June 30, 2020 | Safe Returns: Oregon’s Back-to-School Plan 101

On June 30th, 2020, a panel of state and district officials explored the details of new guidance for schools under COVID-19.


Colt Gill, was appointed by Governor Brown as Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction (and as such serves as the Director of the Oregon Department of Education), and he was confirmed by the Senate on February 12, 2018. He served previously as Oregon’s first Education Innovation Officer. In this position, he focused on improving graduation outcomes by working with local communities, school districts, researchers, students, and other stakeholders to identify effective practices across the P-20 continuum and make recommendations to the Governor, state agencies, and the Legislature regarding policies, budget priorities and supports needed to increase the number of students who graduate prepared for their next steps in the work place or college. He has been an Oregon educator since 1989. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Oregon and has served on a number of boards and commissions relating to education and children’s health and wellness initiatives.

Colt Gill can be reached at: colt.gill@state.or.us

Rich Blum, currently is the Sr VP of Business Development, Provider Relations, & Contracting for Trillium Family Services. He has worked for the Children’s Farm Home and then Trillium Family Services for 44 years in a variety of roles including children and adolescence direct care,  residential program management, Residential Services Director, Chief Quality Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Administrative Services Officer & Chief Operations Officer. Rich has a BA in English Literature & Creative Writing from Knox College and an MBA with emphasis in finance, statistics, and marketing from Willamette University’s Atkinson School of Management.

Rich Blum can be reached at: rblum@trilliumfamily.org

Heidi Sipe, serves as the Superintendent of the Umatilla School District. An Eastern Washington native, she began her work in Oregon in 2000 and has developed a deep passion for rural education, especially for students of poverty. She is committed to ensuring that all students have opportunities to achieve their future dreams by establishing a strong foundation of skills through effective instruction delivered by dedicated and skilled staff. Sipe is currently serving on the National COVID-19 Advisory Panel for AASA and previously served on the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, the Oregon Taskforce on School Funding and the Oregon Educator Advancement Council. Sipe took a leave of absence from Umatilla to serve as the Assistant Superintendent for the Oregon Department of Education in fall of 2012 and oversaw the Office of Educational Improvement and Innovation before returning to her district in spring of 2013. Heidi received her Bachelors of Arts in Reading from Eastern Washington University and her administrative credentials and Ed.S in Educational Leadership from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

Heidi Sipe can be reached at: sipeh@umatillasd.org

Heather Godsey, is a registered nurse who works on the lead nurse team at Multnomah Education Service District (MESD), as the Nurse Consultant for School Health Services. One of the main functions of Heather’s role as nurse consultant is to serve as the communicable disease liaison between MESD’s eight component public school districts, and the local health department. Heather works collaboratively with the Multnomah County Health Department’s communicable disease team to create communicable disease protocols, communications, and trainings, and to ensure consistency in communicable disease management and investigation within the school setting. Before working as MESD’s Nurse Consultant, after earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Heather worked as an RN case manager in home healthcare, and later served the Woodburn School District Community as Health Services Program Coordinator. Outside of work, Heather is a member of the Oregon Department of Education’s School Nurse Advisory Group and is the current president of the Oregon School Nurses Association.

Heather Godsey can be reached at: hgodsey.osna@gmail.com

Maureen Hinman, has been an advocate for school health services with the Oregon School-Based Health Alliance for the last nine years and has worked in public health for two decades. Prior to her work with OSBHA, Maureen worked in the Oregon Public Health Division doing program, policy, and operations work, provided health education internationally, and was the administrator of a youth-focused safety net clinic. With OSBHA she has worked with school health providers, school districts, and community partners to support the development of systems of school health supports for students. She has also overseen OSBHA’s policy initiatives, increasing legislative funding to double the number of school-based health centers, and leading development of legislation and technical assistance for Oregon’s trauma informed schools pilot projects.

Maureen Hinman can be reached at: maureen@osbha.org

Chiharu Blatt, LPC, a Licensed Professional Counselor, clinically supporting children and families for approximately 9 years. She graduated from Oregon State University with a Masters in Counseling, while working at Trillium Family Services as an In Home Skills Trainer. She has broad experience in the field, working with clients from residential level of care to the community setting. Working in the agency for approximately 12 years, she has gained much experience in the fast paced field, offering preventative supports as a community partner with schools and other external agencies.

Chiharu Blatt can be reached at: cblatt@trilliumfamily.org

Doug Riggs, has spent the past 20 years working on children’s programs. He has worked extensively on child welfare and foster care issues, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and implementing Trauma Informed Practices. He has coordinated with education groups, health groups, housing experts, and mental/behavioral groups to convene conferences and turn concepts for reform into legislative and administrative policy and state statutes. Doug is also the former co-chair of the Washington County Commission on Children and Families.

Doug Riggs can be reached at: doug@ngrc.com

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