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By Colt Gill (ODE), Jim Green (OSBA), Craig Hawkins (COSA), Daniel Ramirez (EAC) and Anthony Rosilez (TSPC)

Oregon’s public schools are more diverse now than at any other time in our history, but the number of superintendents of color in our state is not just stagnant, it is in a highly concerning free-fall. Only a handful of the 197 school districts in the State of Oregon are led by superintendents of color, and we believe this is a serious problem.

Tina Acker, who currently works as Director of Curriculum and Student Learning in the Centennial School District, has been selected as COSA’s new Director of Professional Learning.  Acker will begin her COSA position on July 1.

The Choose Kindness Foundation is making grant funding available to schools currently implementing PBIS models, to help support a year-long project to teach and increase kindness.  Schools may receive grants of $5,000-$7,500. 

Retired Oregon school administrator Jane Carter serves as Director of School Programs for the Foundation.  For more information about the grant program, please visit the Choose Kindness website: https://choosekindnessfoundation.info/pbis-kindness-grant/.

SALEM, Ore. – Erik Jespersen, Principal of McNary High School in the Salem Keizer School District, has been named the Oregon 2021 High School Principal of the Year.  Jespersen was selected by his peers in the Oregon Association of Secondary School Administrators (OASSA).

Jespersen is in his seventh year as principal at McNary.  Previously, he has served as assistant principal, instructional coach and social studies teacher at McNary and McKay High Schools in Salem-Keizer.

SALEM, Ore. – Amy Skirvin, Principal of Waldport Middle/High School in the Lincoln County School District, has been named the Oregon Middle School Principal of the Year.  Skirvin was selected by her peers in the Oregon Association of Secondary School Administrators (OASSA).

SALEM, Ore. – Kate Barker, Principal of Cherry Park Elementary School in the David Douglas School District, has been named Oregon’s 2021 National Distinguished Principal, also known as Oregon Elementary Principal of the Year.  Barker was selected by her peers in the Oregon Elementary School Principals Association (OESPA), and is now one of 50 finalists for the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ (NAESP) 2021 National Distinguished Principal award.

COSA members have elected Darin Drill, superintendent of the Cascade School District, as COSA President-Elect for 2021-22, during balloting conducted last month.  Drill will serve as COSA President in the 2022-23 school year, succeeding Oregon Trail School District administrator Rachael George, who will serve as COSA President in 2021-22.

Other members elected to serve in key COSA leadership roles beginning July 1 are:

Finalists Named for AASA’s 2021 National Superintendent of the Year®
Honorees include superintendents from Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington 

SALEM, Ore. – LaShawanta Spears, Assistant Principal of Alice Ott Middle School in the David Douglas School District, has been named the Oregon 2021 Assistant Principal of the Year.  Spears was selected by her peers in the Oregon Association of Secondary School Administrators (OASSA), and is now one of 50 finalists for the National Assistant Principal of the Year award.

Political campaigns and elections are opportunities to teach our students about democracy, government, voting, and what it means to participate in the democratic process in the United States. At the same time, it is important for educators to not only recognize, but address the divisiveness of the current election season, the socio-political context of race and justice in the historic and present-day United States, and the impact the 2020 elections will have on many of our students.

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