The Lincoln County School Board picked an energetic, savvy educational mover and shaker to fill the shoes of outgoing Schools Superintendent Tom Rinearson who was probably called the same when he took over the reins 10 years ago. Steve Boynton, the Superintendent of Schools for the Arlington District 3 School District based in Arlington, OR, has 18 years as a teacher, sports coach, administrator and superintendent, so he’s probably seen it all.
Boynton, with a wife and two young children, has been making somewhat of an international name for himself in his treatment of educational proficiency in which students learn from hands-on experience how things work and are related to broader concepts and connections in life. Boynton says it’s not just a test-based approach to education, although test scores are important as well. Boynton says it’s helping them to score higher because they know how to think about what they’re being asked. Not just rote memorization. This approach has gained him some notoriety far beyond his office at Arlington High School. Before he assumes the reins of Lincoln County Schools he will spend a month in Australia helping educators there become more familiar with his “engagement” approach to education.
Boynton says Lincoln County offers a wide array of educational opportunities for students just as there are in his current home district. But in Lincoln County it’s hands-on with marine science: biology, fishing, coastal geology, rivers, streams and beaches – all powerful open-air laboratories for using education to better understand the natural environment.
Boynton is also a booster of programs that engage high school students with higher education and vocational training. He says a high school diploma needs to mean something – the graduate having ready job skills for the work place, or an enduring interest that takes them further into more technical vocational training or college. He says he looks forward to working with Oregon Coast Community College’s new President and establishing a strong academic relationship between the K-12 school district and the college. Boynton says some students in his current district have gotten their high school diploma and college Associates of Arts Degree (AA) the same year – quite a head start on their college career, if that’s what they choose.
But again, Boynton emphasizes that his key focus is motivating students to be engaged – interacting with knowledge and putting it to work. He’s a big believer in technology – high speed internet teaching tools delivered through computers, iPads and cell phones, because students are already very proficient with them and through the internet they allow students access to the world – not just Twitter.
Boynton says he’s excited to be Lincoln County’s new Superintendent of Schools and so is his wife Amy and their daughter Mica, age 7 and son Kayden, 5. So you can see, he’s heavily invested in his work. It’s a family thing.