New Education Officer Studying Poor Graduation Rate

Sep 15, 2016


Colt Gill was appointed as the state's first Education Innovation Officer last spring.
Credit Karen Richards

Oregon students perform well academically, but the high school graduation rate is poor. Colt Gill, the governor's new Education Innovation Officer is tasked with finding out why, and coming up with solutions. Gill spoke Thursday at a League of Women Voters lunch.



Colt Gill has roots in Springfield and Eugene and has worked in education for 27 years. He began his new position in June and found himself with a big challenge:


Gill: “Oregon's in a graduation crisis right now. To be in the bottom five in the nation is not a good place for our students or the future of our state.”


Gill says the nearly 12,000 students who didn't graduate last year don't match the demographics of the state.


Gill: “They look different. So they're students of color, they're students living in tribal communities, they're students living in poverty, they're students with disabilities, they're boys.”


He says one emerging priority is to focus on equitable outcomes. That is, to create programs and allot resources to those groups that have trouble graduating. He plans to present budgetary and legislative goals to Governor Brown before December.