winston-Dillard School District. It was there that he found his calling in education.
“There really is nothing more satisfying than knowing that what you do every day makes a difference in the lives of children – OUR children – and that every decision we make can have a monumental effect on the future of our world in positive, unbelievable ways,” said Rexford of his discovery.
Still, he went on to earn a master’s degree in business, just in case he wanted to return to the private sector.
“I thought I might as well have a plan in case this fuzzy-feel-good business of teaching and learning turns out to be short lived,” said Rexford. “I plugged away learning from some of the best in the business including teachers, bus drivers and superintendents. I built budgets, I built schools, I built Lego castles in classrooms and I built relationships,” said Rexford. When he turned 40, he took his first education class and went on to earn an education administration credential at 42.
“Isn’t life funny, how it comes full circle in so many ways? I am my parents’ son, that is for sure,” he said.
In 1989 he was hired by Bend-La Pine Schools, where he enjoyed a 23-year career before accepting the position to lead the HDESD in 2012.
Under John’s leadership, the HDESD team has expanded its role as a regional leader and facilitator. Some examples include: the creation and development of Better Together Central Oregon, a collaborative community movement to ensure success for Central Oregon children from before birth to career; development of the Children’s Forest of Central Oregon in conjunction with the Forest Service and other partners; development and implementation of Cascades Commitment to ensure high school students have opportunities to achieve college credit while in high school; and convening a variety of “Hubs” for the state including STEM and Early Learning.
At the end of June, John will hand the HDESD reins to Paul Andrews who will expand the organization’s reach even further. John and Paul have worked closely to enhance partnerships within and outside of the organization while staying focused on their organization’s most important role: improving the lives of children and families.
In retirement, John plans to have a continued role in education, supporting children and families at the regional and state level. He will also continue teaching occasional graduate classes in educational administration and leadership. He is most looking forward to traveling with his wife, spending time with his grandchildren, and supporting the Oregon State Beavers.
Former students can request records
Former students who were served by the High Desert Education Service District may request their records. Records will remain confidentially filed until the age of 26 for Central Oregon Regional Program and until the age of 22 for Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education, at which time they will be destroyed. Contact 541-693-5700 for more information.
In accordance with state and federal law (ORS 326.565, OAR 166-400-0060 & 34 CFR § 300.573), the HDESD is not required to keep records after former students have reached the age of 26. At that time it is the practice of the HDESD to destroy student records. Please contact Central Oregon Regional Program at 541.693.5700 to request records.
National Service Opportunity
Better Together is recruiting full-time and summer AmeriCorps VISTAs. The VISTAs will work to build capacity with Better Together and community partner youth serving organizations in Central Oregon. Benefits include relevant work experience, professional development, bi-weekly living allowance, choice of education award or end of service stipend, and being part of a great team.
To apply, please fill out an application on the AmeriCorps Website. Start date: 7/15/2017. Please feel free to contact Better Together with any questions regarding the application process.
Applications can be found here!
Encouraging CTE Programs from an Early Start
CTE (Career & Technical Education) spent the day at Sky View Middle School in Bend for their first CTE Day! This was in partnership with Mountain View High School. Mt. View CTE teachers along with a few Mt. View high school students highlighted their programs with hands-on activities for the 8th graders preparing to forecast for next year’s classes. This was a great way to encourage CTE programs from an early start. Some of the activities included: soil testing, electric car driving, cooking Chinese fried rice, creating stickers, engineering a structure to support weight made out of paper, edible welding rods, and robotics to name a few. Thank you to the teachers and staff at both schools for putting on such a great event for the students.
Chick Tech... increasing the number of women and girls pursuing technology-based careers
During the first part of February, approximately 20 high school girls from Crook County, Culver and Madras were invited to participate in ‘Chick Tech’ at the Central Oregon Community College (COCC) campus in Madras. Chick Tech’s mission is dedicated to retaining women in the technology workforce and increasing the number of women and girls pursuing technology-based careers.
Students participated in soft circuits or 3D printing workshops, aimed at enhancing their knowledge and collectively taking time to recognize unique skills that women bring to technology fields. A 3D printing company from Gresham as well as professor Yong Bakos (and two students) from the OSU-Cascades computer science department were on hand to lead the workshop.
We are extremely grateful for the support of COCC and the leadership of Chick Tech in helping organize this event and hope for it to be a launching point to get even more young women here in central Oregon interested in pursuing meaningful careers in technology.
'Katie Calm Time'
The Behavior Intervention Center and Options students had access to these African Drums for less than a week. We used them to do a surprise “Thank You” for our amazing OT, Katie Diez who comes to work with our students in groups every Tuesday. The students have affectionately called it “Katie Calm time.” We started having Katie come to the program as a proposal for our innovation grant. She has helped the students using a multi-faceted approach to emotional regulation such as: Mindfulness, Yoga Calm, Brain Gym and other techniques that have involved hands-on projects, Yoga, and other calming strategies. The students did such a nice job, that we have decided to invest in drums for the program. The students were able to work on turn taking, impulse control and social skills. It was so wonderful to see students who normally struggle to get along encouraging one another and listening. The drum resembles the heart beat and research has shown that it is a calming strategy in itself. Drumming has the potential to be a therapeutic technique that provides both relaxation and energy to the emotionally wounded.
STEM Week is here!
May 1 – 7, 2017 marks STEM Week Oregon. STEM Week Oregon is a statewide movement to raise awareness, celebrate and engage in activities involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Register your class, school, organization or activity on the STEM Week Oregon website to show the statewide impact of STEM Hubs. Activities will be marked on the map and be eligible for PRIZE giveaways!
Photo: Students from Rimrock Expeditionary Alternative Learning Middle School in Bend
What is the High Desert Education Service District?
HDESD is a publicly-funded agency that partners with local school districts to provide high-quality, cost-effective and locally responsive education services at a regional level. These services range from business, legal, and administrative support to school improvement efforts and special education programs.
What types of services do we provide?
Services for Children with Special NeedsWe partner with local school districts to provide services to families and students who are at risk or have special educational needs.
School Improvement ServicesWe provide consultation, on-site and regional professional development, consortiums, grant projects, and student programs.
Administrative ServicesWe support business, administrative and operational functions for HDESD and partner school districts. Other services are also available to support home and alternative learning.
Information ServicesWe offer a wide range of information technology and instructional support services to both HDESD and school district staff.
Students are Oregon’s greatest natural resource, and we must invest in their education. High Desert ESD is keeping the Promise of Oregon. To learn more, visit: promiseoregon.org
The Oregon School Boards Association, a member services organization based in Salem, founded “The Promise of Oregon” campaign in 2014 to focus attention on the accomplishments of Oregon’s kindergarten-14 students and the need to adequately fund public education.
Be a state leader in providing quality services to schools, children and families
Improve student outcomes with Excellence, Equity and Efficiency
Together, Engaging Students to Succeed
Our Central Oregon School District Partners
- Jefferson County 509J School District
- Black Butte School District
- Culver School District
- North Central Counties School District
- Harney Education Service District
- Jefferson Education Service District
- Grant Education Service District
- Lake Education Service District
- Southern Oregon Education Service District
- Umatilla/Morrow Education Service District