Oregon Superintendent of Public Instruction

Oregon Superintendent of Public Instruction
Oregon Superintendent of Public Instruction
Oregon state seal.png
Great Seal of the State of Oregon
Details of Office
Branch: Executive
Type: Nonpartisan
Selection: Statewide election
Term: 4 years
Authority: Constitution
Established: 1872
Name: Susan Castillo
Term ends: 2015

The Superintendent of Public Instruction, sometimes referred to as the State Superintendent of Schools, is a constitutional office[1] within the executive branch of the Oregon state government, and acts as administrative officer of the State Board of Education and executive head of the Department of Education. The Superintendent is elected by the people of Oregon in a nonpartisan statewide ballot during the May primary in non-presidential even-numbered years. If no candidate receives a majority, the two who receive the highest number of votes face each other in a runoff the following November. The superintendent serves a term of office of four years. The incumbent is Susan Castillo.[2]

The Superintendent's status as an elective office will be eliminated by 2015 as part of an education overhaul that will make the Governor the Superintendent, with the responsibility of appointing a Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction. The appointee must further have at least five years of experience as a school administrator and is subject to approval by the Oregon Senate.[3] The bill enacting the change will take effect at the end of the current Superintendent's term in 2015, or earlier, if the office becomes vacant.[4][5]


The superintendent's responsibilities include providing leadership for some 551,290 elementary and secondary students in Oregon’s 198 school districts, as well as those enrolled in public preschool programs, the state Schools for the Blind and the Deaf, programs for children with disabilities and education programs for young people in statewide juvenile corrections facilities.[2]

The superintendent has no direct control over policy, which is set by the Board of Education, which adopts rules affecting local school districts, who are ultimately responsible for establishing policy at the district level.[6] As chief administrator, however, the superintendent has considerable influence on policy through recommendation to the Board, and certification and licensing authority.[2]

As chief administrative officer for the Department of Education, the superintendent oversees state funding for schools, and makes budget recommendations to the Governor's office, subject to action by the state legislature.[2]

List of Oregon's superintendents of public instruction

The following table lists the twenty individuals who have held the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, in reverse chronological order, with dates of service:[7]

# Name Term
1 Sylvester C. Simpson January 30, 1873 - September 14, 1874[8]
2 Levi L. Rowland September 14, 1874 - September 9, 1878[8]
3 Leonard J. Powell September 9, 1878 - September 11, 1882[8]
4 Ebenezer B. McElroy September 11, 1882 - January 14, 1895[8]
5 George M. Irwin January 14, 1895 - January 9, 1899[8]
6 John H. Ackerman January 9, 1899 - January 3, 1911
7 Lewis R. Alderman January 4, 1911 - June 28, 1913
8 Julius A. Churchill July 1, 1913 - June 1, 1926
9 Richard R. Turner June 1, 1926 - January 3, 1927
10 Charles A. Howard January 3, 1927 - September 1, 1937
11 Rex Putnam September 1, 1937 - January 31, 1961
12 Leon P. Minear February 1, 1961 - March 31, 1968
13 Jesse V. Fasold April 1, 1968 - July 1, 1968
14 Dale Parnell July 1, 1968 - April 1, 1974
15 Jesse V. Fasold April 1, 1974 - January 6, 1975
16 Verne Duncan January 6, 1975 - November 15, 1989
17 John Erickson December 18, 1989 - September 30, 1990
18 Norma Paulus October 1, 1990 - January 3, 1999
19 Stan Bunn January 4, 1999 - January 5, 2003
20 Susan Castillo January 6, 2003–Present


  1. ^ OR Const. art. VIII.
  2. ^ a b c d "Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo". Oregon Blue Book (Online). Oregon Secretary of State. 2006. http://bluebook.state.or.us/state/executive/Education_Dept/superintendent_bio.htm. Retrieved 2006-12-05. 
  3. ^ "Senate Bill 552 (text):Relating to Superintendent of Public Instruction". Oregon Legislative Assembly. http://www.leg.state.or.us/11reg/measures/sb0500.dir/sb0552.en.html. Retrieved June 28, 2011. 
  4. ^ Melton, Kimberly (6 April 2011). "Despite some concerns, Oregon Senate passes bill that makes Oregon's governor the schools superintendent". The Oregonian. http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/04/despite_some_concerns_oregon_s.html. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  5. ^ "State Schools Superintendent to also be the Governor". 1110 KBND. 23 June 2011. http://www.kbnd.com/page.php?page_id=60247&article_id=8636. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "Why have this position?". The Register-Guard: pp. 2B. August 28, 2005. 
  7. ^ "Superintendents - Past and Present". Oregon Department of Education (official website). ODE. 2006. http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?id=632. Retrieved 2006-12-05. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Kincaid, Harrison Rittenhouse (1899). "Superintendents of Public Instruction". Political and Official History and Register of Oregon (State of Oregon): 10. http://books.google.com/books?id=AZQtAAAAYAAJ&vq=rowland&pg=PA10&ci=92%2C807%2C34%2C267&source=bookclip. 

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