REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) – As part of its continued quest to improve region-wide support systems for students in central Oregon, the High Desert Education Service District has appointed Jim Boen Regional Director of Health mental and behavioral.
Boen, who previously served as executive director of high school and board programs for Bend-La Pine schools, will partner with central Oregon school districts to build on existing mental and behavioral health efforts and expand regional support systems.
According to Shay Mikalson, Head of Student Success at HDESD, the new regional position is a product of the Student Success Act 2019. The SSA, an unprecedented investment in the state’s education system, emphasizes mental and behavioral health and academic achievement with particular emphasis on students who have historically been underserved.
“We know that one in five children in our country faces mental health issues and that less than 20% receive the support they need,” Mikalson said. “In central Oregon we are committed to trying to change these statistics and we believe schools are playing a huge role. HDESD and our district partners have done remarkable work in the area of mental and behavioral health and our goal is to amplify and accelerate this work by unifying and expanding it.
Boen brings over 28 years of education experience to his new role and has served as an educator, school counselor, and school and district administrator in western, central and eastern Oregon.
“I am thrilled to be a thought partner and advocate for schools and districts in our region as they design and refine mental and behavioral health services for students,” said Boen. “Together, we will build a region-wide support system that will provide students with the tools and skills to help them solve problems and resolve personal and interpersonal conflicts. Having the right tools and skills will help them stay more engaged in school.
In this new role, Boen will also engage families and community organizations in creating and implementing a shared vision to improve student mental and behavioral health with an emphasis on equity, prevention and well-being. HDESD serves over 40,000 children in Crook and Deschutes counties.
“I see this position as a resource person and facilitator – a quarterback so to speak – for collaborative mental and behavioral health. I am thrilled to be a thought partner and advocate for district schools in our area as we work to improve our student outcomes.
The High Desert ESD also announced the appointment of Amy McCormack as Director of Early Intervention for Early Childhood Special Education.
McCormack brings over 29 years of educational experience to his new role. Beginning her career as a teacher with visually impaired students, she then worked as a special education teacher. She recently held the position of HDESD Supervisor for EI / ECSE. Diane Tipton, longtime director of HDESD at EI / ECSE, retired in June after more than 10 years in this role and over 30 years in special education.
In his new role, McCormack leads the planning, implementation and service of HDESD’s early intervention and special education programs.
HDESD’s Alyce Hatch Center serves as the central Oregon hub for IE / ECSE programs with teachers, specialists, and administrative staff providing comprehensive referrals and assessments. The center is the hub for the program’s satellite sites in Deschutes County (Redmond, Sisters and La Pine), Crook County (Prineville) and Jefferson County (Madras).
A total of 618 students are served in the tri-county area. On average, 300 children in central Oregon benefit each year from the expertise of 80 HDESD specialists and educators. Services encompass programs for children from birth to age 5 with disabilities, developmental delays and also children at risk.
“I think one of the most rewarding and probably one of my favorite parts of my job has been with children from birth to five years old and their families,” McCormack said. “The relationships you develop with students and families, and the support and encouragement you provide to them during a very traumatic time, are both empowering and empowering. I really love the job and what is so amazing about HDESD and IE / ECSE in particular is that all the staff really love what they do and it shows every day in the services that they do. ‘it provides for children and families.
HDESD EI / ECSE services are provided through direct and advisory methods and include:
“Accepting the role of director is a gift and although it will be quite difficult, I am so lucky to have the opportunity to continue to make a difference,” said McCormack.
For more information on the EI / ECSE services available in central Oregon, contact Wendy Bell
About the High Desert Education Services District
HDESD is a state-funded agency that partners with local school districts to provide high-quality, cost-effective, locally responsive education services at the regional level. These services range from special education programs, to business, legal and administrative support to school improvement efforts. HDESD