SKPS board selects Salazar as new director for Zone 6

At Tuesday’s school board meeting, the Salem-Keizer School Board directors appointed Robert Salazar as the new director to represent Zone 6.

Salazar spent 45 years in education prior to retirement, serving as principal at Myers and Washington elementary schools in the Salem-Keizer district, according to his application and resume.

During his time as principal at Washington, reading and math scores increased by 10 points, according to Salazar’s resume. Also, with no specification of which school, his resume states that in one year reading scores increased by 15% and math scores by 10%.

Prior to his time as a principal, Salazar worked as a teacher and vice principal.

As a vice principal, among other things, Salazar said he was a member of the gang task force, and facilitated team building techniques.

According to his resume, Salazar taught a variety of subjects in his time as teacher. He taught language arts, social studies, general math, ESL and ran an English transition classroom for bilingual migrant education students.

He also spent 17 years as a coach in football, basketball, baseball and track.

Since retiring, Salazar has worked with the Oregon Department of Education as the director of private career schools and in coordinating GED and other alternative education programs.

The director seat opened up after Danielle Bethel resigned on Oct. 10. Bethell never explained her decision to resign.

Salazar was one of 10 applicants for the vacated seat.

On Nov. 3, applicants met with the board via zoom to answer four questions they had been given in advance:

  • What are three immediate goals the board needs to accomplish?
  • Share how you will contribute as a member of the board so we can provide strong governance.
  • Using available data, how would you develop policy that mitigates biases and keeps focus on our students’ safety, well-being and high quality education?
  • How will you work to authentically engage all families and diverse sections of our community so that our communities can come together as well as work with our educators and staff to help all our children have a thriving life trajectory?
  • As might be expected with his history, Salazar’s focus was on the gaps in reading and math proficiencies, as well as student safety and discipline.

Salazar received votes from Ashley Carson Cottingham, Maria Hinojos Pressey, Karina Guzman-Ortiz and Osvaldo Avila. Satya Chandragiri was the only member to vote for a different applicant.

Salazar will serve out the remainder of Bethell’s term through June 30, 2023.