GSE alumnus Paul Coakley selected to lead Centennial School District

CoakleyPaul Coakley, BS ’00, MEd ’01, IAL ’06, CAL ’12, EdD ’13, is the new interim superintendent of Centennial School District, the 21st largest in the state. He follows Sam Breyer, who will be the new superintendent of the Multnomah Education Service District.

Coakley began his career in education in 2000 as a teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary in Portland Public Schools (PPS). In 2003–05, he served as literacy coordinator for the school. He taught in Champaign, Illinois, for the 2005–06 school year and then moved back to Oregon as the student management specialist for Beach K–8 School in PPS from 2006–08.

His first administrator position was principal of Hudson Park Elementary in Rainier, Washington, where he worked for six years before being named assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the Rainier Washington school district. Coakley was hired by Centennial in July 2014 as assistant superintendent and has served as the human resources director.

When he becomes superintendent of Centennial School District on July 1, Coakley will be the sole African American superintendent in Oregon.

Throughout his career, Coakley has held multiple roles: teacher, literacy coach, student management specialist, principal, assistant superintendent, adjunct instructor, and mentor.

“Paul was the first student in my doctoral cohort of 13 students to complete his dissertation,” said Professor Tom Chenoweth, his doctoral advisor. “He is highly motivated, task driven, and a wonderful person.”

Dr. Coakley is also known for his astute insights into leadership and currently serves as an adjunct professor in the GSE’s Initial Administrator Licensure program, preparing aspiring leaders to reduce educational disparities in schools. Program Coordinator Susan Carlile was thrilled when Dr. Coakley accepted this faculty position in which he co-teaches with Jorge Meza, Larry Becker, and cohort leader Deborah Peterson. Peterson notes, “Dr. Coakley always keeps his focus on ensuring each child succeeds while also supporting the teachers and administrators who work tirelessly on behalf of our children. He embodies all the characteristics that teachers, principals, families, and students want in their leader. He is smart, caring, and thoughtful. He has a great sense of humor, is focused, conscientious, and able to connect with people of all backgrounds.”

Coakley is an east Multnomah County native who attended Gresham elementary and high schools.

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