- Springfield Public Schools
SPS welcomes new superintendent, Todd Hamilton
It’s official: Springfield Public Schools has a new leader.
Todd Hamilton, former longtime superintendent in the Creswell School District, began in his position as SPS superintendent on Monday, July 1.
In a brief interview, Hamilton said that he’s excited to get to know the Springfield Public Schools community in his first year as superintendent before implementing any major changes.
“One of the things that I've learned over the years is the importance of taking time to understand where I am and understand the story that was evolving before I got there,” Hamilton said. “I really want to work with the community and truly understand at a much deeper level what that work looks like and how I can be part of helping that work move forward.”
Hamilton also said that he wants to highlight the district’s good work and ensure that people know their work is valued and important.
“(This position) is not about me,” he said. “It's about highlighting the good work that's happening here and helping others really be recognized for that."
How Hamilton got into education
Hamilton is a lifelong Oregonian. He grew up in the Tigard area and graduated from Tigard High School before earning his undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon and his Master of Arts in Teaching from Pacific University.
Hamilton said that as a student, he wasn’t always as engaged as he wanted to be. His outlook changed when he went to work at an outdoor summer camp in Vermont after college. At the camp, he led hiking trips and taught students how to rock climb, among other outdoor activities.
“It’s where I really had a chance to work with students in fun and creative ways and realized that I not only loved being in the outdoors, but I loved teaching.”
The time spent in Vermont prompted Hamilton to look into graduate teaching programs and he eventually became a teacher. He started at the elementary level, which he said was fulfilling.
“(At that age) kids get excited when they learn something and that light goes off,” Hamilton said. You can see it in their eyes. That's the energy that kept me involved in schools. And that's probably the biggest reason that I love it because I know what that possibility is now and I want other kids to have that same experience and success.”
Experience and expertise
As the Superintendent in Creswell School District, Hamilton focused on developing an understanding of what quality teaching and learning looks like in an effort to help teachers to better their craft, he said.
Working to enhance early learning opportunities in Creswell was also a point of pride during the eight years he served as superintendent there.
He helped to lead the district in enhancing early learning opportunities for young students through various programs, including Kids in Transition to School, the Preschool Promise Program and other early learning efforts.
“The programs acknowledge that we have this notion that every child is able to walk into a classroom and know how to get along with their friends or other students or knows how to follow the directions of the teachers – but not every kid has had that preschool experience. So, by having these programs, we've been able to create some structures to help all children transition into school more successfully.”
Working for balance
Although being a superintendent requires a lot of time and energy, Hamilton said he does his best to maintain a healthy work-life balance. “That pays off for everyone. Balance allows for sustained success.”
In his free time, Hamilton likes to compete in duathlons which are much like triathlons but without the swimming. He also said he loves spending time outside with his family.
“I have two lovely children and an amazing spouse who understands the demands of being a superintendent and is supportive of me in that role,” he said.
Hamilton says that having two children who are enrolled in the K-12 system gives him a unique perspective, too.
“I get to see on a day-to-day basis the impact that we have on kids with our decisions at the district level and at the school level because they come home and they tell me about it,” Hamilton said. “I get their honest perspectives.”
As the new superintendent got settled into his new space this week, he said he was eager to get going.
“I’m so excited to join Springfield School District,” he said. “This is going to be fun.”