Woodland Public Schools selects Dr. Phillip Pearson as new high school principal

Pearson currently serves as the principal of Corbett High School located in Corbett, Oregon

WOODLAND — Woodland Public Schools recently announced the selection of Phillip Pearson as principal of Woodland High School beginning in the upcoming 2020-21 school year. Pearson accepted the position on March 25 when Superintendent Michael Green notified him of his selection. 

Pearson currently serves as the principal of Corbett High School located in Corbett, Oregon. He started his career in Corbett in 2000 as a math and science teacher before taking on a variety of administrative roles including middle school principal and director of technology. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oregon, a Master of Science degree from Oregon Graduate Institute (now a part of OHSU), and both Master and Doctorate of Education degrees from Portland State University.

Dr. Phillip Pearson will replace John Shoup who is relocating out-of-state at the end of the 2019-20 school year. Photo courtesy of Woodland Public Schools
Dr. Phillip Pearson will replace John Shoup who is relocating out-of-state at the end of the 2019-20 school year. Photo courtesy of Woodland Public Schools

The thriving Woodland community attracted Pearson to apply for the high school principal position. 

“At the outset, it was really apparent that Woodland High School is a busy and happening place with lots going on,” he said. “The test scores also tell a positive story of students and staff who are keen on seeing every student reach for their highest aspirations; that’s something that motivates me from my boots.”

Due to the statewide school closure for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the principal interview process involved a hybrid of in-person interviews observing appropriate social distancing guidelines and virtual interviews with some interviewers participating online via videoconferencing. 

For Superintendent Michael Green, Pearson was the clear choice, “Phil was clearly the top candidate from a strong field of applicants for his position,” said Green. “His success in Corbett is a testament to the strong leadership he will bring to Woodland High School; we are incredibly excited to have attracted Dr. Pearson to Woodland.”

As Pearson met with WHS staff throughout the interview process, he realized Woodland was where he wanted to be, particularly noting that current Principal John Shoup who is relocating at the end of the school year had been the school’s principal for 22 years, an indication of someone who loves where they work by any measure. 

“Woodland School District is filled with high-quality individuals who care deeply about the work they’re doing, all the way from the superintendent to the staff and to the students,” Pearson said. “This is a school where I can help build big dreams and aspirations for kids, where I can serve with team members who start every day with their feet on the gas pedal, and where I can learn and grow as a person and professional; what else could a person ask for?”

Pearson and his wife plan to move north to be closer to the Woodland community, however they currently reside equidistant between Corbett and Woodland with their 16-year-old daughter, Elie. 

“Our daughter will decide where she wants to finish her high school career and we’ll honor whatever decision she makes,” he said. “She’s very much a young woman with a mind of her own.”

When he’s not working, Pearson enjoys swimming, biking, and hiking. 

“I’m also a pretty avid reader of presidential history – history, in general, really, and I’m slowly learning carpentry and woodworking,” he said. “I sneak off to Home Depot occasionally to buy another tool; my favorite is my pneumatic-finish nailer.”

Woodland’s rural location also caught Pearson’s eye who grew up in Minnesota’s countryside. 

“When I was in Kindergarten, I rode a horse to my bus stop,” he remembered. “Those early experiences on the farm played a big part in forming my outlook and are probably why I find myself looking for big open space to live, work, and play.”

Information provided by Woodland Public Schools.

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