News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Miller named Administrator of the Year

Santiam Canyon School District Superintendent Todd Miller has been named Administrator of the Year for his strong leadership through some of the district’s most challenging periods.

The title was announced June 23 during the annual conference of the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators in Seaside, and awarded by the Oregon Small Schools Association (OSSA).

Miller was recognized for helping lead the district through the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 wildfires, and an administrative crisis he inherited in 2013.

The district said on Facebook its superintendent truly was “super” and the award was “an incredible honor.”

“We are lucky to have (Miller),” said the post. “If you see him around, tell him congrats!”

Miller is himself a graduate of the district and was once a counselor and coach at Santiam High School. He became superintendent in 2013 on the heels of a major administrative meltdown for the district.

Long-time Superitnendent Brad Yates had resigned abruptly in 2012 amid sexual harassment claims, while all incumbents on the School Board either resigned or were voted out by 2013. The district was also struggling to fill a $700,000 budget shortfall for the 2012-2013 school year, which resulted in the permanent closure of Gates Elementary School.

Miller helped the district regain its footing by working with the board to set realistic budgets and seeking new revenue opportunities and partnerships.

One such partnership was through Oregon Connections Academy, an online charter school based in Mill City where Miller served as executive director prior to becoming superintendent. 

Another partner was Strengthening Rural Families, which helped the district acquire a grant to build the Early Childhood Center, which offers free preschool to families throughout the region.

Under Miller’s leadership, the district also passed a $17.9 million facilities bond in 2019–the first-ever facilities bond proposed by the district–to rebuild Santiam Junior/Senior High School.

When COVID-19 lockdowns hit in 2020, classes and School Board meetings were forced online. Miller already had experience with remote education through Oregon Connections Academy and this helped smooth the transition.

Then on Labor Day 2020, the Santiam Fire devastated the region, destroying students’ homes and nearly burning down the new middle/high school. Miller helped develop the “Canyon Strong” campaign that galvanized the community in the aftermath of the fires and continues to help residents rally and recover.

These accomplishments were among the many reasons OSSA said Miller deserved to be recognized. Executive Director Michael Carter said in a news release Miller was “an exemplary leader whose work has improved the success of students in Oregon’s small school districts.”

Miller was similarly recognized in 2022 as Citizen of the Year by the North Santiam Chamber of Commerce, who cited his encouraging and competent leadership and his kind personality.

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