Red Cliff’s Gordon named Bayfield School District Superintendent

Red Cliff tribal member Jeff Gordon will head up the Bayfield School District beginning July 1, 2017

On July 1, 2017, Jeff Gordon will officially take the reigns as superintendent of the Bayfield School District. It was announced at Tuesday’s Bayfield School board meeting that Gordon had been selected to fill the role as new superintendent. Current Bayfield Superintendent Dave Aslyn recently tendered his resignation and will become superintendent of the Spooner, WI, School District in July.

Gordon, a longtime educator, currently holds the position of Bayfield Middle School Principal and Dean of Students, serving in that capacity for the past three years.

Gordon has been pursuing his superintendent’s certification for the past two years through Viterbo University’s Superintendent Program.

Gordon, a 1984 graduate of Bayfield High School, obtained his Bachelor of Education degree in 1989 from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. In 2002 Gordon received his Master’s Degree in Administrative Leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He was a teacher for both the Bayfield School District and the Oneida Indian Nation from 1989 to 1999, as well as athletic director and coach. In 1999 to 2003 Gordon served the Menominee Indian Tribe as principal for the Neopit Middle School in Neopit. From 2003 to 2006 Gordon was K-8 principal at the Indian Community School in Milwaukee, WI.

In addition to his current duties at the school, Gordon also serves as head basketball coach for the Bayfield Boys squad.

A Red Cliff tribal flag flies along side the American flag outside the entrance of Bayfield School.

Gordon, a Red Cliff tribal member, is proud of his heritage and keenly aware of the obstacles facing Native students and Native people in general. Understanding those challenges, Gordon is high on providing support to American Indian students and all students.

“I always had a sense that there was a tremendous amount of community support from Red Cliff and from the Bayfield School District. There were resources that I could act upon,” said Gordon of his career and life journey.

“Early on—even in college and my first years as a teacher—what was real important for me was the number of mentors and community people that were willing to help me,” said Gordon. “I can go back to the first time I applied for college and even through high school—in some cases I may have been the only Native student in the classroom.”

Gordon cites foremost his parents and family as mentors.

“They were always there to support me,” said Gordon.

He also credits teachers in Bayfield with providing him confidence and support as well as the Red Cliff community.

“From the education directors, down to the tribal council; they always seemed to be there to support young people who were going off to college or to start a career. There was always a sense that they were there to support your first endeavors—whether it was in the workforce or obtaining a college degree—either path you chose the tribe was there,” says Gordon.

“I’ve been very fortunate. I came back to Bayfield in 2012 and have been working here for the previous four years,” he adds.

“For me, as a school superintendent in Bayfield, I will provide the necessary support and resources for our teachers, staff and students,” said Gordon. “I want to make Bayfield the best school district in northern Wisconsin.”

Gordon says it’s his duty to follow the lead of the Bayfield School Board along with continuing the implementation of the district’s strategic plan. The plan was developed and initiated by current superintendent Dave Aslyn.

“We’re going to continue on with that mission and make this the best school for kids,” said Gordon.

A mural of Red Cliff’s Chief Buffalo adorns a wall inside the Bayfield School.

Gordon is especially sensitive to the needs of children in rural northern Wisconsin and the large Native enrollment population at the school district.

When asked his thoughts on the school’s efforts relative to Wisconsin Act 31, Gordon said he’s confident the district will continue providing accurate American Indian studies.

“Our teachers and staff in Bayfield over the past years have blended in the Ojibwe culture within the walls of the district—it’s not only within the walls but it’s also within the curriculum,” explained Gordon. “For the future, we want to continue on that path and build upon that.”

*Reprinted with permission from the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians’ weekly publication Miisaniinawind

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