The Beaverton School District School Board is pleased to announce that Dr. Gustavo Balderas has accepted the position as school superintendent, effective July 1, upon the retirement of current superintendent Don Grotting.
Dr. Balderas is a nationally recognized educator known for his equity-driven leadership, who has a proven track record of ensuring that all students achieve academic success as well as social-emotional growth. His numerous awards include the 2021 Champion for Equity Award from the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, 2020 Oregon Superintendent of the Year Award from the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators, and 2020 National Superintendent of the Year Award from the American School Superintendents Association.
“I will continue to work with staff and community on improving an already phenomenal school system to ensure that we’re meeting the needs of all students in the district,” says Dr. Balderas. “We need to engage our kids to help them define their own successes as they progress through BSD.”
Dr. Balderas comes to Beaverton from the Edmonds School District in Washington, where he has served as superintendent for the past two years. Prior to that, he served as superintendent for the Eugene School District (2015-2020), Ocean View School District in California (2012-2015) and Madera Unified School District in California (2011-2012). Dr. Balderas started his career in the Hillsboro School District, working as teacher, counselor, assistant principal, principal, district administrator and assistant superintendent.
Dr. Balderas is no stranger to the Beaverton School District. While working in Hillsboro, his family lived in Beaverton, and his two sons attended school in the district.
Dr. Balderas is a first-generation son of Mexican immigrants who worked in the agricultural fields of California, Oregon and Washington. “I understand first-hand some of the barriers that students face in Beaverton schools — those in poverty and those navigating a new language and culture. These experiences will help me connect with students and families and help identify ways to meet the needs of our students furthest from educational justice.”
Dr. Balderas received his Bachelor of Science degree from Western Oregon University and his Master of Science degree from Portland State University. He earned his Doctor of Education degree from the University of Oregon. In addition to the awards mentioned above, Dr. Balderas also was recognized as the 2020 Latinx Educator of the Year by the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators and the 2020 Mike Kneale Educational Excellence in Leadership Award winner by the Educational Research and Development Institute.
“Dr. Balderas’ track record of centering students in decision making, working directly with community and staff members, increasing academic achievement and infusing equity into district decisions made him the clear choice for our next superintendent,” says Tom Colett, School Board Chair. “He’s a nationally recognized leader who understands the complexities of the Oregon educational system and is ready to hit the ground running in Beaverton.”
The Beaverton School Board started its nationwide superintendent search six months ago by hiring a consultant who engaged in an extensive community input process that included interviewing focus groups representing the district’s diverse stakeholders. More than 350 students, parents/guardians, staff and community members were asked to identify those qualities that they wanted to see in the district’s next leader. All students, parents/guardians and staff also had the opportunity to fill out surveys. The consultant then narrowed the pool of applicants and conducted first-round interviews. The School Board took several days to review those applications and conducted second and third round interviews before selecting Dr. Balderas. Special thanks to the committee of students, staff, parents/guardians and community members who also participated in the interview process.