Churn among principals at Portland Public Schools has held steady for the last three years.
In 2019, classes began with 24 principals starting the first full year in their respective buildings. Last fall, it was 20.
And for the coming school year, the district will have 21 people in the top role at a school for their first full year. In the case of newly rebuilt Kellogg Middle School, it’ll be because the building is opening its doors for the first time in 15 years.
Still, a disproportionate number of schools with a high proportion of Black, Indigenous and other students of color and those who live in low-income households will start the fall with their second or third principal in that time.
And the district still hasn’t announced leaders for four of its schools: Buckman and Duniway elementaries and Harriet Tubman and Ockley Green middle schools.
Here’s who’s moving where in Portland Public Schools for the 2021-22 academic year:
Who’s in on an interim basis: Ricky Allen, a longtime assistant principal at the North Portland high school, will fill the top post at Jefferson until the district finds a permanent replacement. The district tapped him in January.
Who’s out: Margaret Calvert, who served as Jefferson’s principal for nine years, was promoted to a regional superintendent position after the district did not renew Joe LaFountaine’s contract. LaFountaine sued the district, alleging top officials discriminated against him based on his conservative social media posts.
Who’s in: Portland Public Schools hasn’t found a new leader for the North Portland school, after it had two leaders in the three years since it reopened in 2018.
Who’s out: Louis Mair, who came to the district in 2020 after stints at high schools and middle schools in Georgia, left for personal reasons tied to family, Deputy Superintendent for Instruction Shawn Bird said. Mair has since taken a post as the planning principal for a new middle school in Gainesville, Georgia, according to his LinkedIn and local media reports.
Who’s in: Like Tubman, the district hasn’t found a leader for Ockley Green. Bird said he expects announcements soon.
Who’s out: Kristina Howard was promoted to the district’s office of teaching and learning after three years leading Ockley Green.
Who’s in: Richard Smith, who led Lent School as a K-8 for 2 1/2 years. Lent will become an elementary school in the fall and feed into Kellogg.
Who’s out: Nobody. Smith is overseeing the opening of a newly rebuilt Kellogg that Portland Public Schools constructed with the proceeds from a $790 million bond voters approved in 2017. The district closed the school in 2006 due to low enrollment and amid a budget crunch.
Who’s in: The district hired Jill Hunt, who was assistant principal at Beverly Hills High in Los Angeles for two years.
Who’s out: Cherie Kinnersley now leads middle school programs at Chiang Mai International School, a Christian academy in China. She was at West Sylvan for five years.
Who’s in: Nichole Berg, who started as Lent’s interim principal in April. She was previously the architect for Portland Public Schools’ climate curriculum. Berg was hired by the district in 2019.
Who’s out: Smith left to begin planning for the opening of Kellogg in April.
Who’s in: Matt Goldstein, who was principal at Duniway Elementary for seven years.
Who’s out: Raddy Lurie was promoted to be a senior director in the district’s central offices, where he’ll oversee high-need elementary and middle schools as identified by the state. He led Alameda for 13 years.
Who’s in: Portland Public Schools as of Aug. 7 has not hired a principal for Duniway.
Who’s out: Goldstein, who’s now at Alameda.
Who’s in: Kathryn Galloway, who served as assistant principal at Alameda for two years.
Who’s out: She replaces Jill Bailey, who retired after seven years leading Maplewood.
Who’s in: The district hasn’t hired a new leader for Buckman.
Who’s out: Seidel.
Who’s in: Alicia McMillen, who previously served as the school’s assistant principal for three years.
Who’s out: Ron Young, who spent three years at the Southeast Portland school before leaving for the Burbank Unified School District.
Who’s in: Chris Silvas, who comes to Portland from the Los Angeles area where he was principal of El Rancho High.
Who’s out: Keyla Santiago took over as Rigler’s principal after Maya Muñoz resigned in October 2020. She was previously the school’s assistant principal and decided not to apply for the permanent role.
Who’s in on an interim basis: José Salinas, who was Scott’s assistant principal for one year. He’ll lead the school on an interim basis until a permanent principal is hired.
Who’s out: Megan McCarter, who was known for delivering school announcements to students and families via TikTok, took a job as executive director of instruction for the Northwest Education Service District.
Who’s in: Becky Barry was promoted after 4 1/2 years as Sitton’s assistant principal.
Who’s out: Dana Nerenberg was promoted to Portland Public Schools’ central offices to lead its accelerated learning programs. Bird said Nerenberg will oversee the district’s efforts to address how the pandemic affected students’ academic performance.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Who’s in: Teresa Chan Seidel, who was principal at Buckman Elementary for two years. Before that, she was a math and science teacher for nearly a decade.
Who’s out: Jill Sage was promoted to the district’s central offices after six years at King. She now mentors principals and acts as an administrative coach.
Alternative schools and focus options
Da Vinci Middle School
Who’s in: Robbie Davis, a former assistant principal at Beaumont Middle School. Da Vinci is an arts magnet school. Bird touted her performance credentials in a letter introducing Davis as the Northeast Portland middle school’s new leader, highlighting her experience as a ballerina and stint as a singer at Carnegie Hall.
Who’s out: Fred Locke, also a former dancer, retired after 11 years at da Vinci. He was placed there after losing his job as principal of the Renaissance Arts Academy when Portland Public Schools shuttered Marshall High in 2011.
Who’s in: Eryn Berg, who was previously the principal for the Odyssey program, a K-8 school that emphasizes history in its studies across content areas where she formed an equity team among the PTA.
Who’s out: Amy Kleiner was Sunnyside’s principal for a decade. She left Portland Public Schools to work for a mental health care and consulting company.
Who’s in: Crystal Gassert, who was an assistant principal at Lent for two years. Prior to that, she worked for the Beaverton School District.
Who’s out: Eryn Berg, who spent two years leading Odyssey.
Who’s in on an interim basis: Max Whitehouse, who was assistant principal for two years at DART, which stands for Discovering and Rising Together. The school provides mental health supports for its students.
Who’s out: Michael Conn led DART for one year before becoming principal at William P. Lord High School at the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility.
Who’s in: Kristy Mize, who was previously assistant principal at Cleveland High School.
Who’s out: Meischa Plotske was promoted to the central offices after four years at Creative Science. She’ll spearhead the transitioning of several K-8 schools as the district establishes more elementary and middle schools in the coming years.
Who’s in: Anthony Bromberg, who was assistant principal for elementary and middle schools in the Austin district in Texas.
Who’s out: Ginger Taylor was principal of ACCESS Academy for the two years leading up to her retirement from Portland Public Schools. She worked for the district for 15 years prior to that role.
Eder is The Oregonian’s education reporter. Do you have a tip about Portland Public Schools? Email [email protected].