Looking back, moving forward: BSD’s Grotting prepares to retire

Vicky Siah

In 2021, Beaverton School District Superintendent Don Grotting announced his retirement. As the school year draws to a close, BSD is looking for its next superintendent. Over the past years, Superintendent Grotting left a lasting impact on the Beaverton community—and this month, we spoke to him about BSD’s progress.

Vicky Siah and Don Grotting

Our Managing Editor Vicky Siah got to know Don Grotting when she was at Westview. We’re fortunate that she is continuing to help us do The News now that she’s a Stanford student. Watch for her article on the Bond Measure in the March issue.

Superintendent Grotting has served in his position since July 2016, and during this period he oversaw the construction of new schools, increased BSD’s focus on equity, and managed BSD’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He professes that he is an avid supporter of nationwide equity efforts—“it’s probably what I’m most proud of,” Grotting says. “We’ve made a lot of progress with equity work and early childhood development.” Under Grotting, Beaverton School District’s schools have worked towards recognizing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color contributions in their curricula and eliminating the access gap for underrepresented minorities. Grotting is a large proponent of the equity lens, considering questions such as “whose voice is and isn’t represented?” and “who does this benefit or burden?” before making key decisions. The impacts of this can be seen in the student success rate.

Grotting alludes to strides in student feedback—he asserts that he is keen on open communication. “Prior to the schools closing for COVID-19 in 2021, we had made a lot of improvements,” he adds. “I want to boost students’ voices. Being able to connect with people is very important.”

BSD logo

While Grotting prepares to step aside on June 30, 2022, the selection of a new superintendent is ultimately left to the School Board, removing him from much of the process. A third-party consulting firm scours the nation to find potential matches, and the School Board will narrow this list of candidates to one final choice. “Many people are interested,” laughs Grotting. However, despite being excluded from the search, Grotting does have personal preferences. “I’d prefer it to be an experienced person of color,” he muses, noting that BSD is one of the most successful districts in the state. And humility is important to him—he touts the value of being humble in a high position. “A superintendent needs to listen to students and their community for input. They need to balance input with expertise, establishing great ties to the community.”

The superintendent search has sparked interest among parents, students, and graduates of the District. Many are curious to know the outcome of the search, and many more are celebratory of Grotting’s legacy. “Don was a great superintendent,” a Beaverton resident reflects. “He was a great, benevolent leader, and he made sure that our schools had all the funds they needed.”

Cedar Mill Landscape Supply

Superintendent Grotting agrees that this community is what makes Beaverton so special, and while he concedes that no decision can be met with complete support, he says that he strove for the best possible outcomes. Amidst it all, he is grateful for the various opinions that BSD administration receives. He jumps at the chance to give a final remark: “I really appreciate the community. Out of the four districts that I’ve been in, this community cares the most about education.” Superintendent Grotting encourages members of the public to come to BSD meetings and let their voices be heard. “Send questions,” he urges. “Attend community hearings. BSD wants to know your opinions.”

Grotting intends to move to Arizona post-retirement, where he is considering entering the consultancy business. He wants to continue working with children in Arizona, and he may volunteer in Arizona’s schools.

The School Board is looking for a successor that will build upon his platform. They expect to announce their decision near the end of the 2021-2022 academic year. BSD will facilitate a smooth transition between Grotting and the next superintendent, posting superintendent search updates on the BSD website.

Aside from the superintendent search, Cedar Mill News remains interested in the district’s other initiatives. A BSD bond measure is expected to be included in Washington County’s upcoming May election, providing funds for long-term planning. This will be one of Grotting’s final oversights.

March’s edition of the Cedar Mill News will feature more information on the proposed bond, its purpose, and the community impact. The Cedar Mill News is interested in gathering readers’ opinions—please share your viewpoint by emailing Vicky Siah at vsiah@stanford.edu.