North Clackamas' Matt Utterback lives up to 'Best Superintendent in the Nation'

Matt Utterback (SBG photo) 

PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon’s Superintendent of the Year is heading back to school with a new title – “Best Superintendent in the Nation.”

North Clackamas’ Matt Utterback plans to uphold his reputation in the 2017-2018 school year by overcoming challenges.

“Our work seems to be working,” Utterback said.

He said over the past four years, the graduation rate has jumped 14 percent in the North Clackamas School District. He said 90 percent of freshmen are on track to graduate.

Utterback said it’s personal. He takes responsibility for his students and understands the obstacles they face.

“We’re working to celebrate the differences that exist among our student body,” he said.

He said the recent violence in Charlottesville poses an extra challenge.

“They see the hate and the bigotry that is happening in our country and it impacts them,” Utterback said.

He said letting students talk about national events, their fears, and their worries isn’t about politics.

“No matter what somebody believes, where they were born, who they love, they have a right to live life authentically,” he said.

To Utterback, it’s about understanding what the kids bring to the table – as a student and as a human being.

“When we do that, we affirm a student for who they are, and they're more successful learners in our school system and that is what the purpose of public education is,” he said.

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