Heidi Sipe, the superintendent of the Umatilla School District, was chosen as the 2016 Oregon Superintendent of the Year at this week’s Oregon School Boards Association annual conference in Portland.
Sipe has been the Umatilla superintendent since 2007 and is now in the running for the National Superintendent of the Year. The state honor is given by the Oregon Association of School Executives and the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators.
“Heidi is an outstanding educational leader with a deep commitment to equity and a strong belief in the promise and potential of each and every child,” said Salam Noor, Oregon Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Her passion, dedication, and vision make her a true asset not just to her district and region but to the whole state. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honor.”
Nearly 90 percent of Umatilla’s 1,400 students qualify for free or reduced meals and about one-third are active English Language learners.
“When others look at the demographics of our school, they see barriers to college, including limited financial resources, lack of college-going role models, and citizenship status,” Sipe said at the conference. “But inside our schools, our students no longer accept those barriers. Umatilla students are college material, and in fact are college success stories. They see themselves for the stars they are.”
Sipe led the creation of the STEM Academy of Umatilla and serves as volunteer coach of the district’s award-winning FIRST Robotics team. She has also been a prominent education leader in Oregon for nearly a decade. Among her many leadership roles: OASE President in 2014-15; COSA Board of Directors, 2013-15; and Teacher Standards and Practices Commissioner, 2013-present. She also assisted the Oregon Department of Education during a time of transition by serving as interim assistant superintendent in 2012-13.
Sipe and her husband, Kyle, a middle school teacher in Umatilla, have two children. Their son, Caden, is a freshman at Washington State University. Her daughter, Cameron, is a junior at Umatilla High School.
Information provided by the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators.