The Written Word

Writing is a lot like photography. Plenty of people think they can handle it on their own… right up until they see the work of a true professional. I’ve spent many thousands of hours honing my craft, with a focus on audience engagement across modes and genres.

Sample communications are below. Creative writing samples including poetry, short stories, and novel manuscripts are available upon request.

Ghostwriting: Executive Intro Letter

This letter was written on behalf of a new executive team member who needed an intro letter for an entry-plan document. It was based on that team member’s content, and adapted to maximize impact with our target audience of both employees and community members.

Dear Silver Falls School District Friends and Families, 

I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as Superintendent for the Silver Falls School District. We serve nearly 4,000 students across our 13 schools — schools served by some of the best teachers, administrators, and support staff in the state. The history of Silver Falls School District is one of academic excellence. Even before I became aware of the opportunity to come and serve this district, I knew of its reputation for student success. This district, and indeed the whole community, should be proud of this reputation. 

Of course, this success is far more meaningful than simply serving as a point of pride. The young people in this community are some of the finest anywhere. Though I’ve only been on the job for a short time, already I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of our students. What is imminently clear to me is that this is a community that cares about its young people, and that caring is something that our students notice. Over my twenty-plus years in education, I can attest to you the truth so many of you have obviously already taken to heart — an involved community has a real and meaningful impact on the quality of the education your schools can deliver. 

Silverton High School’s graduation rate is a stunning 92.5%, and that is representative of the entirety of our diverse district. Our Hispanic and Latino Students, our students with disabilities, and our students who are economically disadvantaged, are all experiencing academic success at rates well above the state average. Silver Falls School District is committed to each and every child who walks through the doors of our schools, and we have the evidence that what we’re doing is working. 

So yes, we have great schools and outstanding professional educators, but this is not to say that we have no room for improvement. The reality is that the higher our students perform, the greater the challenge as we push for constant improvement. We will not settle for less than powerfully meaningful outcomes for each of our students. Every child deserves the opportunity to thrive. 

I am convinced that continuous improvement takes concerted effort and positive energy directed in a thoughtful manner. I invite you to participate in your school community, and to see how great it feels to engage with us in the work of educating so many bright young people. 

Thank you for the trust you place in us, and thank you for the opportunity to serve the Silver Falls School District. I wish you a year full of excellence. 

Press Release: New Superintendent

SILVER FALLS SCHOOL DISTRICT ANNOUNCES INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT

Former Scappoose Superintendent Joins Silver Falls Team

SILVERTON, Ore. (August 13, 2019) During the August 12th Silver Falls School District Board Meeting, the school board voted to hire Paul Peterson for the position of Interim Superintendent, replacing Andy Bellando, who retired from the position of Superintendent after nine years on July 1st. The vote to hire Peterson was unanimous.

Peterson is an educator with 25 years of experience, including serving as the Scappoose School District Superintendent from 2006-2011, Assistant Superintendent of the Northwest Regional Education Service District from 2012-2018, and Interim Superintendent of Scappoose School District from 2018-2019.

“Silver Falls School District has a reputation for educational excellence,” says Peterson, “I’m excited to be here. My first goal is to spend time listening to staff and the community.”

Peterson joins Dan Busch as the second new member of the district’s leadership team this year. Busch, the district’s Assistant Superintendent, started on July 1st, and served as Acting Superintendent during the Interim Superintendent hiring process.

Silver Falls School District serves over 3900 students in grades K-12 in the cities of Silverton and Scotts Mills, and their surrounding communities. For more information about Silver Falls School District, visit SilverFallsSchools.org.

Community Email: Safety Week Day 3

From the website of the I Love U Guys Foundation:

On September 27th, 2006 a gunman entered Platte Canyon High School, held seven girls hostage and ultimately shot and killed Emily Keyes. During the time she was held hostage, Emily sent her parents these text messages:

”I love you guys” and “I love u guys. k?”

With that we begin this third email in our series for School Safety Awareness Month. Yesterday we talked about the Great Oregon Shakeout, and how our schools prepare for earthquakes and other potential natural disasters. Today’s email is about interpersonal violence.

We acknowledge that this is a difficult topic. The easiest thing to do would be to turn our heads and ignore the issue entirely. The sad truth is that these events do occur, and we need not look far into the past to see an example. From Columbine to Sandy Hook, most of us can easily recall the shock and horror at the tragic losses of life that can occur when a person with ill intent penetrates the safety of a school environment with a weapon.

As educators, we consider the safety of each and every one of our students to be our highest priority. But we can’t do everything on our own.

The I Love U Guys Foundation provides a way for schools, communities, and first responders to craft common plans, create shared vocabulary, and ultimately work better, faster, to respond to emergencies of all types. The Standard Response Protocol (SRP) provides a uniform classroom response to any kind of incident. While this includes scenarios like intruders on campus (whether armed or unarmed), it also applies to situations like fires, accidents, etc.

Silver Falls School District utilizes the work of the I Love U Guys Foundation as the best practice from which our safety protocols derive. We’ve added entry locks and cameras to several of our schools, with more rolling out all year long. We engage with local and regional law enforcement and other first responders to identify the ways we can all work together to enhance the safety of our buildings. None of us can see the future or predict the nature of the emergencies we may experience in our community. We must therefore prepare ourselves for all the possibilities.

We invite you to engage with the materials available on the I Love U Guys Founda- tion’s website. As the foundation says, “You don’t choose tragedy. You can choose your response.”

Keep an eye out for tomorrow’s email, where we’ll shift our discussion to keeping each other safe and healthy in more personal ways.