Bergstrom appointed to succeed Busler next year

Oregon School District superintendent Brian Busler (right) is retiring at the end of the school year in June, and will be succeeded by deputy superintendent Leslie Bergstrom, who was congratulated by Busler after being appointed to the position by the board.

“Dr. B” will still be leading the way for the Oregon School District, its hundreds of educators and its 4,100-some students.

But starting July 1, it will be Dr. Bergstrom, rather than Dr. Busler.

The school board Monday appointed longtime district educator and current deputy superintendent Leslie Bergstrom to succeed Brian Busler as the OSD superintendent. Busler announced his retirement last month after 14 years in the role, and his last day is the official end of the 2019-20 school year, June 30.

Board president Steve Zach said members have been working with Busler for the past several months on a succession plan before coming to a consensus on promoting Bergstrom. She is Busler’s top deputy and has filled a variety of roles since joining the district in 2003.

“And so with endings, we have beginnings,” Zach told Busler, in the first board meeting since the retirement announcement. “We’re saddened to see you go, but really excited to announce (Bergstrom) as our new superintendent.”

Bergstrom said it was an honor to be selected for the position and credited Busler for his leadership and mentoring of district educators.

“(He) is a leader we would all like to emulate,” she said. “We will continue to work to create a school system where every child walks in the door and feels like they belong, and like who they are now and who they will be honored and valued.

“I truly believe there is no profession more honorable than education, I feel it in my heart, and to have the opportunity to serve as the superintendent for the Oregon School District means more than I can say.”

Krista Flanagan said the board again worked with educational consultant Dr. James Rickabaugh, a former Wisconsin state Superintendent of the Year, on the search for a new district leader.

“That went pretty darn well, because it led to Dr. Busler,” she said.

Bergstrom’s interview with all seven board members lasted around three hours, Flanagan said. She said it was “in depth” and left them with a strong impression.

“(Bergstrom) possessed the educational background, the skills and acumen we desired, and possessed a steep knowledge of our value system,” Flanagan said. “(She was) already a highly respected member of our district community, had been successful in leading a lot of our most strategic long term initiatives and she was being sought after by other districts.”

Zach and Courtney Odorico were on the board that hired Busler in 2006, and Zach said while the board “took a different route” in hiring an internal candidate this time around, the process was “no less thorough, no less probing, no less thoughtful.”

“I think the seven of us today sit here with the same degree of confidence as we did 14 years ago (in hiring Busler),” he said, nodding at Odorico.

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at