• Superintendent's Office

Brent Barry: 2022 Oregon Superintendent of the Year


The Latest

  • May 27, 2022


    Dear PTS families,

    On a week like this, it’s difficult to talk about what’s happening across the Phoenix-Talent School District without also considering what happened in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday. I’m sure many of you fielded questions from your children about the shooting and may have struggled to come up with the right words.

    There are no easy answers, but please know that the safety of our students and staff is and always has been the top priority in the Phoenix-Talent School District, which is why we asked our partners in law enforcement for an increased presence around our schools on Wednesday. We have two of the best School Resource Officers around in Aaron Hull and Ken Lehman, and the relationships and trust they have built in this community are part of what helps prevent tragedy.

    In times like, this I am especially thankful that we have them in our schools, and that we have a supportive community that chose to invest in safety measures throughout PTS by supporting the 2017 bond. Still, it’s important that we all remember to be vigilant. In other words, if you see something, say something.

    As for the fear and anxiety that your children may have experienced this week following the shooting, please know that we have staff on hand at each of our schools, including experienced counselors, who are there to support your students with grace and kindness. That’s true whether that support comes in the form of a connection to services or just an open ear and warm smile.

    Now for some news from around the district, including a key staffing change at the high school and a couple joyous welcome parties held at our schools.

    In case you haven’t heard, Phoenix High principal Toby Walker is about to hand the wheel of the Pirate ship over to Kalin Cross, who will take over her new role July 1. It will be hard to say goodbye to Mr. Walker, who has been part of our district since taking a job as a PHS assistant football coach way back in 2005. He’s been a tireless leader and a steady, calm presence who somehow kept the ship moving forward throughout the pandemic, guiding Phoenix High to record-breaking graduation rates. We will miss him dearly and wish him well.

    We are also very excited about what is in store for PHS under the leadership of Mrs. Cross, who though is not scheduled to start there until July 1 was at the high school Thursday to greet next fall’s incoming freshmen during Pirate Power Hour. That’s the kind of leadership and thoughtfulness I know you will come to love about Mrs. Cross, who just blew us away during the application and interview process.

    While Pirate Power Hour and Freshman Field Day were both big hits at PHS Thursday, Talent Elementary students had their own memorable moment last week when their Sparrow, Bob, dropped by to say hi. TES students worked hard to raise money for Bob through sponsored community service, which will help Bob’s family cover the cost of an upcoming vagus nerve stimulation surgery.

    Though Bob suffers from Jeavons Syndrome and can experience up to 300 seizures a day, he made the trip from his home in Grants Pass to TES last Friday to ride his BMX bike around the track as staff and students cheered him on with chants of “Go Bob Go.”

    At Orchard Hill Elementary, the entire school took part in a “Penny War,” in partnership with World Central Kitchen, to see which class could raise the most money for Ukraine. In the end, Jenny Christopher’s third-grade class took the title by raising a whopping $163.87, and the school’s total earnings hit $990.85. Way to go, Hawks!

    Lastly, I’d like to encourage everybody who has yet to register for the 2022-23 school year to please do so by following this link. Though the last day of school and graduation – yes, it’s almost here! – is still a few weeks away, it’s not too early to get your registration forms completed and it only takes a few minutes.

    Thank you for all you do to help make PTS the best little school district in the state.


    Brent Barry, Superintendent

Brent Barry, Superintendent

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    Dear Families,

    Hello, my name is Brent Barry and I am very excited to be starting my fifth year as Superintendent of this fantastic school district. The 2021-22 school year marks my 18th year with Phoenix-Talent Schools. There is no question this particular beginning of the school year comes with some anxiety and uncertainty. With the pandemic and many of our students/families navigating through the devastation of the Almeda fire, we understand there are real emotions as we start this year. We are prepared to continue to provide the support necessary for academic success, as well as meeting the emotional health needs of our kids. I know and trust we can overcome the circumstances that we face today by supporting each other, having compassion for all and remaining focused on doing our part to minimize the impact of COVID-19. 

    We understand that you may be feeling anxious or uncertain about the start of the 2021-22 school year, but please know that our commitment to safely opening up our schools to full-time, in-person learning has not wavered. For this reason, we will consult with our local health authority, with which we meet weekly, and make decisions accordingly. Following the recommendations is the best way to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep our schools open.

    As COVID-19 continues to change with new variants, mitigation guidance is also likely to change, and we will be reviewing protocols regularly and partnering with our local health officials to keep our schools safely open. Parents and guardians will be notified of any major changes.

    Please read through our COVID-19 informational guide for details about what we’re doing to limit the impact of the virus and keep our doors open to in-person learning. It includes information about our face-covering policy, a free testing program, quarantine procedures and other COVID safety practices that we’ll be implementing.

    Lastly, following a very successful Summer School program, the Phoenix-Talent team is working hard behind the scenes to get ready for the 2021-22 school year and, though the delta variant presents some challenges, we are very excited about what’s to come. We look forward to a great school year!

    Brent Barry


    Email: brent.barry@phoenix.k12.or.us

    Phone: 541-535-1517


    Denise Skinner

    Executive Assistant to the Superintendent

    Email: denise.skinner@phoenix.k12.or.us

    Phone: 541-535-1517