Profile in Courage in Public Education: Mr. Richard Staley

Courage written in chalk on a blackboard with a heart for an O.

Superintendent, Oakville School District #400
Submitted by Don Rash, Board of Directors, Capital Region ESD 113 

Rich Staley

Rich Staley arrived at the right school district at the right time, and the people of Oakville are happy that Rich, Laura and their family get to call Oakville their home.

Oakville was a district struggling to maintain its schools. In 2016, the schools in this small district needed significant change. “We didn’t have a preschool at that time, our buildings were ugly and falling apart, and our elementary students were literally eating lunch with a bucket sitting right next to them, catching the water coming through the ceiling,” Rich said.

By 2020, Rich had patched together $15 million dollars of local bond and state construction funds to begin work on a new elementary school and remodel Oakville High School. This was the first major construction project in the district in decades. On November 9, 2022, two elementary students cut the ribbon that opened their new school.

But fixing the schools was only part of Rich’s work. Oakville School District needed to strengthen both its internal and community relationships. Rich courageously built his administration around three ideas. First, he showed an honest and compassionate determination to bring the entire Oakville community together for a common purpose. Second, he was passionate about the needs of the students. Third, he built new and effective lines of communication channels with all members of the community.

Rich said the school district needed to flip the script to have a successful environment for children to learn and grow. He said during that time, the school district looked to accomplish two main goals. Goal number one was to inspire hope for the students, families, and community of Oakville. Goal two was to personalize the student experience. Additionally, Rich has adopted stronger and more effective Professional Development strategies for all staff members. Rich is also a state leader in efforts to build a Balanced Schedule for his students and staff. Because of these efforts, students, families, and school staff show greater pride in the schools and have the confidence to succeed in a new and changing world.

Recently, the Washington Association of School Administrators honored Rich with the Robert J. Handy Award, which recognizes outstanding Washington public school administrators. Capital Region ESD 113 is also proud to highlight Rich as its Profile in Courage for August 2023. Congratulations Rich!

Would you like to nominate someone for our Board of Directors to honor as a profile in courage?

  • Any employee, resident, volunteer, or student in one of the 44 school districts and one tribal school represented by Capital Region ESD 113 is eligible to submit candidates for consideration to [email protected].
  • Please keep submissions to 400 words or less. Photos are also welcome.
  • A small committee will review the applications. The Board Chair will read one selection each month prior to our Board meeting. In addition, that month’s submission will be prominently featured on our ESD 113 website.

Think about the heroes in your life who have done courageous things to support our students and staff members. We want to honor the wonderful role models who have been working in our public schools!